It can sometimes be difficult to determine whether or not a certain term in a claim will be considered a means-plus-function claim element when the term is not in the typical “means for” format. The Federal Circuit recently provided some guidance related to making this determination in EnOcean GMBH v. Face Int’l Corp., where the term “receiver” was ruled to not constitute a means-plus-function claim element.
Once you’ve checked off the five “Cs” and decided on the trademark you want to protect as part of building your brand, you next must decide where you want to file for protection. You see, even though Thomas Friedman has been driving the globalization “Lexus” since before the 21st century, and the reaches of the geography-obliterating, all-encompassing Internet and Mother Web connects Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, trademark rights themselves remain territorial. A single trademark application will not provide global property rights. This fourth article of Nutter’s branding series explores a trademark applicant’s various options regarding where to file a trademark application.
In the recent case of Medtronic v. Mirowski, the Supreme Court held that “when a licensee seeks a declaratory judgment against a patentee to establish that there is no infringement, the burden of proving infringement remains with the patentee.” This decision extends the Court’s MedImmune ruling, which allows licensees to challenge the validity and/or infringement of a patent without repudiating the underlying license.
Importance of design patent applications is steadily increasing. Design patents have traditionally been considered not a particularly strong intellectual property (IP) protection tool. In its 2008 en banc decision in Egyptian Goddess v. Swisa, the Federal Circuit brought some clarity into determining design patent infringement by holding that that the ordinary observer test, in view of prior art, was the “sole test” for determining infringement. Additionally, the jury award of $290 million to Apple in the familiar Apple v. Samsung battle involving alleged infringement by Samsung of Apple’s iPhone design patents further increased public interest in the role of design patents in IP protection. In view of these decisions, and the relative ease and low cost of obtaining design patents, design patents have been gaining popularity among large and small companies alike.
The Federal Circuit’s recent decision in Medtronic v. Edwards Lifesciences highlights the importance of maintaining accurate priority claims in patent applications, particularly those with multiple generations of priority.
On March 4, 2014, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published the long-awaited Guidance For Determining Subject Matter Eligibility Of Claims Reciting Or Involving Laws of Nature, Natural Phenomena, & Natural Products. The Guidance implements new examination procedures to address the recent Supreme Court decisions in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics (holding that isolated natural DNA sequences are not patent eligible) and Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories (holding that application of a law of nature, using only known steps, is not patent eligible). Since those decisions issued in June 2013 and March 2012, respectively, the patent community has eagerly anticipated the USPTO guidelines.
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.