Prior to the U.S. Plant Patent Act in 1930, plants could not receive patent protection. Like other products of nature, such as minerals or microorganisms, plants were excluded by statute or judicial review, relegated to the philosophy of a heavenly, not human, creator. However, one horticulturalist named Luther Burbank, who is credited with producing more than 800 varieties of new plants, is thought to be the inspiration that led to the Plant Patent Act, which is now codified in 35 U.S.C. § 161. While Burbank was never awarded a plant
The First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause limits government control of private speech but does not limit government speech. Where courts draw the line as to whether a government issued document is private speech or government speech is not very clear. The decision on whether a government-issued document is government speech or private speech becomes even more difficult when there are policy considerations that weigh in favor of private speech. However, if such a government-issued document is found to be free speech, then this could invite speech found to be indecent
Starting as a collection of colony-specific patent councils, the patent system in the United States has evolved dramatically from its origins as a model of the 1624 English Statute of Monopolies and the Letters Patents system characteristic of 17th century England.
The U.S. Patent Act of 1790 was the first federal patent statute of the United States. This act vested the power to grant patents to the “Patent Board”; which consisted of the Secretary of State (who, at the time, was Thomas Jefferson); the Secretary of War (Henry Knox); and the Attorney
It wasn’t until 1990 that architectural plans and mock-ups were provided outright copyright protection under the U.S. 1976 Copyright Act. Prior, plans and models were protected only as graphic and sculptural works. In December 1990, Congress passed the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act and amended the 1976 Copyright Act to include protection for “architectural works,” which is the design of a building as embodied in any tangible medium of expression, including a building, architectural plans, or drawings. Structures other than buildings—bridges, tents, mobile homes, boats, dams—are not included. The work
In William Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, the character Juliet declares to her lover, Romeo,“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Juliet, of Capulet familial, asserts that it doesn’t matter that Romeo is a rival Montague. Not to quibble with young love and Shakespeare, but names do indeed matter, particularly in relation to trademarks.
A trademark or service mark is a symbol, word or words legally registered or established by use to represent a company or product. Ultimately, the strength
On May 22, 2017, the Supreme Court limited the location on which patent-infringement cases can be filed, affecting the so-called “forum shopping” available to patentees.
The patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), provides that “Any civil action for patent infringement may be brought in the judicial district where the defendant resides, or where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business.” In TC Heartland LLC, v. Kraft Food Brands Group LLC (2017), the Supreme Court was tasked with interpreting the scope of
There are seven proposals for patent reform currently in various stages of legislation. The Innovation Act currently before the House of Representatives includes some significant changes. Among other things, vague demand letters would be considered a fraudulent business practice unless the letter articulated how the accused product infringes the patent. In addition, the Act would raise the pleading requirements for patent cases and require plaintiffs to identify all accused products and describe how they infringe if such information is “reasonably accessible.” The Act also contains discovery limits and provides that
Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. Intellectual property law enables individuals to claim exclusive rights and financial gain from what they invent or create, which is a benefit to both creators and the public. With its foundation in human ingenuity, it should be no surprise that for the intellectual property professional, work days cannot be characterized as dull or boring. To state that another way, intellectual property law is unendingly interesting,
The Supplemental Register is the secondary register of trademarks maintained by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It was established to allow the domestic registration of trademarks that do not meet all the requirements for registration on the Principal Register, so that the holders of such a mark could register it in another country. This is necessary because under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, foreign registration is not permitted in the absence of domestic registration, and the trademark laws of countries outside the United States
Small technology companies often lack sufficient funds to enforce their valuable patents and other intellectual property rights. But one little-known solution is abatement insurance. An abatement policy, sometimes called an enforcement or pursuit policy, reimburses litigation expenses to enforce patents, trademarks and copyrights against alleged infringers.
Abatement policies frequently include a self-insured retention (SIR) limit akin to a deductible that the company must pay out-of-pocket before the policy kicks in. In addition, there is a co-insurance obligation, typically 10 to 25 percent of litigation costs. Policy terms typically range from one