Changing of the Guard

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Law360 and Crain’s Chicago Business are reporting that the infamous Niro Law Firm is dissolving, following the recent death of its founder, Ray Niro. For a time, the Niro name caused consternation to retailers receiving cease & desist letters on  patent claims, as the firm made a name for itself by aggressively suing on behalf...

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The Platform of Patent Infringement?

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A little over a year ago, Judge Martinez of the Western District of Washington adopted an advisory jury verdict finding that Amazon.com Inc. did not “offer to sell” several third party pillowcases available for purchase through Amazon.com which allegedly infringed certain design patents. As is often the case with legal questions, the issue was just...

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Give Me A C….

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The Supreme Court recently heard arguments in the case of Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, a copyright case seeking resolution of the appropriate test to determine when a feature of a “useful article” is protectable under section 101 of the Copyright Act. Section 101 provides that “the design of a useful article” will be considered...

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Pleadings 2.0

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Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” A decade ago, pleading a patent case was approximately as easy as: “You have a product/website/method/service and I have a patent. You owe me money.” With the Supreme...

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Freedom of Software Speech

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Intellectual Ventures is no stranger to filing appeals with the Federal Circuit when confronted with an unfavorable ruling at the district court level, though it may be kicking itself for having done so in its case against Symantec, where the Federal Circuit not only affirmed the district court’s decisions of ineligibility regarding two of the...

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Happy Birthday, Patent Reform

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Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, a comprehensive patent reform package that, depending on your vantage point, either went too far or not far enough. From a removal of half a decade, it appears that some of the AIA’s requirements have had little practical effect – for example, the fact...

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Permission Granted

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With a hat tip towards Law360 for noting that Judge Gilstrap may have quietly done away with his notorious “permission slip” requirement for filing a summary judgment motion. While previous docket control order templates required a party to submit a five-page letter brief seeking permission to file a summary judgment motion, the latest incarnation simply...

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Goodbye, Ruby Sands….

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In a short but scathing order, Judge Gilstrap sent frequent patent lawsuit flier Ruby Sands, LLC packing, in granting a motion to dismiss Ruby’s amended complaint on grounds that it “plainly fails to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” The Court found that Ruby’s direct infringement pleadings “are constructed upon...

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The Results Are In: Patent Quality Can Improve

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released two reports on the Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) recently, including one on patent quality and clarity. As to such report, the GAO recommends that the PTO: Develop a consistent definition of patent quality, and clearly articulate this definition in agency documents and other guidance. Develop measurable, quantifiable goals...

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Too Little, Too Late?

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On June 23, 2016, the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) issued a decision invalidating one of Converse’s trademarks for its iconic Chuck Taylor shoes (and issuing an exclusion order prohibiting the import of any shoes that infringe certain of Converse’s other trademarks). It is the former that is of particular interest here. Though Converse had...

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