Non-Disclosure Agreement Lessons from SiOnyx LLC v. Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. (Decided December 7, 2020)

What if someone told you not all clauses in a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) are created equally? This was one of several lessons that could be drawn from Sionyx LLC v. Hamamatsu Photonics K.K., 981 F.3d 1339 (Fed. Cir. 2020) which involved an NDA that contained several clauses, some of which ended up being more important than others.

At the beginning of their engagement in or around 2006-2007, SiOnyx was a startup and Hamamatsu was an established manufacturer interested in the technology that SiOnyx was developing. The parties entered into an NDA to allow them to share confidential ... Read More ›

Judiciary Responds to Cybersecurity Breach: New Procedure Enacted to Safeguard Highly Sensitive Documents

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts announced new security procedures to protect confidential filings on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. The changes come in the wake of a massive cybersecurity breach identified in December 2020. The breach involved a known compromise of third-party provider products, and has affected a number of federal agencies, including the Departments of Energy, Commerce, State, and Treasury. The Judiciary uses an impacted product for IT network monitoring and management and; consequently, its online filing system has been jeopardized.

In ... Read More ›

One Bite at the Apple: How the Outcome of a Previous Patent Litigation Can Impact Later Lawsuits


Issue preclusion and claim preclusion are two strategic defenses that an accused infringer can rely upon if that party was previously cleared of patent infringement.

Issue preclusion, or collateral estoppel, precludes a party from relitigating an issue actually decided in a prior case and necessary to the judgment. Under claim preclusion, or res judicata, a judgment on the merits in a prior lawsuit bars a second lawsuit involving the same parties or their privies based on the same cause of action. Claim preclusion also bars claims that could have been brought in the first action ... Read More ›

Posted in: IP Litigation

Congressional Spending Bill Includes Significant Trademark and Copyright Rules

Significant intellectual property law provisions are part of the $2.3 trillion spending bill passed by Congress.

Copyrights

In the copyright area, the Protecting Lawful Streaming Act of 2020 is directed to curbing "commercial, for-profit streaming piracy services" that profit from streaming unlicensed or otherwise illegally copied copyrighted material. Penalties could include significant fines and imprisonment. The law currently has a carve-out for "individuals who access pirated streams or unwittingly stream unauthorized copies of copyrighted works.”

The new laws ... Read More ›

The requirements for ownership of a patent and the right to bring suit for the enforcement of the patent would seem to be well settled in patent law. As demonstrated in the recently decided Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (Case 2019-2244), AntennaSys, Inc. v. AQYR Technologies, Inc., et al., overlooking the ownership or enforcement requirement can result in wasted time and cost for the litigants and frustration for the courts. This article raises awareness of the nuances of ownership and enforcement rights in the hope of avoiding the cost and frustrations for all involved.

The ... Read More ›

Posted in: Patents

Brexit and Trademarks: The Time Is Now

As the political dust kicked up by Brexit very gradually settles, the focus has shifted from “What if?” to “Now, what?” In a post-Brexit world, what can U.S. companies expect, particularly with respect to their European Union (EU) trademark and design rights? And more importantly, what can U.S. companies do about it?

In thinking about Brexit, it’s helpful to keep a few things in mind. First, the breakup is taking place at the same time as an unprecedented global pandemic, which has delivered major shocks to the world’s economic systems and institutions. Brexit would be a ... Read More ›

Demystifying 2020’s Standard Essential Patents and FRAND Licensing Disputes

While COVID-19 may have temporarily slowed some of the day-to-day activities in the legal profession, the headlines show that the wars over Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) and fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing of SEPs persist without abandon. Appellate courts around the world previously had relatively few opportunities to offer guidance as to the licensing terms or the manner of negotiating licenses to SEPs. But recently, the highest civil courts in Germany and the United Kingdom handed down important decisions in disputes over SEPs and FRAND ... Read More ›

Better Inventor Communication – Hidden Cost Savings In Patent Prosecution

One of the main advantages of hiring outside patent counsel is the ability to pass invention materials to a drafting attorney to prepare a patent application. This work transfer reduces the in-house counsel’s burden, freeing them to devote more of their time to strategic portfolio management rather than the minutiae of preparing an individual application.

Too frequently, however, the invention materials provided to outside counsel are incomplete. The understanding is that the drafting attorney will be able to use their engineering acumen to sort through the pieces, determine ... Read More ›

Sovereign Immunity, The 11th Amendment, and Intellectual Property

The conflicts over sovereign immunity date back to our country’s founding when states were concerned about possible overreaching by a central government. An early Supreme Court decision in Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 US 419 (1793) rejected sovereign immunity and held that the federal government had sovereign immunity but the states did not. Congress quickly responded with the 11th Amendment, which was ratified in 1798, stating:

“The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United ... Read More ›

On July 16, 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a highly anticipated ruling in Data Protection Commissioner v. Facebook Ireland and Maximillian Schrems (Schrems II). The case centers on the validity of two key data transfer mechanisms: Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) and the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (Privacy Shield) – both of which are methods widely used by U.S. businesses to comply with the EU’s laws regarding the transfer of personal data to countries outside the EU. In considering the effectiveness of data protection in cross-border data ... Read More ›

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