Posts in IP News

Newman’s Counsel Says Supreme Court’s Agreement with Her Dissent Proves Mental Fitness

The U.S. Supreme Court today reversed an en banc decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in which Judge Pauline Newman dissented, a development Newman’s lawyers say belies CAFC Chief Judge Moore’s opinion that Newman is mentally unfit to serve on the court. The en banc decision was an appeal from the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in which Judges Newman and Reyna each separately dissented.

SCOTUS Won’t Review District Courts’ Authority to Award Sanctions

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied a petition that challenged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s decision that found a district court had authority to impose $36 million in sanctions for abusive litigation practices in a trademark case. The underlying case relates to AECOM Energy & Construction, Inc.’s (AECOM) suit against Gary Topolewski, who owned a clothing business called Metal Jeans, Inc., for infringing use of trademarks associated with AECOM’s predecessor, Morrison Knudsen Corporation.

USPTO Proposes Making Director Review Process Official

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced today that it will be publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) tomorrow aimed at formalizing the rules governing Director Review of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decisions under the America Invents Act (AIA). In July 2021, the USPTO announced that it would be implementing an interim rule at the agency in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s late June 2021 decision in Arthrex v. Smith & Nephew. In the Arthrex ruling, the Court found that the constitutional Appointments Clause violation created by the process for appointing administrative patent judges (APJs) to the PTAB was best cured by review of APJ decisions by the USPTO Director. The interim rule began the process of determining how that review process would play out during the day-to-day operations of the PTAB.

Thaler, Copyright Office Fight Over Human-Authorship Requirement for AI-Created Artwork Continues

On April 10, Dr. Stephen Thaler filed a reply brief  at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, continuing the artificial intelligence (AI) technologist’s legal challenge to the U.S. Copyright Office’s refusal to register copyright to an artwork generated by Thaler’s Creativity Machine. The reply brief argues that there is no human authorship requirement under the U.S. Copyright Act preventing Thaler from claiming copyright in the AI-generated work, and that standard principles of property law enables ownership of the work to vest in Thaler, who created the AI system at issue in the case.

Federal Circuit Says District Court Erred in Assessing Inequitable Conduct in Toddler Dining Mat Patent Case

In a precedential decision issued Friday by Judge Leonard Stark, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed a district court’s judgment that Luv n’ care, Ltd. and Nouri E. Hakim (LNC) succeeded in proving Lindsey Laurain and Eazy-PZ, LLC (EZPZ) were barred from relief due to unclean hands but vacated the court’s judgment for EZPZ of no inequitable conduct. The CAFC also vacated a grant of partial summary judgment of invalidity and vacated orders denying LNC attorney fees and costs.

Other Barks & Bites for Friday, April 12: Bill to Rein in GAI Introduced; Amazon Owes Tech Rival $525 Million for Patent Infringement; USPTO Issues Guidance on the Use of AI for Filings

This week in Other Barks & Bites: three advocacy groups call on President Biden’s administration to use federal law to license the production and cut the price of an expensive cancer drug; an Illinois jury rules that Amazon owes Kove IO $525 million in a patent infringement case; and Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduces legislation to House that would require tech companies to disclose what copyrighted material they use to train their generative AI programs.

Lidl v. Tesco: Supermarket Wars in Court

Supermarkets compete aggressively for our custom. The entry of upstart discount supermarkets Lidl and Aldi into the market has created new pressures on the established brands, including Tesco— ironically, the original “pile it high and sell it cheap” operation. Supermarkets benchmark their prices against those charged by their competitors and offer loyal customers benefits, including, extremely attractive special offers when customers use their loyalty cards. They are no less aggressive when it comes to using and protecting their trademarks.

CAFC Panel Splits on Reasonable Expectation of Success Analysis

In a precedential decision authored by Judge Lourie, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a district court’s final judgment that certain claims of several patents owned by Salix Pharmaceuticals for a drug used to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other ailments were invalid as obvious. The CAFC also affirmed an order of the district court that instructed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the effective approval date of generic company Norwich’s Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) may not precede the expiration dates of the claims of three other Salix patents that were found to be valid and infringed by Norwich. Norwich cross-appealed from that order and also from the denial of its motion to modify the district court’s final judgment.

Schiff Introduces Bill to Mandate Disclosure of Copyrighted Content Used to Train GAI Models

On April 9, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced the Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act of 2024 into the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, which would require generative artificial intelligence (AI) platforms to disclose their use of copyrighted works in training AI models with retroactive effect, comes after months of growing concerns by the global creative community over the misappropriation of original works of authorship by companies collecting such content without prior authorization.

Bayh-Dole Coalition: Activist Groups’ Bid for Medicare to Make Generic Xtandi is a ‘Desperate Ploy’

On April 9, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), the Union for Affordable Cancer Treatment (UACT) and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) sent a letter to Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, requesting that CMS use alleged statutory authority to allow companies to make and sell generic versions of the blockbuster prostate cancer drug, Xtandi®. The letter comes two months after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) denied an appeal of a decision not to march in on the drug under 35 USC §203.

USIJ and Medical Device Group Urge Movement on PERA and PREVAIL

The Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA) and the Alliance of U.S. Startups and Inventors for Jobs (USIJ) sent a letter today to the leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property to express their support for both the Promoting and Respecting Economically Vital American Innovation Leadership Act (PREVAIL Act) and the Patent Eligibility Restoration Act (PERA). Both PREVAIL and PERA were introduced on June 22, 2023. The PREVAIL Act aims to reform Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) practices while PERA would eliminate all judicially-created exceptions to U.S. patent eligibility law.

The Licensing Vector: A Fair Approach to Content Use in LLMs

A spate of recent lawsuits is shining light on how some generative AI (GenAI) companies are using copyrighted materials, without permission, as a core part of their products. Among the most recent examples is the New York Times Company’s’ lawsuit against OpenAI, which alleges a variety of copyright-related claims. For their part, some GenAI companies like OpenAI argue that there is no infringement, either because there is no “copying” of protected materials or that the copyright principle of fair use uniformly applies to generative AI activities. These arguments are deeply flawed and gloss over crucial technical and legal issues. They also divert attention from the fact that it is not only possible but practical to be pro-copyright and pro-AI.

USPTO AI Guidance Highlights Risks for Practitioners and Public

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced guidance for practitioners and the public regarding the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the preparation of filings for submission to the Office. The guidance comes two months after the Office issued a guidance memorandum for the Trademark and Patent Trial and Appeal Boards (TTAB and PTAB) on the misuse of AI tools before the Boards that clarified the application of existing rules to AI submissions.

What RFK, Jr.’s VP Pick Could Mean for IP

Independent Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr’s Vice-Presidential running mate, Nicole Shanahan, a mercurial patent analyst, intellectual property lawyer and incidentally rich entrepreneur, is in the position to influence declining patent reliability and increasing copyright abuse. But will she? This column is not intended to opine on Shanahan’s merits as an independent Vice-Presidential candidate, but to attempt to understand her motivation for running and its potential impact on IP rights, creators and assignees.

Heirs to Author of Article That Inspired Top Gun Crash and Burn in California District Court

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled on Friday that Shosh Yonay and Yuval Yonay, the widow and son of Ehud Yonay, who authored a 1983 magazine article that inspired the renowned film, Top Gun, were not entitled to damages for copyright infringement related to the 2022 sequel to the film. Yonay authored a magazine article titled “Top Guns,” published in California Magazine on April 21, 1983, that was an account of the experiences of F-14 pilots in training at Navy’s Fighter Weapons School, known as “Top Gun.”