The owner of the trademark for APPLE JAZZ has won his appeal from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), which dismissed his opposition to Apple, Inc.’s application to register the mark APPLE MUSIC. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) said the TTAB legally erred in allowing Apple to claim absolute priority for all of the services listed in its application based on a showing of priority for one service. Apple filed Trademark Application No. 86/659,444 for APPLE MUSIC, which the company has been using since 2015, when it launched its music streaming service. Charles Bertini, the owner of APPLE JAZZ, registered his mark in New York state in 1991 for entertainment services but began using the mark well before that, in 1985. Unaware that he did not have a federal registration, Bertini filed an opposition against Apple, Inc.’s federal registration for APPLE MUSIC in 2016, along with an application to register APPLE JAZZ with the USPTO.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Thursday upheld two Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decisions finding VirnetX’s patent claims unpatentable in inter partes review (IPR) challenges brought by Apple, Inc. and Mangrove Partners. The dispute relates to VirnetX’s U.S. Patent Nos. 6,502,135 and 7,490,151, which are directed to a “secure mechanism for communicating over the internet.” Mangrove Partners challenged several claims of the ‘135 patent at the PTAB, alleging they were anticipated by a 1996 article authored by Kiuchi and Kaihara
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ruled today in a split precedential decision authored by Judge Reyna that a district court properly found Personalized Media Communications’ (PMC) patent unenforceable due to prosecution laches. Judge Stark dissented, arguing that, although he agreed PMC’s delay in prosecuting its patent was “unreasonable and inexcusable,” Apple failed to establish that it suffered prejudice during the period of delay. PMC sued Apple in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in 2015, alleging that Apple’s digital rights management software, FairPlay, infringed claim 13 of PMC’s U.S. Patent No. 8,191,091. A jury found that Apple infringed at least one of claims 13-16, but in a subsequent bench trial the district court found that the patent was unenforceable due to prosecution laches under Hyatt v. Hirshfeld.
The U.S. International Trade Commission on Tuesday issued a Notice of Final Initial Determination (FID) finding that Apple violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 by importing and selling in the United States Apple Watches with light-based pulse oximetry technology that infringed claims 24 and 30 of Masimo’s U.S. Patent No. 10,945,648. According to a Masimo press release, Apple first started selling the Apple Watch with a pulse oximeter sensor in 2020 and has continued to use it in subsequent versions of the product since then. The ITC Notice said it found no violation of the asserted claims of four other patents named in Masimo’s complaint.
While 2022 was somewhat less eventful than 2021 in terms of significant developments in fair/reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND/RAND) licensing occurring in the United States, the past year still did not disappoint and underscores the continued and growing interest from government in the standards related patents space. In 2022, the most progress was made on matters and issues we wrote about last year: i.e. government policy developments, Continental v. Avanci, the IEEE’s standards-related Patent Policy, and Ericsson v. Apple / Apple v. Ericsson (see here and here)
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today said in a precedential order that Judge Alan Albright’s Scheduling Order in a case between Aire Technology Limited and Apple, Inc. went too far in mandating additional substantive discovery and re-briefing that would result in nearly a year passing before the court rules on Apple’s venue transfer motion. Apple asked the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in April 2022 to transfer Aire’s patent infringement case against it to the Northern District of California. Apple filed declarations during venue discovery to support the need for transfer, including a request to supplement its motion with additional declarants just prior to the close of venue discovery, and offered to make the declarants available for deposition and to extend the transfer proceedings for a “reasonable” amount of time.
In the latest episode of IP Practice Vlogs, we will explore design patents, which protect the ornamental features of a functional item. Apple’s AirPods are functional but have a distinctive look that is identifying of its brand and maker, making them a great subject. The first thing you do when patenting anything, including a design, is to decide the scope of your claim. In design patents, your scope is determined by what you claim, what you show and what you describe. Claimed features are depicted by solid lines. Dashed lines depict unclaimed features that provide environmental context for your claimed features that are in solid lines.
“For 200 years, the world was getting along just fine without a policy statement on SEPs [standard essential patents],” said Andrei Iancu earlier this week at Patent Litigation Masters™ 2022, discussing Biden Administration attempts to revisit the 2019 SEP policy agreement among the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Department of Justice (DOJ). “Standard essential patents are patents too… the regular rule of law should apply.” Iancu, former USPTO Director, and current partner at Irell & Manella, went on to say that the real goal of those constantly chipping away at patent rights is simple: “Weaken patents so that the big entities can have freer reign to get bigger, to infringe patents in a less encumbered way.”
On February 22, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California’s dismissal of a copyright suit filed against Apple Inc. and other defendants explaining that dismissal was improper at the pleading stage because reasonable minds could differ on the issue of substantial similarity. The suit was brought by Francesca Gregorini—writer, director, and producer of the film The Truth About Emanuel. She claimed that the first three episodes of Defendants’ AppleTV+ series, Servant, infringed her copyright. In May 2020, U.S. District Judge Walters dismissed Gregorini’s complaint on the ground that the works were not substantially similar as a matter of law. Gregorini appealed to the Ninth Circuit.
Last summer, I lamented how the Department of Justice – Antitrust Division (DOJ), without Senate confirmed leadership, was hastily pushing through policies that augmented the already-enormous power of Big Tech and benefitted China’s interests. Similarly, I uncovered how the App Association, a Big Tech-funded advocacy organization masquerading as a group of small app developers, was able to trick the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) into inviting it to speak at its July 2021 Commission meeting alongside legitimate small businesses. This is the same association that supported Apple in its litigation against (real) app developers, issued a June 2021 press release against the House bills aimed at regulating Big Tech, and misses no opportunity to support Big Tech interests.
Charles Bertini, owner of the trademark APPLE JAZZ, has filed a Request for Reconsideration of a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) Order suspending his Petition to Cancel Apple’s registration of the mark APPLE for entertainment services. Bertini also filed a motion in October of last year with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) requesting that he be allowed to present evidence not of record to demonstrate that bias at the TTAB may have had a negative impact on his opposition against Apple, Inc.’s federal registration for “Apple Music”.
In its second appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) regarding the sealing of documents in several related cases against Apple, Uniloc scored a win when the CAFC said today that the United States District Court for the Northern District of California failed to comply with its original remand instructions, constituting an abuse of discretion. The appellate court for a second time ordered the district court “to make particularized determinations as to whether the third-party licensing information sought to be sealed should be made public.”
On February 4, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded a patent infringement decision of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California that had awarded WiLAN, Inc. $85.23 million in damages from Apple Inc. Wi-LAN is the owner of two patents related to allocating bandwidth in a wireless communication system, U.S. Patent Nos. 8,457,145 (the ‘145 patent) and 8,537,757 (the ‘757 patent). In May 2014, Apple sued Wi-LAN in the Southern District of California seeking a declaratory judgment of non-infringement and invalidity for all claims of the ‘757 and ‘145 patents. Wi-LAN counterclaimed, asserting that certain Apple devices, including certain iPhone 5 and 6 models infringed claim 1 of the ‘757 patent and claims 9, 26, and 27 of the ‘145 patent based on their use of its Long-Term Evolution (LTE) wireless communication standard. Wi-LAN argued that the technology in the two patents at issue enabled Voice over Loong-Term Evolution (VoLTE), which enables voice call service over a 4G LTE network.
On February 4, in a mixed precedential decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed, vacated, and remanded in part a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in a patent infringement suit filed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) against Broadcom Limited, Broadcom Corporation, and Avago Technologies (collectively “Broadcom) and Apple Inc. The suit was related to Caltech’s U.S. Patent 7,116,710 (‘710 patent), U.S. Patent 7,421,032 (‘032 patent), and U.S. Patent 7,916,781 (‘781 patent). The CAFC affirmed the district court’s denial of judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) on infringement because the jury’s verdict of infringement of the declared claims of the ‘710 and ‘032 patents was supported by substantial evidence and the district court’s construction of the claim limitation “repeat” was not erroneous.
On January 19, Qualcomm filed a brief in opposition to Apple’s petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing Apple failed to make the requisite evidentiary showing to obtain Article III standing. In 2017, Qualcomm filed suit against Apple, alleging Apple’s mobile devices infringed five of its patents, two of which are at issue here, U.S. Patent No. 7,844,037 (the ‘037 patent) and U.S. Patent No. 8,683,362 (the ‘362 patent). Apple counterclaimed, urging the court to invalidate those five patents. Additionally, Apple filed a simultaneous challenge to two of the patents through inter partes reviews (IPRs).