Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift is primarily known for her musical talents, but the pop star has recently made headlines for her work in the intellectual property realm. According to the database of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), Swift has filed several trademark applications to register catchphrases from her 2014 album 1989. Swift

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In 1999, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) adopted the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) which established a system for dispute resolution between owners of internet domain names and trademark owners. The UDRP allows a trademark owner to file a complaint with various administrative bodies, such as the National Arbitration Forum, by

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One of the lesser-known requirements for a patent is that it must claim a “definite” invention. The issue of definiteness lies primarily with the patent draftsperson, often a patent attorney or agent that is hired to expand the scope of an invention as broadly as possible without crossing the line into indefiniteness. Nevertheless, as patent

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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 selling the patented products or processes.

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.

Continue Reading You Can’t Patent My DNA: A brief on Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc.

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.

Continue Reading CLS Bank: Software Patents at Risk?

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

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.

Continue Reading Whiskey vs. Tequila: Courts find Cuervo’s Seal Infringes Maker’s Mark Red Wax Seal Trademark

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,” and “Twitter” are all