Category Archives: Patent

Potential Legal Implications Arising from “Brexit”

CaptureTrademark and Copyright Law Blog author Catherine Muyl, alongside fellow Foley Hoag attorneys Christina G. Hioureas and Mélida N. Hodgson, have released a new publication discussing the potential legal implications arising from Brexit, including the impact on patents, trademarks and copyrights. You can access a free copy here.

Other Brexit-related posts appearing on this blog include:

Brexit: Potential Consequences For European Union Trademarks

Brexit Direction Sign

Updated June 24, 2016

A few hours ago, citizens of the United Kingdom voted in favor of leaving the European Union. This is a monumental step which historians will analyze in order to understand why and how it became possible. In the meantime, lawyers will have to figure out the consequences, including how to untangle this 60 year-old relationship.

European patents should not be affected by Brexit because the Munich Convention is not a European Union instrument.… More

The Internet Archive Wayback Machine: A Useful IP Litigation Tool, But Is It Admissible?

waybackThe Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine archives copies of websites every few weeks or months, going back to 1996. The Wayback Machine currently has almost 500 billion archived webpages.  By entering a website into the Wayback Machine, a user can see what archived copies of the website are available and then view those historical copies. For example, this link brings you to a copy of the Trademark &… More

Congress Passes Sweeping New Legislation To Protect Trade Secrets

GyroLast week, in a departure from the partisan gridlock that has gripped Washington, the House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing a sweeping new statute to protect trade secrets. The legislation, which President Obama strongly supported and is expected to sign within days, creates a new federal civil cause of action for trade secret theft.

The speed with which Congress passed this legislation – entitled the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) – reflects the increasing importance of trade secrets to American business.… More

Sue-per Bowl Shuffle II: The Year in NFL-Related Intellectual Property Litigation


Around this time last year, I started worrying about what would happen if someone at a Super Bowl party asked me to explain an NFL-related lawsuit, particularly one of those IP-ish lawsuits that I’m supposed to know about. So I put together the first Sue-per Bowl Shuffle, a guide to the year’s gridiron disputes over trademarks, copyright, the right of publicity and other matters with a First Amendment flavor.… More

The Twelve Res of Christmas: Yule-Themed IP Matters in 2015

It is often said Christmas is creeping ever-backwards, each year striving to begin its domination of our collective consciousness and consumer dollars at an earlier date. In the realm of litigation, Christmas creep manifests itself in part in the Yule-themed disputes that can occur at any time of the year, particularly in the areas of intellectual property and free speech. In order to get the Trademark and Copyright Law Blog into the holiday spirit,… More

Patent Strategies For Start-Up Companies

GyroPatents can be vitally important for protecting the innovations of a start-up company, just as it is important for start-ups to be mindful of trademark, copyright, and domain name strategies (see our other guides for start-ups, including Trademark, Copyright, and Domain Names). A patent is a government-granted right that prevents others from making, using, selling, or importing a patented invention.… More

Authorship Credit for Scholarly and Creative Works: The Elusive American Attribution Right

creditWhat if were to tell you that I jointly authored this article with a colleague, but that I’m not going to give her any credit or attribution because I don’t feel like it? Can she sue me for copyright infringement? No, because we are joint authors, so I have as much a right to publish this article as she does. If we lived in Europe, my colleague might have relied on her inherent right of attribution,… More

Marshmallow Justice: 10 Tales of Legal Fluff and Other Stuff

FluffJust about one hundred years ago, Archibald Query of Somerville, Massachusetts invented the first commercial marshmallow cream, which he pedaled door-to-door in Union Square.  Around 1917, he sold the recipe for $500 to two candy makers in Lynn who had just returned from World War I, and their company (Durkee-Mower) still makes Marshmallow Fluff today. In 2006, Union Square boosters began celebrating Query’s achievement with the Fluff Festival,… More

Top Eight Things You Should Know About the Hague System For International Registration of Designs

CaptureU.S. applicants will soon be able to use a streamlined international filing procedure for design patents similar to the Madrid Protocol for trademark registrations.  Currently, U.S. applicants seeking to protect designs in multiple countries must file separate applications for each of the countries through their national or regional patent offices.  Starting May 13, 2015, when the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs goes into effect in the U.S.,… More

And the Lawsuit Goes to . . . An Oscar-Time Guide to “Best Picture” Intellectual Property Litigation

OscarThe film that wins the Best Picture Oscar this year is certain to attract more viewers and more box office receipts than it had before receiving the award. But Best Picture winners also tend to attract more lawsuits, including intellectual property claims. Plaintiffs show up out of nowhere claiming to be the true authors of the underlying work, infringing defendants come out of the woodwork to unlawfully grab a little bit of the success for themselves,… More

Sue-per Bowl Shuffle 2014: The Year in NFL-Related Intellectual Property Litigation


Heading into this year’s Super Bowl party season, there are two things every lawyer should be concerned about. First, why can’t your team get it together? Second, what do you do if you are asked to explain to your friends and neighbors some NFL-related litigation that you haven’t been following? We can’t help you with the first problem (although, as an Iggles fan living in the heart of Patriots Nation,… More

Opportunities for Trademark and Copyright Lawyers To Volunteer During Pro Bono Month

CaptureOctober is Pro Bono Month in many states, including Massachusetts, New York, Michigan, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Indiana, Tennessee, and Alabama.  The ABA has created an annual weeklong National Pro Bono Celebration, which this year is October 19-25.  Recognizing the countless lawyers who devote their time and efforts to representing people of limited means, and urging all lawyers to do more, these pronouncements remind us that every attorney has an ethical responsibility to make sure that our system of justice is open to all persons,… More

Supreme Court Rulings Will Make Fee Awards More Likely In Trademark Cases As Well As Patent Cases

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court decided Octane Fitness, LLC v. Icon Health & Fitness, Inc. and Highmark v. Allcare Health Management System, Inc., companion cases that will make it easier for prevailing parties to recover attorneys’ fees in patent infringement litigation. Together, the cases may have far-reaching consequences for litigation strategy and case management in cases involving a range of intellectual property disputes, not just patents.… More

Can a Website Disclaimer Prevent Declaratory Judgment Actions in IP Cases? Maybe…or Maybe Not

Disclaimer-1-272x300A decision this week from the Federal Circuit, in a patent invalidity action, has been getting a lot of press for its suggestion that patent (and by implication trademark) holders may be able to avoid challenges to the validity of their IP simply by crafting a website disclaimer explaining that they will not sue certain competitors or other potential challengers. The decision has been argued by some to be an extension of the reasoning of the U.S.… More

FiberCore Case Illustrates Ownership and Transferability of “Shop Rights” to Patented Inventions


 An employer may have rights in a patent on its employee’s invention in three situations:

(1)  if there is an express agreement to assign or license the patent to the employer,

(2)  if the employee was “hired to invent” and the employer can show an implied contract to assign the patent rights in the invention, or

(3)  if there was no express or implied agreement but the employee used the employer’s facilities to conceive of the invention. … More

Sliding the Scale: The UK’s New “Small Claims” Court for Intellectual Property Disputes


An often-frustrating aspect of IP law is that in relatively small matters, the cost of litigation can quickly become disproportionate to the value of the intellectual property in dispute. In other words, there is no automatic sliding scale of expenses that shifts according to the value of the IP.

That may be changing in the UK. On October 1, 2012, the UK government launched a new “small claims track” in the Patents County Court) (“PCC”),… More

Practice Tips for Employee IP Assignment Agreements

A recent Federal Circuit decision discussing the effect of an Employee Intellectual Property Assignment Agreement upon the ownership of inventions made by the employee (Preston v. Marathon Oil Co., Nos. 2011-1013, -1026 (Fed. Cir. July 10, 2012) (decision here)) offers a number of practice pointers. Marathon Oil had filed suit against Preston, its former employee, claiming ownership of a patent obtained by Preston on an invention made while Preston was employed by Marathon.… More

Senators Scott Brown and John Kerry Propose Massachusetts as Location for Satellite Patent Office

On November 17, 2011, Senators Scott Brown and John Kerry sent a letter to David Kappos, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, urging him to consider Massachusetts as a location for one of the satellite patent offices that was authorized under the recently enacted America Invents Act.

The letter points out that Massachusetts is home to many world-class universities,… More