IP Law Watch

Legal issues, law and regulations concerning the world of IP.

 

1
Trademark infringement case update: Lucky Brands Dungarees v Marcel Fashion Group
2
More than financial – blockchain’s potential in the healthcare and life sciences industries
3
Shifting Gears on the Presumption of Nexus for Secondary Considerations of Non-Obviousness
4
POP Provides Clarity Regarding Level of Proof for Printed Publications Before the PTAB
5
New USPTO Requirement: Mandatory Electronic Trademark Submissions and Physical Addresses
6
‘High’ expectations for Cannabis trade mark ‘hash’ed – Is EU trade mark law ready for Cannabis(TM)?
7
Does AI generated work give rise to a copyright claim?
8
No Time Like the Right Time* – To update your DMCA safe harbor copyright agent registration
9
Ferrero successfully enforces the Tic Tac shape mark in Italy
10
Lucky number 7: IPEC small tracks claims can be issued in 7 new locations and are no longer tied to London

Trademark infringement case update: Lucky Brands Dungarees v Marcel Fashion Group

A nearly 20-year dispute between two competitors in the apparel industry will be heard by the Supreme Court Monday January 13, 2020, on the legal issue of claim preclusion – highlighting the practical pitfalls of releasing trademark infringement claims in settlement agreement between parties that continue to use the marks at issue. The case is Lucky Brands Dungarees, Inc. v. Marcel Fashion Group, Inc., Case No. 18-1086.

The practical lessons to draw from this dispute are numerous:

  1. the importance of initially clearing marks and implementing a plan to handle potential third party objections
  2. strategic enforcement as to when, and against whom, to enforce trademark rights – and squarely on point with this nearly 20 year battle now before the Supreme Court
  3. careful drafting of what claims are released in the context of future use of the same or similar trademarks.
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More than financial – blockchain’s potential in the healthcare and life sciences industries

Blockchain technology is considered by many to be one of the most important technologies developed in recent years. It is often misunderstood and its potential has yet to be fully realised and harnessed. Blockchain has been the subject of a large amount of negative press due to volatile price fluctuations of its biggest user, the cryptocurrency, and this has generated a public mistrust.

However, blockchain could hold the answer to two of technology’s greatest challenges: data reliability and security. These two things are particularly important in the healthcare and life sciences sector where veracity of data is a life or death question and the safety of our most intimate data is paramount.

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Shifting Gears on the Presumption of Nexus for Secondary Considerations of Non-Obviousness

The Federal Circuit’s decision last week in Fox Factory, Inc. v. SRAM, LLC provided clarity regarding the nexus requirement of secondary considerations of non-obviousness, particularly with respect to whether a patentee is entitled to a presumption of nexus. [1]  Despite the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) finding that the cited art disclosed all the limitations of the challenged patent—which claimed a bicycle chainring for engagement with a drivetrain—and that a skilled artisan would have been motivated to combine the cited prior art, the PTAB found that, based on an analysis of secondary considerations, the claims of the challenged patent were not obvious. [2]  The Federal Circuit focused in on the comparison of the patentee’s product and the scope of the challenged claims. [3]  In doing so, the panel found that “[a] patent claim is not co-extensive with a product that includes a ‘critical’ un-claimed feature . . . that materially impacts the product’s functionality.” [4] 

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POP Provides Clarity Regarding Level of Proof for Printed Publications Before the PTAB

The PTAB’s Precedential Opinion Panel (“POP”) issued a decision in Hulu, LLC v. Sound View Innovations, LLC, IPR2018-01039, on Friday, December 20, 2019. The issue at hand: “What is required for a petitioner to establish that an asserted reference qualifies as ‘printed publication’ at the institution stage?” Hulu v. Sound View, IPR2018-01039, Paper 29 at *2 (P.T.A.B. December 20, 2019).

This decision provides clarity on an issue that was often addressed inconsistently across panels regarding the “requirements for institution involving issues of public accessibility of an asserted ‘printed publication.’” Id. at 2.

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New USPTO Requirement: Mandatory Electronic Trademark Submissions and Physical Addresses

On Tuesday July 31, 2019, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued new Rules and Regulations under Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 2, and 7. They were to take effect on December 21, 2019, but will now take effect of February 15, 2020.

The impact of the rule, as implemented, is a new requirement for all trademark applicants and registrants to:

  1. electronically file trademark applications, subsequent documents concerning trademark applications, and documents regarding registrations;
  2. provide and maintain a working e-mail address for receiving correspondence from the USPTO for each trademark application and registration; and
  3. provide and maintain an accurate domicile address as a backup for the USPTO to contact if an e-mail correspondence address fails to work.
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‘High’ expectations for Cannabis trade mark ‘hash’ed – Is EU trade mark law ready for Cannabis(TM)?

The EU General Court has rejected a trade mark application which featured the word ‘Cannabis’ together with images of cannabis leaves as it was contrary to public policy.

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Does AI generated work give rise to a copyright claim?

The right to intellectual property protection in “Artificial Intelligence” generated work gives rise to numerous legal, economic and moral issues. “Artificial Intelligence” (AI) is a comprehensive term used to describe the ability of computer systems to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, ranging from translation processes and visual perception to brain simulation.

In this post, we give a brief introduction to the legal issues surrounding claims to copyright in AI generated work in the context of UK law and specifically, who can claim ownership of the work produced.

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No Time Like the Right Time* – To update your DMCA safe harbor copyright agent registration

All companies that conduct business online should take note of a potential upcoming renewal deadline for the “safe harbor” from copyright infringement liability. Online service providers seeking safe harbor under 17 U.S.C. § 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)[1] must designate a copyright agent with the U.S. Copyright Office and renew that designation at least once every three years. Failure to do so will negate the online service provider’s ability to claim the safe harbor from copyright infringement liability under § 512(c). Many companies renewed their designations between December 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017 using the Copyright Office’s new electronic filing system. For those that did, the three-year renewal deadline may be approaching.

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Ferrero successfully enforces the Tic Tac shape mark in Italy

Many of us had a Tic Tac box in our pockets as kids, no matter the country we grew up in. Ferrero Spa (“Ferrero”), the Italian manufacturer of Tic Tac (and lots of other delicious confectionary products) registered the Tic Tac box as a trade mark in several jurisdictions, including Italy.

After succeeding before the CJEU in the invalidation action against BMB sp. z o.o. earlier this year (click here), in a recent case brought before the Italian courts, Ferrero successfully defended its shape marks, despite the invalidity claim brought by S.r.o. Mocca spol. (“Mocca”), a Czech company selling Bliki-branded mints in an identical container.

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Lucky number 7: IPEC small tracks claims can be issued in 7 new locations and are no longer tied to London

The expansion of the UK Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (the “IPEC”) has continued with claims now able to be issued in seven new locations outside of London.

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