On September 3, 2010, IHOP IP, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, the owner of various IHOP registered trademarks in the United States, sued the International House of Prayer alleging various trademark infringement theories, including dilution. According to the amended complaint, which was filed on September 9, 2010, the first International House of Pancakes restaurant opened in Toluca Lake, California in 1958 and in 1960 the company began to expand through franchising. The plaintiff claims to have formally adopted the acronym “IHOP” for marketing purposes in 1973. In 1992 the company opened its 500th IHOP restaurant and in 1993 sales per IHOP restaurant exceeded $1 million. The defendant International House of Prayer is alleged to be misappropriating the fame and notoriety of their household name IHOP to help promote their religious organization, which they probably are actually doing in reality.
CHICAGO (9/29/2010) — Never before have innovation and the business of intellectual property (IP) commercialization and licensing been more heavily relied upon to spur new business than in today’s sagging global economy. With this in mind, the Licensing Executives Society (USA & Canada), Inc., today honored companies in five industry sectors with the prestigious Deals of Distinction™ Awards for outstanding IP-based business deals undertaken in the past year.
Now in their 6th year, the Deals of Distinction™ Awards are presented to the best deals in the Chemicals, Energy, Environment and Materials Sector (CEEM); High Tech Sector; Industry-University-Government Interface (IUGI) Sector; Life Sciences Sector; and Consumer Products Sector. Here are the 2010 winners:
On Friday, September 17, 2010, I had the opportunity to chat with Professor Mark Lemley, who is the William H. Neukom Professor at Stanford Law School and partner in the San Francisco law firm Durie Tangri LLP. Lemley is well known both in the academic community and the practice community. In fact, he is one of only a select few that have managed to simultaneously have a stellar career both in academia and in private practice. I chat with Lemley via e-mail from time to time on various matters, and we have talked about an interview for some time. Then a draft of a amicus brief Lemly filed today with the United States Supreme Court arrived in my inbox and I knew this was the issue that would make for an excellent interview. Lemley is leading the charge for 36 law, business and economics professors who are asking the Supreme Court to review i4i v. Microsoft and address the presumption of validity enjoyed by an issued patent. Lemley et al would tie the presumption of validity to those references considered by the patent examiner during prosecution.
I am in New York City for the next few days for the PLI Patent Bar Review Course. John White and I traveled up from Virginia together yesterday and we did what we so often do — talk patents. A fun life we lead no doubt, but someone has to do it! In any event, increasingly as we were talking about things we have heard from attorneys, retired patent examiners we know and frustrated clients, something that has been occurring to me with more frequency came to mind once again. Is it time for us to seriously consider privatizing the United States Patent Office, or at least turning it into a quasi-governmental body that has autonomy to run as it sees fit? I think the answer is a resounding yes. This is a discussion long over due and I tend to think that objectively reasonable minds at the end of the discussion will come to the conclusion that a Patent Office controlled by Congress has little or no chance of ever fulfilling its Constitutional responsibility again.
In this edition of News, Notes & Announcements, the USPTO announces it has signed an agreement with the Russian Patent Office to act as an International Searching Authority; the USPTO announces expansion of the Patent Prosecution Highway; PLI’s Patent Litigation 2010 starts next week and will travel across the US with stops in Virginia, Atlanta, Chicago and New York; BIO is hosting a Technology Transfer Symposium next week in San Francisco; Howard University will hold an IP Empowerment Summit on November 5, 2010, aimed at trying to help indigent inventors — USPTO Director David Kappos will participate; and BackWeb Technologies sues two computer giants — IBM and HP — on patents covering methods for transmitting information between a remote network and a local computer.
Everyone thinks they have a great idea when they file a patent application. Some applications, however, are more speculative that others. We propose that the rate at which patent applications are abandoned is a reliable measure of just how speculative a given portfolio of applications is. We also propose that breakthrough inventions are more likely to be found in portfolios with high abandonment rates than in less speculative portfolios with lower abandonment rates. We support these propositions with data from PAIR.
The State of Washington has just entered into an Assurance of Discontinuance with LegalZoom relating to charges that LegalZoom is engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. The Attorney General of the State of Washington initiated an investigation into the business practices of LegalZoom, who offers certain legal forms over the Internet to consumers throughout the United States and including the State of Washington. As a result of this investigation LegalZoom offered and the Attorney General accepted an Assurance of Discontinuance. The Assurance of Discontinuance is not considered a finding of fact or admission of any violation or the commission of any particular act, but the failure to comply with the Assurance of Discontinuance would constitute prima facie evidence of such violations. Notwithstanding the unauthorized practice of law charges, LegalZoom was also investigated for turning over sensitive, privately identifying personal and financial information to third parties.
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