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USPTO Hosting a Forum on brand protection and anti-counterfeiting strategies

Policymakers, practitioners, and business owners interested in learning about policies and strategies to more effectively combat counterfeit goods will want to attend this free, all-day program organized by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the McCarthy Institute on June 6, 2019. It will bring together more than two dozen experts in the fields of brand protection and anti-counterfeiting, who will take an in-depth look at such topics as:

        • Fighting counterfeits in a global market
        • Utilizing new technologies to protect brands
        • Enlisting allies in the fight against counterfeiting
        • Consumer protection and counterfeits
        • What government can do to help

Featured speakers will include Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Andrei Iancu, and other USPTO executives.

Registration

Register here. There is no charge to attend the program, but registration is on a first-come basis. Please register in advance as space is limited, and there will be limited ability to accommodate walk-in registrations.

 Webcast

This program will be available for viewing remotely via LiveStream. No registration is required.

 Agenda

Full program agenda is available in .docx format.

DRAFT BILL IN CONGRESS COULD COMPLETELY TRANSFORM PATENTABILITY OF INVENTIONS

A group of lawmakers released a draft bill to reform our patent law regarding subject matter eligibility.  On May 22, 2019, the draft bill was released, and can be seen here.

The transformational aspect of the bill is that it would prohibit the use of “judicially created exceptions” in determining patent eligibility.  The bill would also reject the consideration of other sections of the Patent Act when determining §101 eligibility.  In lay terms, if this act is enacted, expect a much lower patent eligibility standard and increased patenting of software and business method inventions.  Whether this bill can be enacted is to be determined!

I attended EASTEC 2019 in West Springfield, MA

Above is a picture of me standing in front of a robot manufacturing an engine block at EASTEC 2019.

Today I drove up to West Springfield, MA to attend EASTEC 2019.  I met a lot of interesting people with very neat machines and manufacturing processes.

EASTEC 2019 is the leading Northeast manufacturing trade show and is being held May 14-16, 2019 at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts and is produced by Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME)  and The Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT).  EASTEC has been providing solutions to manufacturing challenges for more than 35 years.

EASTEC attendees come from a variety of industries including Aircraft and Aerospace, Automotive, Medical, Defense, Industrial and Commercial Machinery, and more.

EASTEC exhibitors have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with over 13,000 attendees, of which 77% have a role in purchasing decisions with 29% having manufacturing equipment budgets of more than $200,000.  More information can be found here.

USPTO issues new Cannabis Trademark Guidelines

The USPTO has issued new guidelines regarding cannabis-derived goods and services.  The guidelines were issued on May 2, 2019 and can be found here.  The new guidelines explain that the 2018 Farm Bill exempts hemp, which is defined as cannabis plants and derivatives such as CBD that contain no more than 0.3% THC on a dry-weight basis.

Therefore, for trademark applications that identify goods and or services encompassing cannabis or CBD, the 2018 Farm Bill probably removes the CSA as a ground for refusal of the application so long as:  (1) the good and/or services are derived from help;  (2) The identification of goods and/or services specify that the hemp products contain less than 0.3% THC; and (3) the application was filed on or after Dec 20, 2018, except for prior filed application, the applicants have the option of amending the filing date and filing basis of the application to over the CSA as a ground of refusal.

However, be aware that hemp related goods and/or services may still raise legal issues under other laws include the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).

MAKEHAVEN—MAKERSPACE IN NEW HAVEN

Today I made an impromptu trip to MakeHaven in New Haven. A member, John, was working there and gave me a quick tour of their 5000 sqft facility.  They have all sorts of tools and machinery that members can use, such as a working kitchen, homebrew area, quilting frame and CNC quilter, GNC router, injection molder, and of course 3D printers, and a bunch of other stuff.  It was a very impressive makerspace.  The operations manager Kath showed up, and we had a very nice chat.  More information can be found here.

BLOCKCHAIN AND CRYPTOCURRENCY MEETING AT INVENTORS ASSOCIATION OF CONNECTICUT

On Tuesday, April 30, 2019 I attend the Inventors Association of Connecticut (IACT) meeting. The topic was:  “Bitcoin and Blockchain – Ten Years In.  What we know, what we don’t  know and where we are headed.”  The meeting was at the Fairfield University Library.  Attorney Bill Erickson was the presenter.  Bill explained cryptocurrency and blockchain.  He also suggested a youtube video for an explanation of Bitcoin.  The video can be found here.  This was a very informative meeting on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency.  I hope to see you at the next IACT meeting.  More information on IACT can be found here.

USPTO hosting a Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium

Join the USPTO for the Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium on May 14 at the USPTO in Alexandria, Virginia.

This free half-day symposium will bring together leaders of industry, government, and education. Topics covered at the Symposium will be the under-representation of women in scientific research and patenting, the economic impact of women inventors and entrepreneurs, and how STEM education can impact change.

More information, including registration, is on the event page of the USPTO website.

USPTO PATENT ATTORNEY ROSTER

Many people are unaware of this fact but the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has a roster of all US patent attorneys and agents. The searchable roster can be found here.  Since I am a patent attorney, my information is listed on the roster and can be found here.  Only people who have passed the patent bar and background check, and graduated from an accredited law school and passed a state bar exam can be listed as a patent attorney on the USPTO roster.  Patent agents need only to have passed the patent bar and background check–law school and state bar are not required for patent agents.

The USPTO roster of patent attorneys is a valuable tool for inventors to make sure the “patent attorney” or “patent agent” they are dealing with is a patent practitioner in good standing and who has achieved all the requirements necessary to be a patent practitioner.  You can search the roster, name, state, city, postal code, and business or firm name.

Unfortunately, the USPTO does not have a roster of all trademark attorneys.

PUBLIC DOMAIN DAY!

On January 1, 2019 many famous works entered the public domain in the USA, after a 21 year drought.

Under the first Copyright Act of 1790, copyrights lasted 14 years with an option of additional 14 year renewal term. In 1909 the copyright laws changed again, with both terms doubled to 28 years, thereby allowing for up to 56 years of copyright protection.  In 1976, with a new Copyright ACT, congress changed the law to a copyright term of author’s life plus 50 years, or for works made for hire, a term of 75 years from publication.  In 1998, representative Sonny Bono, yes, THAT Sonny Bono, was a major force who pushed through the Copyright Term Extension Act (“CTEA”).  The CTEA extended the 50 years of protection after death to 70 years, and the term for works made for hire to 95 years.  One reason the law was changed, was because Disney’s Mickey Mouse character was about to enter the public domain.

So, the additional 20 years of copyright term meant that from 1999 until 2019, no published works entered the public domain.   Some works that have entered the public domain are films such as The Ten Commandments, directed by Cecil B. DeMille; The Pilgrim, directed by Charlie Chaplin.  Also books are entering the public domain, such as  Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan and the Golden Lion; Agatha Christie, The Murder on the Links.   A more comprehensive list of works that entered the public domain in 2019 can be found here.

When works enter the public domain, anyone can make them available, where you can rediscover and enjoy them. Public domain works means that you can use these materials, for business, education, for research, or for creative endeavors—whether it’s translating the books, making your own versions of the films, or building new music based on old classics.