Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Industries IP Update


This is the March 2011 installment of Sutherland's “Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Industries IP Update.” These updates are intended to inform our readers about intellectual property (IP) developments in the shooting, hunting, and outdoor industries. If the information provided herein is of interest, or if additional information is desired, please contact us.

Halfway There: The U.S. Senate Passes Patent Reform Legislation

On March 8, 2011, the U.S. Senate approved, by a vote of 95-5, long-awaited patent reform legislation. The legislation, known as S.23 “The America Invents Act,” now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives, where further revisions by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee are expected. Major changes to the U.S. patent law sought by the legislation are conversion of the U.S. from a “first-to-invent” system to a “first-to-file” system, consistent with most other countries’ patent laws, new requirements for false patent marking lawsuits, and new proceedings to challenge a patent’s validity. A coalition of relatively large corporations supported passage of the legislation. However, many smaller entities, including the non-profit lobbying organization, Gun Owners of America, opposed the legislation, indicating that larger companies could take advantage of a “first-to-file” system due to their larger economic resources.

(Source: S.23)

Firearm Distributor Donates Internet Domains to National Shooting Sports Foundation ISSC-Austria, an Austrian importer and distributor of pistols and rifles, announced it has transferred ownership of two registered domain names, and, to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). ISSC-Austria had registered these domain names as part of its own marketing campaign for its ISSC MSR MK22 rifles. Since 2009, the NSSF has promoted the use of the terms “Modern Sporting Rifle” and “MSR” in connection with its national media campaign to promote the image of AR-15 style rifles, and to correct widespread misperceptions among gun owners and non-gun owners about AR-15-style rifles. In separate press releases, the NSSF and ISSC-Austria announced the donation of the two domain names to the NSSF to support the joint efforts of the parties to promote and educate consumers. While the NSSF and ISSC-Austria ultimately cooperated in this instance, this demonstrates that companies should promptly pursue domain name registrations for certain commercially valuable trademarks, trade names, and other designations of origin important to their businesses.

(Source: The Shooting Wire)

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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