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From Honeycrisp to SweeTango: How Apple Plant Patents Liberated the American Palate

Autumn spells and smells of apples. Nowadays, newly patented apple varieties promise to dazzle our taste buds anew as fall harvests come in from our nation’s orchards....more

9/21/2017  /  Patents , Plant Patents , Trademarks

A Toxic Pairing: Discovery Misconduct and Juror Neuropsychology in a Plant Patent Trial

The most important plant patent trial of the early 21st century just took place in northern California. California Berry Cultivars v. The Regents of the University of California sorts out “stakeholder” rights associated with...more

How Intellectual Property Rights Shape Neuropsychological Demand for Orange Flavors

Oranges possess a special cachet in the American dream. Growing up in the baby-boomer era meant that you heard—“breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine”—thousands of times while watching rerun episodes...more

Wild Introgressions: The Tomato Genome’s Impact on Plant Patenting and Trademark Branding Prospects

Diana Kennedy, an intrepid chronicler of Mexican cuisine, describes cuatomates as “very small cherry tomatoes with an intense flavor and enormous amount of tiny seeds.” A potently flavored, tiny green tomatillo variety...more

Palate Pleasing Zucchinis Dominate Squash Patenting

With Halloween over and Thanksgiving looming, recipes for butternut squash soup abound while caved-in pumpkin faces rot away in back alleys. For all their exotic shapes and colors, winter squashes remain tethered to autumnal...more

No Small Potatoes: Patenting Spuds in an Era of Gene Silencing

During a 1911 journey—in which he would discover Machu Picchu—Hiram Bingham’s exploration party came across native Peruvians who “lived almost entirely on gruel made from chuño, frozen bitter potatoes. Little else than...more

9/30/2016  /  Food Labeling , Food Safety , GMO , Patents

GMO Food Labels, Our Emotions and the “Rationalist’s Delusion”

Politicians often referred to a 90% consumer preference for food labels signaling the existence of genetically modified ingredients—or GMOs as they are known—during this year’s congressional hearings regarding the now enacted...more

Patenting the Quest for a More Perfect Veggie Burger

When a food synthesizer first appeared on Star Trek: The Original Series, I looked upon it with awe and wonder. Its workings were never explained; but entire meals would emerge from it magically. Swanson’s frozen TV dinners...more

Compensating “Disgust”: Psychoanalyzing Emotional Distress Claims Involving Food Products

You’re a sheriff’s deputy and you’re hungry. You stop at the local Burger King drive-thru and order a Whopper with cheese. You often eat five meals a day—frequently at fast food restaurants—because you work night shifts. ...more

Starlet Marketing, Patenting and Branding of the California Artichoke

How do you tempt someone to trim, steam (or boil) artichokes and scrape spiny artichoke leaves with their front teeth? Here’s an easy answer. Crown a newly minted Marilyn Monroe as Castroville’s first Artichoke Queen in...more

The Genetics of Gender Discrimination in Date Palm Patenting

You’re driving south out of Indio along the Grapefruit Boulevard towards Thermal and Mecca because their names sound promising.  A parched desert plain extends to your left, leading up to the austere ridgelines of Joshua Tree...more

Patenting the Avocado: A California Story with a Classic Recipe

Guacamole and chips are the ultimate in Super Bowl Sunday comfort food nowadays. During the Panthers/Broncos game, the California Avocado Commission tweeted its own commentary, offering recipes that paired avocados with food...more

Novel Potato Chips: The Patentable Art of Processing Potatoes

During a 1911 journey—in which they would discover Machu Picchu—Hiram Bingham’s exploration party came across some native Peruvians who “lived almost entirely on gruel made from chuño, frozen bitter potatoes. Little else in...more

1/15/2016  /  Patents , Peru , Plant Patents

Patenting the Potato: “Not All Taters are Created Equal”

Wearing a McDonald’s blue garrison-style hat—red hats signified management—I often worked at the french fry station during my pimply high school years in the 1970s. If you had asked me anything about the julienned potatoes I...more

Back to the ‘Useful Arts’ — Supreme Court Reins in the Expansive Interpretation of Patent Eligibility

Section 8 of the United States Constitution authorizes Congress to “promote the progress of science and the useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings...more

Transgenic Salmon: A Primer on FDA Food Safety Regulations

When Meriwether Lewis tasted his first roasted morsel of a fresh Chinook salmon at a Shoshone camp along the Lemhi River (in modern day Idaho), he ate it with “very good relish.” It convinced him that “we were on the waters...more

POM Wonderful: The New Prescription for False Advertising

The ability of private parties to pursue mislabelling claims depends on whether allowing such claims to proceed would conflict with the purpose and intent of federal labelling laws and implementing regulations, such as those...more

Assessing the Validity of Food Processing Patents, Post-Alice

Patent eligibility is in a state of flux. Software and business method innovations challenge the boundary of what is patentable under U.S. law. That dividing line is crossed when inventors claim exclusive rights in what...more

Assessing the Validity of Food Processing Patents, Post-Alice

Patent eligibility is in a state of flux. Software and business method innovations challenge the boundary of what is patentable under U.S. law. That dividing line is crossed when inventors claim exclusive rights in what...more

1/19/2015

Trademarks as a Barometer of Change: A Pop Quiz

Designed to appeal and speak to the customers of a specific time and place, trademarks can become hallmarks of a bygone era. The controversy surrounding the use of the REDSKINS trademark and logo shows just how much...more

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: The California Strawberry Commission’s Claim to University Plant Breeding Research

Plant patents are often overshadowed by their more well-known utility and design patent counterparts under U.S. law. Yet, with the increasing branding and differentiation of agricultural commodities, plant patent rights...more

Why Plant Patenting Floats Free of GMO Crop Controversies

Public debates about the merits of genetically modified crops often end in polarized shouting matches. They pit so-called “romantic environmentalists” against scientifically-minded advocates for companies that derive their...more

The Power of Smell: Scent Marketing Meets the Future of Gaming and Internet Surfing

Scent marketing is as old as a real estate agent baking cookies in a house for sale and as new as Oscar Mayer’s “bacon” alarm clock. Harnessing the primal power of smell represents a new frontier of subliminal...more

The Dire Consequences of Misleading Patent Examiners and the Court During Patent Prosecution and Litigation

As the summer winds down, vacations recede in the rear-view mirrors, and the “school” year begins, two recent cases offer a refresher course in the dire consequences awaiting inventors who misrepresent prior art during...more

Credibility Challenges Posed by the Eccentric Inventor Witness

Eccentric inventors can be their own worst enemies at depositions and on the witness stand at trial. General Electric Co. v. Wilkins (Fed. Cir., May 8, 2014) is a recent case on point. The General Electric case involved a...more

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