Tag: USPTO

University of Washington School of Law

Apple Gets New Encryption Patent as Apple v. FBI Feud Seemingly Comes to an End

appleBy Denise Kim

After the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced on March 28 that it had successfully accessed the iPhone used by one of the gunmen in the San Bernardino terrorist shooting without Apple’s help, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is now officially dropping its case against Apple. Earlier, the DOJ’s motion for continuance halted the ongoing feud between Apple v. FBI. The DOJ filed the motion on March 21, 2016, one day before the court decided whether Apple would be forced to hack into its own system. In its memorandum of points and authorities, the DOJ claimed that on March 20, 2016, an “outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking Farook’s iPhone.” After successfully unlocking the iPhone, the government asked the federal judge to vacate the disputed order. Read More

University of Washington School of Law

Let’s Play Trademarks: The Peculiar Sensation of Sony and the Fine Brothers

gamerBy Gwen Wei

As it turns out, it’s a terrible idea to try to lock down the Internet’s favorite toys via trademark. Who knew?

Certainly the news seems to have come as a shock to a few businesses in the new year. On October 28, 2015, Sony Computer Entertainment America applied to trademark the phrase ‘Let’s Play’. According to its application, Sony intended the trademark for goods regarding “electronic transmission and streaming of video games via global and local computer networks; streaming of audio, visual, and audiovisual material via global and local computer networks”. Read More

University of Washington School of Law

Federal Circuit Vindicates First Amendment by Holding Section of Lanham Act Unconstitutional

trademark-gavelBy Vijay Kumar

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) recently decided en banc that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which prohibits registration of “disparaging” trademarks, is unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The effects of this significant decision (In re Tam) will undoubtedly ripple across multiple industries and affect many controversial trademarks, including most notably the Washington Redskins, who are currently appealing a district court decision to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Read More

University of Washington School of Law

An Action-Packed Summer for PTAB

uspto_seal_full_colorBy Don Wang

If you spent this past summer looking forward to the most recent Fantastic Four movie, I am deeply sorry for the utter disappointment. However, if you have been following the news of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instead, this has been a truly great summer! Following the roll-out of the American Invents Act, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) started to solicit public comments for a proposed rule change package for trials before the PTAB and has proposed a pilot program to have a single Administrative Patent Judge determine the institution of an Inter Partes Review. Read More

University of Washington School of Law

“Don’t Copy My Style!” Exxon’s Trademark “Style” Infringement Claim Against Fox

exxonBy Chike Eze

Consumers associate a trademark with a familiar experience associated with a specific source. For example, consumers associate the “golden arches” symbol with McDonald’s cheeseburgers and fries. To protect such profitable associations, an owner of a well-known trademark may file for federal registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). USPTO requires the trademark owner, among other things, to police its mark by challenging others who impermissibly copy and use the mark. Therefore, it is not particularly newsworthy that Exxon Mobil Corporation (“Exxon”), an owner of several federally-registered trademarks, brought a complaint against 21st Century Fox et. al. (“Fox”) alleging federal trademark infringement, inter alia. However, Exxon makes an unusual argument that Fox infringed Exxon’s marks by copying the marks’ common “style.” Read More