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Archive for June, 2017

Do Not Try Attempt to ‘Trademark’ Covfefe

June 12th, 2017 Alexander No comments

On Wednesday, May 31st, at 12:06 a.m., President Donald Trump tweeted the following: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe”- and that was it. However, at 5:50 a.m., the tweet was deleted.

At 8:49 a.m., Kenneth L. Gallman applied at the USPTO to register “Covfefe Coffee” as a federal trademark, stating that he wants to use it to sell coffee.

Eight days after the tweet was posted, twenty-six “Covfefe” trademark applications had been filed. Some of these included clothing, beer, fragrance, and investment advice.

Trademark lawyers expected this to happen. These days, trending words from the news and pop culture are usually superseded by trademark applications. Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing, four applications had been filed for “Boston Strong.” Fifteen applications had been filed for “Nasty Woman”, the phrase Trump used to describe Hilary Clinton during a presidential debate, by the end of last year.

Mark H. Jaffe, a trademark attorney, stated that: “There’s this perception for certain people that this is somehow a money maker, this quote-unquote ‘trademarking it’. But that’s not exactly how it works.” The bulk of the rush-to-register applications are denied by the USPTO, resulting in a waste of time and money.

For more information see Law360.

Joanne Ludovici, a partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, said: “These types of trending phrase trademark filings are rarely productive uses of applicant resources because they rarely meet the requirements for federal registration.” In order to obtain a registration, the applicants must demonstrate a bona fide intent to use the term on a specific set of goods and services, which is something the majority of them lack. On top of this, the applicants must demonstrate that the term distinctively distinguishes the applicant as a source of goods.

An examiner stated that: “The public will not perceive the slogan as a trademark that identifies the source of applicant’s goods, but rather only as conveying an informational message: that the consumer or purchaser supports the ideas and messages conveyed by rallies and organizations dedicated to advancing women’s rights.”

For more information, see Law360.



IP Firms Changing Their Methods

June 5th, 2017 Alexander No comments

Intellectual property boutiques have acclimatized to increased prices and a deceleration in patent cases after two IP firms have closed down.

Professional state that several IP boutiques have effectively adjusted to the decrease in patent litigation after the passage of the American Invents Act in 2011. They have done this by instead focusing on USPTO proceedings developed by the government. For firms that specialize in patent prosecution, their method has been to cut rates by offering legal process outsourcing and alternative fee arrangements.

Fish & Richardson PC is the largest intellectual property boutique on the Law360 400. Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner LLP come in second, and Knobbe Marten Olson & Bear LLP at third. In 2016, Fish & Richardson increased its number of attorneys by more than six percent.

Kenyon & Kenyon was no longer on the list after it merged with Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP back in August.

While several intellectual property firms have gone out of business, others continue to expand.

PTAB

The 2011 American Invents Act developed new types of post-grant proceedings, offering a low-cost method for accused infringers and third parties to contest the validity of the patent at the USTPO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board. These reviews have increased up to more than 1,700 petitions a year. This has also caused a decrease in district court patent litigation because the cases are being put on hold for IPRs. Consequently, intellectual property firms have lost their ability to get district court work.

However, creative intellectual property boutiques have offered for IPR actions, placing themselves as go-to Patent Trial and Appeal Board attorneys. Ray, the Stern Kessler lawyer, stated that the enactment of the AIA offered an opportunity for lawyers who had some prior USPTO experience to become experts in the new proceedings.

Dealing with Price Demands

Clients are increasingly seeking to cut down on their intellectual property budget after the economic downturn in 2008. According to Ray, recent case law and legislation have also added to this by decreasing the value of the patent. Accused infringers are not likely to pay for a license or settle because now it is cheaper and easier to invalidate patents through an IPR or other post-grant proceeding at the USPTO. Patent holders view this as being more difficult to realize a profit when litigation is not likely to result in settlement or licensing fees. As a result, favorable prices are crucial for firms because companies are doubting the value of a patent portfolio and hoping to get that portfolio for a lower price. Alternative fee structures in addition to legal process outsourcing assists in increasing efficiency and decreasing costs.

Discovering Different Venues

Intellectual property firms are looking for new industries and venues in which they can develop.

The Supreme Court’s ruling in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Brand means that district court patent suits will change geographically very soon. Additionally, the U.S. International Trade Commission has become a more attractive venue for patent owners seeking to stop imports of infringing items. ITC cases are different from district court litigation in that they are not stayed for PTAB proceedings. This essentially means that companies are able to receive an order banning imports faster.

For more information, see Law360.