Print PDF

October / November 2017 IP Newsletter

October 1, 2017

Click here to read the newsletter in its entirety

Manufacturer vs. distributor
Who owns that unregistered trademark?
Manufacturers that let their distributors use their unregistered trademarks may later find themselves in a fight over the marks’ ownership. This article highlights how one federal court of appeals recently addressed such ownership disputes and adopted a different test for determining ownership of common law trademarks where there is no agreement addressing the issue. A brief sidebar reviews the defense of acquiescence in patent cases.
Covertech Fabricating, Inc. v. TVM Building Products, Inc., No. 15-3893, April 18, 2017 (3d Cir.)

A uniform standard for copyright for industrial designs
Fashion and apparel have long existed in a cloud of copyright confusion. Clothing often incorporates design elements, which may be protectable, and functional elements, which aren’t. This article examines a recent U.S. Supreme Court case that established a two-part test intended to resolve “widespread disagreement” regarding copyright protection for such “industrial designs.”
Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., No. 15-866, March 22, 2017 (U.S.)

Supreme Court limits venue for patent lawsuits
In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has dramatically tightened the restrictions on where patent owners can file infringement lawsuits. The court’s unanimous ruling is expected to rein in the “forum shopping” that so often occurs in patent infringement cases, where patentees try to file in judicial districts considered to be more plaintiff-friendly. This article reviews the relevant federal statutes involved and the Court’s decision.
TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brand LLC, No. 16-341, May 22, 2017 (U.S.)

Coding error: Court rejects software patent
The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected yet another software patent. The court, which hears all appeals involving patents, found that the patent was for a patent-ineligible invention. This brief article discusses why software patents face such hurdles to securing protection.
RecogniCorp, LLC v. Nintendo Co., Ltd., No. 16-1499, April 28, 2017 (Fed. Cir.)

View Document(s):