Posts Tagged: "permanent injunction"

The Impact of Overturning eBay v. MercExchange

At a time when most policymakers rightly argue that China and other countries need to do more to clamp down on intellectual property infringement, overturning the four-factor eBay test would impose new hurdles and increase the PAE problem that Congress and the Supreme Court have fought to address over that last two decades. The risk that an implementer engages in “efficient infringement” has made the ITC an increasingly attractive forum, for at least some patent owners and notably not PAEs. ITC exclusion orders and cease and desist orders are the last vestige of the exclusivity promised to the right patent owners at the time they are granted a patent. Compared to proposed sections of the STRONGER Patents Act, the ITC strikes a balance between offering at least some patent owners the ability to prevent infringers from engaging in the never-ending game of “efficient infringement” while frustrating PAEs attempts to abuse the exclusionary remedies offered.  Congressional action should be reserved for a time when there is clear evidence that the eBay decision is harming U.S. businesses and those U.S. businesses are unable to obtain the relief they need at the ITC. At this time, there is no such evidence.

Monster Energy Appeals to Ninth Circuit Following District Court Denial of Injunction Against ISN

In the most recent development in a case between energy drink brand Monster Energy Company and maker of automotive tools Integrated Supply Network, LLC (ISN), the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on July 2 denied Monster’s request for a permanent injunction against ISN. Monster appealed on July 3 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and ISN cross-appealed on July 12. The district court found that Monster did not offer evidence demonstrating that ISN’s infringement had actually caused a loss of control over its business reputation leading to irreparable harm and loss of prospective customers. Additionally, the court reasoned that evidence regarding consumer confusion does not necessarily demonstrate irreparable harm. Even where ISN had not ceased infringing activity, Monster still had not proven irreparable harm as required to justify a permanent injunction, said the court.

Annie Sloan Wins Preliminary Injunction on Reverse Passing Off Claims Against Distributor

U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon of the Eastern District of Louisiana entered a preliminary injunction order against Jolie Home, LLC and other defendants accused of trademark infringement by Annie Sloan Interiors, the U.K.-based makers of Annie Sloan® Chalk Paint®. The preliminary injunction orders the defendants to cease their “reverse passing off” of Annie Sloan® products as Jolie Home products and their distribution of advertisements and labels for Jolie Home paints which claim to use the same formula as Annie Sloan® Chalk Paint® and used the trademarked phrase “chalk paint” in a non-fair use manner.

Fitness Anywhere win Enhanced Damages and Permanent Injunction as Infringement Continued Post Verdict

The order granted post-trial motions filed by Fitness Anywhere both for enhanced damages on the patent infringement findings as well as a permanent injunction against WOSS. Although it wasn’t likely that Fitness Anywhere would recoup the total enhanced patent damages of more than $11 million dollars from WOSS, having recently declared bankruptcy, Villeneuve noted that this decision set an important precedent for the company. Such a ruling was very important to TRX, which has lost sales and has had to layoff employees in California because of the actions of infringing parties. Villeneuve said that the single most important factor leading to the grant of permanent injunction was WOSS’ sale of infringing products after the jury verdict.

Eleventh Circuit Finds No Valid Copyright in Official Code of Georgia Annotated

An analysis of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated led the appellate court to find that the annotations, while not having the force of law, are part and parcel of the law. First, the Eleventh Circuit found that the Georgia General Assembly was the driving force behind the annotations in the OCGA. Although the annotations were prepared by LexisNexis, those annotations were drafted based upon highly detailed instructions contained within its publishing agreement with the Code Revision Commission, making Georgia’s legislators the creators of the annotations.

Judge Denies Beyoncé Motion for Summary Judgment in Feyoncé Trademark Case

On Sunday, September 30th, U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan of the Southern District of New York signed a memorandum opinion and order that was officially entered the following day in a trademark case brought by pop music superstar Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter against Feyonce, Inc., a developer of merchandise marketed to engaged people using the brand name Feyoncé. Although the court found no dispute that the mark “FEYONCÉ” was chosen with the intent to capitalize on the famous “BEYONCÉ” mark, Beyoncé’s motion for a permanent injunction couldn’t be granted on summary judgment because there remains a genuine dispute of material fact regarding whether a jury would find that a rational consumer would mistakenly believe an affiliation between the two brands.

A Journey Through the Chinese Patent System: The differences in how patent rights are treated

The trade dispute between the US and China started with a US accusation of intellectual property theft on the part of China.  Is China really “stealing” intellectual property?  I’m not so sure.  Perhaps the Chinese are stealing trade secrets, and if parties are engaged in such activities they should be punished, but there is a lot of taking that has been legitimized – even authorized – by the Congress and the Supreme Court in recent years.  U.S. patent law is today enabling foreign corporations, including Chinese corporations, to legitimately take intellectual property developed in the U.S.  That is not theft.  It’s just business.  And far more damage is being done to the U.S. as the result of legalized appropriation of patented innovations than could ever be done by the theft of trade secrets.

Seeds of demise were sown when SCOTUS removed exclusivity from the patent bargain

With the next Supreme Court term beginning in a few weeks we all need to come to terms with the fact that the U.S. has a compulsory licensing system, which is truly ironic. Trade missions, trade representatives, and governmental organizations travel the world preaching about the importance of a strong intellectual property system and how that starts with strong patent rights that are not subject to the whims and fancy of compulsory licensing. America should practice what it preaches. For some time, the United States hasn’t had a property rights-based patent system. That was merely confirmed in Oil States with the Supreme Court calling patents a government franchise, but the seeds were sown over 12 years ago when the Court decided eBay and removed exclusivity from the patent bargain.

Will the Supreme Court continue to be influenced by patent reform?

Invariably, the Supreme Court takes a provision or two from pending legislation and makes it law. Will they do the same now that pro-patent reform is actually pending in Congress? After so many years of staying out in front of patent reform legislation that has weakened the U.S. patent system, dropped early stage investment by 62% and brought us a 40 year low in startups thus sending venture capital, startups and complete swaths of new technologies to China, how odd it will be if the Supreme Court doesn’t do the same now that pro-patent reform is actually pending in Congress.

Restoring the Right to Permanent Injunctions: A Patent Reform Agenda

Overrule eBay v. MercExchange and grant permanent injunctions to victorious patent owners as a matter of right. This singular change to U.S. patent laws – which is also found within the STRONGER Patent Act at Section 106 – would rectify much of the mischief caused by Congress and the Courts over the last 12 years. No single decision has so singularly tilted the balance between patent owners and technology implementers. Indeed, if you ask knowledgeable innovators and patent owners about the one decision or event they would undue if they could in order to bring the system back to some acceptable level of equilibrium and the answer will either be to overrule eBay v. MercExchange or to do away with post grant challenges at the PTAB.

Protecting Branded Apparel IP Assets: Pursuing Counterfeiters and Their Profits

Branded apparel companies face many challenges in protecting their IP assets, including the unavailability of copyright protection for fashion designs, the length of time necessary to secure a design patent, the challenge of securing secondary meaning required for a trade dress claim before the market is flooded with knock-offs, and the geographic and practical impediments to pursuing counterfeiters, who are often foreign-based and/or judgment proof.  Perhaps mindful of the limited statutory protections for IP assets and the significant damages being incurred at the hands of infringers, various courts, particularly in the Second and Ninth Circuits, have in recent years taken steps to enhance the alternatives available to apparel companies confronted by the scourge of knockoffs.  Specifically, such court decisions have (1) expanded the scope of potential contributorily liable actors, and (2) broadened the means of freezing and attaching assets of foreign counterfeiters.

Causal-nexus for a permanent injunction only requires ‘some connection’ to infringement

The district court denied a request for a permanent injunction against Metaswitch after a jury found infringement because Genband failed to establish irreparable harm. More specifically, the court found that Genband failed to establish a causal-nexus between infringement and irreparable harm, i.e. that “the patent features drive demand for the product.” The Federal Circuit remanded because this causal-nexus requirement was too stringent. The Federal Circuit explained that the court could not have confidence as to the answer to the causation question under the standard properly governing the inquiry or whether there is any independent ground for the district court finding no irreparable harm or otherwise denying an injunction.

Confused and frustrated, patent policy experts bemoan America’s absurd compulsory licensing patent system

The experts in attendance reminded us of the insanity of the compulsory licensing system that now pervades the U.S. patent marketplace, which when explained in terms of real estate is obviously absurd. A man came home from work one day to find a strange family living in his dining room. He wanted to have them evicted but was told he would have to spend five years and millions of dollars proving in court that he owned the room where the invaders had pitched their tent. A judge finally found that indeed he owned his dining room. But instead of ordering the family’s eviction she ordered the invaders to pay rent to the homeowner in an amount hypothetically determined by calculating what he and the squatters would have agreed to before his unwelcome visitors moved-in.

No evidence of lost sales or price erosion means no irreparable harm and no permanent injunction

Nichia Corporation (“Nichia”) sued Everlight Americas, Inc., Everlight Electronics Co., Ltd. and Zenaro Lighting (collectively, “Everlight”) for infringement of three of Nichia’s patents disclosing packaging designs and methods of manufacturing LED devices. Following a bench trial, the district court found that Everlight infringed all three patents and failed to prove the patents invalid. The district court denied Nichia’s request for a permanent injunction. Nichia appealed the district court’s refusal to enter a permanent injunction, and Everlight cross-appealed the district court’s infringement and validity findings. The Court affirmed on all grounds.

Whirlpool Corporation wins permanent injunction in patent suit against Chinese water filter manufacturer

Whirlpool successfully argued that it would be irreparably harmed without the relief of permanent injunction in addition to the settlement agreement, which is executed separately of the court order. The recent court order for permanent injunction also affirmed the validity of all four utility patents asserted in the case along with finding that the defendant’s importation and sale of replacement water filters infringed on claims covered by the patents-in-suit.