Posts in IP News

Vidal Says PTAB Improperly Expanded Discretionary Denial Principles

United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Kathi Vidal on April 19 vacated a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that had denied institution of an inter partes review (IPR) for a lighting system patent owned by Rotolight Limited. Videndum Production Solutions challenged claims 1–19 of U.S. Patent No. 10,845,044 B2 via IPR and Rotolight argued the petition should be discretionarily denied under the factors set forth in General Plastic Industries Co., Ltd. v. Canon Kabushiki Kaisha.

Updated WHO Pandemic Accord Retains Commitments for Non-Exclusive Licensing and Royalty Waivers

On April 19, the World Health Organization (WHO) released an updated draft proposal of an international agreement on the global response to future pandemics. While the WHO pandemic agreement has been met with widespread support from many of the international agency’s member nations, including the United States, it retains provisions limiting intellectual property (IP) rights that have encouraged opposition from lawmakers and pharmaceutical innovators alike.

Tenth Circuit Reworks Opinion on Extraterritorial Reach of Lanham Act as Per SCOTUS

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued a revised opinion on Tuesday in the case of Abitron v. Hetronic, which was on remand from the Supreme Court’s June 2023 decision vacating a $96 million damages award for Hetronic. The Court ruled last year that Sections 1114(1)(a) and 1125(a)(1) of the Lanham Act are not extraterritorial in nature and that “‘use in commerce’ provides the dividing line between foreign and domestic applications of these provisions.” The underlying case involved Hetronic’s radio remote controls, which are used to operate heavy-duty construction equipment, such as cranes. Abitron et. al. began manufacturing and selling the products primarily in Europe under the Hetronic brand and continued to do so following the termination of their distribution agreements with Hetronic.

FTC Approves Final Rule to Ban All New Non-Compete Agreements in 3-2 Vote

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission today voted in a Special Open Commission Meeting to publish and approve a final version of the January 2023 proposed rule that would ban employers from using clauses for their employees. Today’s rule allows existing non-competes to remain in force for senior executives but bans new non-competes for all workers and makes existing non-competes for all other workers unenforceable after the effective date, which is 120 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Unveiling The Untapped Potential of Brazil’s Solar Energy Market

Brazil, a country known for its abundant natural resources, is emerging as a significant player in the global renewable energy sector. Brazil has one of the highest levels of insolation in the world (ranging from 4.25 to 6.5 sun hours per day according to the Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment Project – (SWERA) and is therefore uniquely positioned to harness the power of the sun.

Chamber Appeals Decision to Deny Expedited FOIA Request on March-In Proposal

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) has filed an appeal with the U.S. Department of Commerce, which denied the GIPC’s January 2024 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking more detail about the working group behind the Biden Administration’s draft framework for considering the exercise of march-in rights. The proposed framework was published in the Federal Register in December 2023 by the Department of Commerce and the National Institutes for Standards and Technology (NIST) and included suggestions on whether and when to exercise “march-in rights” under the Bayh-Dole Act that would arguably significantly broaden the criteria for compulsory licensing of patented technology developed with federal funding.

SCOTUS Scraps Vanda’s Bid for Guidance on Obviousness Standard

The U.S. Supreme Court today denied a petition for certiorari seeking clarification from the Court on the proper standard for a showing of obviousness. Vanda Pharmaceuticals filed the petition following the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s (CAFC’s) May 2023 decision invalidating Vanda’s patent on a method of using the drug tasimelteon to treat Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder. The CAFC came to its decision in part because the court said the disclosure of clinical trials was evidence that a person of ordinary skill in the art “would have had a reasonable expectation of success.” Vanda argued in its Supreme Court petition that a “predictable results” standard should be applied instead and maintained that the High Court said as much in KSR v. Teleflex.

EUIPO Implements Common Practice on Objectionable Trademarks

On April 19, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) formally began implementation of Common Practice 14 (CP14) governing the agency’s treatment of applications of trademarks that are contrary to public policy or accepted principles of morality. The EUIPO’s common communication on CP14 seeks to establish a uniform understanding of the EU Trademark Directive’s prohibitions against registering such marks in light of increased numbers of trademark applications filed that have arguably triggered this statute.

AI Armor: Learn How to Harness AI to Invest in Your Company’s Future

The battle for innovation in AI is relentless. AI Armor by Robert Plotkin is more than just a book about AI. Knowledge is power, and AI Armor provides those brave souls innovating in this space with actionable intelligence they can–and really must–use when navigating the turbulent waters of a tech industry experiencing a pivot moment.

Other Barks & Bites for Friday, April 19: European Court Rejects Pablo Escobar Trademark; Federal Agencies Launch Anti-Competitive Healthcare Practices Portal; and Reddit Cracks Down on Copyright Infringement

This week in Other Barks & Bites: HP sues a Chinese competitor for infringing on cloud computing patents; three federal agencies launch portal to report anti-competitive practices in the healthcare sector; and a European court rejects Pablo Escobar’s family to register the drug lord’s name as a trademark.

Thoughts on the USPTO’s NPRM: Not Bad But the Big Challenges Remain

Times are changing at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)! Not only are there rumors that the Senate IP Subcommittee may be a matter of several weeks away from marking up the PREVAIL Act and voting it out of committee, but the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has finally issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) relating to several changes to the Code of Federal Regulations as they pertain to patent challenges at the PTAB.

USPTO Publishes Long-Awaited Proposed Rule on PTAB Changes

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that will be officially published in the Federal Register tomorrow and that addresses a subset of issues from the controversial April 2023 Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM). USPTO Director Kathi Vidal received criticism following the ANPRM, most notably from Congress. In a House IP Subcommittee meeting held last year, members of the Subcommittee expressed confusion about the ANPRM and suggested Vidal may have been exceeding her authority with some of the proposals.

Stay on Top of Hot Topics in Patent Damages Litigation

In patent litigation, damages issues are sometimes treated as an afterthought when compared to the issues of infringement and invalidity. However, achieving a client’s goals requires an attorney to place damages at the center of the litigation strategy from the very beginning. Damages, quite simply, can make or break a case. And it is a quickly evolving field, rife with inconsistent judicial decisions, vague standards, and new techniques for measuring damages. Below are some of the current hot topics in patent litigation—and tips for practitioners on both sides of the “v” on how to handle them.

Patent Filings Roundup: Slow Week in PTAB and District Court, Ideahub Subsidiary Challenges Instituted; Patent Armory Continues the Offensive

It was a slow week for new patent filings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and in the district courts. This week saw only 18 new filings at the PTAB—one of which was a Post Grant Review, while the remaining were inter partes reviews (IPRs). Texas Instruments, Inc. continued challenging Greenthread LLC patents, filing four IPRs against  four patents (bringing the total number of IPRs Texas Instruments has filed up to seven). Amazon filed two IPRs against one Nokia Technologies Oy [associated with Nokia Corporation] patents; Apple filed five IPRs against three Resonant Systems Inc. (d/b/a RevelHMI) patents; and Micron filed two IPRs against two Yangtze memory Technologies Company Ltd.

FTC Sets Meeting to Vote on Final Noncompete Rule

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  Chair Lina Khan announced yesterday that there will be a Special Open Commission Meeting held on April 23 to vote on whether to issue a final version of the January 2023 proposed rule that would ban employers from using noncompete clauses for their employees. “The proposed final rule being considered would generally prevent most employers from using noncompete clauses,” said the Open Commission Meeting’s event description. “As the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking explained, noncompetes are a widespread and often exploitative practice that suppresses wages, hampers innovation, and blocks entrepreneurs from starting new businesses.”