San Diego IP Law Group co-founder and patent attorney Trevor Coddington, Ph.D., presented “Intellectual Property Law for Startups,” to seminar participants at the Biomimicry Institute’s Accelerator Boot Camp that took place September 12 – 15, 2018, at the University of Montana in Missoula. The Biomimicry Accelerator Boot Camp, which is part an annual Biomimicry Global Design Challenge (BGDC), is an invitational program created to assist competing teams to move from conceptual design to real-world implementation. The BGDC invites inventors to address critical sustainability and environmental issues with nature-inspired solutions, and
Trade secrets can be key to giving businesses an edge in their fields. Confidential techniques, formulas, recipes, and business practices, among other forms of commercially valuable information, can be kept as trade secrets. Keeping such information secret from competitors makes it valuable, and legislation such as the federal Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) and Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) helps business owners protect against the misappropriation of proprietary information.
A case brought against Google, Inc. in October of last year, Attia et al. v. Google LLC et al., Case No. 5:17-cv-06037
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has an interesting history of what might informally be called non-patent patents. That is, legal provisions, or grants, that protect patentable subject matter, but with important limitations as compared to the exclusive rights afforded in a regular U.S. letters patent.
One such non-patent patent is the long-defunct patent caveat, instituted by the U.S. Patent Act of 1836. A caveat was a legal document similar to a patent application with a description of any “new art, machine, or improvement thereof” (U.S. Patent Act of
Self-published romance author Faleena Hopkins recently filed a lawsuit (Hop Hop Productions, Inc. et al v. Kneupper et al.) against parties who she claims infringed on her registered trademark (U.S. Trademark No. 54/478,36) of the word “cocky” in her book titles, which include Cocky Roomie and Cocky Heart Surgeon. Obtaining a trademark registration for such a common word has caused controversy throughout online literary communities. Because many self-published authors have limited funds, being required to revise all marketing materials can be devastating, and “cocky” in particular is commonly used in
Copyright law protects original works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Poetry, plays, movies, songs and software are examples of created works that can be protected by copyright. The U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to create copyright law under Article I, § 8, cl. 8, and copyright law in the United States is governed by the Copyright Act of 1976. Like other forms of intellectual property protection—trademarks, patents, trade secrets—copyright protects the creator’s tangible manifestations and expression of ideas by according exclusive legal rights
The Supreme Court ruled in Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, et al., deciding that inter partes review, which authorizes the United States Patent and Trademark Office to reconsider and cancel an already-issued patent claim, under 35 U. S. C. §§ 311–319, does not violate Article III or the Seventh Amendment of the Constitution. The Court considers patents to be a “public right” and, consequently, reviewing and/or revoking patents by way of administrative courts in the inter partes review system is a valid exercise of Congressional
In 1980, genetically altered living organisms were deemed eligible for patent protection as the result of a Supreme Court ruling in Diamond v. Chakrabarty, 447 U.S. 303, 206 USPQ 193 (1980), which held that a human-made microorganism (bacterium capable of breaking down crude oil) was patentable as a “manufacture” or “composite of matter.” Prior, such subject matter was excluded from patent protection, included with items exempted by statutory prohibition or judicial interpretation, including products of nature and laws of nature. However, the Court ruled a live, human-made micro-organism is patentable subject
Private companies that are not associated with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or San Diego IP Law Group LLP abscond trademark application and registration information from publicly available USPTO databases in order to mail or e-mail deceptive trademark-related solicitations directly to trademark owners. Such solicitations include offers for legal services, trademark monitoring services, recording trademarks with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and registration of trademarks in a private registry.
Such solicitations are scams! Unscrupulous companies use names and designs that resemble the USPTO name, including, for example, one
The Leahy–Smith America Invents Act (AIA), passed by Congress September, 16, 2011, introduced noteworthy amendments to the existing United States patent system, including transitioning from first-to-invent to first-to-file priority; assignee filing; prohibiting patents for human organisms; creating a new definition of prior art under § 102; and introducing and changing several post-grant review proceedings.
While the Act has been met with cheers by those who tout its passage—it makes prosecuting patents more efficient, purportedly reduces patent litigation and keeps the United States technologically competitive—it has also been met by others with concern,
The 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang are upon us. From February 8 to 25, spectators around the globe will attend, watch and follow the world’s best-of-the-best athletes as they compete in the Republic of South Korea. Not only will spectators view elite athletes battle for gold, we will view on television, in print and online what some consider the most recognized trademark in the world: the Olympic rings.
The well-known Olympic rings, five interlocking circles of differing colors, are symbolic of “five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout