Does a company that provides software perform a service that supports a service mark? In today’s technology-driven markets, this question is raised with increased frequency. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent decision in In re JobDiva, Inc. delivered good news to companies using this business model, although it also cited a caveat.
When the inventors of a new design process admitted that they had mentally performed the patented steps themselves, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals took them at their word. The patent holders in Synopsys, Inc. v. Mentor Graphics Corp. ultimately failed the two-step abstract ideas test.
The decision in Apple, Inc. v. Ameranth, Inc. probably wasn’t what the patent-holder ordered. Late last year, both the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (which hears all appeals in patent cases) reviewed Ameranth Inc.’s patents for a computerized restaurant menu system, ultimately sending Ameranth back to the kitchen.
Courts in infringement cases construe terms in patent claims by their plain and ordinary meaning — usually. As the patentee in Poly-America, L.P. v. API Industries, Inc., learned the hard way, the Federal Circuit doesn’t take that approach when the disavowal of claim scope applies.
Two firearms manufacturers came out shooting when a dispute arose over which one had the right to use the mark “SCAR” for guns and related items. The case, FN Herstal SA v. Clyde Armory Inc., raised the common trademark issue of priority of use, as well as the less-common unlawful use doctrine.