The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the court that hears all appeals of patent cases, continues to invalidate patents directed to abstract ideas. It applies the test established in 2014 by the U.S. Supreme Court. In a recent case, it ruled that a patent covering voting methods and systems providing for “auto-verification” of ballots was invalid as attempting to patent an abstract idea.
The US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit published its opinion today, finding that a federally registered trademark for the mark Sturgis, owned by Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc. (SMRI), is invalid. This is a major victory for Rushmore Photo & Gifts, the Niemann family of Rapid City, SD, and Wal-mart Stores, Inc., the defendants in this seven-year dispute over the Sturgis mark, The Court found that SMRI’s unregistered, common law trademarks “Sturgis Motorcycle Rally” and “Sturgis Rally & Races” are also invalid.
Court splits over trade dress, trademark claims In 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a trademark holder seeking a preliminary injunction after filing suit against an alleged infringer must establish the likelihood of irreparable harm, rather than relying on a presumption of harm. Not until this year, though, has the court elaborated on the kind of proof required. Its recent ruling sheds light on what does — and doesn’t — demonstrate irreparable harm.
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