Eileen McDermott is the Editor-in-Chief of IPWatchdog.com. Eileen is a veteran IP and legal journalist, and no stranger to the intellectual property world, having held editorial and managerial positions at several publications and industry organizations. She has acted as editorial consultant for the International Trademark Association (INTA), chiefly overseeing the editorial process for the Association’s twice-monthly newsletter, the INTA Bulletin. Eileen has also served as a freelance editor for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO); as senior consulting editor for the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) from 2015 to 2017; as Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief at INTA from 2013 to 2016; and was Americas Editor for Managing Intellectual Property magazine from 2007 to 2013.
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.
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.
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, ( 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.
IPWatchdog held its Standards, Patents and Competition Masters ™ 2022 Program this week, November, 14-15, in Ashburn, Virginia, covering topics from how to define “fair reasonable and non-discriminatory” (FRAND) rates to litigating standard essential patents (SEPs) in South America and Europe. Almost all of the panels touched on how courts around the world are viewing the practices of implementers and patent holders in the SEP debate and how standoffs between implementers and patent owners in FRAND cases can be better resolved.