Extending the Patentable Life of 3D Printers: A Lesson From the Pharmaceutical Industry

Modern innovation typically occurs one step-improvement at a time. Some clients initially question whether their new application of an existing technology is patentable. Usually, the answer is ‘yes.’ Under U.S. law (and most other jurisdictions), an innovation to an existing technology is patentable so long as at least one claim limitation is novel and non-obvious. See 35 U.S.C. §§ 102 and 103. Thus, innovative step-improvements to, and new applications of, existing technology may be patentable. Moreover, these step-improvements may prove lucrative, particularly when the underlying technology has entered the public domain, e.g., due to the expiration of the original patents. This concept is illustrated time and time again in the pharmaceutical industry where companies therein typically pursue competitive advantages by attempting to extend the patentable life of key technologies. One recent story illustrating this point was amplified in recent news when the FDA cleared a new pill produced by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals—the first pill of its kind produced using patented 3D printing technology. Continue Reading

Copyright Is Nothing To Joke About

Last summer, comedian Robert Kaseberg filed a copyright infringement suit against Conan O’Brien, among others, alleging that O’Brien incorporated four jokes written by Kaseberg in the opening monologues of his television show “Conan.” According to the complaint,  Kaseberg published each of the jokes – all of which were based on then-current events and news stories – on his personal blog and Twitter feed on various dates between January and June, 2015, only to have O’Brien feature the same jokes in his monologues on the same respective dates. Continue Reading

Summary of Recent Precedential Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Decisions

From June through August 2015, the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board issued eleven precedential decisions.  Over the course of the upcoming weeks, we are briefly summarizing each opinion and a “take away” for brand owners and practitioners.  We continue our series with a summary of Wonderbread 5 v. Gilles. Continue Reading

Summary of Recent Precedential Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Decisions

From June through August 2015, the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board issued eleven precedential decisions.  Over the course of the upcoming weeks, we are briefly summarizing each opinion and a “take away” for brand owners and practitioners.  We continue our series with summaries of UVeritech, Inc. v. Amax Lighting, Inc. and In re Driven Innovations, Inc. Continue Reading

Summary of Recent Precedential Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Decisions

From June through August 2015, the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board issued eleven precedential decisions. Over the course of the upcoming weeks, we will briefly summarize each opinion and a “take away” for brand owners and practitioner. We begin with the first two opinions (in chronological order): The Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama v. Pitts, Jr. and In re Aquamar. Continue Reading

B&B Hardware v. Hargis – U.S. Supreme Court Declares TTAB Findings Can Have Preclusive Effect on Subsequent Federal Court Decisions

On Tuesday, March 24, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its second decision in substantive trademark law in nearly a decade.  B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Indus., Inc., No. 13-352, slip op., 575 U.S. __ (2015).  Sheppard Mullin argued on behalf of the prevailing respondent in the first case, Hana Financial, Inc. v. Hana Bank, decided earlier this year.   Continue Reading

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