Archive: October 2017

1
International protection of trademarks in connection with brand expansion
2
Jury awards profits for infringing sales in post-Samsung design patent case
3
Petitioners bear the burden of proving invalidity of amended claims in IPR proceedings
4
The European trade mark reform – Phase 2

International protection of trademarks in connection with brand expansion

Local entrepreneurs are more and more often taking actions aimed at protecting their trademarks abroad.

The presence of products bearing local trademarks in foreign markets is becoming more and more common. The shaping of an international nature and increased recognition of trademarks usually starts from the development of a distribution network through obtaining new sales markets and concluding commercial contracts with foreign entities. While planning activity in other territories, it is advisable to ensure trademark protection in the selected jurisdictions. Trademark protection is based on the rule of territoriality. A global brand usually emerges when their trademarks are protected in a majority of countries worldwide. An applicant has three types of applications available:
i) domestic (before local trademark office),
ii) international (through the Madrid system) or
iii) regional (i.e., covering the entire European Union).

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Jury awards profits for infringing sales in post-Samsung design patent case

On September 29, a jury in California awarded Columbia Sportswear more than US$3.4 million for infringement of its design patent on heat-reflective technology for clothing and outdoor gear.  Columbia accused Seirus Innovative Accessories of infringing its utility and design patents for its wavy lining material, which reflects body heat, but allows for breathability and moisture-wicking. This appears to be the first jury verdict on a design patent after the Supreme Court’s decision in Samsung v. Apple.

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Petitioners bear the burden of proving invalidity of amended claims in IPR proceedings

On October 4, 2017, the Federal Circuit held en banc that the proper interpretation of 35 U.S.C. 316(d) and (e) requires the Petitioner in an inter partes review (IPR) to prove all propositions of unpatentability, including for amended claims.  Aqua Prods., Inc. v. Matal, No. 2015-1177 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 4, 2017).  The en banc Court further determined that the PTAB must consider the entirety of the record when assessing the patentability of amended claims under 318(a), not merely the face of a motion to amend.

The Aqua case resulted in five opinions totaling 148 pages, each presenting views on judgment and underlying rationale, ultimately leading to a narrowly tailored holding.  In the decision, the Federal Circuit made clear that the burden of persuasion of patentability does not rest with the Patent Owner; instead, it is left to the Petitioner to establish that any proposed amended claims are not patentable.

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The European trade mark reform – Phase 2

On 1 October 2017, the second part of the European trade mark reform entered into force, completing the implementation of Regulation (EU) 2015/2424 amending the Community trade mark regulation (EUTMR).

Taking a step back, this is in fact the last part of a much longer reform process that began about 10 years after the adoption of the EU trade mark system in 1996. In 2008, the European Commission published the Communication on an industrial property rights strategy for Europe with the intent to review the current practice and bring the European trade mark system to the next level. Subsequently, in depth studies, a public consultation and an impact assessment followed until the approval, in December 2015, of a new amending Regulation and a Directive to harmonise the laws of Member States.

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