IP Newsletter - Year End 2019
Ideas on Intellectual Property Law
Sink or swim: Precise patent language scuttles infringement lawsuit
Generally, using precise and careful language in a patent application is wise. But providing a precise numerical value can work against a patentee when it comes time to bring an infringement claim. This article discusses a recent case in which a boat manufacturer learned this lesson the hard way when it sued a rival for infringement. A short sidebar covers the doctrine of equivalents and whether this doctrine could save the patent.
Cobalt Boats, LLC v. Brunswick Corp., No. 18-1376, May 31, 2019, Fed. Cir.
Supreme Court says government isn’t a person ― for patent purposes
Patentees welcomed a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that significantly reduces the pool of potential challengers to the validity of existing patents. This article highlights a ruling finding that federal governmental agencies can’t take advantage of three patent review processes created less than a decade ago — because the federal government isn’t a “person” under patent law.
Return Mail, Inc. v. U.S. Postal Service, No. 17-1594, June 10, 2019, U.S.
Inaccurate statement forfeits copyright infringement claim
Creative works are generally subject to copyright protection even without registration with the U.S. Copyright Office. But there are a number of important advantages to securing Copyright Registration — including the ability to file suit for copyright infringement. Normally, a registration certificate provides sufficient evidence of a valid registered copyright. However, inaccurate information in the certificate can invalidate the registration. This article examines a recent case in which the holder of one such certificate not only lost out on its ability to pursue an infringement claim, but also ended up on the hook for the would-be defendants’ attorneys’ fees and costs.
Gold Value Int’l Textile, Inc. v. Sanctuary Clothing, LLC, No. 17-55818, June 4, 2019, 9th Cir.
SCOTUS strikes down ban on immoral or scandalous trademark registration
Just two years after ruling that a ban against the registration of disparaging trademarks was a violation of the First Amendment and thus unconstitutional, the U.S. Supreme Court has proven that it wasn’t a fluke. It recently held that a ban against registration of immoral or scandalous trademarks is unconstitutional as well. This article summarizes the case and how the decision implicates previously rejected and pending trademarks found to have violated the bar.
Iancu v. Brunetti, No. 18-302, June 24, 2019, U.S.