British researchers are claiming that an artificial intelligence (AI) system invented both a complex system for interlocking food containers as well as a new warning light. The researchers have filed patents in the US as well as other countries, claiming the AI as the inventor. This would be the first time AI is credited as the inventor… patent agencies will have to determine whether a tool constructed by humans can invent on its own. And if AI is deemed a true inventor entity, how will this impact other areas of intellectual property law?
More and more of my clients have been receiving trademark scam letters purporting to be from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. These letters often appear official in nature and include scary notations such as “CANCELLATION PENDING.” These companies have defruaded trademark owners of millions. If you have received this type of note, the following article includes some things to look for such as exorbitant fees or fast approaching deadlines.
legislation addressing patent eligibility is expected sometime this fall.
The hope is that the bill will clarify patent eligibility issues and tackle
inventions classified as abstract ideas, laws of nature and natural phenomena.
changes to section 101 are expected to broaden patentability for “any invention
or discovery that provides specific and practical utility in any field of
technology through human intervention.”
& Gamble has recently filed two trademark applications for
“WTF” and “FML” – two colorful acronyms containing the word
“F*CK”. These marks would have formerly been rejected on the
basis that they are “scandalous” or “immoral;”
however, recent decisions validating registration of THE SLANTS (a band with
Asian members) and REDSKINS (an NFL team) has changed the trademark landscape.
A recent Federal Court decision noted, “the First Amendment protects
private expression, even private expression which is offensive to a substantial
composite of the general public,” holding that FUCT is a registerable
U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the USPTO’s policy of rejecting
“scandalous” marks is a violation of the First Amendment, making such
trademark refusals an unconstitutional violation of free speech.
New EU legislation known as Article 11 and Article 13 was recently passed, requiring companies such as Facebook, YouTube and Google to take more responsibility and provide compensation for copyrighted material posted on their respective sites. The law also limits how copyrighted material may be shared on online platforms. Google complains that this will chill creativity and freedom on the internet.
Walmart was recently ordered to pay Variety Stores after a jury found that the company infringed Variety’s registered trademark BACKYARD. The jury concluded that Walmart’s use of the mark in a line of grilling products constituted willful infringement, resulting in a $95.5M treble damage award.
Since 1936, Levi has been placing a small fabric tag with the name LEVI on the pockets of its denim products. The company recently filed a trademark suit against Barbour, an English clothier that has been in business since 1894. Levi claimed that the blue fabric tags placed in the pockets of Barbour clothing created a likelihood of confusion. On February 1st, a Judge dismissed the case calling Levi Strauss a “bully.”
United States has charged tech company Huawei with trade secret theft,
wire fraud, and obstruction of justice. The DOJ alleges that the company
took photos and measurements of a phone-testing robot and used that information
to build a similar device. Huawei denied the theft, claiming it was the work of
miscreants; however, recent emails offering bonuses to employees stealing
information from competitors was recently uncovered.
President recently signed the Music Modernization Act into law. This
legislation streamlines payment to songwriters by creating a single mechanical
licensing database for streamed music. The database is managed by music
publishers and songwriters and paid for by digital streaming services.
Director Iancu recently proposed new patent eligibility guidelines at the
quarterly meeting of the Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC). Iancu
noted that clarity is needed both by examiners and applicants asking, “how
can a claim be novel enough to pass 102 and nonobvious enough to pass 103, yet
lack an “inventive concept” and therefore fail 101? Or, how can a
claim be concrete enough so that one of skill in the art can make it without
undue experimentation, and pass 112, yet abstract enough to fail 101? How can
something concrete be abstract?” Hopefully the new guidelines will
address these issues and give some much needed clarity.