On March 16, 2021, U.S. Circuit Judge Evan J. Wallach for the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals announced he plans to take senior status on May 31, 2021.  This semi-retirement is set to create the first vacancy at the Federal Circuit in almost six years.  The Federal Circuit handles all appeals of patent cases from Districts Courts in the U.S., and appeals from various government agencies.  Thus, the Federal Circuit is the only one of the thirteen federal courts of appeal whose jurisdiction is determined entirely on the subject of the lawsuit it hears, rather than on the geographical location from which the appeal originated.  This means the Federal Circuit can hear appeals from every District Court in the United States as long as it has subject matter jurisdiction. The only court in the United States with more authority over patent related issues in the United States Supreme Court.

The Federal Circuit was the only federal court of appeals that did not have any vacancies during President Donald Trump’s administration.  In fact, President Trump nominated and succeeded in putting a judge in every other appellate court during his four years in office, including fifty-four judges on the federal appeals bench.  However, the Federal Circuit remained untouched, and in fact currently has eight Democratic-President appointed judges, and four Republican-President appointed Judges.
Continue Reading Federal Circuit Set to Have First Vacancy in Six Years

 By: Lisa Y. Wang

This month, the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board ruled that Bottega Veneta, a luxury Italian fashion brand, well known for its "weave design" handbags and accessories, could register a trademark for that specific design. Bottega Veneta handbags and accessories do not have obvious logos on the outside, signifying its origin. Instead, the weave patterns, multiple thin strips of leather forming a weave pattern (much like a basket weave) at a 45 degree angle, serves as its "trademark" and source of origin. Bottega Veneta claims that it created this very specific leather weaving technique and pattern, known as intrecciato, in the 1960’s.   Since there is no logo, this easily made weave pattern is constantly copied by fast fashion retailers and other brands, hence Bottega Veneta’s attempt to register a trademark for that specific pattern.

Continue Reading Weaving a Trademark

By Audrey A. Millemann

A patent must sat­­isfy several requirements in order to be valid. One of these is the written description requirement, as set forth in 35 U.S.C. §112, ¶1. That subsection requires that a patent:

”contain a written description if the invention…in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains… to make and use the same…”

The purpose of the written description requirement is to demonstrate that the inventor is in possession of the invention (i.e., actually invented the claimed invention) as of the date the patent application was filed. In Novozymes A/S v. DuPont Nutrition Biosciences APS, 723 F.3d 1336 (Fed. Cir. 2013), the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals held that a specification that is a “mere wish or plan” does not satisfy the written description requirement. The case is a strong reminder to patent applicants and practitioners that the written description requirement is critical.Continue Reading You Must Describe What You Actually Invented