What’s in a name? The answer to that question might determine whether a mark that includes someone’s surname is eligible for trademark registration. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has shed some light on when a mark with a surname is—and isn’t— egistrable as a trademark.
In the Oil States decision handed down today, Justice Thomas authored the 7-2 majority decision affirming the constitutionality of IPR proceedings over challenges based on Article III separation of powers and the 7th Amendment Right to Trial by Jury. Depending upon which camp you are in, this will be seen as either generally favorable (petitioners) or generally unfavorable (patent owners).
Not all intellectual property is created equal. Typically, only some of a company’s IP actually relates to core products or promising future technologies. This fraction of a company’s IP portfolio is where its priorities should lie from an enforcement standpoint, especially in more competitive industries. The rights afforded by these core patents, trademarks and trade secrets protect the backbone of the company.
You might think it would be easier to prove infringement of a patented system having multiple components. The more parts, the more opportunity to prove infringement. Not so. As one patentee learned the hard way, more parts means more to prove.
Thanks in part to the proliferation of websites over the past couple of decades, the use of stock photography is more widespread than ever. And the posting of photos online—as well as in print—has created a copyright infringement bonanza. But who has the right to enforce copyright claims involving use of stock photographs? The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently tackled this question.
The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, the court that hears all appeals of patent-related cases, continues to engage in abstract thinking — thinking about the patent-eligibility of abstract ideas, that is. In the wake of Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, the Federal Circuit has repeatedly reviewed whether patents are invalid because they covered patent-ineligible inventions. In this case, for example, the plaintiff ended up having four patents wiped out as invalid on this basis.
Patterson Thuente IP is pleased to present the April/May 2018 issue of Ideas on Intellectual Property Law. We encourage you to read through it for ideas on how to best protect your intellectual property.
The fair use defense can prove to be the bane of a trademark holder’s infringement claim. The good news for trademark holders, though, is that the defense is difficult to establish before trial, giving them the opportunity to prove their cases to juries. That’s what happened in one recent case.
Inventors in the pursuit of “personalized medicine” patents were likely discouraged by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in The Cleveland Clinic Foundation v. True Health Diagnostics LLC, which involved a diagnostic method. The court’s ruling highlights the difficulty of obtaining patents for such methods.
A patent applicant’s first round of appeals is to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). But if a patent applicant receives a negative ruling from the PTAB, it isn’t necessarily the end of the road. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals made that clear in a case where it faulted the Board for failing to adequately lay out just whyan invention was obvious and therefore unpatentable.