Litigation News

Litigation news from around the web

LJN - Intellectual Property Strategist The newsletter publishing arm of ALM, publishers of The National Law Journal, The American Lawyer and legal newspapers of record throughout the U.S.

  • Seeing Green: Protecting Brands In the Cannabis Industry
    on September 1, 2019 at 7:40 am

    Branding is not a new concept, nor are the various intellectual property laws that protect brands. What is new to most is how this burgeoning industry can take advantage of those laws within the context of state and federal restrictions.      &nbs

  • Rights and Obligations In Patent Licenses
    on September 1, 2019 at 7:35 am

    The owner of a commercially successful patent may have competing desires. On one hand, the patent owner wants to protect the patent and secure its maximum benefit; on the other hand, the patent owner wants to avoid enforcement litigation with competitors because it is expensive and puts the patent at risk.      &nbs

  • Did Congress Create Unintended Risks to Innovators In the AIA?
    on September 1, 2019 at 7:30 am

    Many observers greeted the passage of the AIA into law as a long-overdue overhaul of U.S. patent law that aligned it with patent systems prevailing in the rest of the world. Who knew what mischief just seven of the AIA's more than 25,000 words contained? The U.S. Supreme Court answered earlier this year.      &nbs

  • SCOTUS to Address Whether Lanham Act Requires Willful Infringement for Profit Disgorgement
    on September 1, 2019 at 7:03 am

    The decision in Romag Fasteners v. Fossil will bring welcome uniformity, ending the status quo where eligibility to recover profits under the Lanham Act depends on which court is deciding the dispute      &nbs

  • Supreme Court Holds Bar Against Registration of Immoral or Scandalous Marks Violates the First Amendment
    on August 1, 2019 at 5:07 am

    Iancu v. BrunettiThe Supreme Court held the bar against registration of immoral or scandalous marks “collided with well-established free speech doctrine, namely, that laws disadvantaging speech based on the views expressed thereby violate the First Amendment.      &nbs

Planet Depos We Make It Happen

  • Preparing For That First Court Reporting Assignment
    by Darlene Williams on September 4, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Planet Depos wishes to share with court reporting interns the following tips to help them transition from their student role to the official reporter on any assignment: As you begin your internship, prepare to upgrade from your student version of software to a professional version (Case CATalyst, Eclipse/Advantage, ProCAT, StenoCAT, DigitalCAT). Learn how to run […] The post Preparing For That First Court Reporting Assignment appeared first on Planet Depos.

  • The Amazing Globetrotting Court Reporters (Updated)
    by Suzanne Quinson on August 21, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    These days, with transnational litigation a fairly common occurrence, depositions are often in far-away locations, and our reporters are ready to go. The post The Amazing Globetrotting Court Reporters (Updated) appeared first on Planet Depos.

  • 3 Tips for Taking Depositions in Hong Kong (Updated)
    by Suzanne Quinson on August 7, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Here are several tried-and-tested tips for saving time and money for your client when taking depositions in Hong Kong. The post 3 Tips for Taking Depositions in Hong Kong (Updated) appeared first on Planet Depos.

  • How To Take A Deposition in Israel
    by Suzanne Quinson on July 24, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Israel is a land rich in history, drawing pilgrims of varying faiths from far-reaching parts of the world to her sacred sites.  Israel holds natural wonders, from the Dead Sea (the lowest point on earth in any landmass, with the highest concentration of salt of any body of water in the world), to the Golan […] The post How To Take A Deposition in Israel appeared first on Planet Depos.

  • How A Digital Repository Helps You Organize Your Case
    by Suzanne Quinson on July 10, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    In the digital/green age, paper files are slowly becoming obsolete. Luckily in the world of court reporting, digital repositories are available to help your case. The post How A Digital Repository Helps You Organize Your Case appeared first on Planet Depos.

Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership Updates from America’s innovation agency

  • Spotlight on Commerce: Tariq Hafiz, Group Director, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
    by USPTO on September 12, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    A blog about the USPTO from the Department of Commerce. Ed. note: This post is part of the very first Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce employees who are First Generation Professionals. First Generation Professionals are one of the first in their immediate families to enter the professional work environment. They are professionals with varying socio-economic backgrounds, life experiences, skills and talents that diversify our workforce. Blog post by Tariq Hafiz, Group Director, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Tariq Hafiz, Group Director, USPTO My name is Tariq and I am a first generation professional. I came to the United States of America at the age of 10 and immediately attended elementary school without knowing a word of English. I learned the English alphabet in the 4th grade. I was the only immigrant in the whole school. While growing up being an immigrant and eventually being the first in my family to attend college was not an easy road, it also was extremely fulfilling. Although my parents could not provide me with guidance on how to access and navigate college or give me career advice, they were supportive of my goals. My mother did not speak English and had not even completed grade school, while my father had only completed high school. One of the traits that I acquired from my father was an ethic for hard work. Even though he had a non-professional job, he always went to work, and I rarely saw him take a sick day. In fact, I don’t ever remember him taking a day off except for one week of vacation every August. When I landed my first professional job after graduation, I was extremely grateful. I knew that I had to work extra hard to show my gratitude and ensure that there was nothing that would jeopardize my job, due to a lack of effort.  After a few years with a defense contractor, I came to work at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) where I began my career as a patent examiner. As a patent examiner, my performance was based on objective goals, which was an environment in which I thrived. Thus, I moved up the ladder quickly. I worked my way up to management positions, and after successfully completing the Department of Commerce's Candidate Development Program, I became a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES). Throughout my career, I have mentored many employees–both professional and non-professional staff–helping them with their career development. Growing up without role models made me appreciate how important they are in a person’s career development. I hope that through mentoring employees, I can be a role model for others in their lives. On September 12, the Department of Commerce hosted the inaugural First Generation Professionals 2019 Summit, and Tariq participated as a guest speaker. Learn more about the First Generation Professionals Initiative.

  • Appeal board hearing availability in the regional offices
    by USPTO on September 9, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Blog by Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Laura Peter and Director of the Rocky Mountain Regional Office Molly Kocialski The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) have been making significant strides improving access to hearings, ensuring transparency in proceedings, and providing an effective alternative to district court litigation. The USPTO’s four regional offices in Dallas, San Jose, Denver, and Detroit augment these improvements by offering regional hearing facilities for PTAB and TTAB matters. At the USPTO, we understand that when an attorney advocates on behalf of a client, or when entrepreneurs or small businesses want to protect their investments, there are many IP-related concerns to consider, including the costs of appeals and trials and ease of access to proceedings. This is why we have worked, and will continue to work, to provide local and regional innovators with the tools, information and resources they need to succeed and ultimately, protect their innovations. As an example of how we are improving our services for stakeholders of PTAB and TTAB services, after a year-long renovation process recently completed in our Rocky Mountain Regional Office (RMRO), the layout now allows for better participation by stakeholders in hearings, and public viewing when available. The RMRO hearing room has been reconfigured for better space utilization, and to have increased capacity. Upgrades such as these will continue in all USPTO offices (including Alexandria Hearing Room D) to, for example, increase the occupancy size to accommodate viewers of public hearings. Along with the space renovations, the audiovisual equipment is also being updated in all of the USPTO offices, as budget allows, to ensure that each and every hearing room continues to provide the dignity the proceedings deserve. This will ensure that every regional office can reach their growing stakeholder needs for such services to the best of their ability. The hearing room at the Rocky Mountain Regional U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, before construction with a capacity of 12. The hearing room at the Rocky Mountain Regional U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, newly redesigned, with a capacity of 70. TTAB allows practitioners to make use of the hearing rooms in the regional offices in their practice before the TTAB. Since time and cost constraints can frequently pose a hurdle to a client’s attendance at TTAB hearings, the regional offices can provide a more convenient and cost-effective venue, so that clients can stay attuned to and be present for proceedings that can significantly affect their trademark interests. The facilities present at the USPTO regional offices in Detroit, Denver, San Jose and Dallas now enable clients the opportunity to now be able to attend the hearings that affect the protection of their brand investments. With regard to PTAB, Notices of Hearing will now include a QR code printed on the notice to allow recipients to more easily access the recently published PTAB Hearings Guide. The PTAB Hearing Guide provides an easy reference guide for any hearings-related questions including scheduling for both ex parte appeals and American Invents Act (AIA) trials. The Hearings Guide also includes instructions on how to exercise the option to attend or view hearings not only at headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, but also at any of the regional offices. This allows stakeholders across the country the ability to be more active in the protection of their intellectual property rights, and also to stay more acutely attuned to recent Board proceedings and decisions. Hearings in AIA trials are scheduled as set forth in an order issued by the adjudicating panel. The scheduling order generally will indicate if a panel is available to hold a final hearing in a regional office or location outside of Alexandria, Virginia, and will provide guidance on how a party may request a location preference. If a location preference is requested, the hearing date choice will take into account a judge’s schedule in the requested regional office. In both TTAB and PTAB hearings, including for ex parte appeals and AIA trials, the client can request to view the hearing in the regional office, regardless of whether their legal counsel is presenting arguments at USPTO headquarters or at a different regional office–meaning the client can view the hearing at the office most convenient for the client. In addition, for oral hearings open to the public, the regional offices hearings facilities allow for increased opportunity for practitioners and law students to attend and observe oral arguments to further their own education and skillsets. Patent Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) hearings will also be streamed from headquarters to the regional offices for public viewing in the hearing rooms. If you are interested in attending a public hearing at a regional office, the information is available in the Hearings Guide, or you may contact our regional offices directly through the information found on their respective sections of the USPTO website. For further questions about any of these improvements, please contact your local USPTO regional office.

  • Rocky Mountain Regional U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – 5 years supporting innovation
    by USPTO on August 28, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Andrei Iancu, and Director of the Rocky Mountain Regional Office Molly Kocialski Five years ago this summer, we opened our Rocky Mountain Regional Office (RMRO) in the Byron G. Rogers Building in downtown Denver. It was a huge day for both the USPTO and the people of Denver, whose great city is home to 24 federally funded research laboratories, four major research universities, and a creative and innovative environment full of start-ups. It also helped fulfill a key promise of the America Invents Act, to better connect inventors and entrepreneurs around the country with the resources of the USPTO. Since that day in 2014, the RMRO has engaged with more than 90,000 regional stakeholders through over 1,260 outreach and education events in Montana, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado. The Byron G. Rogers Federal Building in downtown Denver- home of the Rocky Mountain Regional U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (Photo by Jay Premack/USPTO) The RMRO is paving the way on regular educational programming like our quarterly Trademark Tuesday and Path-to-a-Patent programs. These are broadcast region-wide through the help of our very engaged Patent and Trademark Resource Centers. Another way we have removed obstacles and increased access to IP resources is by encouraging more personal interactions with the USPTO. Today, inventors and entrepreneurs can walk into the RMRO, use the public search facility, and easily obtain answers to their questions. Additionally, IP practitioners and their clients can conduct examiner interviews, participate in Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) hearings, or view other public hearings, all from our office. Recruiting and retaining local talent is a key goal for the USPTO, with the added benefit of providing jobs for the local community. The last two classes of examiner recruits had 425 applicants for 25 jobs in 2018 and 317 applicants for 17 jobs in 2019, respectively. Such demand for our available positions is impressive for a state with approximately a 2.5 percent unemployment rate in each of those years, and we hope to answer more of that demand as we grow in the years to come. In addition, there are 94 employees in the Rocky Mountain Regional Office plus 246 examiners hoteling throughout the region—quite a change from 49 hoteling examiners prior to the regional office opening in 2014. The RMRO is the first USPTO regional office to have representation from all technology centers, allowing for improved communication and sharing of resources between examiners and stakeholders. We also have seven classes of new patent examiners as well as 10 PTAB judges, an outreach officer, and support staff. In addition, our physical space in the Byron Rogers Federal Building has grown, with updates and improvements to a public search facility, interview room, and newly redesigned hearing room. People truly want to be in Denver, and if you are here for even a short time you will understand why. We are proud of the role the USPTO is playing in the “Mile High City” and the connection with the local community that we have built in such a short time. We look forward to continued growth, partnership, and innovation here and throughout the Rocky Mountain region in the next five years and beyond.

  • USPTO announces Federal Register Notice on artificial intelligence patent issues
    by USPTO on August 26, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    Guest blog by Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Laura Peter  As a former Silicon Valley intellectual property attorney for more than 20 years, the potential of disruptive technology has long been of special interest to me. Artificial intelligence (AI) promises to be one of the most important innovations that powers many disruptive ventures and brings exciting changes to our legal system. AI is already influencing the way we work, travel, shop, and play. From autonomous vehicles to improved medical diagnostics to voice assistants, AI is increasingly at the forefront of innovation. As a continuation of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) policy leadership in the field of AI, the USPTO convened a conference on Artificial Intelligence: Intellectual Property Policy Considerations on January 31 this year. With six panels featuring IP specialists from around the world, the USPTO considered AI’s impact on our innovation ecosystem. The USPTO continues to promote and protect AI-technology innovations and entrepreneurship. With respect to AI inventions to date, the USPTO has issued thousands of patents on AI technologies, and the future grows more exciting every day as new AI technologies are developed. However, with excitement comes change and the potential for uncertainty. Therefore, the USPTO must continue to ensure the appropriate balance in the administration of our IP system. With this in mind, the USPTO looks forward to working with the AI academic and industrial community. Working together, we will continuously improve the USPTO’s efforts to foster innovation, competitiveness, and job growth. I am also excited to announce that we will be publishing a notice in the Federal Register that poses questions regarding the intersection of patent law with AI that the public may respond to. This first step will allow us to gather information on AI patent policy issues for purposes of evaluating whether further guidance is needed and informing the development of any such guidance. Questions the public is invited to reply to include: Do current patent laws and regulations regarding inventorship need to be revised to take into account inventions where an entity or entities other than a natural person contributed to the conception of an AI invention or any other invention? Are there any patent eligibility considerations unique to AI inventions? Does AI impact the level of a person of ordinary skill in the art? Do the disclosure rules (enablement, specification, etc.) need to be altered for AI-related patent applications? This is just a sample of some of the issues on which the USPTO is seeking input regarding AI patent policy.  And this is only the first step. In addition to patents, in the coming months and beyond, the USPTO will examine the full spectrum of intellectual property policy issues that have arisen, or may arise, as AI technologies become more advanced. From AI’s impact on existing intellectual property rights, including copyright and trademarks, to considering if new legal rights are needed in the wake of more advanced AI, the USPTO will continue our thought leadership on AI-related intellectual property policy issues.

  • Dog Days of Summer
    by USPTO on August 22, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    Guest blog by Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Laura Peter “Sitting back in the evening, stargazing and stroking your dog, is an infallible remedy.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson The “dog days of summer” have arrived! According to the Farmer’s Almanac, they traditionally take place from July 3rd to August 11th. You may be surprised to learn that the phrase “dog days of summer” originated with the Greeks and Romans and is derived from the “dog star” Sirius and its position in the sky during this time. These days may be the hottest days of the year, depending on your latitude on Earth. Intellectual property (IP) rights power the U.S. economy across many industries, including the pet sector. Patents on technical innovations and trademarks on branding are critical assets in the pet industry. In fact, legal specialization to support the pet industry has taken off: a number of law firms have now launched practices around food, beverage, and pet issues, representing a wide array of industry leaders on matters ranging from litigation, regulatory, and IP rights. Similarly, government oversight over the pet industry has grown to agencies including the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Federal Trade Commission. Growth in the pet sector has soared, and shows continued economic strength, even during times of recession. Currently, sixty-eight percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own a pet. Over 43 million of those households own dogs. In 2018, the pet industry in the United States was $72 billion; it is estimated to exceed $75 billion in 2019. The largest sector of this industry is pet health care, with $18 billion spent on vet care and $16 billion spent on supplies and over the counter medication. A close second is the pet food sector, which grossed $30 billion last year. Dog owners spend almost $1,300 a year on their pets. Underpinning the powerful growth of the pet industry economy is strong IP protection. While we may be familiar with some of the big brand names in the pet retailer space, we are also seeing record-setting growth and entrepreneurial activity and inventions by new innovators. Entrepreneurs launching start-ups and building new businesses rely on patent protection and trademark registration as a means of differentiating their products and attracting customer loyalty. Also, IP protection wards off infringers and counterfeit goods. However, even though legally empowered with intellectual property rights, sadly, the threat of counterfeiting now requires the Environmental Protection Agency and other regulators to post frequent warnings about the dangers of counterfeit pet medicines and/or pet food that can harm pets, as well as nascent businesses. So let’s take a closer look at some examples of innovations driving this thriving industry. The Frisbee™ is still one of the most beloved dog toy inventions. Fred Morrison created and sold the first flying disc toy, named the Pluto Platter in 1955. Morrison filed a design patent (U.S. Patent No. D183,626) in 1957. He then sold the rights to Wham-O, who renamed the toy and received a trademark registration for “Frisbee” in 1959, named after the pie tin sold by the Frisbie Pie Company in the late 1800s. While working for Wham-O, Edward Headrick designed an improved “Flying Saucer,” for which he was granted a patent in 1967.      Morrison patent for "flying disc toy." The automotive market has expanded to cater to our pets. For example, Tesla has created a “dog mode” so you can leave your pet in the car with the air conditioning (or heat) on while you run a quick errand. The console informs people passing by: “My owner will be back soon. Don’t worry! The A/C is on and it’s [temperature].”   Tesla has created a “dog mode” where pets can be left in a car for a short time with the air conditioning (or heat) on. (Photo courtesy of Tesla) In the fitness sector, you can track your pet’s activity with “smart collars,” which function similarly to the human activity tracker, FitBit. There are multiple patents directed to tracking systems for monitoring a pet’s location, activity, training, and creating virtual fences. To keep our pets safe, implantable microchip devices equipped with GPS can help find the almost 10 million pets that are lost every year. Numerous patents directed to implantable microchip devices, which are generally the size of a grain of rice, can be implanted by your local veterinarian. Some pets struggle with health problems, including joint ailments or even lost limbs. In the 1950s, inventor Carl Creamer received a patent for a “Mobile Sling for Crippled Animals” (U.S. Patent No. 2,546,726). These veterinary prosthetic carts are intended to help animals experiencing a range of health issues including, spinal damage, forelimb or shoulder pain or weakness, degenerative myelopathy, elbow dysplasia, and other joint and limb ailments. His patent has spawned a cottage industry of device manufacturers working on a range of new and improved designs to assist with a variety of ailments for a range of breeds.   Carl Creamer patent for "mobile sling for crippled animals." Taking this to another level in the health industry, prosthetic implants made by 3D printing techniques can help disabled pets attain a better quality of life. Many of these devices were inspired by similar devices designed for humans. Virginia-based Animal Ortho Care, and its founder Derrick Campana, was one of the first to use 3D-printed prosthetics for animals. He is one of only 10 people in the world to design prosthetics for animals, including elephants, cows, goats, horses, dogs, and cats.   Throughout the “dog days of summer,” including National Dog Day on August 26th, follow the USPTO on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more examples of pet-related inventions and trademarks, as we celebrate the ways in which these inventions have made our pets —/> and us —/> happier, healthier, and safer.

Above the Law A Legal Web Site – News, Insights, and Opinions on Law Firms, Lawyers, Law School, Law Suits, Judges and Courts

LJN - Internet Law & Strategy The newsletter publishing arm of ALM, publishers of The National Law Journal, The American Lawyer and legal newspapers of record throughout the U.S.

  • EU E-Commerce Proposal Aims to Eliminate Barriers; Calls for E-Signatures and Net Neutrality
    on June 1, 2019 at 5:11 am

    The European Union has put forth an ambitious proposal for how countries can eliminate barriers to e-commerce and protect businesses and consumers engaged in online transactions. But parts of the proposal, published as part of a World Trade Organization initiative that includes the U.S. and China, are likely to face opposition.      &nbs

  • Social Media Influencers: Basic Tax Issues
    on June 1, 2019 at 5:11 am

    This article discusses the basic tax issues facing social media influencers, who have become an important element in the entertainment industry.      &nbs

  • Are Online Reviews Threatening Your Online Reputation?
    on June 1, 2019 at 5:09 am

    An attorney's reputation may be one of the most important factors that clients consider before hiring counsel. In today's world of online reviews, managing your reputation can be challenging. How should you manage online reviews to ensure your reputation and trustworthiness are intact?      &nbs

  • Photographs on the Internet: Circuit Courts Examine Copyright Infringement
    on June 1, 2019 at 5:07 am

    Two recent circuit court cases clarified copyright infringement of photographs on the Internet. Both cases serve as cautionary tales for those who takes photographs for their websites from the Internet without investigating copyright rights.      &nbs

  • Navigating the Two Sides of Amazon's Take-Down Process
    on May 1, 2019 at 5:09 am

    In this article, we explain how copyright, trademark and patent infringement issues unfold on Amazon by describing the process for rights holders to report infringement, and the impact of successful infringement take-down requests.      &nbs