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.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today published a Federal Register Notice (FRN) announcing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would make permanent certain aspects of the Motion to Amend (MTA) Pilot program and revise rules around the burden of persuasion governing MTAs. The MTA pilot program for America Invents Act (AIA) proceedings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) stems back to March 2019, when the Office published a notice of pilot program in the Federal Register announcing that patent owners would have the opportunity to seek preliminary guidance on MTAs from the Board itself. The pilot program also offered the opportunity for patent owners to file revised MTAs following a petitioner’s brief in opposition to the original motion to amend. Since launching the pilot program, the USPTO has twice extended the date for terminating the program, which is currently set to run through September 16, 2024.
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.
A bipartisan group of 28 members of congress, including Senate IP Subcommittee Chair Chris Coons (D-DE), Ranking Member Thom Tillis (R-NC) and House IP Subcommittee Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA), sent a letter yesterday to President Biden urging the administration to reconsider its December proposal to allow agencies to consider pricing in deciding whether and when to “march in” on patent rights. Also yesterday, four bipartisan senators wrote to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in opposition to the negotiating text of the World Health Organization (WHO) Pandemic Agreement, warning that it “would undercut—if not destroy—the very aspects of our innovation ecosystem that just recently produced such positive results.”
Oral arguments took place today in Warner Chappell Music v. Nealy, a case that asks whether a copyright plaintiff can recover damages for acts that allegedly occurred more than three years before the filing of a lawsuit. The Justices repeatedly asked the parties involved whether they should dismiss the case as having been improvidently granted (DIG) in order to first grant and decide another pending case that directly addresses a technically peripheral, but seemingly crucial, question at issue in Warner Chappell, namely, whether the so-called discovery accrual rule applies to the Copyright Act’s statute of limitations for civil claims.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) today that would allow practitioners who are not registered with the USPTO patent bar to act as lead counsel in proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The Office has decided to propose that practitioners must still be represented by a registered practitioner, but to allow parties to “designate a non-registered practitioner as lead counsel and the registered practitioner as back-up counsel.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued a precedential decision on Thursday vacating the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (TTAB’s) denial of a petition to cancel a trademark for a medicated tea product to treat colic in babies. Naterra International, Inc. petitioned the TTAB to cancel the mark BABIES’ MAGIC TEA based on likely confusion in the market with its own registrations for the mark BABY MAGIC, which cover “numerous toiletry goods.” The Board found that Naterra failed to prove confusion under the 13 DuPont Factors.
Three law school faculty and students filed an amicus brief earlier this week urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a trademark decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit regarding the legal standard for trademark confusion. The brief asks the Court to “end the contradiction and confusion” around the different approaches taken to the likelihood of confusion analysis by federal courts.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today held that certain claims of a patent for a system to protect against identity theft and fraud were invalid for indefiniteness. Judge Schall dissented-in-part, explaining that he would not have found the claims indefinite based on the intrinsic evidence. U.S. Patent No. 9,361,658 is owned by Mantissa Corporation and is titled “System and Method for Enhanced Protection and Control Over the Use of Identity.” Mantissa sued First Financial Corporation and First Financial Bank, N.A. in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleging infringement of certain claims. The parties mainly disputed two terms during claim construction: (1) “transaction partner” and (2) “OFF.” The district court relied on First Financial’s expert testimony to conclude that “transaction partner” was indefinite, after finding that the expert used was a person of ordinary skill in the art (POSA).