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Patent Assertion Entity Settles FTC Charges

Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) acquire patent rights and attempt to generate revenue by licensing or litigating the patents.  In September 2013, the FTC announced its decision to collect empirical data to study the effects of PAE activities. Recently, on November 6, 2014, the FTC agreed to settle charges against MPHJ Technology Investments, LLC, a PAE […]

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Ninth Circuit: Unincorporated Groups Can Own and Enforce Trademarks

On August 11, 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that unincorporated associations have the capacity to own their own trademarks and to sue to enforce them.  In Southern California Darts Ass’n v. Zaffina, No. 13-55780, the Court affirmed the United States District Court for the Central District of California’s entry of summary judgment […]

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Supreme Court: Mere Computer Implementation Does Not Make an Abstract Idea Patentable

Today, the Supreme Court in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank unanimously held that all of Alice’s asserted claims were drawn to patent-ineligible abstract ideas.  The Court reaffirmed the framework established in Mayo v. Prometheus for determining whether a claim contains one of the implicit exceptions to patent-eligible subject matter:  laws of nature, natural phenomena, and […]

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Changes in the Law Governing Patent Infringement Are on the Horizon

Much has been written about what the Supreme Court decided in Limelight Networks, Inc. v. Akamai Technologies, Inc. However, the case is more important for what the Court did not decide, than for what was actually decided.  On June 2, the Supreme Court reversed a Federal Circuit decision concerning what constitutes indirect infringement of a patent. […]

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Supreme Court Decides Definiteness Standard for Patents

A patent must be “definite”:  it must particularly point out and distinctly claim the invention.  35 U.S.C. § 112 ¶ 2.  Otherwise, the patent is not valid.  35 U.S.C. § 282 ¶ 2(3).  On June 2, 2014, the Supreme Court in  Nautilus v. Biosig Instruments unanimously decided the appropriate standard for determining whether a patent claim […]

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Supreme Court Loosens Standards for Fee Shifting in Patent Infringement Cases

The Patent Act provides, in 35 U.S.C. § 285, that “[t]he court in exceptional cases may award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party.”  In 2005, and the Federal Circuit restrictively interpreted the statute in Brooks Furniture Mfg., Inc. v. Dutailier Int’l, Inc., holding that a case is “exceptional” only where (1) “there has been […]

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Supreme Court Opens Courthouse Doors to More Federal False Advertising Claims

The federal false advertising statute, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)(1)(B), provides a remedy for some commercial misstatements and half-truths.  Specifically, the statute provides, Any person who, on or in connection with any goods or services, or any container for goods, uses in commerce any . . . false or misleading description of fact, or false or […]

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Supreme Court: Patent Owner Bears Burden of Proof in Noninfringement Declaratory Judgment Action By Licensee

When a patent owner sues another for infringement, the patent owner must prove infringement.  The Supreme Court ruled on January 22, 2014, in Medtronic, Inc. v. Mirowski Family Ventures, LLC, that this burden of proof still applies when a patent licensee sues the patent owner for a declaratory judgment that certain products do not infringe […]

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Domain Name Private Registration Services Rejoice: Ninth Circuit Rejects Secondary ACPA Liability

Privacy services like GoDaddy’s DomainsByProxy service earn money by enabling domain name registrants to obscure their identities.  Any trademark owner whose mark has been used in an infringing domain name may confront substantial difficulty in ascertaining the infringer’s identity if the infringer has utilized such a privacy service.  Indeed, creating such difficulty might reasonably be […]

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