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August / September 2023 IP Newsletter

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A slicing opinion: Court cuts trademark registration for Gruyere cheese
Some Swiss and French cheesemakers recently ran into a brick wall when they attempted to obtain a trademark for the term GRUYERE. There was widespread agreement among the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) and two federal courts that the term is generic and therefore ineligible for trademark protection. This article covers the court’s review of the claim. A short sidebar highlights the trial court’s reliance on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s standard of identity when determining whether the term GRUYERE was generic.
Interprofession du Gruyere; Syndicat Interprofessionnel du Gruyere. v. U.S. Dairy Export Council; Atalanta Corporation; Intercibus, Inc., No. 22-1041 (4th Cir. March 3, 2023).

PTO director issues critical IPR clarification
The director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently addressed confusion over how the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) should determine whether to institute an inter partes review (IPR) of a patent when parallel litigation is already proceeding in federal district court. This article reviews the opinion, which makes clear that, while it’s possible to obtain an IPR in such circumstances, it won’t be easy.
CommScope Techs. LLC v. Dali Wireless, Inc., IPR No. 2022-01242 (PTO Feb. 27, 2023).

Only if it’s human: setting the copyright standard for works with AI-generated content
Artificial intelligence (AI) is disrupting a wide range of industries, including those involving the textual, visual and audio arts. It’s little surprise, then, that the U.S. Copyright Office has seen an increase in applications for copyright protection for AI-generated works. In response, the office released its first formal guidance regarding works containing material generated by AI in March 2023. This article summarizes the guidance, concluding that the future isn’t bright for works created solely by AI, but prospects are better for works that are merely AI-assisted.

How to evaluate the patentability of a multiple dependent claim
A patent’s claims can get confusing, particularly when a patent’s dependent claims have multiple dependencies — a popular claim drafting format in other countries, but a rather expensive pursuit in the United States. The director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office might agree after stepping in to address how the Patent Trial and Appeal Board should evaluate the patentability of a multiple dependent claim. This article untangles the director’s finding.
Nested Bean, Inc. v. Big Beings USA Pty. Ltd., IPR No. 2020-01234 (PTO Feb. 24, 2023).

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