Fashion and apparel have long existed in a cloud of copyright confusion. Clothing often incorporates design elements, which may be protectable, and functional elements, which aren’t. The U.S. Supreme Court has now established a two-part test intended to resolve “widespread disagreement” regarding copyright protection for such “industrial designs.”
Manufacturers that let their distributors use their unregistered trademarks may later find themselves in a fight over the marks’ ownership. This article highlights how one federal court of appeals recently addressed such ownership disputes and adopted a different test for determining ownership of common law trademarks where there is no agreement addressing the issue.
The dust has settled on the Supreme Court’s May 2017 TC Heartland decision that a domestic corporation “resides” only in the state of incorporation under the patent venue statute—28 U.S.C. § 1400(b). Yet despite this clarity, a new issue has emerged: If a defendant failed to raise the defense of improper venue in district court because it was not available before TC Heartland, did they inadvertently waive it?
Patterson Thuente IP is pleased to present the October/November 2017 issue of Ideas on Intellectual Property Law. We encourage you to read through it for ideas on how to best protect your intellectual property.
Some product features are ornamental and others are functional. One manufacturer recently learned that the hard way when the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals found that its bag’s design and shape were functional — and therefore not protected as trade dress.
Just how much patent infringement does it take to be liable for damages? The U.S. Supreme Court recently tackled this question in one context, ruling that supplying only one component of an infringing multicomponent invention made abroad doesn’t make the supplier liable for patent infringement. With that, the Court established a bright-line test for some circumstances, but created significant uncertainty for others.
Three years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “laches” — a plaintiff’s unreasonable delay in pursuing an infringement claim — couldn’t preempt a claim for damages sustained within the Copyright Act’s statute of limitations. Now the Court has extended its reasoning to patents, eliminating the laches defense for infringement allegedly committed within the Patent Act’s six-year statute of limitations.
Vocabulary matters in the courts, as one company found out recently. According to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the term “volitional conduct” has nothing to do with voluntary actions when it comes to direct copyright infringement. The court explained the meaning in a case where it also denied a copyright holder’s secondary liability claims for infringement.
Jay Erstling recently spoke on the evolving world of IP law at Dennemeyer’s Forum on The Future of IP Law & Technology in eight US cities. Here, he share some of his thoughts on the subject, as well as what was learned during the forum Q&A discussions.
Business method patents on software have had a tough time in the courts in recent years. But a recent ruling may now provide some hope for patent holders. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Trading Technologies Int’l, Inc. v. CQG, Inc. marks a rare example of the court finding software to be patent-eligible. The ruling provides valuable guidance on just what it takes for these patents to withstand judicial scrutiny.