What is a Design Patent?

by Audrey A. Millemann
The IP Law Blog

A design patent protects a new, original, ornamental design for an article of manufacture. 35 USC section 171. “Ornamental” means that the design is purely decorative; the patentability is based on its visual aspects. Those aspects are the shape or configuration of an article (like the shape of a bottle or a vase), the surface ornamentation on the article (like a painting on the bottle or vase), or a combination of both. The design must be a design for a specific article;

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Alice is Alive and Well!

by Audrey A. Millemann
The IP Law Blog

Not everything is patentable. First, only inventions are patentable. Second, only certain inventions are patentable. Four types of inventions are patentable: articles of manufacture, machines, processes, and compositions of matter. 35 U.S.C. §101. These four types of inventions are referred to as patent-eligible subject matter. Some things, referred to as patent-ineligible subject matter, are not patentable: laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas.

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Is Machine-Made Art Copyrightable?

by Audrey A. Millemann
The IP Law Blog

The United States Copyright Office has refused to register a copyright for a work of art created by a machine.

The work of art is a two-dimensional picture that is mostly dark and sort of looks like a painting. It is a view looking towards a series of two archways over railroad tracks, with walls along the sides covered in very dark green, purple, blue, and pink foliage, with a tiny bit of blue and cloudy sky above.

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Trade Secret or Patent?

by Audrey A. Millemann
The IP Law Blog

Business owners often ask whether they should protect their intellectual property with a trade secret or a patent.  The answer is:  It depends.

What Can Be Protected? 

The first thing to consider is what it is that needs to be protected.  A trade secret protects a business’s confidential and proprietary information.  The information can be a formula, process, or customer list.

A patent protects an invention.  The invention can be an article of manufacture,

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Written Description Remains Critical to Patents

by Audrey A. Millemann
The IP Law Blog

There are many requirements for obtaining a patent.  One of those is the written description requirement.  Pursuant to 35 U.S.C. §112(a), the patent must describe the invention in writing.  If the written description requirement is not met, the patent won’t be granted.  If the patent has already been issued, it can be invalidated for failure to satisfy the written description requirement.  Recently, in Juno Therapeutics, Inc. v. Kite Pharma, Inc., 2021 U.S.

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You Can’t Manipulate Venue!

by Audrey A. Millemann

How many of the lawyers out there liked hypotheticals in law school? I did not, but this case prompted me to write one!  So, for those of you who enjoy hypotheticals, here it is:

Company A, a North Carolina LLC, owns four patents.  A new company is formed, Company B, a Texas LLC.  Company B has the same corporate address in North Carolina and the same five shareholders as Company A.  Company B conducts no business activities. 

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26 Weintraub Tobin Attorneys Included in Sacramento Magazine’s Top Lawyers List 2021

Weintraub Tobin is pleased to announce that 26 of its attorneys have been recognized as 2021 Top Lawyers by Sacramento Magazine, including 8 attorneys recognized in multiple practices. Voting for Top Lawyers was managed by Professional Research Services and was open to all licensed attorneys in Sacramento. Voters were asked which of their peers they would recommend among 53 legal specialties, and the list reflects attorneys who received the highest number of votes in each specialty.

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35 Weintraub Attorneys Named to 2021 Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Lists; Firm Retains Highest Percentage of Sacramento Top 25 List

Weintraub Tobin is pleased to announce that 38 of its attorneys have been included on the 2021 Super Lawyers and Rising Star lists for outstanding attorneys in Northern California.  In addition, 4 Weintraub Tobin attorneys received special recognition on Northern California and Sacramento “Top” lists. Weintraub attorneys represent 16 percent of the 2021 Sacramento Top 25 Super Lawyers, achieving the region’s highest percentage again this year.

Attorneys selected to the 2021 Northern California Super Lawyers list include Brendan J.

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Once Again, Generic Computer Systems That Do Routine Functions are Not Patentable!

by Audrey A. Millemann
The IP Law Blog

Patents protect inventions.  However, patents protect only certain inventions.  In order to be patentable, an invention must fall within one of four categories of patent-eligible subject matter: articles of manufacture, machines, processes, and compositions of matter. 35 U.S.C. §101.  There are some things that are not patentable (i.e. are patent-ineligible subject matter): laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas.

In 2014, in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International,

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