Week’s news headlines – Feb. 10th 2017


A Weak Patent System Increases Inequality, Protects Incumbent Monopolies
The weakening of patent rights is coupled with a weakening of antitrust enforcement that limits control of market leaders. This combination of weaker patent rights for market entrants and limited antitrust enforcement has uniformly benefited large technology corporations and has served to distort market efficiencies.

Patent owners do not like IPRs despite what Bloomberg Law, AIPLA study says
“Those pointing to the prospect of a gold platted patent might as well be pointing to a pot of gold left by a Leprechaun at the end of a rainbow; gold plated patents and Leprechauns seem equally real based on the real life experiences of actual patent owners with the PTAB.”

Provenance of U.S. patents in question as they continue to carry signature of Michelle Lee
Who is running the United States Patent and Trademark Office? That straightforward question shouldn’t be imponderable, but it seems that the Trump Administration has chosen to sequester the Director as if he or she has gone into the witness protection program. Indeed, we seem no closer to an answer to who is running the USPTO today than we were 18 days ago. Although sources tell me that Michelle Lee continues to be seen on the 10th floor of the Madison Building, which is where the Director’s Office is located.

GM and Honda announce joint investment in fuel cell development, marrying two largest patent portfolios in the field
Last week Detroit, MI-based automaker General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co. (NYSE:HMC) announced a joint investment of $85 million into a business venture, which will focus on developing technologies for use in fuel cells. According to a statement released by both companies, Fuel Cell System Manufacturing LLC will operate within GM’s existing battery pack manufacturing plant in Brownstown, MI, creating up to 100 jobs and beginning mass production of fuel cells in 2020.

The Lumineers reclaim fake tour website
The domain,, was transferred to the band on January 25 by the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Arbitration and Media Center.

Look to the left and look to the right: new domain names affect confusion in the UDRP
Steven Levy, president of the Accent Law Group, looks at how new generic top-level domains have changed the analysis of confusing similarity in disputes under the UDRP.

Federal Circuit remands Apple v. Samsung design patent case to Judge Koh in Northern California
Earlier this week, in a non-precedential decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit remanded Apple, Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. back to Judge Lucy Koh of the United States Federal District Court for the Northern District of California. In December 2016, the Supreme Court overturned a $400 million damages award for design patent infringement. In it’s ruling the Supreme Court explained that damages may be limited to revenues attributable to a component of an article of manufacture and not the entire article itself. See Samsung Electronics Co. v. Apple, Inc.

Intellectual Property Without Borders: How IP Protection for Low-Cost Medical Devices Improves Global Health
Intellectual property protection has been crucial for several advances in the medical field, due to the high product development costs and chances of competitors copying the developing technologies. As of 2006, the cost of medical devices in the global marketplace exceeded $260 billion, and has only continued to rise.



Take you to the cleaners: In-N-Out Burger files TM infringement suit
In-N-Out Burger filed its suit (pdf) against In-N-Out Cleaners at the US District Court for the District of Kansas on Monday, February 6.

Use them or lose them: US trademarks put to the proof
In the United States, a trademark owner must use their mark in commerce to maintain a federal trademark registration. This requirement is different from many other countries which do not require use of the mark to maintain registration.  Further, the trademark owner is required periodically to prove to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that the registered mark is in use by submitting specimen(s) of current use, along with an affidavit or declaration attesting to the use.  The USPTO is amending its rules regarding the examination of these affidavits or declarations to potentially put registrants to stricter proof requirements.



Beyoncé tangled up in $20m copyright claim
Pop star Beyoncé is tangled up in a $20 million copyright claim centring on a sampling in her song and video “Formation”.

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