IP News: The Maiden Voyage of the USS IP Watchy McDogface

By Steve Brachmann & Gene Quinn
January 11, 2017

The world of intellectual property is massive and it’s incredibly difficult to find the proper amount of time to explore patents for innovative technologies, trademarks which can indicate a company’s growing business interests, the litigation pursued by companies protecting their intellectual property and the goings-on in D.C. that will have major impacts on our country’s IP system. Without reneging on our commitment to in-depth coverage of the IP world, we wanted to add a new element to our coverage and today we’re introducing what we hope will become a regular news “roundup” of some of the more interesting and important headlines from the world of intellectual property. Something of a best of the rest that we haven’t written about in an in-depth way.

One interesting dilemma we’ve faced in developing this concept, however, is what we should name the new feature of our coverage. “Roundup” is a fairly staid holdover from Wild West themes, which have long been out of vogue. And every brainstorm we’ve had on the subject has failed to yield a suitable candidate for a neat title that fits the IPWatchdog motif all that well. The Chowdown was vetoed down. The Morning Walk might be good if we were attempting this every day, but for now this will be a once a week endeavor. Hump Day News & Notes was interesting, but we are IPWatchdog, not IPWatchCamel. Reshares & Developments just didn’t inspire anyone. These and other thoughts that we’ve been coming up with have been less than satisfactory, to say the least.

So we’d like to get our readership involved, if you feel so inclined to participate. It’s certainly true that the Internet has a habit of turning such efforts for audience engagement into major pranks. Examples of such Internet mutinies abound, such as journeyman enforcer John Scott being voted by fans to the 2016 NHL All-Star Game (of which he was voted MVP, by the way), or Britain’s federal government naming a research vessel after English naturalist Sir David Attenborough despite the Internet’s popular vote in favor of “Boaty McBoatface”. But we are cautiously optimistic that giving our readers some say in shaping this new aspect of our coverage will help us out in a productive way.

Feel free to send along any ideas in the comments below, and we’ll credit anyone whose idea we use (assuming you want credit). And we’re not afraid of jokes; we do have a sense of humor. We hope you enjoy this maiden voyage of the USS IP Watchy McDogface (so named to catch your attention more than anything and as an nod to the aforementioned Boaty McBoatface naming fiasco), and we pray that we have a better title for this feature by the time we run it again next week.

Without further ado… onto the news…

  • Amazon Invents the “Death Star” of Flying Warehouses – The top patenting companies receive dozens of patents each week from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and, every now and again, one of these goes viral in the media. One recent example is the “Death Star” blimp warehouse developed by Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN). Amazon received a U.S. patent last April protecting a “computer implemented method” which fulfills an order placed by a customer by navigating a drone towards an “aerial fulfillment center” (AFC) to pick up an item which is delivered within a metropolitan area. The AFC, which patent diagrams depict as being held aloft via blimp, could fly at altitudes of 45,000 feet, a full 5,000 feet above most commercial aircraft. Although the patent was issued a full nine months ago, the recent news comes courtesy of a CB Insights blog post on the subject. (Link to U.S. Patent No. 9305280, Airborne Fulfillment Center Utilizing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Item Delivery)
  • USITC Institutes Section 337 Investigation of Chinese LCD Tech Firms – On January 9th, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) voted to open a Section 337 investigation into liquid crystal eWriters and displays marketed in the U.S. by a pair of Chinese firms: Shenzhen Howshow Tech and Shenzhen SUNstone Tech. The investigation follows a Section 337 complaint for patent infringement filed by Kent Displays of Kent, OH, which seeks a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders. (Link to ITC announcement of Section 337 investigation into LCD displays)
  • Fed. Cir. Tells USPTO That “DOTBLOG” is Trademarkable – On January 4th, a judicial panel at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Fed. Cir.) overturned a decision by the USPTO to deny a trademark for the standard character “DOTBLOG” being sought by Driven Innovations Inc., which has been pursuing the mark since September 2006 to use “DOTBLOG” to provide specific information requested by customers via the Internet. USPTO denied the mark because it was descriptive and not suggestive. Fed. Cir. accepted Driven Innovations’ argument that the mark was suggestive and not merely descriptive because there was no instantaneous mental leap from “DOTBLOG” to the services proffered by Driven Innovations. (Link to Fed. Cir.’s decision dated January 4th)
  • Custom Code a Work for Hire, Copyright Infringement Dismissed – A Federal District Court in Boston recently ruled that defendant, Chicago-based trading company NFSx9, LLC, is not liable on copyright infringement claims asserted by Boston software company Sedosoft, Inc. In 2010, NFSx9 (and its predecessor) hired Sedosoft, Inc. to write custom computer code for a trading platform. The court found that Sedosoft had represented from the outset that the work on the custom code was a “work for hire.” Sedosoft delivered a zip file containing source code in September of 2012. In February 6, 2015, Sedosoft registered the same code at the Copyright Office and asserted a claim for copyright infringement.  The summary judgment decision held that Sedosoft is estopped from asserting copyright infringement claims because Sedosoft, expressly and by its conduct, permitted defendants to use the source code. NFSx9 is represented by Arthur A. Gasey & Oliver D. Yang of Niro Law, Ltd.


Do you have news that you think should go in next week’s IP Watchy McDogface (or whatever we end up naming our new project)? CLICK HERE to send us your news or press release. 

The Author

Steve Brachmann

Steve Brachmann is a writer located in Buffalo, New York. He has worked professionally as a freelancer for more than a decade. He has become a regular contributor to IPWatchdog.com, writing about technology, innovation and is the primary author of the Companies We Follow series. His work has been published by The Buffalo News, The Hamburg Sun, USAToday.com, Chron.com, Motley Fool and OpenLettersMonthly.com. Steve also provides website copy and documents for various business clients.

Steve Brachmann

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and founder of IPWatchdog.com. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and an attorney with Widerman Malek. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 6 Comments comments. Join the discussion.

  1. American Cowboy January 11, 2017 9:17 am

    Here are a few:

    Other Barks and Bites
    Walkin’ the Dog
    Off the leash
    Howling at the Moon

    and, of course, Barky McBarkface or Bitey McBiteface

  2. Gene Quinn January 11, 2017 10:28 am

    Thanks AC! I like a few of those! Keep them coming everyone.

  3. Steven Ross January 11, 2017 12:29 pm

    I’ve got it. How about . . .


  4. step back January 11, 2017 2:58 pm

    IP News Worth A Howl (IPN-WAH)

  5. A Rational Person January 11, 2017 3:33 pm

    IP News Shepherd
    IP Shepherd
    IP News Retriever
    IP Retriever
    IP Bloodhound

  6. Steve January 11, 2017 5:38 pm

    First, let me start by saying that this will soon prove to be an excellent (and well-read) addition to IPWatchdog.

    Next, here’s my naming ideas:

    (The) Weekly Watchdog or Watchdog Weekly

    (The) Watchdog Roundup

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