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Strategic Considerations for Obtaining a Foreign Filing License in China

April 27, 2020 | Blog | By Christina Sperry, Mark Hammond

As more U.S. businesses employ inventors abroad, the need for foreign filing licenses increases, especially if patent rights are first sought domestically.  Obtaining foreign filing licenses may present financial and linguistic obstacles, potentially jeopardizing the priority date of your application or patent rights within the foreign country. 
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Federal Circuit Finds IPRs Can Circumvent Assignor Estoppel

April 27, 2020 | Blog | By Daniel Weinger, Vincent Ferraro, Kara E. Grogan

On Wednesday, the Federal Circuit held that while assignor estoppel is applicable in district court proceedings, petitions for inter partes review continue to not be subject to the equitable remedy.  Assignor estoppel is an equitable doctrine based on the principle of fair dealing that prevents a party who divests a patent from later challenging the validity of that patent.
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How the CARES Act Affects Patent Related Deadlines

April 27, 2020 | Blog | By Lisa Adams, Nicholas Eadie

In accordance with the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, the USPTO has extended some patent-related deadlines.
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SCOTUS holds that PTAB Time-Bar Determinations are Not Reviewable on Appeal

April 22, 2020 | Blog | By Michael Newman, Serge Subach, Rithika Kulathila

On Monday, in Thryv, Inc. v. Click-to-Cal Technologies, the Supreme Court held that § 315(b) time-bar determinations are not subject to judicial review. In this 7-2 decision penned by Justice Ginsburg, with Justices Gorsuch and Sotomayor dissenting, the Court determined that time-bar determinations are unreviewable because they are “closely tied” to the Director’s decision to institute an inter partes review (IPR).
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Last week, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) designated a January 24, 2020 decision, finding objective indicia of nonobviousness, such as evidence of long-felt need and industry praise, saved a patent owner’s amended claims from invalidation, as precedential.
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Informative Whirlpool Decision Reaffirms Importance of Secondary Considerations

April 21, 2020 | Blog | By Brad M Scheller, Courtney Herndon

Recently on April 14, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) designated Ex parte Whirlpool Corp., Appeal 2013-008232 (Oct. 30, 2013) “Informative”.  In Whirlpool, the Board reversed the Examiner’s obviousness rejection of claims 1, 4, 6, and 8 of U.S. Patent No. 6,082,130 (“the ’130 patent”), finding that the Patent Owner, Whirlpool Corporation, established a nexus between its objective evidence of non-obviousness and the claimed invention. 
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The coronavirus pandemic has created profound changes to how many Americans do their work, with an outsized number now working from home. This arrangement, while necessary given social distancing requirements and the stay-at-home advisories in many states, has created a marked increase to the threat of trade secret misappropriation.
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Attorney Fees Denied by Federal Circuit Where Case Was Voluntarily Dismissed Without Prejudice

April 16, 2020 | Blog | By Daniel Weinger, Vincent Ferraro, Meena Seralathan

In an April 13, 2020, decision, the Federal Circuit held that neither a voluntary dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(i), nor a stay of a patent lawsuit pending the results of a patent reexamination, constitute a final judicial decision for the purposes of recovery of legal fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285. 
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The Federal Circuit recently held in a precedential ruling that a “color mark” comprising a multiple-color pattern is capable of being inherently distinctive and of registration on the Principal Register, so long as it appears on product packaging rather than on a product itself.
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The Precedential Opinion Panel (“POP”) of the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) recently rejected a rehearing request from a petitioner where institution was denied because of the likelihood that a district court trial would occur prior to a final written decision. 
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On Thursday, the Federal Circuit ruled that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) must give the parties proper notice if considering a sua sponte theory of unpatentability in relation to a motion to amend.
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Celgene v. Sun Pharma Global: Satisfying Subject Matter Jurisdiction Under § 271(e)(2)

April 13, 2020 | Blog | By Adam Samansky, Peter Cuomo, Joe Rutkowski

On April 6, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, in Celgene Corp. v. Sun Pharma Global FZE, No. 19-cv-10099, denied Sun’s motion to dismiss Celgene’s claims that Sun’s generic Revlimid® (lenalidomide) Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) product infringes three patents not listed in the Orange Book for Revlimid® and for which Sun did not make any Paragraph IV certifications.
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Trademark due diligence is the process of analyzing information concerning a company's trademark portfolio and assessing the risks, exposures, and benefits associated with a proposed transaction. In an acquisition, both the buyer and the seller need to ensure that they each are fully informed as to the status of the trademarks at issue.
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How to Maintain Your Trademark Rights When Your Business is Closed

April 8, 2020 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

Trademark rights in the US are based on use of a mark not on registration. Failure to use your mark on a product or to offer a service to the public can result in an abandonment of your trademark rights and an inability to maintain an existing registration.
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On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) designated two inter partes review (“IPR”) decisions as precedential and one as informative. These decisions concern PTAB’s discretion to deny institution of an IPR under 35 U.S.C. § 325(d) and 314(a). 
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Adding Initials to a Surname Does Not Necessarily Create a Protected Trademark

March 26, 2020 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller, Harold Laidlaw

In a recent precedential decision, the TTAB held that the addition of one initial —or possibly even more than one initial—in front of a surname does not necessarily create the impression of a personal name. Rather, the Board held that a surname plus one or more initials may remain “primarily a surname” and, as such, cannot be registered on the Principal Register without proof of acquired distinctiveness.
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Adding another layer of complexity to sensitively marketing in the COVID-19 environment, YouTube announced on March 11 that it will permit certain creators to monetize (i.e., enable ads on) content relating to coronavirus.  Companies and brands should review their approach in this pandemic, including refining YouTube content exclusion parameters and policing their ad environments, if they do not wish to risk association with potentially undesirable videos. 
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Federal Circuit Denies En Banc Rehearing of Panel Decision in Arthrex, Which Held PTAB Appointments Were Unconstitutional

March 25, 2020 | Blog | By Daniel Weinger, Michael Newman, Vincent Ferraro, Matthew Galica

This week the en banc Federal Circuit declined to revisit a panel ruling that found the appointment of Administrative Patent Judges (“APJs”) of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) violates the Appointments Clause of the Constitution.  This decision is notable for at least two reasons. First, it declined to review or disturb the panel’s conclusion and its remedy—vacatur and remand of PTAB decisions made by unconstitutionally appointed APJs. Second, four of the Federal Circuit judges dissented, disagreeing with the panel’s finding and saying that its corresponding remedy improperly rewrites the statute contrary to Congressional intent.
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2nd Circuit Affirms 5Pointz Whitewashing Violated Visual Artists Rights Act

March 25, 2020 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller, Harold Laidlaw

The Second Circuit recently affirmed that a developer’s whitewashing of street art painted at the “5Pointz” warehouse complex in Long Island City was a violation of the Visual Artists Rights Act (“VARA,” codified at 17 U.S.C. § 106A).
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Earlier this month, a Northern District of Illinois jury returned a verdict in favor of Motorola for over $700 million after a trial in which Motorola alleged that Hytera hired three engineers away from Motorola’s Malaysian office, and that those engineers stole and brought with them thousands of Motorola’s trade secret technical documents that Hytera used to develop a state-of-the-art digital radio that was functionally indistinguishable from Motorola’s.
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