Intellectual Property Litigation

Join Josh Escovedo and Jessica Corpuz in this one-hour webinar about Intellectual Property Law and will specifically address The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

Program Summary:
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021—arising from the December 2020 stimulus bill—made significant changes to intellectual property law, unbeknownst to many practitioners. This webinar will focus on the changes

In The Sherwin-Williams Company v. PPG Industries, Inc., 2-17-cv-01023 (WDPA 2021-01-21, Order), the court had to decide whether Plaintiff The Sherwin-Williams Co. (“Sherwin”) should be bound by its prior admission to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) during vacated reexamination proceedings.  

During one of the reexamination proceedings, Sherwin admitted that certain prior art (“Perez”) disclosed a BPA-free coating, although it contended that its patents were valid for other reasons.  Subsequently, the entire reexamination proceeding was terminated without any action on the merits.  
Continue Reading District Court Finds Patentee’s Prior Statement Regarding Prior Art A Binding Admission

In 10x Genomics, Inc. v. Celsee, Inc., 1-19-cv-00862 (DDE 2020-12-04, Order) (Colm F. Connolly), the District Court ordered the defendant to produce documents and give testimony about communications between defendant and its new corporate owner concerning the litigation and the provisions in the acquisition agreement that concern the litigation.

Specifically, during the pendency of the litigation, nonparty Bio-Rad Laboratories had acquired 100 percent of Defendant Celsee, Inc.’s stock pursuant to an acquisition agreement. The acquisition agreement had disclosures and provisions related to the litigation. At two depositions, Celsee refused to let witnesses answer questions about documents Celsee disclosed to BioRad and communications it had with Bio-Rad during the negotiations that resulted in the acquisition agreement. The disclosures and communications occurred after Celsee and Bio-Rad had signed a non-binding letter of intent to engage in the acquisition negotiations. Celsee cited the common interest privilege and the attorney work product doctrine as the bases for its refusal to allow the witnesses to answer the questions posed to them.
Continue Reading District Court Finds Communications and Documents Concerning Defendant’s Post-Filing Acquisition Are Not Protected by the Common Interest Privilege

In Impact Engine, Inc. v. Google LLC, 3-19-cv-01301 (SDCA 2020-10-20, Order) (Cathy Ann Bencivengo), the District Court for the Southern District of California recently considered whether litigation funding documents could be withheld from production by plaintiff Impact Engine because the documents were work product protected.  In the case, defendant Google had propounded a request on Impact Engine for the production of “[all] Documents Regarding any contracts or agreements between Plaintiff and any Third Party concerning (1) This Litigation and/or (2) any Asserted Patent or Related Patent.”  Impact Engine indicated it would produce non-privileged responsive documents except for potential agreements related to litigation funding because Impact Engine asserted work product protection over the documents.
Continue Reading District Court Finds Documents Related to Litigation Funding Protected by Work Product Doctrine

Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc. has petitioned the Supreme Court of the United States for certiorari following an unfavorable ruling from the Ninth Circuit in the matter of VIP Products LLC v. Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc. In that case, VIP Products sued Jack Daniel’s after receiving a cease-and-desist letter concerning its Bad Spaniels Silly Squeaker dog toy. The toy is intentionally similar to the famous Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 whiskey bottle, but is clearly intended to be a joke.

Instead of saying Jack Daniels, the bottle says Bad Spaniels and includes a cartoonish cocker spaniel. Below that, where the Jack Daniel’s bottle usually says “Old No. 7,” the toy says “The Old No. 2” above “on your Tennessee Carpet” where the real bottle says Tennessee Whiskey. The squeaky toy is clearly intended as joke for dog owners, and I don’t believe it would confuse consumers into believing the product is actually associated with Jack Daniel’s. Jack Daniel’s apparently felt differently.

The district court agreed with Jack Daniel’s. While ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the district court held that the Rogers test, which is used to balance the interests between trademark law and the First Amendment, was inapplicable because the toy is not an expressive work. Later, after a four-day bench trial, the District Court ruled against VIP Products and found it had infringed Jack Daniel’s IP.
Continue Reading Dogs, Whiskey, and Intellectual Property: Need I Say More?