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Posts Tagged: "sanctions"

USPTO Outlines Trademarks Administrative Sanctions Process

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today announced in an unpublished Federal Register Notice that it has established an administrative process for investigating submissions filed with the USPTO in trademark matters that appear to violate the Trademark Rules of Practice. The announcement comes as part of the USPTO’s broader effort to improve the integrity of the U.S. trademark register amid a surge in fraudulent filings, largely from China.

USPTO Imposes Sanctions on Flagrant Fraudulent Filer

On Friday, December 10, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a “Show Cause Order” imposing sanctions against Huanyee Intellectual Property Co., Ltd. and its Executive Director, Yusha Zhang, for violations of the USPTO’s trademark rules of practice relating to improper trademark submissions. The 198-page Order, comprised mostly of an exhibit listing all of the company’s trademark filings, indicates that the Respondents named in the Order “have filed more than 15,000 trademark matters before the USPTO” and “engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, provided false domicile information for applicants, impermissibly entered the signature of the named signatory on declarations and verifications, and violated other USPTO Rules and the USPTO’s website terms of use.”

PTAB Brass steps into IPR to decide Apple motion for sanctions

On August 22nd, an order was entered in the inter partes review (IPR) proceedings currently ongoing between between VoIP-Pal and Cupertino, CA-based consumer device giant Apple Inc. The order removed the panel of administrative patent judges (APJs) that had been adjudicating the IPR, replacing them with Deputy Chief APJ Scott Boalick and Vice Chief APJs Jacqueline Bonilla and Michael Tierney. This is the second time the panel of APJs has been completely changed in this particular IPR proceeding. Originally, the panel had consisted of APJs Barbara Benoit, Lynne Pettigrew and Stacy Beth Margolies. Although no explanation was provided (as is typical with the PTAB) the panel was changed a few weeks after we reported that APJ Margolies had previously represented Apple in patent infringement proceedings in U.S. district court.

House Small Business Committee Holds Hearing on ZTE Sanctions, Chinese Cybersecurity Threats

Several weeks ago, the House Small Business Committee held a hearing titled ZTE: A Threat to America’s Small Businesses to explore the economic and national security threats posed by the Chinese telecommunications equipment and systems firm ZTE. The day’s discussion focused on ways that American small businesses could protect themselves from ZTE specifically and Chinese-backed entities more generally as well as the mixed signals being sent by the administration of President Donald Trump regarding ZTE.

Still No Answer From PTAB on Apple Sanctions Request Against VoIP-Pal After Six Months

And yet, despite this apparent vindication of VoIP-Pal’s patents against the strongest of odds in an executive branch tribunal where APJ panels are stacked in the interest of achieving policy objectives, VoIP-Pal and its current CEO Emil Malak still find themselves to be stuck in patent purgatory over a sanctions motion which the PTAB hasn’t decided for more than half a year… The fact that ex parte communications have caused such a stir in Apple’s IPRs against VoIP-Pal is very interesting given how the PTAB has reacted to allegations of such communications in the past. Anyone who followed the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s case at the PTAB will likely remember that the agency revoked the tribe’s ability to file motions in response to a request for discovery on the potential of political pressure caused by ex parte communications between APJs assigned to the case and their superiors at the PTAB. The PTAB denied that motion and restricted the St. Regis tribe’s ability to file motions within a month of St. Regis’ discovery request. That the PTAB has dragged its feet for more than six months on Apple’s request for sanctions on ex parte communications without the same level of punitive response is very telling.

Crocs Chase Dawgs With Motion for Sanctions After Allegations of Bad Faith Litigation

On December 1st, Niwot, CO-based shoe manufacturer Crocs, Inc. (NASDAQ:CROX) filed a motion for sanctions against Las Vegas, NV-based rival firm USA Dawgs Inc., which outlined a series of harassing legal moves in which Dawgs has engaged in recent years. Crocs is asking the District of Nevada to award Crocs costs and attorneys’ fees incurred by a lawsuit which Crocs alleges that Dawgs has pursued in bad faith.

Proposed Amendments to Rule 11 Will Adversely Impact Patent Owners

Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), has sponsored a bill to amend Rule 11 — H.R. 720. The changes are made to remove the safe harbor provision and make sanctions mandatory. This bill has passed the House. A companion bill — S. 237 — has been introduced in the Senate with no action yet being taken… The proposed changes to Rule 11, if enacted, will have an impact of keeping unrepresented parties out of courts, and make the U.S. courts even more inefficient. It will have an adverse impact on patent owners in patent cases… Given the nature of patent litigation, experience teaches that it is inevitable that whenever a case is disposed of the winner will almost certainly try to shift litigation fees by any means possible, including by invoking Rule 11 sanctions. The parties with strong financial powers will have better chances to get sanction awards.

Federal Circuit Upholds Sanctions and Attorney’s Fees for Vexatious Litigation and Frivolous Appeal

The Court upheld the district court’s award of attorneys’ fees and costs, finding ample support in the record for Walker’s vexatious conduct, and no legitimate reason for Walker to continue litigating after the Agreement. Further, Walker’s arguments on appeal mischaracterized clear authority on the courts’ ability to award attorneys’ fees. The Court also sanctioned Walker and his attorneys for pursuing a frivolous appeal and awarded attorneys’ fees and costs.

New PTAB Rules Level the Playing Field for Patent Owners in IPR

After much public comment and debate, new changes to rules for post-grant administrative trials before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) go into effect on May 2, 2016. These final rule changes, which are the second set of changes since the America Invents Act (AIA) went into effect, are the culmination of a series of PTAB listening tours and public comments to the rule change proposals published in August 2015. Among other things, the new rules are intended to address concerns that patent owners were at a disadvantage in responding to patent challenges, particularly during the pre-institution stage of a PTAB proceeding. The rule changes also introduce certification requirements for documents filed with the PTAB, confirm the broadest reasonable interpretation (BRI) standard, as well as exceptions to the BRI standard for expiring patents, and adopt an appellate-style word count limit for major briefs.

Sanctioned: Living with a Scarlet Letter

How does one deal with a public shaming? Nothing I learned in school or during 35 years of practice prepared me for this. But I had to take affirmative action to preserve my sanity and some modicum of dignity. The first thing I did was to take steps to avoid awkward encounters. In that vein, I withdrew from the Linn Inn of Court and the Union League Club, and skipped my law school reunion. Some friends criticized those decisions, but I needed to retreat and lick my psychic wounds.

CAFC Reverses Summary Judgment Fee-Shifting Sanction

The district court imposed a fee-shifting sanction as a condition of permitting AntiCancer to supplement the Preliminary Infringement Contentions that the district court found defective under Patent Local Rule 3.1. The district court issued an Order that would have allowed AntiCancer to supplement its infringement contentions, but only if it concurrently pay the attorney fees and costs incurred by the defendants in connection with their motion for summary judgment related to the defective infringement contentions. AntiCancer objected to this condition, and the district court entered summary judgment… It seems fundamentally unfair for a defendant to have to pay for a filing that becomes nullified by amended infringement contentions, whether they appear in an Amended Complaint or in a filing required by a local rule.

CAFC Upholds Sanctions Against DuPont, in Favor of Monsanto

By claiming mutual and unilateral mistake, DuPont had placed the truthfulness of its subjective belief concerning its stacking rights at issue… The problem for DuPont was that the internal e-mails showed that in-house attorneys advised DuPont executives that the company did not have the right to commercialize the stacked product “[b]ecause of the field of use limitation” contained within the Licensing agreement. Upon learning that DuPont had been advised that they had no right to stack, Monsanto moved for sanctions, asking the district court to rule that DuPont had misrepresented its subjective belief concerning stacking rights and had perpetrated a fraud on the court.

Troll Turning Point? Federal Circuit Breathes Life into Rule 11

This is very good news for defendants and for the patent system. If Rule 11 is actually enforced against those who sue without a reasonable basis the bad actors will be wiped out. It will also work to identify those who are REALLY the patent trolls compared with those who are patent owner who simply seek redress for rights that are being trampled. As long as the bad actors operate the patent system will remain in jeopardy because the popular press and critics of the patent system unjustifiably paint all non-practicing entities with the same brush. Meaningful and appropriate use of Rule 11 will deal with the bad actors, while distinguishing from those non-practicing entities that have reasonable grievances that deserve consideration rather that ridicule.

WIPO Responds on Sending Computers to North Korea, Iran

Earlier today, WIPO issued a press release, allegedly as the result of “recent media attention and requests for information” relating to what WIPO is and does, and exactly what happened regarding the computer deals that seem to quite clearly violate UN sanctions. Despite the belief of WIPO that the computer deals did not violate UN sanctions, the agency has implemented safe guards relative to their technical assistance program. There will be better coordination between UN organizations and committees to review deals that could potentially tread on UN sanctions.

State Department, Congress Unhappy with World Intellectual Property Organization Sending Computers to Iran, North Korea

WIPO is under fire again. It seems that WIPO not only shipped computers to North Korea, but also shipped computers to Iran as well. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) called this latest WIPO transgression “an outrage.” At a hearing where Deputy USPTO Director Teresa Rea was a witness, Lofgren went on: “Really, it’s an outrage that WIPO would be transferring material, violating the sanctions that we have to North Korea and Iran… I mean it’s basically, it’s funded by U.S. inventors.”