Last month, the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California ruled that the Federal Circuit’s somewhat bare pleading standard for direct patent infringement is no longer sufficient following recent amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which went into effect on December 1, 2015. The court ruled that the plausibility pleading standard under Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly and Ascroft v. Iqbal now applies to direct patent infringement claims.
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington held, in Recognicorp, LLC v. Nintendo Co. Ltd., et al, that claims to certain methods and systems for encoding/decoding image data are not patent-eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Recognicorp is an illustrative example of the use of preliminary motion practice to dispose of patent cases on the pleadings and of how software-based inventions that are premised on seemingly simple algorithms are particularly susceptible to early dismissal.
Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a decision in the case of Cyber Solutions International LLC v. Pro Marketing Sales, Inc. Although the decision blazes no new legal territory, the facts of the case and rulings offer important lessons for both lenders and licensees.
The decision recounts the start up efforts of an emerging company focused on cybersecurity technology. As the company grew, it obtained a secured loan from a lender. In return for the loan, the company granted the lender a first position lien on all company assets including intellectual property. As is typical in any secured financing, the lien extended not just to property then owned by the company but also to property subsequently acquired by the company. Pursuant to the loan arrangement, the company agreed to standard provisions such as a restriction on its ability to sell its assets outside of the ordinary course of business without the permission of the lender.
The blog post discusses how legal provisions, such as a simple confidentiality agreement, a consulting agreement or a multi-billion dollar license, are often a source of misunderstanding, confusion and frustration.
On December 22nd the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its sua sponte en banc In re Tam decision regarding the constitutionality of the “disparaging” marks bar under Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act. A Federal Circuit panel previously upheld a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the TTAB) decision affirming the refusal under the disparaging marks provision of Section 2(a) of a trademark application for the mark "THE SLANTS." Would a “substantial composite” of Asians find the phrase THE SLANTS disparaging? The answer was “yes”, as detailed in our earlier blog posting on this case. Judge Moore, writing for the Federal Circuit panel in initially affirming the appeal decision, however, raised the question as to whether the court should consider the constitutionality issues about the registration standard raised by Mr. Tam on an en banc basis. Her peers agreed to do so.
Maximizing the protection and value of intellectual property assets is often the cornerstone of a business's success and even survival. In this blog, Nutter's Intellectual Property attorneys provide news updates and practical tips in patent portfolio development, IP litigation, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and licensing.