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On April 9, the New York Intellectual Property Law Association (NYIPLA) filed an amicus brief in Ericsson Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., No. 2021-1565, urging a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to balance U.S. interests in adjudicating U.S. patent rights against the rule of comity, with respect to an order by a Chinese court restricting the litigation of certain U.S. patents in U.S. courts. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Judge Paul Michel and former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Andrei Iancu also filed an amicus brief in the case on the same day in support of Ericsson…. Although the NYIPLA did not take a position on the exact scope and content of Judge Gilstrap’s order, it filed an amicus brief to highlight our country’s “strong policy interest in allowing U.S. patent rights to be adjudicated in U.S. courts” and to point out that “[a]llowing China to exercise exclusive dominion over U.S. patent rights and royalty rates and to preclude enforcement of U.S. patent rights within the United States would cause a severe reduction in the value of U.S. patents and jeopardize the very underpinnings of the U.S. patent system.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear, on March 1, 2021, whether administrative patent judges (APJs) of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are “inferior” officers properly appointed under the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution (U.S. Const., art. II, § 2, cl. 2), and, if not, whether the “fix” by the Federal Circuit in Arthrex v. Smith & Nephew, 941 F.3d 1320 (Fed. Cir. 2019) worked. On February 25, 2021, the New York Intellectual Property Law Association (NYIPLA), will be presenting a special webinar titled “Getting Ready for Arthrex Oral Arguments,” which will summarize the issues presented and include presentations by representative amici on their respective positions.
On January 25, 2021, the New York Intellectual Property Law Association (NYIPLA) filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to grant the writ of certiorari in American Axle & Manufacturing Co. Inc. v. Neapco Holdings LLC, No. 20-891. The brief argues that the American Axle case is factually very similar to Diamond v. Diehr, 450 U.S. 175, 187 (1981), which “recognized that claims, including a calculation based on the Arrhenius equation as part of larger process for curing rubber, were patent eligible.”
On December 2, eComp Consultants (eComp) filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to find Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in U.S. v. Arthrex, Inc., Nos. 19-1434/-1452/-1458. In its brief, eComp argues that the U.S. Supreme Court should reverse the decision of the Federal Circuit and confirm that APJs of the PTAB are merely inferior officers of the United States who were, therefore, constitutionally appointed. eComp’s Amicus Brief clarifies the errors in the Federal Circuit’s decision.
On July 29, Askeladden LLC filed an amicus brief in support of the U.S. Government’s combined petition for a writ of certiorari in U.S. v. Arthrex, Inc., No. 19-1434. In particular, Askeladden asks the Supreme Court to accept the petition and address the threshold question raised by the U.S. Government: whether, for purposes of the Appointments Clause, U.S. Const. art. II, § 2, Cl. 2, administrative patent judges (APJs) of the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are “principal officers” who must be appointed by the President with the Senate’s advice and consent, or “inferior officers” whose appointment Congress has permissibly vested in a department head.
On June 25, 2019, the New York Intellectual Property Association (NYIPLA) filed an Amicus Brief in support of the Respondent in Peter v. NantKwest, Inc., No. 18-801, pending before the Supreme Court. NantKwest raises the issue of whether patent applicants who are dissatisfied with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) decisions and subsequently appeal to the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia must pay USPTO staff attorney salaries as part of “[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings” under 35 U.S.C. Section 145, which allows applicants to pursue a civil action against decisions of the USPTO Director.
After reviewing the way the term “person” is used throughout the statute it is clear that in some provisions of the Patent Act, the term necessarily should be interpreted to include the government (e.g., 35 U.S.C. § 296(a), expressly including government in the definition of “person”), while in other provisions the term “person” should be interpreted to exclude the government (see, e.g., 35 U.S.C. §§ 3(a) and 6(a), which clearly exclude the governmental entities like the USPS, but would include individuals in the government’s employ). Accordingly, reliance on universal definitions from the Dictionary Act, 1 U.S.C. §§ 1 and 8, governing the U.S. Code in general, and likewise on other general definitions of “persons” from relevant case law (e.g., Cooper), may well cause inadvertent problems with respect to the Patent Act. Rather, as set forth below, the answer to the question posed by this case should depend on the legislative context relating to creation of various post-issuance patent challenge proceedings and the PTO’s longstanding interpretation of “person” to include the governmental entities for purposes of ex parte and inter partes reexaminations.
On Friday, July 20, 2018, the New York Intellectual Property Association (“NYIPLA”) filed an amicus brief arguing that the Petition for Writ of Certiorari should be granted in RPX Corp. v. ChanBond LLC, No. 17-1686. See the NYIPLA’s website for the full Brief of New York Intellectual Property Law Association as Amicus Curiae in Support of Neither Party, RPX Corp. v. ChanBond LLC, No. 17-1686 (July 20, 2018). This case raises the important question of whether the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) can refuse to hear an appeal by a petitioner from an adverse final written decision in an inter partes review (“IPR”) proceeding, on the basis of a lack of a patent-inflicted injury-in-fact, when Congress has statutorily created the right for dissatisfied parties to appeal to the Federal Circuit.