The harm caused to brands by counterfeiting goes far beyond loss of sales or profits. Fake goods jeopardize public health and safety when a brand’s trademark is applied to a sub-standard and potentially harmful product. This is especially hazardous for counterfeit medical items, mechanical parts, and food products, to name a few. What is more, the reputational damage inflicted by low-quality products can be devastating. Continue Reading
On Wednesday, May 7, 2021, the United States officially endorsed waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines. While the United States has taken the opposite position in recent months, the administration asserts that its departure is guided, at least in part, by the goal “to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people as fast as possible.” That goal, however, is unlikely to be affected by such a waiver in the short term due to uncertainty in World Trade Organization (“WTO”) politics, ongoing shortages on raw materials and equipment, and lag-time in retrofitting potential manufacturers. Continue Reading
This article originally appeared in The Intellectual Property Strategist. © 2021 ALM Media LLC. Reprinted with permission.
Companies have historically turned to patent pools as vehicles for achieving shared objectives. A patent pool can be formed when a group of patent holders agree to pool their patents for some purpose. For instance, members of a patent pool may agree to pool and license their patent rights to a third party in exchange for fees or royalties. In this scenario, the pooling companies may own complementary patents that enable a technical standard. Pooling the complementary patents can enable a licensee to develop a product or service. In another scenario, members of a patent pool may agree to pool and cross-license their patent rights to one another. This may occur when a group of companies are developing similar products and services. Here, the members can benefit from shared patent rights that allow them to focus more of their resources on developing their businesses and less on patent transactional and litigation expenses. Continue Reading
Smart contracts are often mentioned in blockchain-themed patent applications and recited in claims. However, Examiners without a thorough understanding of this concept or unfamiliar with blockchain technology often equate smart contracts with legal or commercial contracts stored on blockchains. As a result, the Examiners may find claims directed to merely applying the blockchain technology to execute legal or commercial contracts, for example, as part of a commerce system, like hedging. See, e.g., Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 134 S.Ct. at 2356 (citing Bilski v. Kappas, 561, U.S. 593, 611 (2010)).
Everything is being tokenized these days, including art, games, collectibles and much more. The record prices being fetched have created an NFT frenzy. This distribution model has created a new channel for monetization of creative IP. Given some of the unique aspects of NFTs, IP owners need to rethink their IP protection and licensing strategies. IP protection strategies should include specific protection relating to NFTs. Due to some of the unique aspects of NFTs, various new considerations need to be addressed when licensing IP. NFT creators need to be mindful of potential infringement issues when using third party IP and should also consider IP protection for their original creations. Continue Reading
Many things are being tokenized, but the growth of NFTs for digital art is booming. This, in part, is due to the recent headline news that Beeple’s iconic digital art work was sold at auction by Christie’s for $69 million. Other digital art is being created to leverage pre-exiting IP and physical art. This boom is creating great opportunities for IP owners who want to license their IP for use in NFTs. However, for those just entering the space, there are many things to consider given some of the unique aspects NFTs and digital art. Continue Reading
On February 10, 2021, the Federal Circuit in Infinity Computer Products, Inc. v. Oki Data Americas, Inc., No. 20-1189 (Fed. Cir. 2021) affirmed a decision by the U.S. District Court of Delaware that patent claims were invalid for indefiniteness based on conflicting positions taken by the patentee during prosecution. Specifically, the Federal Circuit held that the conflicting positions leave one of ordinary skill without reasonable certainty regarding the scope of the invention. This Federal Circuit decision is a reminder to patent applicants that piecemeal success before the Patent Office that does not conform to a coherent overarching prosecution strategy can invalidate patent rights. Continue Reading
Blockchain patent applications may be divided into two types: underlying technologies of blockchain, such as consensus methods, security, etc., and applications of blockchain in, e.g., fintech, legal, and other industries. In patent examination, the first type, because it recites underlying technology improvement, rarely elicits subject matter rejections. The second type, applications of blockchain, are often found to be directed to an abstract idea. This article analyzes a recent Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decision in a blockchain patent application and explores drafting and prosecution strategies to anticipate subject matter scrutiny. Continue Reading
December 1, 2020 marked the five-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s abrogation of Form 18—the model complaint that provided the minimum requirements for stating a claim of direct infringement. Following the abrogation of Form 18, patent infringement claims must satisfy the plausibility standard articulated in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009). Courts, however, have diverged in applying Iqbal and Twombly to patent cases. As a result, pleading standards now vary from jurisdiction-to-jurisdiction (and even from judge-to-judge within the same jurisdiction).
In a series of blog posts, we are exploring how courts are applying the Iqbal/Twombly pleading standards to patent cases five years after Form 18 was abrogated. In Part 1, we examined Federal Circuit opinions, including the seeming inconsistencies among those opinions. In this installment, we look at how pleading standards have been applied in the District of Delaware. Continue Reading
As with other rapidly-evolving technologies, the blockchain space is experiencing a frenzy of patent activity. The data shows that there are 3-4 times as many published applications as there are issued patents for these concepts. This trend strongly suggests that the number of blockchain-related patents will surge in the next couple of years. However, due to recent changes in patent law, it is more important than ever to ensure that you analyze the patentability of blockchain inventions in light of these changes to target inventions likely to result in patents. Once likely patentable inventions are identified, it is critical to draft patent applications and claims based on knowledge of how the Patent Office has treated prior blockchain patent applications to maximize the likelihood of obtaining commercially meaningful, valid patents. For more information, view our Flipbook. Continue Reading