Category Archive for "Patterson Thuente News"

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Auto parts’ aesthetic appeal doesn’t invalidate design patents

Holders of design patents received some welcome news recently from a case in which some auto parts distributors sought declaratory judgment for invalidity of design patents to sell parts that were covered by a major vehicle manufacturer’s designs. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision sheds some valuable light on the type of functionality that can render a design patent invalid — and the type that won’t — as well as the importance of design patents.

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IP due diligence in corporate transactions

The strength of a company’s intellectual property portfolio often drives the value of corporate transactions. Regardless of whether you are the acquisition target or the buyer in a transaction involving IP, the due diligence process should be designed to reveal the value of the intangible assets—patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. IP due diligence should ideally be conducted at the onset of negotiations. This not only allows a more reasoned value of the IP to be determined, but also enables proactive corrective action if any legal concerns are identified that may otherwise affect its valuation.

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cover image for Feb March 2020 issue of IP law newsletter

Ideas on Intellectual Property Law – March 2020

Patterson Thuente IP is pleased to present the March 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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Limited protection: Inaccurate statement forfeits copyright infringement claim

Creative works are generally subject to copyright protection even without registration with the U.S. Copyright Office. But there are a number of important advantages to securing Copyright Registration — including the ability to file suit for copyright infringement. Normally, a registration certificate provides sufficient evidence of a valid registered copyright. However, inaccurate information in the certificate can invalidate the registration. In a recent case, the holder of one such certificate not only lost out on its ability to pursue an infringement claim, but also ended up on the hook for the would-be defendants’ attorneys’ fees and costs. The fact pattern Gold Value (doing business as Fiesta Fabric) creates textile designs and sells fabric to customers that use it to make clothing. Sanctuary Clothing, LLC, is a clothing manufacturer. Fiesta sued Sanctuary and several retailers, alleging they’d infringed a copyright it held for one textile design. Fiesta had registered the design as part of its Spring/Summer
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It’s official: Supreme Court says government isn’t a person – for patent purposes

Patentees welcomed a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that significantly reduces the pool of potential challengers to the validity of existing patents. Thanks to the ruling, federal government agencies can’t take advantage of three patent review processes created less than a decade ago — because the federal government isn’t a “person” under patent law. Post office delivers a blow Return Mail, Inc., owns a patent for a method of processing undeliverable mail. After the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) introduced an enhanced address-change service to process undeliverable mail, Return Mail claimed the service infringed the patent and offered to license its invention to the USPS. In response, and prior to the America Invents Act of 2011 (AIA), the USPS sought a re-examination of the patent, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) confirmed the patent’s validity. Return Mail then sued the USPS, seeking compensation for the unauthorized use of its invention. While that lawsuit was
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3D fishing boat

Sink or swim: Precise patent language scuttles infringement lawsuit

Generally, using precise and careful language in a patent application is wise. But providing a precise numerical value can work against a patentee when it comes time to bring an infringement claim. A boat manufacturer learned this lesson the hard way when it sued a rival for infringement. Boat maker makes waves Cobalt Boats, LLC, owns a patent on a swim step — a small platform attached to the stern of a boat, with a retractable step that makes it easier to get in and out of the water. Brunswick Corporation sells boats with an optional swim step. Cobalt sued Brunswick, alleging patent infringement. A jury found that Brunswick had indeed infringed the patent and awarded a per-unit royalty of $2,500, equaling $2.69 million. The district court enhanced the jury’s award and awarded damages for postverdict sales, resulting in total damages of almost $5.4 million. It also granted a permanent injunction against Brunswick. Not surprisingly, Brunswick appealed
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PTAB rejects inherently obvious finding

What’s obvious to one person isn’t always obvious to another, and the same is true when it comes to patents. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit demonstrated this principle in rejecting the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) determination that a patent was inherently obvious. In doing so, it shed light on what factors establish when a claimed feature of a patented invention was “inherent” in an earlier invention.

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Supreme Court ruling leaves a mark

Trademark right survives licensor’s bankruptcy It’s never good news for a business when a company that the business has contracted with files for bankruptcy. But, according to a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling, there’s some good news for trademark licensees. In an 8-1 decision that resolves a split among federal courts of appeal, the Court held that in some circumstances a licensee can continue to use the licensed marks despite the licensor’s rejection of their agreement during the bankruptcy process.

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IP Career Prep Event invitation

Still time to RSVP for our IP Career Prep Event!

Attention law students: Patterson Thuente IP invites future intellectual property attorneys to hone their interview skills and resumes at our annual IP Career prep event. Join us Monday, November 11, 2019 for a casual dinner and some friendly advice. RSVP today!

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Vehicle charging station patents short-circuit under Alice analysis

The U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, the court that hears all patent-related appeals, continues to wield the so-called Alice test to knock down patents for abstract ideas. As part of one such decision, the court explained that abstract ideas aren’t patent-eligible in the absence of an inventive concept that makes a claim “significantly more” than just the abstract idea — and the underlying abstract idea can’t provide that inventive concept.

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