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The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has been a consistent punching bag for the Supreme Court over the past ten or so years.  The high court has repeatedly reversed the Federal Circuit in key decisions such as Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 573 U.S. 208 (2014) (patentable subject matter), TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, (venue in patent infringement cases), SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC
Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Matal v. Tam, 15-1293 (June 19, 2017), that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prevents the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) from declining to register trademarks deemed offensive or disparaging.  While the decision concerned the PTO’s rejection of an application to register the name of the Portland-based band The Slants, the decision signals that the Washington Redskins’ controversial quest to maintain its name as a…
On May 30, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court continued its recent string of decisions reversing Federal Circuit holdings on fundamental issues of patent law.  Taking on patent exhaustion in Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark Int’l, Inc., No. 15-1189, the Court unanimously held that that “a patentee’s decision to sell a product exhausts all of its patent rights in that item, regardless of any restrictions the patentee purports to impose or the location of the…
Earlier today (May 22, 2017), the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that venue for patent infringement suits against U.S. companies is limited to the company’s state of incorporation or where the company has a “regular and established place of business.”  The Supreme Court’s decision—TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, Case No. 16-341—dramatically reshapes the patent litigation landscape.  For many years, venue has been deemed proper over a U.S. company wherever an…
Yesterday, the Supreme Court reversed the Federal Circuit’s en banc decision in SCA Hygiene Prods. v. First Quality Baby Prods., 807 F.3d 1311 (Fed. Cir. 2015) (en banc), and effectively abolished laches (unreasonable, prejudicial delay) as a defense to patent infringement claims or damages.  The Court’s decision does not disturb the Federal Circuit’s additional holding that laches can bar equitable relief in patent cases. The Federal Circuit decision had held that laches could be used…
Given the large cluster of technology companies in Silicon Valley, the Northern District of California has long been a top venue for patent infringement litigation. In December 2000, that court adopted its Patent Local Rules, mandating early disclosure by the parties of their infringement and invalidity contentions followed by the orderly identification of claim terms and phrases requiring construction by the court, providing a relatively early claim construction proceeding (i.e., Markman hearing), and dictating the…
The Defend Trade Secrets Act was signed into law on May 11, 2016.  It creates the first-ever federal civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation.  We have prepared an article on the Act.  The article distills the DTSA’s most important aspects – and omissions – into a distinct set of takeaways of practical use to readers.  Please click here to read the article. For more information on the DTSA, or any aspect of trade secret…
President Barack Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) into law yesterday, May 11, 2016. As we previously reported, the Senate unanimously passed the bill on April 4, and the House overwhelmingly passed it on April 27. The President has long supported the legislation to bring greater harmonization to trade secrets enforcement, following an extended bipartisan effort to create a new federal system of trade secrets that commenced in 2012. The DTSA creates…
On April 27, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Defend Trade Secrets Act, S. 1890, by a vote of 410-2.  The Senate approved an identical bill 87-0 on April 4, 2016.  President Obama is expected to sign the DTSA into law in short order.  Once effective, the DTSA will create a federal, civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation for any act that “occurs on or after the date of the enactment”…
Following President Obama’s December 2014 announcement of a relaxed policy towards Cuba, many companies await the opening up of the Cuban market. Some steps can be taken now to protect a company’s valuable trademarks and other IP in Cuba. An exception to the long-standing US embargo on trade with Cuba permits US companies to file for and obtain trademark registrations in Cuba. US companies should consider taking immediate action to protect their trademark rights in…