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By Jessica Engler and Devin Ricci

On May 21, 2014, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy pulled the plug on the latest bill aimed at fighting patent trolls. The term “patent troll” is an aptly coined name for non-practicing entities, companies formed to hold and collect royalties on patent rights without manufacturing, using, or otherwise

By R. Devin Ricci and Pamela A. Baxter 

The question as to whether isolated strands of human DNA are patent eligible subject matter has finally been answered. The Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc (1), on Thursday, June 13, 2013. Confirming what many patent practitioners anticipated, the Court held that a naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and therefore is not patent eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101 merely because it has been isolated. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, the Court ruled that complementary DNA (cDNA), which is synthetically constructed from a DNA segment by removing the introns (the non-coding DNA segments in a gene), can constitute patent eligible subject matter because the cDNA is not naturally occurring. It is important to note that this carved-out exception protects universities, biotech companies, pharmaceutical companies, and other research institutions; without the carved-out exception, the ability for such entities to recuperate resources devoted to research and development may have been lost.


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By Lee Vail

On May 10, 2013, the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, handed down its opinion in CLS Bank Int’l v. Alice Corp., No. 2011-1301, slip op. (Fed. Cir. May 10, 2013). The majority of the Federal Circuit judges agreed on little other than that the method and computer-readable medium claims involved in the dispute were patent ineligible. Essentially, Alice Corporation owned patents that the Federal Circuit found to be nothing more than abstract ideas based on use of escrow accounts and record keeping associated with the settling of transactions. However, the Court failed to agree on the reasoning as to why such claims were ineligible subject matter with the judges evenly split regarding the eligibility of comparable computer systems claims.


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Trademark 101 is a video presentation on the basics of trademark law prepared by Kean Miller Intellectual Property and Business Litigation partner Tara Madison.  This informative video covers what constitutes a trademark, what can be trademarked, generic words and more.

View the video here.

This first appeared on the Louisiana Law Blog here

By James R. “Sonny” Chastain

In its ruling of May 9, 2012, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s conclusion that Maker’s Mark Distillery, Inc.’s registered trademark consisting of the signature red dripping wax seal is due protection. The Samuels Family founded the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, Kentucky, and has been producing whiskey since the Eighteenth Century. Bill Samuels formulated the recipe for the Maker’s Mark bourbon in 1953. His wife, Margie, conceived of the red dripping wax seal. The company has bottled bourbon for commercial sale under the Maker’s Mark name and has used a red dripping wax seal on the bottle since 1958. In 1985, Maker’s Mark registered a trademark for the dripping wax seal component of its trade dress which is described it as a “wax-like coating covering the cap of the bottle and trickling down the neck of the bottle in a freeform irregular pattern.”

In 1995, Jose Cuervo began producing premium tequila entitled “Reserva de la Familia.” The tequila bottle had a wax seal that was straight edged and did not feature drips. However, in 2001, Cuervo began selling its tequila in the United States in bottles with a red dripping wax seal similar to the seal of the Maker’s Mark bottle.

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By Tara M. Madison

Social networks like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are transforming the way companies communicate with consumers. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter can be powerful business tools, but you must be mindful of certain legal limitations and guidelines.

The words “Facebook,” “YouTube,” and “Twitter” are proprietary to the companies that own them. “Facebook,” “YouTube,”

By Lee Vail

Ever since the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Bliski v. Kappos, 130 U.S. 3218 (2010), practitioners have grappled with the line between eligible and ineligible patent processes. Two recent cases, one eligible and one not will undoubtedly be cited to describe the divide as it relates to a business

By R. Lee Vail

In Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling, Inc. v. Maersk Contractors USA, Inc, 617 F.3d 1296 (Fed. Cir. 2010), the Federal Circuit reversed a district court’s summary judgment decision that no patent infringement occurred when a US company made an offer to sell to another US company when the sale negotiations occurred outside of the US.

Transocean filed suit for infringement of patents related to an improved apparatus for conducting offshore drilling. In order to drill for oil and other offshore resources, drilling rigs must lower several components to the seabed including the drill bit, casings, BOB’s, and the drill string. A conventional offshore drilling rig utilizes a derrick with a single top drive and drawworks that can only lower one element at a time in a time consuming process. Transocean patented a specialized derrick to improve the efficiency of lowering the above components. The specialized derrick included “two stations – a main advancing station and an auxiliary advancing station that can each assemble drill strings and lower components to the seabed.” Id. at 1301. This duel-activity rig could significantly decrease the time required to complete a borehole. Id at 1302. Transocean sued Maersk rig for infringement of the specialized derrick patent.

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