What’s offensive is often in the eye of the beholder. Where federal trademark registration is sought, this has long meant that registration could be denied if the mark was considered disparaging. Now, in a landmark 8-0 decision in Matal v. Tam, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the so-called “disparagement clause” in federal trademark law, opening the door to the registration of marks that may have been rejected as offensive in the past.
Patterson Thuente IP is pleased to present the Year End 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.
Oops — they did it again. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected yet another software patent. The court, which hears all appeals involving patents, found that the patent was for a patent-ineligible invention.
In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has dramatically tightened the restrictions on where patent owners can file infringement lawsuits. The court’s unanimous ruling is expected to rein in the “forum shopping” that so often occurs in patent infringement cases, where patentees try to file in judicial districts considered to be more plaintiff-friendly, such as the defendant-dreaded Eastern District of Texas.
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.