Luxo Shuts the Lights Out on Disney’s and Pixar’s Merchandising of Luxo Jr.

by Josh H. Escovedo
The IP Law Blog

Old film projector with dramatic lighting

It is no secret; the Disney Corporation is a marketing and merchandising powerhouse. It has achieved that reputation by capitalizing on almost every marketing and merchandising opportunity that comes its way. If you have kids, the odds are you have been subjected to the Disney Corporation’s influence on more than one occasion. In fact, even if you do not have children, I’m willing to bet, at some point, you have been influenced by Disney’s masterful marketing.

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Animation Software Patent Survives Alice Scrutiny

by Audrey A. Millemann
The IP Law Blog

New idea concept. Man holding a good idea.

The application of the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, 134 S. Ct. 2347. (2014) has made it almost impossible to patent software.  The United States Patent and Trademark Office is increasingly rejecting patent applications for software under the Alice test on the grounds that the software is an abstract idea, and the district courts are invalidating software patents on the same grounds.  Last week,

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Is the Technology for Self-Driving Cars Patent-Eligible?

by Jo Dale Carothers, Ph.D.
The IP Law Blog

It sounds like a silly question, doesn’t it?  After all, self-driving cars represent innovative progress in technology, and patents are intended “to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”  U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 8.

But not so fast — courts have found that many software-based inventions for automating known techniques are patent ineligible under 35 U.S.C.

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How BREXIT Will Affect Intellectual Property

by Audrey A. Millemann
The IP Law Blog

As everyone knows, in June, the United Kingdom passed the BREXIT referendum (driven by British voters), voting to exit the European Union.  What affect does BREXIT have on intellectual property rights in the United Kingdom and the European Union?  There is a two-year process of negotiation between the UK and the EU, provided for by law, to determine the specifics of the exit.  Until that process is completed, the UK remains an EU Member State. 

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NO ICE, PLEASE!

by Audrey A. Millemann
The IP Law Blog

Coffee cup on grey background (seen from above) with clipping path

California’s unfair competition and consumer protection laws protect consumers from false representations about products or services.  These laws include the Unfair Competition Law (Business and Professions Code §17200, et seq.), the False Advertising Law (Business and Professions Code §17500, et seq.), and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (Civil Code §1750).  Lawsuits for violation of the consumer protection laws are often brought as class actions on behalf of the general public. 

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Federal Circuit Holds the PTAB Must Apply Narrower Phillips Claim Construction Standard to Patents that Expire During Pendency of Re-exam

by Eric Caligiuri
The IP Law Blog

Pillars and Brick Wall

In In re CSB-System Int’l, Inc., No. 15-1832 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 9, 2016), the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently held that patents that expire during a pending re-examination before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) should be examined under the Phillips standard of claim  construction, and not the broadest reasonable interpretation (“BRI”) standard.  Typically, in District Court litigation claims in issued patents are construed using the framework set forth in Phillips v.

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The Seattle Seahawks’ 12th Man Flies Again

by Josh H. Escovedo
The IP Law Blog

If you regularly follow our publication, you may remember when I discussed the Seattle Seahawks and their use of the Texas A&M trademark “12TH MAN” over a year ago. If not, that’s okay too. In short, I discussed how the Seattle Seahawks have been utilizing the Texas A&M trademark without permission and were facing legal action for infringement when the parties entered into their first licensing agreement in 2006 for $100,000 upfront and an additional $5,000 per year.

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Small Burger Chain Has a Beef With Chipotle

by Scott M. Hervey
The IP Law Blog

Small Burger Chain Has a Beef With Chipotle

Chipotle’s entry into the burger business has a Boston based small burger chain up in arms.  The Boston burger spot, which has been in operation since 2010 and goes by the name Tasty Burger, has a beef with the brand Chipotle has chosen for its restaurants, Tasty Made.SHervey

Tasty Burger claims that Chipotle brand infringes on its trademark,  Despite a cease and desist letter and public threats of a lawsuit,

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Wearable Technology Raises Concerns Regarding IP, Data Privacy and Data Security

by Jo Dale Carothers, Ph.D.
The IP Law Blog

When fashion fuses with high tech, we see our friends show up with trendy wearables, such as smart watches, fitness bands, and even high-tech, designer purses.  But, trendiness aside, wearables raise numerous questions for designers, manufacturers and consumers relating to intellectual property, data privacy and data security.  For example, how does a company protect the technology for its latest smart watch?  Should they rely on patents, trademarks, copyrights or something else?  Who owns the rights to a designer tote with an embedded charging station—the fashion designer or the circuit designer? 

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Trademark Assignability Laid Bare

by James Kachmar
The IP Law Blog

Full length image of attorney James Kachmar

Crazy Horse was a legendary Native American chief of the Oglala Lakota tribe who lived during the second half of the 1800s.  Unfortunately today, his name may be more familiar as a brand for various products, such as motorcycle gear, whiskey, rifles and strip clubs.  In Russell Road Food & Beverage, LLC v. Spencer, et al., the Ninth Circuit was faced with the issue of the assignability of the trademark “Crazy Horse” in a lawsuit between two strip club operators in Las Vegas,

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