Posts in IPWatchdog Articles

How French and California Contract Law Would Interpret SEP Patent Owner Obligations Under the ETSI Licensing Declaration

In the United States, the issue of whether or not one has complied with a licensing-related commitment made to a standards setting organization is often treated as a matter of contract. As we have written about before (here and here), some implementers wish to interpret such commitments so as not to lose entitlement to fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licenses despite not negotiating in good faith or, as we like to say, to have their FRAND cake and eat it too. In a recently prepared article, we explore how such an interpretation lines up with basic contract law principles, particularly having reference to the language of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute’s (ETSI) Intellectual Property Rights Information Statement and Licensing Declaration [“the ETSI Licensing Declaration”].

WIPO Report: China Sees Massive Surge in IP Filings Across the Board

Worldwide IP filings increased by 3.6% in 2021, according to a report published November 21 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The increase came during a turbulent time for the world economy, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a global economic downturn. The biggest increase in patent filings was in Asia, where 67.6% of worldwide patent applications were filed. The United States saw a 1.2% decrease in filings and a 1% increase in trademark filings. Trademark applications grew at a much faster rate than patent applications, with a 5.5% in trademark filing activity. Industrial design filing activity also rose by 9.2% with the largest uptick again in Asia. China saw high rates of growth and is a global leader in sheer numbers across all indicators.

Other Barks & Bites for Friday, November 25: Seventh Circuit Nixes Publicity Claim Against Subscriber List Sale, Copyright Office and USPTO Announce NFT Study, and Alia Moses Takes Over as Chief Judge of Western Texas

This week in Other Barks & Bites: U.S. District Judge Alia Moses officially takes over as the Chief Judge as the Western District of Texas; the U.S. Supreme Court takes up Jack Daniel’s appeal of the First Amendment ruling in favor of VIP Products’ whiskey bottle-shaped dog toys; the World Intellectual Property Organization announces that two-thirds of all patent applications were filed in Asian IP offices during 2021; Senators Cruz and Cantwell introduce a bill directing the FTC to create required disclosures on recording capabilities for smart devices; the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office announce a joint study on non-fungible tokens; IBM files a copyright infringement suit against Micro Focus for its unauthorized use of IBM’s mainframe software; and the Seventh Circuit nixes a right of publicity claim under Illinois state law after finding that the sale of a magazine subscriber list did not involve the use of the plaintiff’s identity to complete a commercial purpose.

What IP Stakeholders are Giving Thanks for in 2022

As we get ready to celebrate another Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, it’s time once again to reflect on the year so far and to look beyond the many challenges facing intellectual property (IP) owners to what there is to be thankful for. Whether it’s people—like Judge Paul Michel, Kathi Vidal, Senator Thom Tillis and Rep. Thomas Massie—or major developments—like the withdrawal of the latest Joint Policy Statement on SEPs and the introduction of legislation to reform patent eligibility law—the commenters below have found a lot of ways to give thanks.

Unauthorized Hamilton Production Underscores Issues with Unlicensed, Infringing Staged Theatrical Productions

This August, the Door Christian Fellowship McAllen Church made some unfortunate headlines after it came to light that the church had produced and staged a performance that made unauthorized use of original works from the blockbuster Broadway musical, Hamilton. By the end of the month, The Door had issued an apology for the unauthorized performances and agreed to pay damages and destroy any recordings of the staged performance in respect of the intellectual property protections of Hamilton’s creators. While this unlicensed and infringing use was quickly dealt with by Hamilton’s legal team, there have been other instances of recalcitrant producers who have only been held accountable for staging unlicensed theatrical works after years of infringement.

NYIPLA Tells Supremes IP Lawyers Need Attorney-Client Privilege for Dual-Purpose Communications

The New York Intellectual Property Law Association (NYIPLA) filed an amicus brief last Thursday in the U.S. Supreme Court in In re Grand Jury. The petition was filed in April this year, presenting the Supreme Court with the question of whether communication involving both legal and non-legal advice should be protected by attorney-client privilege. The question has broad implications for attorney-client privileges, especially for intellectual property lawyers, says the NYIPLA brief. NYIPLA  makes the case that the Supreme Court should adopt “a rule which protects a dual-purpose communication if a significant purpose of the communication is to obtain or provide legal advice.” Currently, the appeals courts are divided as to whether this rule should be adopted versus one that protects communications only if legal advice was the dominant purpose behind the communication.

Jack Daniel’s Will Get Its Shot at SCOTUS Review Against Dog Toy Maker

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday granted a petition filed in August this year by Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc. seeking clarification on whether the First Amendment protects VIP Products, LLC, a maker of dog toys that made humorous use of Jack Daniel’s trademarks for commercial purposes, against claims of infringement and dilution. The High Court previously denied Jack Daniel’s petition in January of 2021, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit “summarily affirmed” the district court’s summary judgment ruling for VIP on remand. In its ruling in 2020, the Ninth Circuit said VIP’s dog toy mimicking a Jack Daniel’s whiskey bottle was an expressive work entitled to First Amendment protection, reversing the district court’s initial holding that the toy infringed and diluted Jack Daniel’s marks and remanding the case back to the district court for a determination on the merits of the infringement claim.

SEPs in Europe: From Huawei/ZTE to Apple/Optis, Europe Has Become a Friend to Patentees

During IPWatchdog’s Standards, Patents & Competition Masters 2022 program last week, one panel examined the standard essential patent (SEP) landscape in Europe, which has become decidedly more patent owner friendly than that of the United States in recent years. Beginning with the landmark 2015 decision by the European Court of Justice in Huawei v. ZTE, ([2015] EUECJ C-170/13), European courts have held SEP holders and implementers to account by applying the framework set forth in that ruling, which panelist Inna Dahlin of Valea AB summarized for attendees.

The Fraction-of-a-Fraction Problem—Why the Math Doesn’t Support Blaming Drug Patents for the High Cost of U.S. Healthcare

Healthcare costs in the United States continue to rise, placing an ever-increasing burden on patients and government payer programs. Popular discourse blames patented drugs as the culprit for these rising costs. In a move that previously would have been unthinkable, policymakers have even called upon the Department of Health and Human Services to exercise a mechanism known as Bayh-Dole “march-in” rights, to break the patents on drugs that the private sector has spent billions developing, in order to lower their prices. But this fixation on patents as a major driver of America’s medical spend is misplaced.

OpenSky: ‘There Was No Harm’ Stemming From Offer to Manipulate VLSI Proceedings

On November 17, patent owner VLSI Technology and petitioner OpenSky Industries each filed briefs at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in response to Director Kathi Vidal’s order for OpenSky to show cause as to why it should not be required to pay attorney’s fees to compensate for its abuse of inter partes review (IPR) proceedings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). While VLSI argues that OpenSky should be ordered to compensate all attorney’s fees and costs incurred from each IPR petition encouraged by OpenSky’s own petition filing activities, OpenSky argues that Director Vidal’s order to show cause fails to identify any compensable harm stemming from OpenSky’s IPR conduct.

How to Ensure Your Retroactive Foreign Filing License Petition Isn’t Dismissed

As outlined in our article, The Good, the Bad and the Missing: Findings from a Review of the Data on Granted Retroactive Foreign Filing Licenses, Petition.ai’s subscribers’ most searched patent petition type is for retroactive foreign filing licenses (RFFLs). In the article, we highlighted that 71% of applications petitioning the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a RFFL eventually are granted. On average, it took 2.3 RFFL petitions over 1.4 years before obtaining the granted petition. We also pointed out 84% of granted RFFL petition decisions could not be found in the Public PAIR’s Image File Wrapper (IFW). Several months after we published the article, and after several communications with the Office of Petitions, these granted decisions were finally published in the IFW. This article examines the most common reasons why the USPTO dismisses RFFL petitions.

A Guide to Disclosures in Delaware Patent Litigation in the Face of Pending Federal Circuit Review

Heightened mandatory initial disclosures in patent litigation may affect a client’s decision to pursue litigation in a forum, especially if there is a risk (real or perceived) of having to disclose sensitive company information from the outset of litigation. In the District of Delaware, there has been much attention on recent requirements for transparency regarding litigation funding and company and/or patent ownership issued by Chief Judge Colm Connolly. The Chief Judge’s fervent enforcement of those requirements has prompted a writ of mandamus and potential review by the Federal Circuit. Although the propriety of the third-party litigation funding order may be reviewed by the Federal Circuit, best practices for complying with both the third-party litigation funding and Rule 7.1 Standing Orders will be discussed, along with potential impact of those orders on patent litigation in the long term, and considerations of whether certain information could be sealed.

Harrity & Harrity, LLP is Seeking a Remote Patent Attorney/Agent

Harrity & Harrity, LLP is looking for experienced superstar patent professionals (attorneys, agents, and engineers) to prepare and/or prosecute patent applications for leading global technology companies, including numerous Patent 300® companies. This position is 100% remote (within the U.S.), has flexible schedules, and is full-time with benefits.

How to Use the USPTO Patent Public Search Tool

Do you want a simple way to search for specific patents and to get PDF copies of those patents? And do you want those PDF files to come straight from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), so you can be confident that they contain any Certificates of Correction? Our first article in a series about the USPTO’s Public Patent Search (PPS) web page shows you how. PPS launched on December 1, 2021. It’s critical to get to know PPS now—especially if you want to get access to PDF copies of patents, because the USPTO removed the only other remaining method to get PDFs from their site just last month. Like any new technology, it can take some getting used to—but once you get the hang of it, it can make your life much easier. This short how-to article explains the essentials of using PPS to find and download specific patents and how to deal with the unique idiosyncrasies of PPS’s text versions of patents.

Other Barks & Bites for Friday, November 18: Canada’s Supreme Court Affirms ‘Springboard’ Profits Award for Dow, VLSI Wins Another Massive Verdict Against Intel, and Ninth Circuit Says Director Service Applies to Court Proceedings

This week in Other Barks & Bites: the Ninth Circuit rules that service on the USPTO Director under Section 1051(e) for reaching foreign-domiciled defendants applies in U.S. district court proceedings; the Federal Circuit restores a patent claim owned by VLSI Technology on the same day that a Western Texas jury enters a $948 million verdict for VLSI against Intel; the Eighth Circuit affirms a summary judgment ruling that Pocket Plus’ asserted trade dress is functional; the European Patent Office will begin transitional measures on unitary patents for patent applicants on January 1 of next year; major tech firms including Amazon and Twitter have been shedding large amounts of employees; AMD and Analog Devices announce a settlement agreement ending ongoing patent litigation between the firms; and the Supreme Court of Canada affirms a damages award for patent infringement including “springboard” profits earned by the infringer after the asserted patent rights expired.


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