On July 24, 2023, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced updated procedures for the interim Director Review (DR) of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decisions. The updated procedures could help patent practitioners manage costs by providing a new mechanism for recourse following PTAB decisions.
In April, we discussed oral arguments at the Supreme Court for Abitron Austria GmbH et al. v. Hetronic International, Inc., a case in which the Supreme Court considered the extraterritorial reach of the Lanham Act (“Act”) for the first time since 1952. Last month, the Court ruled that the Lanham Act only reaches claims of infringement where the infringing use in commerce is domestic.
On June 8, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc. v. VIP Products, LLC and provided some clarity as to the applicability of the “Rogers test,” a doctrine that grapples with the interplay of trademark law and the First Amendment. The case involved a trademark dispute between Jack Daniel’s Properties, the maker of the famous whiskey, and VIP, a dog toy company that makes and sells a product called “Bad Spaniels.” The Bad Spaniels squeaky toy is in the shape of a whiskey bottle and has a black label with white font similar to Jack Daniel’s; in place of “Old No. 7 Brand Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey,” the toy reads, “The Old No. 2 On Your Tennessee Carpet.” After VIP initially filed suit against Jack Daniel’s seeking declaratory judgment that the product did not infringe on Jack Daniel’s trademarks, Jack Daniel’s brought counterclaims under the Lanham Act for trademark infringement and trademark dilution.
Competition between Amazon’s third-party merchants is notoriously fierce. The online retail giant often finds itself playing the role of referee, banning what it considers unfair business practices (such as offering free products in exchange for perfect reviews, or targeting competitors with so-called “review bombing”). Last month, in the latest round of this push and pull, the online retail giant blew the whistle on several merchants who Amazon claims crossed a red line and may now have to face litigation in federal court.
Last month, the Supreme Court heard oral argument on Abitron Austria GmbH et al. v. Hetronic International, Inc. and considered, for the first time since 1952, the extraterritorial reach of the Lanham Act. This case presents the opportunity for the Court to establish a uniform test for the Lanham Act’s extraterritorial reach when seeking remedies in U.S. courts and to provide clarity for U.S. companies looking to protect their marks and reputation around the world.
In the United States, the scale of trade secret theft is estimated to be between $180 billion and $450 billion annually. Among the targets of this theft are pharmaceutical companies, which are some of the most research-intensive institutions in the world. Pharmaceutical research generally requires extensive work and often generates…
The situation is familiar: an employee leaves one company to go work for another, or perhaps to found her own start-up. She may be working on the same problems that she faced at her former workplace, and in the same technological space.
The employee’s work at her new company results in the issuance of a patent, and the new company takes the lead in the marketplace. Based on the work done by the employee at the former employer, however, the former employer may believe that it has ownership rights in the new patent.
What rights might the former employer have? A recent Federal Circuit decision, Bio-Rad v ITC – CAFC, sheds some light on how courts may resolve this kind of dispute—and how thorny the issues may be. Key takeaways are summarized below.
In a significant recent decision, the Federal Circuit reversed a $66 million judgment against L’Oreal USA, Inc. for patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation asserted by Olaplex, Inc. The case arose as a result of L’Oreal and Olaplex entering into negotiations regarding a potential acquisition, pursuant to which Olaplex shared with L’Oreal its confidential information, including asserted trade secrets. L’Oreal subsequently walked away from the deal and launched competing products of its own. Though the parties’ negotiations were governed by a non-disclosure agreement, the Federal Circuit found Olaplex failed to prove that either its asserted trade secrets were actually trade secrets, or that L’Oreal had misappropriated them.