Last night I taught the 2nd night of my two-night class: “Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights for the Inventor and Small Businesses”. The 2nd night we discussed international patent applications, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. The students had great questions about all the subjects.
Be on the look out for an announcement regarding my class in the Fall of 2019 on “Commercializing your Invention”. Soon, you can find information on my blog, or at the Milford Adult Education website.
The USPTO has recently implemented an Expedited Trademark Cancellation Pilot Program. USPTO random audits suggested that over half of active registrations include some goods or services for which the registered mark is not actually being used. Registered trademarks that are not actually in use in commerce may block other trademark owners from registering their marks.
Under the Expedited Trademark Cancellation Pilot Program, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) identifies newly-filed trademark cancellation proceedings limited to abandonment or nonuse claims that may benefit by some form of the Board’s existing Accelerated Case Resolution (ACR) procedures.
You may participate in the pilot even if your case was not initially identified by the TTAB, and even if you already conducted your discovery conference. You can coordinate with your opponent and call the Interlocutory Attorney assigned to schedule a conference. More information about the pilot program can be found here.
On March 4, 2019, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion that basically changed the long-standing practice of a plaintiff needing only to apply for copyright registration prior to bringing a copyright infringement lawsuit. Justice Ginsburg, writing for a unanimous court, said the law requires a litigant to have an issued registration, or a rejected application, subject to certain limited exceptions. Prior to this ruling, many litigators only filed an application for copyright registration prior to filing a copyright infringement lawsuit. However, the Supreme Court clarified the law, and made it clear that a copyright owner must have an issued registration or a refusal to register from the Copyright Office.
There are some exceptions. Such as “preregistration” for works that are particularly vulnerable to predistribution infringement, such as movies or musical compositions. Once a work is “preregistered” the owner may bring suit.
The decision can be read here.
Last night I held the first night (of two nights) of my Patents, Trademark & Copyrights Class for Individuals and Businesses. We covered patents last night. The class continues on March 21, 2019 at Law High School. For the second night we will cover Trademarks, Copyrights, and Trade Secrets! More information can be found here.
Join the next USPTO Inventor Info Chat webinar, “Trademark: Live demonstration of how to file a trademark application,” on February 21, 2019 from 11 a.m. to noon ET. Through this live demonstration, you will learn how to effectively file your trademark application using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). You will also have an opportunity to ask questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. To register, visit the Inventor Info webinar event page on the USPTO website, or click here.
Cliff Ennico will be presenting at the Inventors Association of Connecticut (IACT) meeting tomorrow night at Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT.
Cliff is widely considered to be one of America’s leading experts on the legal and tax problems facing entrepreneurs, small businesses and self-employed professionals. Cliff will be presenting on Equity Crowdfunding. Thanks to SEC regulations passed last year under the federal JOBS Act, it is now possible for small businesses, startup companies and other privately-owned enterprises to raise capital and sell securities via crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. Cliff will discuss the pros and cons of Equity Crowdfunding. More information can be found here.
The 2019 National Hardware Show takes place May 7-9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. With nearly 15,000 retailers, wholesalers and distributors attending, 2019 NHS is the best place to gain maximum exposure in the industry. You may want to exhibit your inventions. According to the National Hardware Show, they are the prime time and place for face-to-face sourcing, trading and learning with over 20,000+ industry professionals, 120+ media outlets and 15+ different product categories.
The United Inventors association (UIA) is hosting the Inventors Spotlight, the area for new inventors to showcase their products. Always a high traffic area, exhibiting in the Inventors Spotlight brings an unprecedented opportunity to network with and demonstrate your product to decision-makers who know this is the place to find the most innovative products and services. Take advantage of this opportunity to be in front of retail buyers, potential inventors and industry professionals looking for fresh, new products. More information on UIA can be found here.
Sign up for the National Hardware Show here.
I would like to congratulate my client Michael P. Hagen, formerly of Tolland, CT, receiving a second patent on his Vehicle Cover Spout Cover. The first patent can be seen here. The latest patent can be seen here.
I would like to congratulate my client Razvan Tata of Stratford, Connecticut for receiving a patent on his Napkin Band with Dental Floss invention. The patent can be seen here.
On January 22, 2019, the US Supreme Court decided Helsinn Healthcare S. A. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. The main issue in that case was whether a “secret” sale of the invention triggers the 1 year time period to apply for a US patent application.
The America Invents Act (AIA) amended 35 U.S.C. §102 as follows: “A person shall be entitled to a patent unless . . . the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention.” The underlined portion was added by the AIA.
Plaintiff Helsinn argued, that the addition of the phrase “or otherwise available to the public” in the AIA statute altered the meaning of on sale in such a way that if an invention’s sale was confidential (and, therefore, not available to the public), the invention was not on sale under the AIA statute. The Supreme Court disagreed.
Thus, inventors and patent owners should be aware that any sale, secret or public, triggers the on-sale bar, and a patent application must be filed within 1 year of the first sale, or public disclosure of the invention—otherwise the invention is ineligible for patent protection. Stated another way, PATENT EARLY!
The case can be read here.