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
Changes in patent law have made patent infringement cases more favorable to defendants.
…First, the America Invents Act (AIA) makes post-grant review proceedings available to challenge the validity of patents at a fraction of what it would cost to defend an infringement action in federal court. While a challenger must pay a significant fee to institute IPR proceedings (up to $30,000), post-grant review proceedings are fast and generally required to be completed within one year of commencement. Moreover, unlike conventional reexaminations, post-grant review can be sought on any grounds that can
Last May, 2016, President Obama signed into law the long-awaited Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) which creates a federal private right of action for trade secret misappropriation claims. Historically, while certain federal protections existed previously in the Economic Espionage Act of 1996, trade secret cases were required to be brought in the various state courts where laws and procedures vary widely. The DTSA is intended to supplement, not preempt, state laws.
The DTSA’s definition of “trade secret” includes all forms and types of information that (1) derives independent economic value from
According to recent statistics, the number of trade secret cases in U.S. federal courts doubled between 1988 and 1995, doubled again between 1995 and 2004 and is projected to double again by 2017. Hacking, as well as the use of email, thumb drives and external storage devices, are all means by which confidential information can be stolen. No business can ever be 100 percent safe, but companies can and should take several steps to protect their trade secrets from misappropriation.
1. Companies must identify and label confidential information. Confidentiality legends should