Trademarks function to identify the source or origin of products or services and distinguish them from the products or services of others. On the other hand, generic terms are used by consumers to refer to a type of product or service that cannot function or be registered as a trademark. For example, one cannot register COMPUTER as a trademark for laptops and personal computers. Likewise, one cannot register “APPLE” to identify a fruit (as opposed to “APPLE” to identify computer technology).

However, what if a generic term is combined with “.com” or another top-level ... Read More ›

Application of "Invention Concept" after New China Patent Examination Guidelines

In November 2019, the China National Intellectual Property Agency (“CNIPA”) issued new Patent Examination Guidelines for applying China’s “inventive step” requirement, the patentability standard roughly equivalent to the US patent requirement of “non-obviousness.” Chinese Patent Law defines “inventive step” such that the invention has a prominent substantive feature and represents notable progress. Under the new Guidelines, inventive step can be determined as a whole from a perspective of “invention concept.”

Regarding “inventive step,” ... Read More ›

Posted in: Patents

Remdesivir Versus Designated Survivor: Life Imitating Art

Fiction and reality collide. The Netflix series Designated Survivor included a story line about a viral outbreak in Louisiana; a devastating pandemic was looming. Fictional president Tom Kirkman learns that the fictional cancer drug Extasis, being developed by fictional Pharm. Co. Benevax, showed promise to defeat the virus. Fictional CEO Carlton Mackie and the fictional President had a heated exchange in the oval office where Carlton Mackie ineptly tried to explain the economics of drug development. The fictional President chewed him out, and then used a political strategy to ... Read More ›

Posted in: Patents

On Thursday, April 23, 2020, in the case Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil Group, Inc., the Supreme Court held that the statutory provision governing remedies for violations in the Trademark Act, §1117(a), does not require a showing of willfulness in order for a plaintiff to recover profits in an infringement action arising under Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). This decision could tip the scales in favor of trademark owners.

The case involved a fastener manufacturer, Romag, that originally contracted with Fossil, to allow Fossil to use Romag’s magnetic snap fasteners for ... Read More ›

In the current business environment, companies are justifiably concerned about the uncertain future and controlling the cost associated with managing their IP portfolios and engaging outside counsel. In-house counsel also knows that IP is part of the long game and sacrificing company IP now to save costs may cast a long cloud over the future. So, how can the company’s IP interests be effectively managed under current conditions and the required service be provided by outside counsel?

In more conventional time, automatically turning to outside counsel based on past engagements ... Read More ›

Pharma Formulations – Patentability and Obviousness

In Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the Federal Circuit reversed the District Court of New Jersey’s grant of summary judgement in favor of Valeant that claim 8 of U.S. Patent 8,552,025 (the ‘025 patent)  owned by Valeant.

The message is clear for pharmaceutical formulation patents. To establish a prima facie cases of obviousness, compounds having similar structure and function can be used as the basis for establishing similar properties.Read More ›

Posted in: Patents

Businesses rely upon color for a variety of purposes. For example, colors may provide ornamentation, or may serve to allow a product to blend in with its surroundings (camouflage for hunting gear) or indicate a product’s flavor (yellow for lemon). Importantly, colors can serve as trademarks, but only if they function as a source identifier.

While colors are not included within the statutory definition of trademarks, since 1985, singular colors and color combinations can be trademarked as part of a product, package or service, if, like any other trademark, they serve a source ... Read More ›

To the dismay of CBD enthusiasts everywhere, the FDA recently issued a highly anticipated report on the status its efforts to develop regulations for the sale of hemp-derived CBD products. Unfortunately for the CBD industry, the report offered little in terms of policy updates for cannabidiol products and instead described the agency’s concerns and its efforts to develop regulations to safely allow use of the ingredient.

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and its derivatives containing less than .3 percent THC, thus allowing the introduction of CBD products. Today, you can find ... Read More ›

Posted in: Misc

Intellectual property (IP) is often the most critical asset for an early stage company.  Developing a strong, cost effective IP strategy and risk management strategy to avoid costly IP litigation can make the difference in a company’s survival.  Investors or potential acquisition entities are well-versed in the importance of a strong intellectual property portfolio and strategy, and typically value early stage companies on the strength of their IP rights.  It is essential to protect intellectual property at early stages in the company’s life cycle in order for any startup to be ... Read More ›

The popularity of craft breweries and distilleries has grown at exponential rates in the past few years.  There are now over 1,800 craft distilleries in the U.S. up from roughly 100 in 2005 and 7,400 craft distillers up from approximately 1400 in 2005.  These increases are reflected in Pennsylvania where the number of distilleries has gone from single digits in 2011 to over 80 in 2019.  Similar growth is occurring internationally and in related sectors such as craft hard cider and seltzer.

With this growth there has also been a rise in trademark filings with the United States Patent and ... Read More ›

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