Copyright Catches Up

Copyright law has traditionally been the branch of Intellectual Property (“IP”) law that has lagged behind patents and trademarks. Although some can say that it is because the Copyright law faces technological challenges that Trademarks and Patents do not. Streaming has been a constant issue that has made it harder for Copyright laws to keep up with the technology. As a result, Congress has recently passed legislation to try to bring Copyright Laws up to speed with the rest of IP laws.  

Kavanaugh’s effect on Intellectual Property in the Supreme Court

With the potential advent of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court of the United States, most debate has centered on how Judge Kavanaugh has ruled on key social issues such as abortion and presidential limitations. However, an issue overlooked at this point is the impact the potential Justice could have in the Intellectual Property (“IP”) field. The Supreme Court is already slated to listen to two IP cases in their 2018-2019 term.

Trademarks: Proof of Use Audit by USPTO

If you have received a US trademark registration, be prepared to 'prove' your use of the trademark in commerce.

The USPTO will conduct audits at random of the declarations of use for marks registered for multiple goods or services in the same class.  At this time, the USPTO is estimated to audit up to 10 percent of the declarations of use filed each year.  It is believed that the percentage will increase depending on the results of the audit and the number of USPTO resources that are assigned to the project.

IPRs Held to be Constitutional

The USPTO began operation of the Patent Trail and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) under the power made available to it by the American Invents Act in 2012. Since then, the PTAB has been the forum of choice to challenge the validity of existing patents through a process called Inter Partes Review (“IPR”). However, patents are private property rights and the long-standing norm has been that these kinds of rights should only be taken away in an Article III forum (judge or jury).  The case of Oil States v. Greene’s Energy Group, et al. sought to settle once and for all the constitutionality of having an Article I (executive branch) tribunal extinguish patent rights.

TC Heartland Changes Venue Rules for Patent Litigation


Venue for patent litigation had been an agreed concept for close to three decades before the United States Supreme Court came down with its TC Heartland decision. Now with this decision in the books, patent litigation has changed drastically, causing significant impact in certain areas of the country, especially Texas.

Inventor Series: Pros and Cons of Expediting Examination with the Track One Program


One of the dynamics of being involved in IP law is the first-hand experience of the time involved in waiting for a patent to issue.  With the current backlog at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it can take anywhere from 2-4 years to receive an initial examination.  Even after that first examination it can still take another year or so to get a patent application in a condition for allowance, and ultimately issued.  Given the fast-paced world of today, it’s no wonder inventors and patent owners alike find this snail's pace a grim experience, and often inquiring about any expediting options.

And, just like driving around stalled traffic in an HOV lane or the TSA PreCheck option over long lines at airport screening, indeed there are situations when one can do just that.  But just because one ‘can’, does this mean one ‘should’?  Especially when it comes to paying a premium, one really should consider patiently sticking with the status quo.