Posts in Holiday Posts

Happy 40th Anniversary, Judge Pauline Newman!

Today, Judge Pauline Newman celebrates 40 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). Newman was appointed to the court on January 30, 1984, by then-President Ronald Reagan and officially assumed office on February 28, 1984. Newman was the first judge to be appointed directly to the Federal Circuit; all of the standing judges at that time attained their position through the merger of the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals and the appellate division of the United States Court of Federal Claims. She filled the Federal Circuit vacancy created at that time by Judge Philip Nichols Jr., who had taken senior status.

Think Big: Tell Us Your Wildest New Year Dreams for IP

On day one of the new year, we continue the IPWatchdog tradition of asking readers what they would like to see happen if their every IP wish could come true. Some commenters stuck with more realistic asks, such as for patent eligibility reform to move forward or that an extension of the waiver of IP rights under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) will be opposed. Others went out on a limb by pulling for a new central patent court based in Hawaii or that congress will get its act together, for instance. Of course, the most popular dream articulated below is once again that patent eligibility certainty will be restored, either by the courts or congress.

What Lies Ahead: Here’s What IP Practitioners Will Be Watching in 2024

We are less than 24 hours out from 2024 and, after reflecting on what mattered in 2023 and other year-in-review recaps, it is now time once again to ponder what lies ahead. From exciting patent legislation to Supreme Court trademark and copyright cases that could have big implications, here is what the IPWatchdog community will be keeping on its radar in the new year. 

Trade Secrets in 2023 Part II: Identification, Misappropriation and Remedies

In Part I of this article, we recapped some of the most notable trade secret cases of the past year that dealt with issues such as proving secrecy and exercising reasonable efforts, as well as the publication of a key judicial resource for trade secret cases. Below, we continue with some of the top trade secret cases and subject matter the courts addressed in 2023.  

From AI Inventors to Design Reform and FRAND: What Mattered in EU IP for 2023

The most significant development in IP in Europe in 2023—indeed arguably the most significant in nearly 30 years—was the launch of the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court on June 1. The full implications of this are explored here. Beyond the UP and UPC, however, there were a number of. important developments in Europe affecting all the main IP rights.

The Top U.S. FRAND / RAND Licensing Developments of 2023 Part II: Ghosts of Christmas Past and Christmas Future

In Part I of our year end summary of key developments regarding patents subject to a commitment to license on a Fair Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) or Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (RAND) basis, we looked at various developments involving patent pools and reviewed some interesting damages awards and interlocutory decisions. In this installment, we consider a pair of antitrust cases dismissed in 2023 and explore what may come next on the policy front.

How U.S. Courts Ruled on Trademarks in 2023

This year has seen a bonanza of significant trademark decisions, including several high- profile decisions from the Supreme Court. Courts ruled on issues ranging from First Amendment and parody considerations to the extraterritorial reach of U.S. trademark law, yet in most cases returned to basic principles of trademark law to resolve the open issues. Below is a selection of a few of those significant cases from the previous year.

Christmas Copyright Cases: A Look at Past Rulings on Bubble Santas, Holiday Light Displays and Hit Songs

The complex rules of copyright and trademark law are designed so that creators of popular expressive works and companies marketing authentic branded products are properly protected. This Christmas, we’re looking at a series of rulings from U.S. federal courts on intellectual property (IP) issues involving holiday ornaments, public displays with light sculptures, as well as one of the most popular Christmas songs ever. These cases don’t simply show that a Santa Claus can be designed with non-generic copyrightable elements; they also show members of the U.S. federal judiciary working diligently to properly dispense justice on IP questions between the adverse parties arguing before them.

From AI to Amgen, Here’s Everything IP that Mattered in 2023

Another year of IP is behind us, and it is time to reflect on what mattered most—what decisions will affect practice for years to come and/or continue to play out in the courts as we move into 2024? Below are reflections on milestones from this past year—some positive, some negative, and some neutral–at least for now.

Copyright in the Courts: A Roundup of Key Copyright Decisions for 2023

Copyright exits everywhere—from books on a library shelf to music playing on the radio, to the software running the electronic device on which you are reading this article. Copyright’s broad scope and extensive reach foster a varied and fascinating landscape of copyright cases. From cases involving the use of a celebrity photograph, animated dancing video game characters, to artificial intelligence (AI) infringement inquiries, the number and type of matters copyright touches is seemingly infinite. This provides an evergreen bounty of copyright cases to digest. The following highlights some of the top copyright decisions of 2023.

The Top 10 Patents of 2023: Energy Harvesting Roadways, Deep AI Infrastructure and Controllable CRISPR Editing

The patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) tell the story of society’s innovative future. While the true value of a technological advance develops over time, the following selection of patents of 2023 represent meaningful advances in several emerging areas of technology. From artificial intelligence (AI) systems for retail checkout to improved mRNA drug delivery, these innovations have been chosen for their likeliness to make a significant real-world impact in 2024 and beyond.

The Bills to Watch: IP Legislation of 2023 That Will Affect Your 2024

Throughout 2023, a number of legislative initiatives impacting intellectual property rights were introduced in the United States Congress or signed into law by the President. In some instances, these efforts are meant to try and re-balance the various, sometimes competing, interests of the public and the innovators. In other instances, the legislation is aimed at weaponizing the intellectual property right procurement process to reward some and punish others. Various pieces of legislation as well as Executive Directives directed at artificial intelligence also have been introduced at different levels. This piece, however, leaves those AI issues for others to address. Below is a summary of some of the key legislative efforts in 2023 touching on U.S. IP rights.

USPTO 2023 Year in Review: E-Filings and Rulemakings and AI, Oh My!

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) 2023 has been one marked by a push towards further modernization and reduction of environmental impact, while also attempting to increase administrative efficiency. The Office has also solicited and received zealous commentary from an interested public regarding proposed changes to Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB) proceedings. Lastly, in continuation of last year’s prevailing theme, the USPTO has begun generating reports, holding listening sessions, and publishing Director’s blogs regarding the topic of artificial intelligence (AI) as it pertains to both inventorship and as a subject of invention.

Evaluating Europe’s New IP Court: How the UPC is Doing So Far and What’s to Come

On June 1, 2023, the Unified Patent Court (UPC) opened, providing a new venue for patent litigation across all 17 ratifying European Union member states. The court represents a significant shift in patent litigation in the EU, which is poised to impact the global patent strategy of U.S. and multinational companies. Through the European Patent Office (EPO), inventors have long been able to obtain patent protection across most of the EU through a single application. Once the EPO grants a European Patent, inventors have the option of obtaining local patent protection in any member state that they select without the need for further examination or review. However, historically, once the EPO granted a patent, there was no single enforcement or invalidation mechanism, leaving it up to the member states to enforce patent rights.

Key U.S. District Court Cases with Implications for IP in the New Year

Although the proceedings before federal district courts may not garner as much attention as those of the U.S. Court of appeals for the Federal Circuit or the Supreme Court, they can be an important proving ground for the decisions rendered by those courts. And 2023 was no exception to that rule. As discussed below, the Zogenix v. Apotex and Teva v. Eli Lilly decisions provide a glimpse into what litigants can expect in the aftermath of the GSK v. Teva and Amgen v. Sanofi decisions, respectively. These cases will have an especially significant impact on the life sciences industry, and watching how these decisions are applied by the district courts should be a priority for practitioners in this space.