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Buffett settles with alleged trademark infringer

Jimmy Buffett reached a settlement with a man he accused of selling merchandise that infringed his trademarks. The alleged infringer, Robert Akard, was selling Buffett-themed merchandise via his website. The judge in the case ordered Mr. Akard’s website shut down until the conclusion of the case and to disclose how much money he had made […]

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Supreme Court questions Federal Circuit’s obviousness test: is it “gobbledygook”?

In oral argument before the Supreme Court in KSR International Co. v. Teleflex, Inc., several Justices appeared uncomfortable with the Federal Circuit's "teaching-suggestion-motivation" (TSM) test for obviousness. Justice Scalia, in his typical direct style, characterized the TSM test at various times as "gobbledygook," "irrational," and "meaningless." Other Justices, including Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Breyer […]

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Supreme Court to hear key obviousness case today

This morning the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in KSR International Co. v. Teleflex, Inc., a potentially landmark case on the issue of obviousness in patent law. The case deals with adjustable automotive pedals in vehicles with electronic throttle controls. Teleflex sued KSR for infringement of patent no. 6,237,565. KSR asserted that the ‘565 […]

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Mattel sues makers of Bratz dolls for trade secret misappropriation

Mattel, the manufacturer of Barbie dolls, sued a former employee, Carter Bryant, for trade secret misappropriation in 2004. Now, Mattel is attempting to add MGA Entertainment, makers of the relatively new Bratz dolls, to the case. Mattel alleges that Mr. Bryant conceived of the Bratz doll design while working for Mattel, and therefore Mattel owns […]

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US Copyright office issues new exemptions from DMCA

Every three years, the United States Copyright Office seeks proposals for exemptions from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”). The DMCA was enacted in 1998. As part of the DMCA, it became unlawful to circumvent access control measures copyright holders used to secure their copyrighted works. For example, it is a violation of the DMCA […]

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Majority of Federal Circuit appears ready to reconsider claim construction standard of review

Today the Federal Circuit denied rehearing en banc in Amgen, Inc. v. Hoechst Marion Roussel, Inc., a case dealing with synthetic human erythropoietin, a protein that stimulates red blood cell production. In order to rehear a case en banc, a majority of active judges on the court must vote to rehear the case. There are […]

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Enablement standard for prior art less stringent than enablement standard for patents

The Federal Circuit, in Impax Laboratories, Inc. v. Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc., discussed the requirements for a prior art reference to be enabled, and thus anticipate a patent. Aventis is the owner of U.S. Patent No. 5,527,814, covering the use of the compound riluzole to treat ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Impax wanted to […]

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Washington Apple Commission takes on Chinese trademark office

The Washington Apple Commission has filed suit against the Chinese Trademark Review and Adjudication Board over its refusal to register a trademark. The mark at issue is shown below:This mark is registered in the United States, but in China, "well-known" geographical names cannot be used as trademarks unless there is also another meaning. The Apple […]

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Showing a strong Spine, the Federal Circuit addresses the Doctrine of Equivalents

In DuPuy Spin, Inc. v. Medtronic Sofamor Danek, Inc., the Federal Circuit concluded that the district court erred in granting summary judgment of non-infringement on Medtronics Vertex? model with regards to U.S. Patent No. 5,207,678 (the ‘678 patent). Additionally, the Federal Circuit concluded that the district court’s judgment of non-infringement for Medtronics bottom-loaded screw device […]

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Analysis of overall appearance determines whether patented design is dictated by function

In PHG Technologies, LLC v. St. John Companies, Inc., the Federal Circuit vacated the preliminary injunction of the district court finding St. John raised a substantial questions of validity of the two patents-at-issue. At issue were two design patents owned by PHG: the ‘405 and ‘197 patents. The ‘405 and ‘197 patents depend from a […]

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