Category Archives: Intellectual Property

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Brewers & Blades: Avoiding Exhaustion in Products with Consumable Parts

A product with consumable or replaceable parts can be complicated to patent. These kinds of products have a reusable base component and replaceable widgets that work with it. Think razor handles with disposable razor blades, coffee brewers with coffee pods, or table saws with replaceable blades. Sales of the widgets may create a substantial revenue …

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Stanford University’s Loss in Interferences of Three Patents Covering Testing Methods for Fetal Aneuploidies for Lack of Written Description is Vacated

The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University v. The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Jun. 27, 2017, Before O’Malley, Reyna, and Chen. Takeaway: The Federal Circuit declined to reconsider its decision in Biogen MA, Inc. v. Japanese Found. for Cancer Research, 785 F.3d 648 (Fed. Cir. 2015) that parties cannot bring civil …

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Bring on the Bad Word Brands? What Supreme Court’s Decision in Matal v. Tam Means for Trademark Owners

The Supreme Court’s June 19, 2017 decision in the Matal v. Tam case has been burning-up the news wires all week. The decision struck down a 70-year-old ban on federally registering disparaging trademarks, finding that the disparagement clause of Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act violates the First Amendment principal against banning speech that expresses ideas that …

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Widespread Use of GOOGLE Trademark as a Verb Does Not Render the Mark Generic

Google patent infringement

On May 16, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that widespread use of the word “google” as a verb for “searching the internet” – as opposed to use as an adjective for a brand of internet search engine – was insufficient to establish that GOOGLE ceased to function as …

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In re Google: Co-Pending Litigation Is Not Sufficient Basis to Deny Transfer Motion

Addressing jurisdictional transfer issues in a divided opinion, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit granted the extraordinary relief of issuing a mandamus order to transfer a patent infringement case, finding that the district court effectively failed to consider the merits of the defendant’s transfer motion even though the district court weighed all relevant transfer …

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U.S. Supreme Court Holds That Patent Act Does Not Provide Laches Remedy for Limiting Damages

The U.S. Supreme Court took on the analysis of laches in a March 2017 decision in SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag, et al., v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC, et. al. The Supreme Court held that the equitable doctrine of laches cannot be invoked as a defense against a claim for damages brought within the six-year …

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“Knock-Offs” Beware: SCOTUS Makes a Fashion-Forward Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court has settled the closely watched Varsity Brands Inc. et al. v. Star Athletica LLC copyright dispute, holding that cheerleading outfits contain distinct design elements that allow for copyright ownership. The ruling has wide implications for both the fashion apparel and home furnishings industry, both of which rely on distinctive, eye-catching designs …

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USPTO Freedom Of Information Act Inquiry

The Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) can be a very powerful tool. It provides unqualified right to access certain public records. Patent attorney Gary Shuster used it to file a FOIA request (Request No. F-17-00099) with the USPTO on January 26, 2017, seeking the following: 1. Any document written by or on behalf of Michelle Lee …

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Trade Secret Preemption: Possible Defense To Trade Secrets Claim?

Two recent decisions by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals clarify the intersection between federal copyright law and state trade secret law. In GlobeRanger Corp. v. Software AG United States of America, Inc., 836 F.3d 477 (5th Cir. Sep. 7, 2016), the Fifth Circuit rejected an appeal in which the defendant argued that a plaintiff’s trade …

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Intellectual Property Cases to Watch in 2017

The New Year brings excitement and anticipation of changes for the best.  Some of the pending patent cases provide us with ample opportunity to expect something new and, if not always very desirable to everybody, at least different.  In this post, we highlight several cases that present interesting issues and that we anticipate may provide …

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