Intellectual Property Elections & Politics

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New North Carolina Law Provides Tool to Battle Patent Trolls

The North Carolina General Assembly recently passed a bill aimed at the abusive assertion of patents. It was part of the Commerce Protection Act of 2014 (S 648, S.L. 2014-110, section 2.1) and was signed into law by Governor...more

Trade Secrets – Protecting the (Corporate) Family Jewels

Disputes regarding trade secrets and corporate espionage are becoming perpetual fixtures in the news. One of the most common scenarios is that a key employee departs to join a competitor and his or her former employer quickly...more

USPTO and "Telegate"

By now, we've all heard of the controversy regarding the lax oversight at the USPTO of examiners in the Office's Telework Program--what I'll unofficially dub as "Telegate." Now, the House Oversight and Government Reform...more

Beware the Death Squad

On August 14, 2014, Law360 quoted PTAB Chief Judge James Smith commenting that the Board’s reputation as a patent “death squad” – a phrase coined by former Federal Circuit Chief Judge Randall Rader. ...more

Patent Trolls Laughing All the Way to the Bank

Invent something, patent it and watch your creative enterprise grow into an empire. That’s what inventors are supposed to do. Some of them still follow the rules. Others do not. Among the more unscrupulous are...more

Patent Troll Legislation: Oregon State Courts Curb Abuse of Patent Laws by NPEs

Patent trolls, or more politely, Non-Practicing Entities (NPEs), are firms that collect “license” fees on patent rights by threatening lawsuits. Rarely do NPEs make any products, provide any services or operate any systems...more

Highlights of Congressional Hearings on Copyright Remedies: Statutory Damages, Small Claims and Felonious Streaming

On July 24, 2014, the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives, through its Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, held hearings on the subject of copyright remedies. Most of...more

The House Introduces Another Trade Secrets Bill: Is It Really Any Better Than Before?

The Trade Secrets Act of 2014 (H.R. 5233) was introduced in the House by Congressman George Holding on July 29, 2014. Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH), Howard Coble (R-NC), John Conyers (D-MI), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and...more

Significant Legislation Affecting Business Passed by General Assembly

At the end of last week, the North Carolina General Assembly passed significant legislation affecting the State’s business legal climate. With large bipartisan majorities, the Legislature adopted Senate Bill 853 (SB 853),...more

Duke, Hershey, and Winston: Who gets to trademark a famous name?

Common sense tells you that you can always use your own name. But under trademark law, that’s not always true. Three recent cases illustrate this conundrum, which plays a major role in many Internet marketing and domain name...more

Statutory Right to Appeal Does Not Bypass Article III Standing Requirements

Consumer Watchdog v. Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit dismissed an appeal from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the Board) on the grounds that the appellant, a...more

Progress Toward Comprehensive Patent Reform Stalls

On May 21, 2014, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced that he was removing patent reform legislation from the Committee's agenda, effectively eliminating any chance for Senate consideration this...more

Highlights of Congressional Hearings on Copyright Moral Rights, Termination Rights, Resale Royalty, And Copyright Term

On July 15, 2014, the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives, through its Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, held hearings regarding a number of copyright issues,...more

Washington Insight - July 2014

In This Issue: - Progress Toward Comprehensive Patent Reform Stalls - As Attention Turns to a Border Supplemental, a Twelve Bill Omnibus Seems Certain - Highways, Taxes, and Partisanship: The Next...more

The Cost of Defending Against Patent Trolls

It should come as no surprise that defending against Non-Producing Entities—most of which are Patent Trolls —is expensive, especially for small businesses and corporations. In support of his ongoing legal battle with the...more

House Subcommittee Approved TROL Act Defining Bad Faith Communications Made During Patent Assertion as Unfair or Deceptive...

The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade considered and approved the Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters Act of 2014 (“TROL Act”) with a 13-6 vote. The purpose of the TROL Act...more

“Big Chocolate” Gets Injunction Against Whack-A-Mole Senator; Trademark “Services” Include Political Activities

Last week, Judge William Quarles of the District of Maryland issued an injunction preventing Maryland Republican State Senator Steve Hershey from using his own campaign literature. The case was brought by the Hershey...more

House Tries One More Time: Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters Act of 2014 ("TROL Act")

U.S. Representative Lee Terry (R-NE) opened a recent subcommittee meeting by quoting Thomas Edison: "The most certain way to succeed is to try one more time." The occasion was the meeting of the House's Energy and Commerce...more

SCOTUS Roundup: How were patent trolls affected?

While much of the attention this year has fallen on Congress and its now failed attempts to pass patent law reform, the U.S. Supreme Court may have quietly provided significant ammunition to those trying to curb abusive...more

North Carolina Legislators Look to Criminalize Disclosure of Fracking Fluids

As many states and the federal government look towards calling for greater disclosure and regulation of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, state senators in North Carolina appear to be pushing against the tide in...more

"STOP THE ISLAMISATION OF AMERICA" Is Disparaging

In re Pamela Geller and Robert B. Spencer - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (TTAB) refusal to register the mark “STOP THE ISLAMISATION OF AMERICA” in...more

The Bifurcation Blues

In the last Letter from Europe, I looked at the potential financial impact a single judge could have on the economy. As I alluded to in my conclusion, the United Patents Court (UPC), a proposed common patent court open for...more

Continued Chaos in Obama Administration Patent Policy

President Obama has reportedly decided against nominating Johnson & Johnson executive Philip Johnson in the face of political pressure from the hi-tech industry and Members of Congress, including Senator Charles Schumer...more

Turning The Tide on “Trolls”

When a non-practicing entity (NPE) accused 16,000 small businesses of violating its patent by merely emailing scanned documents, the New York attorney general cracked down, forcing a settlement. Then the FTC threatened to sue...more

Uncertain Fate of Non-competes in Massachusetts: Senate Passes Compromise; Legislation Heads to Conference Committee Negotiations

On July 1, 2014 the Massachusetts Senate voted for a compromise on employee non-compete agreements, and the Joint Economic and Emerging Technology Committee heard testimony on the same issue. Governor Deval Patrick spurred...more

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