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Entries tagged “Intellectual Property”

The LAST BEST PLACE That Doesn’t Need a Trademark Registration

Insight May 21, 2012

Why obey federal trademark law (aka the Lanham Act) when you can just pass a new law that exempts you from it? Montana’s Senators sure are slick and I’m betting the Last Best Beef wishes it had a beef with any other State besides Montana!

Instead of federally registering and enforcing its rights in Montana’s slogan, THE LAST BEST PLACE, in 2005 Montana Senators Conrad Burns and Max Baucus got Congress to pass a law prohibiting the use of “federal funds” for trademark registration of the term during the following fiscal year. Never mind that the USPTO is a fully user-fee funded agency. This provision was included in an appropriations bill to prevent any funds that the government allocates to the PTO — as in all of its user fees — from being used to register THE LAST BEST PLACE.



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Trolls, Wizards, and the Pitfalls of Patenting

Insight May 08, 2012

Patents are back in the news. In the past few weeks alone, Microsoft bought AOL’s patent portfolio for $1 billion, then resold much of it to Facebook for $550 million. Twitter pledged to use its patents only defensively, and to give its employee-inventors a say in the company’s future patent litigation strategy. Controversial trials, appeals, rulings, and awards continue—prompting the Wall Street Journal to publish Andy Kessler’s call for curtailing the rights of non-practicing entities (NPEs), also known affectionately as “trolls.” 

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Stop Online Piracy Act: Powers Granted to the Attorney General

Insight January 05, 2012

As noted in the first piece of this two-part series, the Stop Online Piracy Act’s (“SOPA”) procedures vary depending on whether the Attorney General or a copyright holder initiates the process. This article looks at the possible course of action when initiated by the Attorney General.

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Stop Online Piracy Act: fair play or a stacked deck?

Insight December 22, 2011

Currently under debate in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Stop Online Piracy Act (“SOPA”) would provide the Attorney General and copyright holders with tools to combat copyright infringement and trafficking of counterfeit goods. Whether the bill goes too far, though, is under heavy scrutiny. Opponents to SOPA, including Internet giants such as Google and Facebook, worry that the bill will result in Internet censorship akin to China’s Internet firewall. Others, including the RIAA and MPAA, believe it is necessary to protect U.S. intellectual property.

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Hey, Chick-fil-A: Eat (More) Crow! This is not Trademark Infringement.

Insight November 29, 2011

  Do you imagine crow tastes good with chicken?  Maybe we should ask the legal eagles representing Chick-fil-A, whom I suspect now have first-hand knowledge of the answer to that question.

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Availability of Software Patents in the US, Europe, Japan, China and India

Insight October 19, 2011

The ongoing  “patent war” between Google, Apple and Microsoft has brought public attention to the value that these companies perceive in their patent holdings. These companies are aggressively buying patents, hoping to integrate those discoveries with their own, but also to preclude their use by competitors through the threat of patent-infringement litigation. Software patents, are playing a pivotal role in this competition, for example, patent-infringement actions against smartphone producers utilizing Google’s Android operating system.

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Geekview IP week(s) Review

Insight October 09, 2011


CA Water District’s new domain names unfairly drown out Central Basin Municipal Water District.

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Apple Tribute Infringement?

Insight October 07, 2011

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On October 5, 2011 Steve Jobs died and the world lost a great man.

In honor, one of my tech friends, Eric Greenspan of Make It Work, posted the above image to his Facebook page yesterday afternoon, which I immediately “Liked.”  (Eric also took part in a moving HuffPost Tribute to Steve Jobs, which can be seen here).  Let me correct myself; I immediately loved this image.  It’s so simple and powerful.  It’s the perfectly beautiful human side of Apple.  It made me teary-eyed.

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Apple Denied! TTAB Upholds Refusal to Register MULTI-TOUCH

Insight September 28, 2011


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Apple is known for innovation.  Above on the left is Apple’s revolutionary touch-screen device.  Above on the right is a portion of the patent for this device.  Apple’s introduced the iPhone on January 9, 2007 (has it only been five years?).  On the very same day, it filed a federal trademark registration application for MULTI-TOUCH.  Since I know you’re dying to know, the IPHONE trademark registration application was filed on September 26, 2006, although not by Apple.  It was filed by a company named Ocean Telecom Services, which applied based on its foreign registration of the IPHONE mark in Trinidad and Tobago.  Ocean Telecom merged with Apple on October 5, 2007, and Apple took over ten pending IPHONE trademark registration applications from Ocean Telecom.

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Have an Idea?  What about a Patent?

Insight August 17, 2011

I’m a patent attorney. As a result, I get a lot of questions from people about patents. Questions like: "Do you think this idea is patentable?"; "Do I need to hire an attorney?"; or "How much will it cost to file a patent?"

I’ve always enjoyed interacting with inventors. They are often very excited about their ideas and love teaching others about their innovations. When inventors come to me with a great idea that has potential commercial value, I often encourage them to look into pursuing a patent.   

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