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.
We are nearly to the half-way mark on the US tour of Dennemeyer’s Future of IP and Technology Law Forum, for which I am the keynote speaker. The forums in Palo Alto, Los Angeles and Austin were extremely valuable in terms of information sharing, the audiences full of smart and forward-thinking in-house counsel and private practice IP attorneys. We had fun talking through the potential changes to come in our world and what our roles are in shaping the future.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery — or so the saying goes. However, when it comes to copyrighted material, imitation can also be unlawful infringement if use of the work isn’t deemed a “fair use.” What constitutes fair use was central to a recent Second Circuit Court of Appeals case involving the incorporation of an iconic comedy routine into a Broadway play.
Cases regarding the patent eligibility of abstract ideas continue to pile up at the Federal Circuit, which hears all patent-related appeals. In its recent ruling in Affinity Labs of Texas, LLC, v. DIRECTV LLC, the court found that two patented inventions failed both parts of the patent eligibility test.
Shortly after filing a trademark application, with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or with another non-US, government trademark agency, a growing number of our clients inevitably receive one or more official-looking letters or invoices seeking payment related to the trademark registration. You may have received one of these notices in the mail or via email yourself—a solicitation, formatted to look like an official government document, that lists data about your trademark application and even an image of your trademark (all of which is publicly available information). Many of these companies use terms that resemble an official agency name including one or more of the terms “United States,” “U.S.,” “Trademark,” “Patent,” “Registration,” “Office,” or “Agency.” The truth is, these solicitations have absolutely no legal or other significance to your trademark registration.
Rushmore Photo & Gifts, Inc. (RPG), the Niemann family, and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. are celebrating a victory over Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc. (SMRI) in a controversial, six-year trademark dispute over the name “Sturgis.” On March 10, the Court found that RPG and Wal-Mart had valid equitable defenses to SMRI’s trademark claims. The Court vacated and dismissed the entire jury damage award of $912,500, ruling that “SMRI is barred from recovering damages and profits from the defendants for the time period prior to October 30, 2015.”