Since the Alice v. CLS Bank and Mayo v. Prometheus decisions, district courts and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has struggled to determine and navigate the boundary between what is and what is not patent-eligible subject matter. The result has been a tangle of intertwined decisions that create an extremely wide and fuzzy boundary. Attorneys are often left to throw up their hands when asked whether a new invention is patentable or whether an existing patent will likely withstand a patent eligibility challenge under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Some would argue that Federal Circuit decisions are currently dependent on which panel of judges hear the case because the present law is so ambiguous and subject to different interpretations. Therefore, the legal community, inventors, investors, corporations, and the public would greatly benefit from the U.S. Supreme Court’s guidance on this issue.
Continue Reading Will the Supreme Court Unravel the Patent-Eligibility Tangle?

In a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court in Peter v. NantKwest, case number 18-801, struck down the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) recent and often-criticized effort to recoup its legal fees – even in cases it loses – because it violates the so-called American Rule, which says U.S. litigants must typically pay for their own lawyers.

The Patent Act creates two mutually exclusive pathways to challenge an adverse decision by the USPTO. The first permits judicial review by direct appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. There is “no opportunity for the applicant to offer new evidence” in a §141 proceeding, and the Federal Circuit “must review the PTO’s decision on the same administrative record that was before the [agency].”
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Strikes down USPTO’s Request for Attorney’s Fees

Just over two months ago, Sacramento’s beloved Firestone Public House was sued by multinational conglomerate Bridgestone Brands, LLC for trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and unfair competition based upon Firestone’s use of the FIRESTONE mark. I initially found this dispute to be quite interesting in light of what I appeared to be vastly different groups of

By Audrey Millemann

California’s unfair competition and consumer protection laws protect consumers from false representations about products or services.  These laws include the Unfair Competition Law (Business and Professions Code §17200, et seq.), the False Advertising Law (Business and Professions Code §17500, et seq.), and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (Civil Code §1750).