Posts in Holiday Posts

The Most (Potentially) Consequential ITC Decisions of 2021

This has been a year full of ups and downs, including at the International Trade Commisison (ITC). The ITC has stayed open for business, instituting a near-record number of investigations and holding hearings, albeit virtually. There have been a number of ITC decisions with interesting holdings, all of which have been covered well here and in other blogs. However, there have been a number of ITC-related happenings in 2021 which, though they received less coverage, may, like the proverbial butterfly, have important ramifications for years to come.

Five Key Patent Developments in Europe for 2021

As part of its review of 2021, IPWatchdog takes a look back on five patent stories from the past year in Europe, and highlights what further developments to expect in 2022. In 2021, Europe took a giant leap towards the implementation of the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC). After years of delays arising from disputes over rules and language, the U.K. signing up and then withdrawing, and constitutional objections filed in Germany, it now seems highly likely that the new system will launch in late 2022. The pivotal step in this process was the decision by Germany’s Federal Constitutional on July 9 to reject as inadmissible two applications seeking to prevent the country from ratifying the UPC Agreement. (BVerfG, Beschluss des Zweiten Senats vom 23. Juni 2021- 2 BvR 2216/20 -, Rn. 1-81.) Following the decision, reported on IPWatchdog here, Germany ratified the Protocol on the Provisional Application of the UPCA, and Slovenia also did so in October.

Trademarks in 2021: Recounting the Most High-Profile Trademark Developments of the Year

The past year has seen the implementation of brand-new trademark legislation, significant analysis of trademark liability for new technologies, renewed focus on the doctrine of initial interest confusion, the transformation of Nikes into “Satan Shoes,” the functionality of chocolate dipped cookies, and the end to a long-running case involving two multi-million dollar jury awards for willful infringement. As 2021 comes to an end, we look forward to what 2022 has in store.

What You Need to Know About Trade Secrets in 2021

Last year at this time we thought we had been through the worst of it and, with the new vaccines arriving, that life would return to normal in 2021. Hahaha, how naïve we were! But take heart; some things hold steady through the storm, such as the popular sport of trade secret litigation. Unlike most patent and copyright cases, every dispute is guaranteed to unfold as a morality play—a story of good guys and bad guys. Let’s now look back on the year when remote work dug in to become a permanent fixture, and remind ourselves of the broad sweep of trade secret law by looking at some of the more instructive and interesting opinions issued by the courts – and one inexplicable decision by our government.

Is Your Corporate IP Department a Trick or a Treat? Beware of Spooky Costume Choices

CEOs, general counsels, and other senior leaders in a corporation often take a hands-off approach to IP strategy and execution, heavily delegating these functions to in-house IP counsel and related team members. This isn’t surprising given the esoteric nature of many IP matters and the extraordinary demands on senior leaders coming from all corners. The trust placed in corporate IP departments may be substantial, carrying with it largely unfettered discretion to set the IP agenda. Unfortunately, those outside the IP field may feel ill-equipped to verify that such trust is well placed. The worst-case result may be misaligned IP and business strategies, enormous spend, and missed opportunities.

IP Goes Pop! Season 2 Ep #12: A Nightmare On Independence Ave.- IP Goes Pop Halloween Spooktacular

In this spooktacular episode of IP Goes Pop! treat yourself to the intellectual property (IP) of Halloween. From the disputes surrounding the iconic Halloween mask to the similarities, and important differences, between some people’s favorite friendly ghost, Casper, and the ghost in the Ghostbusters logo, who ya gonna call but IP Goes Pop hosts, and Volpe Koenig Shareholders, Michael Snyder and Joseph Gushue?

The Patents Keeping the Zombies at Bay

The fear of being buried alive, also known as Taphophobia, dates back centuries and reached a peak during the nineteenth century, when it was difficult to determine when death actually occurred. There have been many reported instances of individuals being buried alive; unfortunately, its often too late by the time the tragic mistake is discovered…. The fear of being buried alive led to many inventions that would help such an unfortunate person to escape, breathe or signal for help.

Celebrating U.S. Trademark Law: Happy 75 to the Lanham Act

As the United States today celebrates the 245th anniversary of its independence, the intellectual property (IP) community will tomorrow be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Lanham Act, which was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman on July 5, 1946. The Lanham Act was introduced by Fritz Garland Lanham, who was born in Weatherford, Texas in 1880. He was elected to Congress in 1919 and reelected 13 times before he retired in 1947, the year the Lanham Act was enacted. Lanham’s father was a lawyer and served as a Congressman as well as the 23rd governor of Texas.

Iancu Weighs in on IP Waiver, Critical Role of Patents for SMEs at World IP Day Event

“Property rights are not just good for the economy, they save lives”, Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform said, speaking at Innovating the Future: Celebrating 2021 World IP Day, sponsored by the Property Rights Alliance. Norquist would go on to conclude his brief opening remarks by lamenting, “the damage that would be done if some of the critics of intellectual property have their way.” Norquist was implicitly referring to an IP waiver proposal by South Africa and India, which would allow nations to ignore patent rights relating to COVID-19 related innovations, particularly vaccines. This waiver of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is a truly bad idea, and one addressed head on by Andrei Iancu, senior adviser to the Renewing America Innovation Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Survival Strategy: Supporting SMEs to Leverage IP for Growth in Uncertain Times – A Perspective from Ireland

World IP Day may not have fully captured the public imagination yet, but it is increasingly an important moment to reflect on a topic that impacts all of our lives in more ways than are widely recognized. In Ireland for example, like many other modern open economies, IP plays a significant role in how we participate in the global marketplace. In addition, it is the intrinsic intangible nature of IP that allows us to play a role that is many times greater than our relative size would seem to allow. For example, in 2019, the European Patent Office (EPO) and European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) jointly published a report on “Intellectual property rights intensive industries and economic performance in the European Union”. According to that report, IP rights (IPR) intensive industries account for 45% of GDP, on average, across the EU. In Ireland, however, the share attributed these industries was 65% of GDP—a good 20 points ahead of the next highest.

Open for Business: How Intellectual Property Supports Our Entrepreneurs

Starting a business is steeped with uncertainty, especially during a global pandemic. Small business owners are constantly running through the scenarios: Can I make payroll? Will I recoup my investment? Can I change my community for the better? There are plenty of systems at play that tell them, “No.” It’s too difficult to get a loan; the commercial real estate market is too competitive; advertising and marketing is too expensive. Even so, there’s one system that sings a resounding, “Yes!” That’s America’s intellectual property system.

Copyrights Help SMEs Bring Their Ideas to Market – Especially if They’re Registered

Discussion around intellectual property strategies for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) often focus chiefly on patent and trademarks. But the benefits of copyright to a small business should not be underestimated. Copyrights protect the expression of ideas in works that are tangible. Copyrightable subject matter is very broad—all “original works of authorship, fixed in a tangible medium” are protected immediately from creation. The U.S. Copyright Office lists these categories as subject to copyright protection: literary works, musical works, performing arts, visual arts, other digital content (including computer software code), motion pictures, photographs, sound recordings, and architectural works. 17 U.S.C. Section 102.

None of the Top 20 U.S. Business Schools Require Students Learn About IP to be Awarded an MBA

Students at prestigious universities in the United States are not required to take even a single intellectual property (IP) course to fulfill the requirements for a graduate business degree. Course offerings in 2021 remain elective at all of the elite management programs, and the coverage varies by school, department offering them and the background of the instructor. These and other findings about IP education at business schools are contained in a report compiled by the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU) that will be announced on Thursday at the 4th Intellectual Property Awareness Summit. The report, “Intellectual Property at Business Schools: An Evolving Landscape,” looks at the state of IP education at the top 20 U.S. programs, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, and comes away with decidedly mixed findings. While some 44 courses are offered by the leading programs, almost one-third offer a single elective course, and none are compulsory. This is particularly pertinent on World IP Day, the theme of which this year focuses on the importance of IP rights for small and medium businesses, and the problems that a lack of IP understanding can lead to.

World IP Day 2021 Roundup: Spotlight on SMEs in Commercializing Innovation and Creativity

Today is World Intellectual Property Day; the theme for the 21st annual celebration raising awareness for the role of various forms of IP in supporting strong economies is “IP & SMEs: Taking Your Ideas to Market.” Events all over the world are planned for this week to highlight the crucial role that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play in commercializing intellectual properties, using the protections afforded by IP to translate engineered improvements and creative expression from the minds of inventors into marketable products that are commercialized so the whole world can benefit and enjoy.

World IP Day 2021: Reflections During a Global Pandemic Year

Never more than in this past year has reflection and introspection been important to cope with the isolation and stress brought by a raging pandemic. As I look back at World IP Day last year, I immediately recognize how much we have learned and evolved since the beginning of this aggressive and deadly disease. In little more than a year, the outlook is significantly more positive: vaccines are being rolled out in vast quantities, their effect in curbing infections and deaths starts to be recognized, the economy is showing signs of recovery, schools are reopening and there is finally more optimism.