The IP Law Blog

Focusing on legal trends in data security, cloud computing, data privacy, and anything E

Federal Circuit Holds That Claim Language Can Limit the Scope of a Design Patent

Posted in IP, Patent Law

In Curver Luxembourg SARL v. Home Expressions Inc., case number 18-2214, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently held that the claim language of a design patent can limit its scope where the claim language supplies the only instance of an article of manufacture that appears nowhere in the figures.

Plaintiff Curver had asserted U.S. Design Patent No. D677,946 (’946 patent), entitled “Pattern for a Chair” and claiming an “ornamental design for a pattern for a chair.” Curver sued defendant Home Expressions alleging that Home Expressions made and sold baskets that incorporated Curver’s claimed
design pattern and thus infringed the ’946 patent. The design patent’s figures, however, merely illustrate the design pattern disembodied from any article of manufacture. Continue Reading

LinkedIn Profiles and the Applicability of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Posted in Cyberspace Law, IP, Privacy, Web/Tech

LinkedIn is a popular professional networking website with more than half a billion members. Many of its users, in an effort to enhance their networking capabilities, make their profile public and available to anyone to review their personal details such as their employment, education, skill sets and other personal information. Although LinkedIn disclaims any ownership of the information its users post, this information has enormous value in the online marketplace. Continue Reading

Landlords – Watch out for Trademark-Infringing Tenants!

Posted in IP, Trademark Law

Landlords whose tenants sell counterfeit goods can be liable for trademark infringement if they have knowledge of the infringing acts or are willfully blind to the infringement.

In Luxottica Group v. Airport Mini Mall, LLC, 932 F.3d 1303 (11th Cir. August 2019), Oakley, Inc. and its parent Luxottica sued the owners of a shopping mall in Georgia for contributory trademark infringement under the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. §1114).  Luxottica and Oakley make and sell high-end sunglasses under the Ray-Ban and Oakley trademarks.  Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Invalidates Garage Door Opener Patent Because It Is an Abstract Idea

Posted in IP, Patent Law

Have you ever driven away from your home and then had that irritating doubt in your mind as to whether you remembered to close your garage door? I know I have. No matter how hard I try to search my brain’s archives, I really don’t remember whether I closed the garage door even though I close it 99.9% of the time! In that moment, you wish there was a way to check that doesn’t require turning around and going back home to see if you really left the house wide open for anyone to walk in.

Well The Chamberlain Group, Inc. (“Chamberlain”) thought it had patented an invention that could help with this type of problem—a garage door opener that wirelessly transmits information such as whether the door is open or closed. See U.S. Patent No. 7,224,275 (the “’275 Patent”). Specifically, the patent “relates to an apparatus and method for communicating information about the status of a movable barrier, for example, a garage door.” Continue Reading

The USPTO Denies Tom Brady’s Application to Register TOM TERRIFIC

Posted in IP, Trademark Law

The USPTO recently refused legendary quarterback Tom Brady’s application to register the mark TOM TERRIFIC. If you’re like me, you’re wondering why Tom Brady would want to register such a trademark. Well, according to Brady, he wanted to obtain the rights to the mark to prevent people from referring to him by that nickname. But that response isn’t satisfactory for those of us who know about trademark law for a couple of reasons. Continue Reading

Supreme Court Ruling In Pirate Ship Copyright Case Could Sink State Immunity

Posted in Copyright Law, IP

The Supreme Court is set to hear the case of Allen v. Cooper which addresses the constitutionality of the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act (“CRCA”). The purpose of the CRCA is to abrogate sovereign immunity enjoyed by States and State actors under the Eleventh Amendment for claims of copyright infringement. The CRCA provides as follows: Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Holds IPR Proceedings on Pre-AIA Patents is Not an Unconstitutional Taking Under the Fifth Amendment

Posted in IP, Patent Law

In CELGENE CORPORATION v. PETER, the Federal Circuit recently affirmed the PTAB’s decisions finding appealed claims obvious. However, more importantly, the Federal Circuit also held that the retroactive application of IPR proceedings to pre-AIA patents is not an unconstitutional taking under the Fifth Amendment.

Regarding the constitutional issue of whether the retroactive application of IPRs to pre-AIA patents is an unconstitutional taking, the Federal Circuit noted that The Supreme Court left open this challenge with
the following passage near the end of its decision in Oil States Energy Servs., LLC v. Greene’s Energy Grp., LLC, 138 S. Ct. 1365, 1379 (2018) as follows: Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Inquiry on Non-Competes Could Have Huge Implications

Posted in IP

The Ninth Circuit recently asked the California Supreme Court to provide it with guidance concerning certain types of non-compete provisions that could have huge ramifications for California’s business environment.  In essence, the Ninth Circuit asked the California Supreme Court whether section 16600 of the California Business and Professions Code bars agreements between businesses that place a restriction on one business from doing business with another.  Depending on how the California Supreme Court answers the inquiry, the result could have a massive impact on a wide range of agreements in California such as franchise agreements, manufacturer/distributor agreements, joint ventures, etc. Continue Reading

Do Your Homework Before Suing for Patent Infringement!

Posted in IP, Patent Law

The federal patent laws provide for an award of attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party in exceptional patent infringement cases.  35 U.S.C. §285.  An exceptional case is determined based on the totality of the circumstances.  A case can be exceptional due to a substantive legal position taken by a party or a party’s unreasonable litigation tactics.  Courts can and will award attorneys’ fees to a prevailing defendant if the plaintiff was not justified in filing a patent infringement suit in the first place by failing to conduct a proper investigation of infringement before filing suit. Continue Reading

Rule Change Requires U.S. Counsel for Foreign-Domiciled Trademark Applicants

Posted in IP, Trademark Law

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (the “USPTO”) explains that

“A trademark is a brand name. A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.”
https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-getting-started/trademark-basics.

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