Category Archive for "Litigation"

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When a surname can be registered as a trademark

Family businesses often like to use their surname as a mark for their products and services, whether as a point of pride or simply because they feel the name is memorable. These businesses can run into obstacles, though, when it comes time to register trademarks with the surname. A prolonged court battle over one such mark shows how problems can arise — and how businesses can overcome them.

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cover of ideas on intellectual property law newsletter june july 2019 issue

Ideas on Intellectual Property Law – June/July 2019

Patterson Thuente IP is pleased to present the June/July issue of Ideas on Intellectual Property Law. We encourage you to read through it for ideas on how to best protect your intellectual property.

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Can you sue foreign corporations for trademark infringement?

E-commerce has allowed foreign corporations to reach new customers far beyond their borders. Sales to U.S. customers, though, might open up a foreign company to litigation in the United States. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has shed light on how a foreign defendant can land in federal court for alleged trademark infringement.

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How ranges described in prior art trigger obviousness presumption

Some patents specify ranges to account for variability — for example, a range of temperatures in which a process occurs. These types of patents can run into obviousness issues that can invalidate them if the range overlaps with ranges detailed in so-called “prior art.” Patentees in such cases aren’t totally out of luck, though, as they have the opportunity to rebut the presumption of obviousness.

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3D electric guitar

Stairway back to court

Erroneous jury instructions trip up copyright verdict The 2016 ruling by a trial court in a copyright infringement case over Led Zeppelin’s classic rock anthem “Stairway to Heaven” garnered a lot of attention. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has now sent the case back to the trial court (which ruled in the band’s favor), shedding some valuable light on how to prove copyright infringement of music in the process.

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Print still matters > Trade show catalog bars patent

It’s easy to get excited when you come up with a new invention. But the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office won’t consider an invention novel enough to qualify for a patent if a publicly available printed publication “anticipated” it. With a recent ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (which hears all appeals concerning patents), provided some guidance on how it determines whether a publication was publicly available on the relevant date.

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What’s fair in copyright and trademark

Alleged infringement of technical standards raises questions Thousands of private organizations produce technical standards, some of which are incorporated into laws by federal, state and local governments. A federal court of appeals recently considered whether these organizations can invoke copyright and trademark laws to prevent the unauthorized copying and distribution of such works. The court, however, failed to provide a conclusive answer, focusing instead on fair use matters.

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Supreme Court denies petition to decide patent damages issue about entire market value rule

Recently, the Supreme Court denied a petition from Power Integrations, Inc. to decide a question about patent damages, the “entire market value” rule, and what parties must prove to recover or avoid large damages awards in patent infringement lawsuits. As an exception to the general rule, the entire market value rule allows a patent holder to recover damages on patented and unpatented features of an infringing product. 

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Court blocks trademark for sports shop

Registration of a trademark hinges, in part, on whether there is a likelihood of confusion with an earlier application or registration. In a recent case, a sports specialty shop learned that the trademark it sought for registration was considered likely to be confused with that of a private social club.

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Factual compilation qualifies for “thin” copyright

More and more of our personal information is collected every day, but some of the most valuable consumer data continues to be pairings of names and addresses. Companies build massive databases that compile this information — but are these compilations protected by copyright? It depends.

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