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9-30-16-Weekly Round-Up of Trademark News

Posted Friday, September 30, 2016 by Daniel Mills

Another week goes by and another set of trademarks in the news. Up to the plate first is a story about the Chicago Cubs, who are the favorites to win the World Series this years after a century of futility, bringing a federal lawsuit against 40 street vendors for selling knockoff merchandise right outside Wrigley Field. Clearly there is a violation of rights, but as the author of the article points out, I think there could have been another solution. Read about it here.

Last week there was news of the Las Vegas Raiders NFL team planning a possible relocation to Sin City, but next year the NHL will have a team in Las Vegas. That team has yet to unveil its name, logo, mascot, etc. but according to trademark applications at the USPTO, the top three contenders are SILVER KNIGHTS (Serial no. 87147274), GOLDEN KNIGHTS (Serial no. 87147269), and DESERT KNIGHTS (Serial no. 87147261). All of those sounds sufficiently Vegas-like to me, but I'm placing my bet on Golden Knights. Hockey in the Mojave - what a concept.

Harvard computer science class trademark for CS50 is one step closer to allowance. The class officially titled "Computer Science 50: “Introduction to Computer Science I" is an extremely popular class and apparently is spreading to other universities and high school curricula. Initially refused for similarity with a previous registration and overly broad goods descriptions, Harvard has entered into a consent agreement with the prior registrants and narrowed the goods. Read about it in the Crimson here.

More next week!

2016 National Trademark Expo

Posted Tuesday, September 27, 2016 by Daniel Mills

On October 21st and 22nd the USPTO will host the 2016 National Trademark Expo at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington DC. The expo is open to any owner of a federally registered trademark. It is a free event that includes exhibits, educational programs, and kid activities. The keynote speaker this year is Kevin Haley of Under Armor, Inc.

There is a wide variety of exhibitors that span a broad range of trademark owners including the US Navy, VELCRO, Coca-Cola, and UPS. This is a great way for trademark owners to learn to see how other owners leverage their trademarks to advance their brands.

Full details can be found here.

Inherency of Provisional Application to Support Later Non-Provisional Application

Posted Tuesday, September 27, 2016 by Jim Ruttler

The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals decided a case this week that enhances the value of provisional patent applications.

Essentially, in Yeda Research v. Abbott, the Court held that a provisional application doesn't have to disclose all the details so long as those details are inherent based on a later filed non-provisional which includes the details. This amounts to allowing general disclosures in provisional applications to have their gaps filled by later filed non-provisional applications having more details. The significance of this is that the provisional application retains its priority date despite the fact that it doesn't include all of the details that are added later via a non-provisional date.

The case here involved a provisional application by Abbott that didn't include the specific amino acid sequence of a protein. Right after filing this application, a reference surfaced with that amino acid sequence. Then, following this intervening art, Abbott filed a non-provisional with the amino acid sequence specifically spelled out. The provisional application was therefore important because otherwise Abbott's patent application would have been filed after the intervening art. The Court allowed the provisional application to serve as priority despite the fact that there was no actual disclosure of the amino acid sequence under the theory of inherent disclosure.

Based on this decision, filing provisional applications - even if all the detail isn't yet available - is good practice because there is a chance that that provisional application can help you overcome art that may surface while prototyping and engineering.

9-22-16-Weekly Round-Up of Trademark News

Posted Thursday, September 22, 2016 by Daniel Mills

Here is a summary of some of the interesting trademark headlines from the past week.

First Up - What do a an Asian-American rock band and the Washington Redskins have in common? - They both are on the same side of an argument over the 1st amendment and the USPTO over trademark rules that prohibit disparaging marks. Read More Here

There can be only one - GRACELAND. A Danish man who is a very big Elvis fan and memorabilia collector named his museum in Randers, Denmark Graceland. Well, that did not sit well with the folks in Memphis, Tennessee who own and operate the real home of the King of Rock and Roll. The court in Denmark agreed with GL SPE, LLC and ordered the Danish super fan to pay $75,0000.

What happens in Vegas may soon include NFL Football. A limited partnership called The Oakland Raiders has filed three trademark applications for LAS VEGAS RAIDERS for a variety of goods and services including: clothing, entertainment services in the nature of professional football games, and various decoration and trinkets associated with the team.

Additional Software Patent Eligible: McRo, Inc. v. Bandai Namco Games America,

Posted Sunday, September 18, 2016 by Jim Ruttler

The Federal Circuit for the fourth time this year has confirmed eligibility of software under Section 101. In perhaps the most clear decision to date on the issue of subject matter eligibility, the Federal Circuit held that McRo's claims directed toward lip synchronization are patent eligible. The lower District court had struggled with the amorphous test set forth by the Supreme Court. It held that the claims essentially were two broad to be non-abstract. However, the Federal Circuit struck this down and stated that breadth does not equal abstract. Instead, the test for abstractness was refocused on pre-emption. That is, the test is whether the claims preempt all ways to practice an idea. For instance, lip synchronization using a computer would preempt all methods of lip synchronization completely. However, as with McRo's claims, a specific broad way of performing lip synchronization is not abstract because there were not ways to perform lip synchronization.

The Federal Circuit appears to have pivoted a little toward preemption. This is a positive development because preemption is something that objectively can be proven. The test now for software and other inventions really is whether the claims are directed toward an invention where the result could be achieved via another solution - even if the other solution is less marketable. This test is relatively easy to satisfy moving forward.

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