Patent InfringementIn a 7-1 decision Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that laches cannot be a defense in many patent infringement cases. The Federal Circuit previously ruled that laches, which bar suits after unreasonable delays, prevented SCA Hygiene Products AB from suing their competitor First Quality Baby Products LLC. Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling in SCA Hygiene Products v. First Quality Baby Products rejects this, noting that since Congress has imposed a six-year limitation on damages in patent cases, laches cannot be used to shorten that period. The ruling is available to read here.

For more information, read our legal alert or contact Rudy Telscher or Sam Digirolamo.

 

footballThe New England Patriots football organization is a model of success and efficiency in pro football, winning five Super Bowls and appearing in two others in the past sixteen years. The team’s rosters are frequently composed of no-name role players and former stars willing to accept less salary for a chance to play for a championship.  They draft smartly, don’t overpay players and have managed to hold onto star quarterback Tom Brady.  In short, they demonstrate vision and planning to ensure success.

These traits apply to the team’s approach toward trademark protection as well. Two days after winning this year’s Super Bowl, the Patriots filed intent-to-use (“ITU”) trademark applications to register BLITZ FOR SIX and NO DAYS OFF for, among other things, clothing and entertainment services. The Patriots had not used the marks before; these are marks that the team intends to use in its quest for a sixth Super Bowl championship.

Continue Reading The Patriots Win at the Trademark Game Too

Patent GavelThe U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 Alice decision changed the landscape as to how software patents specifically are examined, but the Alice decision also has had broader implications for other technology art areas. 35 U.S.C. Section 101 – Patentable Subject Matter Rejections – have historically been unheard of, but after the Alice decision, Section 101 rejections are commonplace. Also, Alice has been used to invalidate many already issued computer and software patents for claiming abstract ideas, but recent Federal Circuit decisions have given patent owners and those prosecuting patent applications ways to make counter arguments. The pendulum appears to be at least beginning to swing in the opposite direction with three separate Federal Circuit decisions this year that appear to highlight what the court views as making computer related technologies patent eligible.

Continue Reading Recent Federal Circuit Decision Changes Landscape as to How Software Patents Are Examined

computer keyboardLast month this blog posted an article here outlining 5 Key Points when Purchasing Software. This article focuses on key points for the other side, the seller of the software, typically a developer or licensor. Although the seller/licensor typically provides its own form license, sometimes a purchaser will suggest using a different form or change the terms of the licensor’s agreement. Below are five important points to look out for, from the perspective of the licensor.

Continue Reading 5 Key Points When Licensing Your Software

toysRecently, I was at a technology fair with my young son and there were multiple desktop 3D printers that were on display and for sale. One display that caught my eye showed 16 printers stacked together with each one in a different stage of printing. Several of the printers were printing figures of dragons and dinosaurs. My son thought they looked like fun and asked for one for his birthday. I asked him what he would use it for and he said that he would want to print out dinosaur figures, action figures, ships from Star Wars® or missing Lego® pieces. He said that he could make his toys exactly how he wanted his toys to look.

This got me thinking and I wondered if he could actually do it, print toys and figures that are protected by copyrights. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just print that missing Monopoly® piece?

Continue Reading Toys On Demand? A Child’s Best Friend

Digital BusinessIn its Technology Vision 2016 report, Accenture predicts that 25% of the world’s economy will be digital by 2020.  The global consulting firm contends that we are witnessing a major technology revolution, specifically a digital revolution.  It’s a revolution of emerging “digital platforms” comprised of cloud services, artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, predictive analytics and intelligent automation.

These platforms transform and replace traditional business processes in areas such as finance & accounting, HR, marketing, procurement, supply chain and more.  To quickly leverage these digital solutions, companies increasingly look to outsource traditional in-house functions to third party providers in what are referred to as Business Process Outsouring (BPO) transactions.

Continue Reading Outsourcing, Offshoring: BPO Deals are Soaring!

Computer screensAlthough more companies are purchasing software nowadays, spending perhaps tens of thousands of dollars a year in this one area, they continue to fall into the familiar trap of immediately signing pre-printed or online “form’ license agreements designed to protect the vendor not the purchaser. Some of these “form” agreements are non-negotiable, but many can be modified upon request.  Here are five important points to address in most software agreements, from the perspective of the purchaser:

Continue Reading 5 Key Points When Purchasing Software

Court stepsThe Supreme Court has agreed to hear two cases with substantial repercussions for certain areas of copyright and patent practice.  Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc. may have a significant impact on how companies protect products with ornamental designs that are integrated with useful articles.  In the patent arena, SCA Hygiene Products v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC promises to influence patent litigation practices as it concerns whether prejudicial delay (“laches”) may be a defense to legal remedies in patent cases brought within the statute of limitations period.  Amicus briefs on these cases will be due starting in July. Continue Reading Amicus Briefs Due Soon in Supreme Court Copyright and Patent Cases

Infrigement of patents

A tactic sometimes used by a well-established competitor against a startup is to accuse the startup of patent infringement. Unless the startup has deep pockets, it cannot really afford to defend a patent lawsuit – an expense that often runs into the millions of dollars if the case goes to trial. The startup is fragile at this juncture, can be terrified about the prospect of a patent suit, and sometimes negotiates a settlement where the competitor receives rights to use the startup’s technology at less than fair value. Continue Reading Accused of Patent Infringement?

Many intellectual property disputes boil down to a few simple questions: who, what, and when?

    business team ipad

  • Who was there when a new technology was conceived, when was it made into reality and what did each person contribute?
  • Exactly what features were present in the new technology when it was patented or licensed? What features were covered by the patent or license?
  • What was the exact date a key innovative feature was conceived?

Finding the answers to these questions can be surprisingly tricky, especially if the questions are asked months or years after the events occurred. Being able to find the answers (and being able to produce the documentation that supports those answers) can be critical in determining the outcome of disputes about patents, licenses, trade secrets, and other efforts to commercialize your new technology.

Continue Reading Protecting Your New Technology: Keeping Track of “Who,” “What,” and “When”