Before you begin selling your products on a U.S. online marketplace like Amazon, Etsy or Rakuten, there are three intellectual property considerations to make: clearance, acquisition and enforcement. This article provides a summary of all three considerations and includes steps to take to help mitigate risk, decrease instances of infringers and position your product for success from a U.S. perspective.
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For the Patent and Trial Appeal Board (“PTAB”), the Administrative Patent Judges (“APJs”) are appointed by the Secretary of Commerce in consultation with the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. For an inter parties review of a patent, three APJs conduct the instituted review and determine if claims of a patent are unpatentable. Is the appointment of the APJs unconstitutional because it violates the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.? The answer was YES! until the court remedied the APJs to be inferior officers.
A recent decision of the Three-Member Court of Appeals of Komotini (Felonies Department), dated 19/11/2019, has been intensely debated by the national media as resulting to the first “real” prison sentence that has ever been imposed in our country to a website owner for illegally distributing copyright-protected content. Although the judgement has not been published yet, according to the media, the owner of the “pirate” websites “greekstars.net” and “greekstars.co”, has been sentenced to five years in prison for illegal distribution of audiovisual works, music, books, computer programs, and video games and has been led to prison immediately after hearing the verdict. Although the law also provides for a monetary penalty, this was withdrawn by the Judges due to mitigating circumstances.
Sending shockwaves across the collegiate landscape, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 206, the Fair Pay to Play Act (the Act) on September 30, 2019.
The Act takes aim squarely at the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) amateurism rules which prohibit student athletes from profiting from their athletic skill while in college and threatens to upend the fraught and controversial relationship between colleges and the athletes who represent them on the playing field.
A dispute concerning the screenplay for the 2016 Hollywood biographical comedy “Florence Foster Jenkins” (FFJ) – a film about a tone-deaf New York socialite who labours under the delusion that she is a talented opera singer – has this month produced a Court of Appeal decision centering on the parties’ own adjustment to reality. Apart from highlighting a perhaps lesser-considered pitfall of working with your other half, the judgment emphasises the practical difficulties of applying the test of joint authorship in English copyright law.
Th-Inking About The Law: Tattoos Leaving Indelible Marks On Black-Letter Principles & Coloring Our Perspectives
Tattoos, one of the oldest art forms in the world, are all over the legal news in recent years. The news runs the gamut from a tattooist suing a movie studio over replication of Mike Tyson’s facial tattoo in The Hangover II to artists looking to gaming companies for compensation for reproduction of tattoos appearing on video game avatars of professional athletes, which even made it into the Wall Street Journal and been the subject of court decisions earlier this year and late last year. Even more recently it has included a Larry Bird’s mural being altered, at his request, to remove tattoos an artist had added for a modernizing flourish. (BTW, speaking of murals, the Chuck Wepner mural I had written about has been painted over). It has also included law enforcement receiving criticism from many directions for “Photo-Shopping” tattoos out of pictures of suspects used in policy photo arrays. Just recently, Cardi B was sued for using a photo of a tattoo on her album cover. Though the examples above may most resonate with a US domestic audience, the copyright and other legal issues emerging from, and connected to, tattooing are being considered worldwide. Consequently, it seems like an area worth exploring here.
Sports and sports teams have a long history with intellectual property law and, more specifically, trademarks. Sports teams, colleges, and universities have long trademarked their names and logos, and have routinely and aggressively enforced those rights. In 1988 Pat Riley, then the head coach of the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Lakers, applied for a trademark on the term “three-peat” for shirts, jackets, and hats (U.S Reg. No. 1,552,980). Subsequently, others have attempted to trademark various terms, such as baseball player Manny Ramierz trademarking the phrase ‘Manny Being Manny’. In 2012, football player Robert Griffin III filed for seven trademarks: RGIII, RG3, Robert Griffin III, Unbelievably Believable, Go Catch Your Dream, Light You Up, Work Hard Stay Humble, No Pressure No Diamonds, and Dream Big Live Bigger.
Suppose that you have an invention disclosure for a design of an article that you want to protect? When you review the invention disclosure, you notice that the design is ornamental, for example a pattern, on an article such as a chair. You draft and file a design patent application on the pattern described as applied to a chair, but you do not include any drawings showing the pattern applied to the chair. Subsequently, you obtain the design patent and later find out that a third party is making baskets including the pattern. Can you enforce your design patent against the alleged infringer? The answer is NO because your design patent is limited in scope to a chair.
An indefinite patent description will pass muster when pigs fly. In HIP, Inc. v. Hormel Foods Corporation et al., C.A. 18-615-CFC (D. Del. June 24, 2019), the United States District Court for the District of Delaware held that a patent failed to meet the requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 112 that a patent’s description must not be indefinite. As a result, the Court held that U.S. Patent Number 9,510,610 (the “#610 patent”) was invalid.