Ninth Circuit: No confusion likely between competing energy drinks, preliminary injunction vacated

In a decision today, the Ninth Circuit vacated a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit over the trade dress of two competing energy drinks. The court held the district court's conclusion that success was likely on the merits was clearly erroneous, largely because of the dissimilarity of the two trade dresses. Hansen produces the Monster line […]

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Federal Circuit: test for obviousness of structurally similar compounds is unchanged post-KSR

At the Federal Circuit, it appears that everything old is new again. In a case applying the new obviousness framework from KSR to structurally similar chemical compounds, the court affirmed a district court decision that claimed compounds would not have been obvious in light of the prior art. The court lauded the district court's "extensive […]

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Federal Circuit approves MPEP guidelines for written description rejections

The Federal Circuit addressed the standard applied by the USPTO for establishing a prima facie case of failure to meet the written description requirement in Hyatt v. Dudas today. The court found that compliance with MPEP § 2163.04(I)(B), by pointing out the nonexistence of support in the specification and identifying the claim limitation(s) at issue, […]

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“Attorney argument” and late disclosure not enough to support inequitable conduct finding

The Federal Circuit issued a ruling yesterday that provides some guidance on the issues of indefiniteness and inequitable conduct. The court held that the term "near" was sufficiently definite for identifying the location of an incision in veterinary surgery, because the meaning could be adduced from the intrinsic evidence. Further, the court held that as […]

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Federal Circuit reverses claim construction and noninfringement finding

In a claim construction appeal, the Federal Circuit found that the doctrine of claim differentiation, combined with statements made in a petition to make special, led to a broader claim construction than that offered by the district court. Also, there was no unequivocal disclaimer of the broader claim scope during prosecution of either the patent-in-suit […]

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Sixth Circuit affirms copyright infringement award against karaoke disc maker

In a decision today, the Sixth Circuit affirmed an award of $806,000 in statutory damages plus attorney fees in a copyright case. The case was brought by a copyright holder against a manufacturer of karaoke discs incorporating the compositions to which the plaintiffs held the copyright. The court upheld the award and finding of willful […]

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Federal Circuit: less distinctive portions of a mark still considered in likelihood of confusion

In a case decided today, the Federal Circuit reversed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board's denial of an opposition to registration of a trademark. Specifically, the court rejected the Board's finding that there was no likelihood of confusion because the Board improperly considered an element present in both marks a "weak component" of the competing […]

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Eleventh Circuit: copyright in compilations of used boat listings infringed

In a decision yesterday, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the finding of copyright infringement of a factual compilation, specifically a compilation of listings of used boats for sale. Most notably, the court held that the proper standard for infringement was the "substantially similar" test, rather than the "virtually identical" test sometimes used for factual compilations (most […]

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Attorney’s exclusion from USPTO practice based on ties to invention promotion firm affirmed

Unsuspecting inventors aren't the only ones hurt by fraudulent invention promotion firms. As a case decided today by the Federal Circuit shows, the attorneys they employ can also be harmed. Of course, in this case, the attorney isn't a very sympathetic figure. He was on the payroll of an invention promotion firm in the 1990s, […]

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Three groups meet with OMB to stop continuation rules from being implemented

In an effort to prevent the much–discussed impending rules changing continuation practice and the number of claims from being finalized, there were three meetings held regarding the proposed rules during May and June at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the office that must review and approve all regulations promulgated by federal agencies. It […]

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