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Don’t Let Your Trademark Become Generic

Posted on Oct 25, 2017 in Articles

A music video went viral this month, but it’s doubtful you know any of its musicians. The tune is quite catchy, and the performance is not only professional, but very enjoyable. What is the theme of the song? Coming of age? A broken heart? No. It’s a music video about Velcro Brand Fasteners and the VELCRO trademark.

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Why Patent Claims Language Must Be Clearly Written

Posted on Sep 27, 2017 in Articles

Everyday business communication is hard enough. With all of the subtleties and nuances of language, the message received by an individual may not match what was intended. But with patent claims, the need for definiteness is far greater.

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Patent Unenforceable Based on Inequitable Conduct

Posted on Aug 23, 2017 in Articles

It’s been called the atomic bomb of ­patent law—inequitable conduct. It happens when a patent is applied for, but the duty of candor, disclosure and good faith toward the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is violated. If proven to have occurred during patent procurement, then the entire resulting patent becomes unenforceable.

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Trademarks and the First Amendment Considered by Supreme Court

Posted on Jul 26, 2017 in Articles

When I studied constitutional law in law school, one subject was certainly never mentioned in that class: trademarks. After last month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Matal v. Tam, that may change.

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Significant Change in Patent Exhaustion From the Supreme Court

Posted on Jun 21, 2017 in Articles

When was the last time you sold your used car and worried about infringing the patent rights of the manufacturer? My guess is you would say “never.”

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The Risk of Losing Patent Rights When an Invention Is ‘On Sale’

Posted on May 25, 2017 in Articles

One of the most frequent ­errors ­committed by inexperienced ­inventors is the untimely sale or public use of their invention. The sale of a ­product that includes a new invention—before a patent application is filed—destroys patent rights in many countries. Not so in the United States, where U.S. law provides a 12-month “grace period” to file for patent protection after a public use or sale.

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Patent Marking Offers Rights, Quick Damage Recovery

Posted on Apr 27, 2017 in Articles

Have you ever noticed patent ­numbers on a product that you purchased? Those patent numbers show up everywhere: on the back of an appliance, on the bottom of a candy dispenser—even on the cardboard insulator for a hot coffee cup. Placing a patent number on a patented product is called “patent marking” and it is strictly voluntary, but doing so can afford the patent holder with significant rights.

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High Court to Hear Potential Landmark Case About Patent Venue

Posted on Mar 22, 2017 in Articles

In a patent litigation suit, is venue established where the corporation was incorporated or where the corporation does business? This question, which currently raises one of the thorniest issues in patent law, will capture the spotlight this month in oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Delaying the Process of Getting a Patent

Posted on Feb 22, 2017 in Articles

At the end of the Gulf War, ­international inspectors searching through an Iraqi military site found a U.S. patent that explained how to manufacture nuclear material for an atomic bomb. The patent, U.S. 2,709,222, had been delayed from being granted for years. But in 1955 the U.S. government allowed the patent to issue, believing that its ­methodology was out of date, and no country would be interested in its contents. Evidently they were wrong.

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Disparagement and Trademarks at the US Supreme Court

Posted on Jan 26, 2017 in Articles

Try to make sense of this: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) refused to register the trademark “HAVE YOU HEARD THAT SATAN IS A REPUBLICAN?” because it disparaged the Republican party. But when an application was filed for the mark “THE DEVIL IS A DEMOCRAT,” the USPTO agreed that the mark could be registered.

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