August 14, 2014

Indiana Patent Infringement Lawsuit: CeraMedic Sues DePuy Orthopaedics

South Bend, Indiana - In conjunction with New York intellectual property co-counsel, 

biolox picture.jpg

Indiana patent attorneys for CeraMedic LLC of Plano, Texas sued in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. of Warsaw, Indiana ("DePuy") infringed "Sintered AL₂O₃ Material, Process for Its Production and Use of the Material," Patent No. 6,066,584 (the "'584 patent"), which has been issued by the U.S. Patent Office.

The '584 patent relates to the field of ceramics and concerns sintered Al₂O₃ compositions and methods for the use of such material as medical implants or tool material. It was issued in May 2000 to Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V., Germany ("Fraunhofer"), Europe's largest application-oriented research organization. CeraMedic states that Fraunhofer, the assignee of over 1,500 U.S. patents, assigned ownership of the '584 patent to CeraMedic in early 2014.

CeraMedic indicates that non-party CeramTec GmbH ("CeramTec") developed and manufactures BIOLOX Delta, an aluminum oxide matrix composite ceramic consisting of approximately 82% alumina (Al₂O₃), 17% zirconia (ZrO₂), and other trace elements.

CeraMedic then states that Defendant DePuy "designs, develops, manufactures, offers for sale, sells, uses, distributes, and markets hip implants, many of which include" CeramTec's BIOLOX Delta and that such actions constitute infringement of the '584 patent. DePuy is accused of infringing the '584 patent directly, literally, and/or by equivalents.

The complaint, filed by New York patent attorneys in conjunction with Indiana patent lawyers, lists a single count: infringement of the '584 patent. CeraMedic asks the court for a judgment against DePuy determining that DePuy has infringed and continues to infringe one or more claims of the '584 patent; enjoining DePuy and its agents from further infringing the '584 patent; ordering DePuy to account for and pay to CeraMedic all damages suffered by CeraMedic as a consequence of DePuy's alleged infringement of the '584 patent, together with interest and costs; trebling or otherwise increasing CeraMedic's damages under 35 U.S.C. § 284 upon a finding that the asserted infringement by DePuy of the '584 patent was deliberate and willful; and declaring that this case is exceptional and awarding to CeraMedic its costs and attorneys' fees in accordance with 35 U.S.C. § 285.

Practice Tip: DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. has been involved in similar Indiana patent infringement litigation before. See, e.g.:

Howmedica Osteonics Corp. and Stryker Ireland Ltd. Sues DePuy Orthopaedics Inc.
for Patent Infringement of a Surgical Implant Used in Hip Replacement Procedures

Orthopaedic Hospital Seeks Injunction and Damages for Patent Infringement

Continue reading "Indiana Patent Infringement Lawsuit: CeraMedic Sues DePuy Orthopaedics" »

August 13, 2014

Indiana Patent and Trade Dress Litigation: Polymer Technology Systems Asserts Patent and Trade Dress Infringement of Its Cholesterol Testing Technology

Indianapolis, Indiana - Indiana patent attorneys for Polymer Technology Systems, Inc. ("PTS") of Indianapolis, Indiana filed an intellectual property lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Jant Pharmacal Corporation of Encino, California ("Jant") Infopia America LLC of Titusville, Florida ("Infopia USA") and Infopia Co., Ltd. of Kyunggi, Korea ("Infopia 

CholestrerolStrips.jpg

Korea") infringed "Method for determining HDL concentration from whole blood or plasma," Patent No. 7,087,397, which was issued by the U.S. Patent Office. PTS has also accused Defendants of federal unfair competition under the Lanham Act.

PTS develops, manufactures and sells point-of-care diagnostic products for the human healthcare market. At issue in this Indiana litigation is PTS's "CardioChek® Multi-Analyte Strip," a hand-held, point-of-care testing system that can test for total cholesterol, high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and triglycerides with a single drop of blood. In August 2006, Patent No. 7,087,397 ("the '397 Patent") was issued to PTS. PTS indicates that this patent includes a significant portion of the technology embodied in this Indiana invention.

Defendant Infopia Korea has also developed a test strip that tests for total cholesterol, high-density lipoproteins and triglycerides. This system is branded as the LipidPlus Lipid Profile Test Strip. PTS contends that Infopia Korea imports the LipidPlus testing strip into the United States and that Defendants Infopia USA and Jant offer and sell the LipidPlus product in the U.S. market.

PTS alleges that much of the technology incorporated into the LipidPlus testing strip is copied from PTS's CardioChek product. It contends that the copied aspects include the concept of the testing strip itself, the analytes selected for analysis, the structure of the strip and the chemistries used. PTS also contends that Defendants have copied the trade dress of PTS's CardioChek testing strip. PTS further accuses Defendants of offering the LipidPlus testing strip at a price that is both extremely low and below cost.

In its complaint, filed by Indiana trade-dress and patent lawyers, PTS alleges the following:

• Count I: Patent Infringement of the '397 Patent

• Count II: Violation of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a)

PTS asks the court:

• for a judgment that the '397 Patent is valid and enforceable;

• for a judgment of direct or indirect infringement, or inducement to infringe, by Defendants;

• to declare that Defendants have unfairly competed with PTS by infringing and misappropriating PTS's trade dress;

• for an award to PTS of lost profits and a reasonable royalty for Defendants' acts of patent infringement and trade-dress infringement;

• to treble the award of damages pursuant to a finding of willful, intentional and deliberate infringement;

• for an injunction prohibiting Defendants from engaging in acts of infringement or unfair competition; and

• for a declaration that the case is exceptional and an award of attorneys' fees.

Practice Tip: The United States Supreme Court addressed the elements required for trade dress to be protected in Two Pesos, Inc. v. Taco Cabana, Inc., 505 U.S. 763 (1992). In Two Pesos, the Court held that, to establish a cause of action for trade dress infringement, a plaintiff must establish that (a) the design is non-functional; (b) the design is inherently distinctive or distinctive by virtue of having acquired secondary meaning; and (c) there is a likelihood of confusion.

Continue reading "Indiana Patent and Trade Dress Litigation: Polymer Technology Systems Asserts Patent and Trade Dress Infringement of Its Cholesterol Testing Technology" »

August 11, 2014

Consumers May No Longer Have to Fear Copyright Litigation Resulting from Unlocking Cell Phones

Washington D.C. - The Leahy-Grassley cell phone unlocking bill has been signed into law.cellphonespicture.jpg The House unanimously passed bipartisan legislation recently that would restore the ability of consumers to more easily transfer their cell phones to other wireless carriers, just one week after the Senate approved the same measure. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) coordinated with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) on the issue. The lawmakers praised Congress's action to pass the pro-consumer bill, which was signed by President Obama on August 1, 2014.

The legislation approved by the House, which the Senate unanimously approved, reinstates a 2010 rulemaking by the Librarian of Congress so that consumers can transfer, or "unlock," their cell phones without running afoul of copyright laws. It also directs the Librarian of Congress to consider whether other wireless devices, like tablets, should be eligible for unlocking.

The chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees began working together on the issue last year after more than 100,000 consumers signed a "We the People" petition calling for a change in cell phone unlocking law. 

"I thank the House for moving so quickly on the bill we passed in the Senate last week and for working in a bipartisan way to support consumers. The bipartisan Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act puts consumers first, promotes competition in the wireless phone marketplace, and encourages continued use of existing devices," Leahy said. "Once the President signs this bill into law, consumers will be able to more easily use their existing cell phones on the wireless carrier of their choice." 

With today's House passage of the bipartisan Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, this important legislation is headed to the President for his signature," Goodlatte said. "This law will protect consumer choice by allowing flexibility when it comes to choosing a wireless carrier. This is something that Americans have been asking for and I am pleased that we were able to work together to ensure the swift passage of legislation restoring the exemption that allowed consumers to unlock their cell phones."

"The cell phone unlocking bill has a direct impact on Americans as we become more reliant on our wireless devices. This bipartisan bill is pro-consumer and pro-competition and allows for greater ease in the portability of devices. It will provide greater competition and more consumer choice," Grassley said. "I appreciate the House's quick action and look forward to the President signing this bipartisan bill."

"House passage of the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act now ensures this important bipartisan legislation will be signed into law without further delay and consumers can engage in the phone marketplace flexibly," Conyers said. "During these tough economic times, consumers deserve to have options in what carriers they choose and what phones they want to use. I applaud the truly bipartisan efforts of both the Senate and House Judiciary Committees in getting this bill to the President's desk."

An outline of the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act can be found here, and text of legislation can be found online.

Practice Tip: This legislation was initiated by a digital petition on the White House's We the People site, an online platform where citizens can offer ideas for the government to take action on important issues facing our country. A digital rights activist submitted a simple request: restore an exception to the law to let consumers take their mobile phone to the carrier that best suits their needs by "unlocking" the device.

August 7, 2014

Patent Office Issues 208 Patents To Indiana Citizens in July 2014

The U.S. Patent Office issued the following 208 patent registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in July 2014, based on applications filed by Indiana patent attorneys:

PAT. NO. Title
D709,765 Shaker lid 
8792221 Electrical protection circuitry for a docking station base of a hand held meter and method thereof 
8791790 System and method for accessing a structure using a mobile device 
8791342 Soybean cultivar 21202 
8791340 Soybean cultivar 76983 
8791333 Soybean variety 20872NNR2Y 
8791193 Non-black rubber membranes 
8791135 Nonpeptide HIV-1 protease inhibitors 
8791048 Herbicidal compositions comprising 4-amino-3-chloro-5-fluoro-6-(4-chloro-2-fluoro-3-methoxyphenyl) pyridine-2-carboxylic acid or a derivative thereof and clomazone 

Continue reading "Patent Office Issues 208 Patents To Indiana Citizens in July 2014" »

August 7, 2014

Indiana Trademark Litigation: Rieke Corporation Sues Riekes Packaging Corporation for Trademark Infringement

Fort Wayne, Indiana - An Indiana trademark attorney for Rieke Corporation d/b/a Rieke Packaging Systems of Auburn, Indiana sued in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Riekes Packaging Corporation of Nebraska infringed the trademark Rieke Packaging Systems®, Trademark No. 2742836, which has been registered by the U.S. Trademark Office.

engineeredComponentsCollage.png

Plaintiff Rieke Corporation states that it is one of the largest manufacturers of packaging components in the world. Its product line includes pumps, foamers, and sprayers for household dispensers as well as plastic and steel closures, caps, drum and pail enclosures, rings and levers for the industrial market. These products are used to store, transport, process and dispense various products in the agricultural, beverage, food, household products, industrial, medical, nutraceutical, personal care and pharmaceutical markets.

Plaintiff asserts that it has spent a considerable amount of money establishing the "Rieke Packaging Systems" trade name and trademark in the minds of customers as a source of high-quality and reliable packaging dispensers and closures. It claims that the trade name and trademark have become associated in the minds of purchasers with Plaintiff as "one of the largest and most reputable manufacturers and distributors of high quality and reliable packaging dispensers and closures in the world."

Defendant Riekes Packaging Corporation has been manufacturing and selling packaging components since the corporation's formation in 2012, according to Plaintiff. Rieke Corporation indicates that the "Riekes Packaging Corporation" name is shown on Defendant's glass bottles, plastic bottles, plastic closures, caps, metal closures, dispensing closures and systems, tubes and other similar goods.

In this Indiana trademark lawsuit, Rieke Corporation accuses Riekes Packaging Corporation of knowing, deliberate, and intentional violations of Plaintiff's trademark rights, stating Defendant's use of the "Riekes Packaging Corporation" trade name or trademark with or on its products is likely to cause confusion in the marketplace regarding whether there is an association between Plaintiff and Defendant and as to the source or origin of Defendant's goods. In their complaint, filed by an Indiana trademark lawyer, Plaintiff lists the following counts:   

  • Count I-rademark Infringement under the Lanham Act
  • Count II-Unfair Competition under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act
  • Count III-Common Law Trademark Infringement and Unfair Competition

 Rieke Corporation asks the court to:

     • enjoin Defendant and its agents from using "Riekes Packaging Corporation" as business name; in connection with sales or other commercial activities; or in a way that would be likely to lead others to believe that Defendant or its products were connected with Plaintiff; 

     • enjoin Defendant from engaging in any other activity that would constitute unfair               competition; 

     • direct Defendant to recall infringing materials; 

     • declare that Defendant's use of "Riekes Packaging Corporation" in connection with the   sale of packaging products and components constitutes trademark infringement under the Lanham Act and the common law of the state of Indiana; 

    • direct that Defendant cancel or otherwise modify any trademark applications containing the "Riekes Packaging Corporation" name; and

    • award to Rieke Corporation damages, including enhanced damages, costs and attorney's fees.

Practice Tip: Under U.S. trademark law, trademarks that are primarily surnames, or which consist of a surname and other material that is not registrable as a trademark, are treated the same as descriptive trademarks. Thus, the trademark will not be protected as intellectual property until it has achieved secondary meaning through advertising and/or use over an extended period of time. Once that surname has acquired secondary meaning, it may be protectable as a trademark and others can be prevented from using the trademark on confusingly similar goods, even if that person has the same last name. So, for example, Joe McDonald could expect a legal challenge - presumably one that would succeed - if he opened a restaurant named "McDonald's," despite that "McDonald" is his last name. 

Continue reading "Indiana Trademark Litigation: Rieke Corporation Sues Riekes Packaging Corporation for Trademark Infringement" »

August 4, 2014

Indiana Patent Litigation: Tippmann Family Dispute Regarding Patent Ownership and Validity Escalates to Litigation

Fort Wayne, Indiana - Indiana patent attorneys for Vincent P. Tippmann, Sr. Family, LLC and Tippmann Refrigeration, Inc., both of Fort Wayne, Indiana, filed an intellectual property lawsuit in the Northern District of Indiana against Gerald Tippmann of Fort Wayne, Indiana to correct ownership of Patent No. 8,220,287, "Apparatus and Method for Blast Freezing or Thawing A Product," which was issued by the U.S. Patent Office. In addition to listing requests regarding inventorship, this Indiana patent lawsuit asks the court to, in the alternative, grant a judgment under Indiana State law of negligent misrepresentation and constructive fraud on the part of Defendant, Gerald Tippmann, and for associated relief and damages.

PatentPicture08042014.bmpVincent P. Tippmann Sr. Family, LLC ("Tippmann Family, LLC") claims ownership of the patent-in-suit, a technology that facilitates rapid and efficient freezing and thawing of food products. It also indicates that it is the inventing and owning company of various patents and patent applications related to apparatuses and methods for blast freezing and/or thawing of products.

Rapid freezing was historically done in blast freezers, which are expensive and result in irregular freezing rates across arranged product stacks. Plaintiffs assert that Defendant Gerald Tippmann and Vincent P. Tippmann Jr. (presumably an employee of Tippmann Family, LLC) were the first to recognize, and jointly design, test and reduce to practice a new method and system for freezing and thawing boxes or pallets of a commodity more efficiently and rapidly through the strategic arrangement of product boxes and pallets to create a directional airflow.

This Indiana patent litigation concerns that invention, U.S. Patent No. 8,220,287 (the "'287 Patent"), for which Tippmann Family, LLC is the assignee. According to Plaintiffs, the inventor declaration for the patent-in-suit that was signed by Gerald Tippmann averred that he and Vincent P. Tippmann Jr. were co-inventors and that the invention "was not in public use or on sale in the United States of America more than one year prior to filing this application."

In May 2012, Gerald Tippmann left the employ of Tippmann Refrigeration, and became associated with Tippmann Construction, LLC ("Tippmann Construction"), a competitor of Tippmann Family, LLC. The owners of the Tippmann Family, LLC and the competing Tippmann Construction are relatives.

In June 2013, Gerald Tippmann and the Indiana patent lawyer for Tippmann Construction prepared a supplemental inventor declaration and disclosure statement to "clarify" statements Gerald Tippmann had made in his previous disclosures in the Tippmann Family, LLC applications. According to Plaintiffs, this supplemental declaration directly contradicts all previous declarations made by Gerald Tippmann with regard to his joint inventorship with Vincent P. Tippmann Jr., especially including its assertions that Gerald Tippmann was the sole inventor of the patent-in-suit.

In this supplemental declaration, Gerald Tippmann also indicates that he had been "mistaken" regarding the initial public display of the invention. Specifically, he claims that he had commercialized and publically used the underlying invention while in the employ of an unrelated Florida company called Citrus World on or about 1996-97.

The complaint, filed by Indiana intellectual property counsel, lists the following causes of action:

• Declaratory Judgment of Joint Inventorship, Correction of Inventorship under 35 U.S.C. § 256
• Negligent Misrepresentation under Indiana State Law
• Constructive Fraud under Indiana State Law

Plaintiffs ask that the court:

(a) Find that Gerald Tippmann and Vincent P. Tippmann Jr. are the true inventors of the '287 Patent;
(b) Find that Gerald Tippmann's actions at Citrus World were an experimental use, not a public use or a commercialization, and that the invention was not ready for patenting at that time;
(c) Estop Gerald Tippmann from declaring the assertions set forth in his Declaration in the related continuation and divisional applications associated with the '287 Patent and any future related patents that he has assigned to the Tippmann Family, LLC;
(d) Award to Tippmann Family, LLC all costs and attorney's fees;
(e) Alternatively to (a)-(d), find that Gerald Tippmann has committed negligent misrepresentation with respect to the actions described above, and that the Tippmann Family, LLC be awarded costs, attorney's fees, and damages; and
(f) Alternatively to (a)-(d), find that Gerald Tippmann has committed constructive fraud with respect to the actions described above, and that the Tippmann Family, LLC be awarded costs, attorney's fees, and damages.

Practice Tip: Public disclosure - as Gerald Tippmann has apparently claimed - is often, but not always, a bar to patentability. Indiana inventors are advised to consult with an Indiana patent lawyer to determine whether their invention(s) can be protected under U.S. patent law.

Continue reading "Indiana Patent Litigation: Tippmann Family Dispute Regarding Patent Ownership and Validity Escalates to Litigation" »

August 1, 2014

183 Trademark Registrations Issued to Indiana Companies in July 2014

The U.S. Trademark Office issued the following  183 trademark registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in July 2014 based on applications filed by Indiana trademark attorneys:

Reg. Number Word Mark Click to view
86188876 SABOTAGE View
86158448 PL"8"TED View
86151387 KINGFISHER View
86146172 TURTLEBACK View
86134928 TEAM FILM View
86133861 THE TRAVEL ADDICT View
86133176 COMPASSION KEY View
86126781 BAD MAMMA JAMMA FITNESS View
86121883 IRONWOOD BREWING CO View
86120959 TOTAL DENT & HAIL RESTORATION LLC HAIL YES WE CAN FIX IT! View

Continue reading " 183 Trademark Registrations Issued to Indiana Companies in July 2014" »

July 31, 2014

Indiana University Maurer School of Law Added to USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program

Indianapolis, Indiana - The U.S. Department of Commerce's United States Patent and220px-IUB_-_Law_School_-_P1100601.jpg Trademark Office ("USPTO") yesterday announced the selection of 19 law schools, including Indiana University Maurer School of Law, that will join the USPTO's Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program this fall. Indiana University Maurer School of Law (pictured) and four other law schools will join both the Patent and Trademark portions of the Program, four law schools will join the Patent portion of the Program, and ten law schools will join the Trademark portion of the Program. These law schools join the 28 law schools currently participating in the Program.

The selection committees chose these schools based on their solid intellectual property curricula, pro bono services to the public, and community networking and outreach. The Program enables law students to practice patent and/or trademark law before the USPTO under the guidance of an approved faculty clinic supervisor.

"Expanding the USPTO's Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program will provide more students - future intellectual property lawyers - with the real-world experience and tools crucial to tackle the complexities of today's IP law landscape," said Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee. "The addition of law schools and students in the program will also increase pro bono representation to American businesses and entrepreneurs, thereby helping ensure they have the resources to grow, create jobs and compete globally."

The other law schools selected to participate in the Patent Program are: Brooklyn Law School; Lincoln Law School; New York Law School; South Texas College of Law; Southern Methodist University School of Law; Texas A&M University School of Law; University of California, Los Angeles School of Law; and University of Detroit School of Law.

The other law schools selected to participate in the Trademark Program are: Lewis and Clark College School of Law; Lincoln Law School; Loyola University Chicago School of Law; Northwestern University School of Law; Roger Williams University School of Law; Saint Louis University School of Law; Southern Methodist University School of Law; Texas A&M University School of Law; The John Marshall Law School; University of California, Los Angeles School of Law; University of Idaho School of Law; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law; University of Tennessee School of Law; and Western New England University School of Law.

Practice Tip #1:

The Law School Clinic Certification Pilot program is helping to develop the next generation of Indiana patent and trademark attorneys by allowing law students enrolled in a participating law school's clinic program to practice intellectual property law before the USPTO under the strict guidance of a law school faculty clinic supervisor. The program currently consists of students practicing in both patent and trademark law before the USPTO. The program is administered by the Office of Enrollment and Discipline. The Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline grants the law students limited recognition to practice before the Office.

Students gain experience drafting and filing either patent applications or trademark applications for clients of the law school clinic. Further, as they are authorized to practice before the USPTO, they gain experience answering Office Actions and communicating with either patent examiners or trademark examining attorneys for the applications they have filed.

Practice Tip #2: In 2012, the Notre Dame Law School's Intellectual Property and Entrepreneur Clinic was selected to take part in an earlier phase of the USPTO's Patent Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program. It currently participates in both the Patent Program and the Trademark Program.

July 30, 2014

Indiana Trade Secret Law: Removing Allegation of Theft of Trade Secrets Results in Defendants' Release from "Lockdown"

secret-300x237.jpgIndianapolis, Indiana - In 2013, a federal indictment including counts of theft of trade secrets belonging to Eli Lilly and Company ("Lilly") was presented to the Southern District of Indiana. On the basis of this indictment, the court ordered Defendants Guoqing Cao and Shuyu Li, formerly employed by Eli Lilly and Company, to be detained at housing provided by Volunteers of America - Indiana ("VOA"), pending their criminal trial. When the 2013 indictment was superseded by a second indictment that did not include counts for the theft of trade secrets, the court granted Defendants' request to be released to home detention.

On August 14, 2013, Defendants Cao and Li, two doctoral-level scientists formerly employed by Lilly, were charged with multiple counts of theft. At issue was intellectual property belonging to Lilly valued at $55 million. Counts one through three of the indictment, as well as counts five through ten, were listed as theft of trade secrets and aiding and abetting. Count four alleged conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets.

In the initial proceedings, the United States maintained that the Defendants were traitors who had conveyed "American trade secrets" - specifically, "crown jewels" in the form of many millions worth of intellectual property belonging to Lilly - to Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co., Ltd., a company located in Shanghai, China. These arguments strongly impacted the court's decision to order "lockdown" detention at the VOA.

A second indictment was later filed by the United States. Under the new indictment, the Defendants faced no charges of trade-secret theft. Instead, they were charged with one count each of wire fraud, aiding and abetting, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Based on the absence of allegations relating to trade-secret theft in the subsequent indictment, the Defendants asked the court to modify the terms of their detention.

The court was persuaded that such a change was warranted. It noted that there was "a difference between allegations of 'theft of trade secrets' and disclosure of 'Lilly Property.'" It further stated that the earlier allegation - that Lilly's "crown jewel" secrets had been stolen and provided to China - had been a critical factor in justifying the Defendants' incarceration.

When the allegations of trade secret misappropriation were removed, the court found that those justifications were no longer applicable: "No longer are the Defendants accused of stealing 'trade secrets'--those words are found nowhere in the superseding indictment" and released the Defendants from lockdown to the less-restrictive conditions of home detention.

Practice Tip #1: Nine Lilly trade secrets pertaining to pharmaceuticals under development for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer were at issue in this Indiana criminal prosecution for theft of intellectual property.

Practice Tip #2: Defendants' home detention restricts individuals to their residence at all times except for employment; education; religious services; medical, substance abuse, or mental health treatment; attorney visits; court appearances; court-ordered obligations; or other activities approved in advance by the pretrial services office or supervising officer. Defendants were also ordered not to access or use any internet-enabled device with the exception of utilizing email to communicate with counsel.

Continue reading "Indiana Trade Secret Law: Removing Allegation of Theft of Trade Secrets Results in Defendants' Release from "Lockdown"" »

July 28, 2014

Copyright Office Requests Comments on Music Licensing

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Copyright Office has undertaken a study to evaluate the yTo4bpATE.jpgeffectiveness of current methods for licensing musical works and sound recordings. It seeks additional comments on whether and how existing music licensing methods serve the music marketplace, including new and emerging digital distribution platforms.

An initial round of written comments and roundtable sessions were held, during which a number of significant issues were discussed. The Copyright Office believes these issues merit additional consideration.

First, the two federal district courts overseeing the antitrust consent decrees governing the largest performance rights organizations (''PROs''), American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (''ASCAP'') and Broadcast Music, Inc. (''BMI''), held in separate opinions that under those decrees, music publishers could not withdraw selected rights - such as ''new media'' rights - to be directly licensed outside of the PROs; rather, a particular publisher's song catalog must either be ''all in'' or ''all out.'' Following these rulings, both in public statements and at the recent roundtables, certain major music publishers have indicated that, if the consent decrees remain in place without modification, they intend to withdraw their entire catalogs from the two PROs and directly license public performances. Such a move would affect not only online services, but more traditional areas of public performance such as radio, television, restaurants, and bars.

Stakeholders at the roundtables expressed significant concerns regarding the impact of major publishers' complete withdrawal from the PROs. Notably, traditional songwriter contracts typically include provisions that assume that a songwriter's performance royalties will be collected by and paid directly to the songwriter through a PRO, without contemplating alternative arrangements. Songwriters and composers raised questions regarding how withdrawing publishers would fulfill this responsibility in the future, including whether they would be in a position to track and provide adequate usage and payment data under a direct licensing system. Another concern is how such withdrawals would affect the PROs' cost structures and the commission rates for smaller entities and individual creators who continued to rely upon these organizations to license and administer their public performance rights. At the same time, some stakeholders questioned the existing distribution methodologies of the PROs, suggesting that the PROs should rely more on census-based reporting (as is typically supplied by digital services) and less on sampling or non-census-based approaches to allocate royalty fees among members.

Next, many stakeholders appear to be of the view that the Section 115 statutory license for the reproduction and distribution of musical works should either be eliminated or significantly modified to reflect the realities of the digital marketplace. While music owners and music users have expressed a range of views regarding the particulars of how this might be accomplished, much of the commentary and discussion has centered on two possible approaches. The first would be to sunset the Section 115 license with the goal of enabling musical work owners to negotiate licenses directly with music users at unregulated, marketplace rates (as the synchronization market for musical works currently operates). Some stakeholders have acknowledged, however, that such a market-based system might still have to allow for the possibility of collective licensing to accommodate individuals and smaller copyright owners who might lack the capacity or leverage to negotiate directly with online service providers and others.

A second model, advocated by the record labels, would be to eliminate Section 115 and instead allow music publishers and sound recording owners collectively to negotiate an industrywide revenue-sharing arrangement as between them. For the uses falling under this approach, a fixed percentage of licensing fees for use of a recorded song would be allocated to the musical work and the remainder would go to the sound recording owner. Record labels would be permitted to bundle musical work licenses with their sound recording licenses, with third-party licensees to pay the overall license fees to publishers and labels according to the agreed industry percentages. While musical work owners would retain control over the first recordings of their works, such an arrangement would cover not only audio-only uses but would extend to certain audiovisual uses not currently covered by the Section 115 license, such as music videos and lyric display.

Another theme that emerged from the first round of written comments and the public roundtables relates to the Section 112 and 114 statutory licenses for the digital performance of sound recordings Although there appeared to be substantial agreement that these licenses are largely effective, there was also a general consensus that improvements could be made to the Copyright Royalty Judges' (''CRJs'') statutorily mandated ratesetting procedures. For instance, under 17 U.S.C. 803(b)(6), parties in proceedings before the CRJs must submit written direct statements before any discovery is conducted. A number of commenters believed that the ratesetting process could be significantly streamlined by allowing for discovery before presentation of the parties' direct cases, as in ordinary civil litigation. Stakeholders were also of the view that it would be more efficient to combine what are now two separate direct and rebuttal phases of ratesetting hearings, as contemplated by 17 U.S.C. 803(b)(6)(C), into a single integrated trial - again as is more typical of civil litigation. There was also general agreement that more could be done to encourage settlement of rate disputes, such as adoption of settlements earlier in the process and allowing such settlements to be treated as nonprecedential with respect to non-settling participants.

Finally, many commenting parties pointed to the lack of standardized and reliable data related to the identity and ownership of musical works and sound recordings as a significant obstacle to more efficient music licensing mechanisms. Stakeholders observed that digital music files are often distributed to online providers without identifiers such as the International Standard Recording Code (''ISRC'') and/or International Standard Musical Work Code (''ISWC''), and that the lack of these identifiers (or other unique or universal identifiers) makes it difficult for licensees or others to link particular music files with the copyrighted works they embody. In addition to problems identifying the musical works and sound recordings themselves, commenters noted the difficulties of ascertaining ownership information, which frequently have multiple owners representing varying percentages of particular songs. These issues, in turn, relate to a more general ''transparency'' concern of music creators that usage and payment information--including information about advances and equity provided by licensees to publishers and labels--may not be fully and readily accessible to songwriters, composers and artists.

The Copyright Office is currently soliciting additional comments on these subjects, as set forth in the specific questions below. Parties may also take this opportunity to respond to the positions taken by others in the first round of comments and/or at the roundtables.

Subjects of Inquiry:

Data and Transparency

1. Please address possible methods for ensuring the development and dissemination of comprehensive and authoritative public data related to the identity and ownership of musical works and sound recordings, including how best to incentivize private actors to gather, assimilate and share reliable data.

2. What are the most widely embraced identifiers used in connection with musical works, sound recordings, songwriters, composers, and artists? How and by whom are they issued and managed? How might the government incentivize more universal availability and adoption?

3. Please address possible methods for enhancing transparency in the reporting of usage, payment, and distribution data by licensees, record labels, music publishers, and collective licensing entities, including disclosure of nonusage- based forms of compensation (e.g., advances against future royalty payments and equity shares).

Musical Works

4. Please provide your views on the logistics and consequences of potential publisher withdrawals from ASCAP and/or BMI, including how such withdrawals would be governed by the PROs; whether such withdrawals are compatible with existing publisher agreements with songwriters and composers; whether the PROs might still play a role in administering licenses issued directly by the publishers, and if so, how; the effect of any such withdrawals on PRO cost structures and commissions; licensees' access to definitive data concerning individual works subject to withdrawal; and related issues.

5. Are there ways in which the current PRO distribution methodologies could or should be improved?

6. In recent years, PROs have announced record-high revenues and distributions. At the same time, many songwriters report significant declines in income. What marketplace developments have led to this result, and what implications does it have for the music licensing system?

7. If the Section 115 license were to be eliminated, how would the transition work? In the absence of a statutory regime, how would digital service providers obtain licenses for the millions of songs they seem to believe are required to meet consumer expectations? What percentage of these works could be directly licensed without undue transaction costs and would some type of collective licensing remain necessary to facilitate licensing of the remainder? If so, would such collective(s) require government oversight? How might uses now outside of Section 115, such as music videos and lyric displays, be accommodated?

Sound Recordings

8. Are there ways in which Section 112 and 114 (or other) CRB ratesetting proceedings could be streamlined or otherwise improved from a procedural standpoint?

International Music Licensing Models

9. International licensing models for the reproduction, distribution, and public performance of musical works differ from the current regimes for licensing musical works in the United States. Are there international music licensing models the Office should look to as it continues to review the U.S. system?

Other Issues

10. Please identify any other pertinent issues that the Copyright Office may wish to consider in evaluating the music licensing landscape.

Practice Tip: Written comments are due on or before August 22, 2014. All comments must be submitted electronically. More information, as well as a comment form, is posted on the Copyright Office web site at http://www.copyright.gov/docs/musiclicensingstudy/.

July 25, 2014

Indiana Passes New Statute Criminalizing Offenses Against Intellectual Property

Indianapolis, Indiana - Indiana Code § 35-43-1-7 has been made effective as of July 1, 2014.

This new criminal statute, enacted by P.L.158-2013, SEC. 458, covers certain computer-related offenses against intellectual property. It takes the place of 35‐43‐1‐4, which was repealed.

Indiana Code § 35-43-1-7 reads, in full:

(a) A person who knowingly or intentionally and who without authorization:

  (1) modifies data, a computer program, or supporting documentation;
  (2) destroys data, a computer program, or supporting documentation; or
  (3) discloses or takes data, a computer program, or supporting documentation that is:

(A) a trade secret (as defined in IC 24-2-3-2); or
(B) otherwise confidential as provided by law; and that resides or exists internally or externally on a computer, computer system, or computer network, commits an offense against intellectual property, a Level 6 felony.

(b) However, the offense is a Level 5 felony if the offense is committed for the purpose of devising or executing any scheme or artifice to defraud or to obtain any property.

Violation of the statute is a Level 6 felony, with a sentencing range of six to 30 months. TheCyber-Attack-full.jpg advisory sentence is one year. This falls within Credit Classification A, available to most misdemeanants and Level 6 offenders, which allows the sentence to be reduced by one day for each day served.

If the offense is committed for purpose of defrauding or obtaining property, the crime is a Level 5 felony, with a sentencing range of one to six years. The advisory sentence is three years. This falls within Credit Classification B, which is available to offenders who have committed an offense that is Level 5 or above and who are not credit restricted. Credit Classification B allows the sentence to be reduced by one day for each three days served.

Practice Tip: When sentencing, a court is required under Indiana Code § 35-38-1-3 to make a record of its reasons for selecting the sentence that it imposes if it has found aggravating or mitigating circumstances.

July 24, 2014

Lilly Successful in Defending Alimta Method-of-Use Patent

AltimaPicture.bmpIndianapolis, Indiana - In conjunction with co-counsel, an Indiana patent attorney for Eli Lilly of Indianapolis, Indiana prevailed in the Southern District of Indiana on claims of patent infringement. At issue was Lilly's patent on the use of Alimta® in conjunction with specific vitamins. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt concluded that Defendants Teva Parenteral Medicines, Inc. of Irvine, California; APP Pharmaceuticals, LLC of Schaumburg, Illinois; Pliva Hrvatska D.O.O. of Zagreb, Croatia; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. of North Wales, Pennsylvania; and Barr Laboratories, Inc. of Montvale, New Jersey failed to prove invalidity of U.S. Patent No. 7,772,209 (the "'209 Patent") and entered judgment in favor of Lilly.

Lilly sells the drug Alimta ("pemetrexed"), a chemotherapy drug, to treat various types of lung cancer, including mesothelioma. However, certain side effects were troublesome, including treatment-related hematologic and gastrointestinal toxicity. Deaths among some patients were attributed to treatment with pemetrexed. In response to this concern, Lilly took the unusual step of mandating supplementation of the pemetrexed protocol with two vitamins - folic acid and vitamin B12. The patentability of that idea was the focus of a patent challenge - this litigation - by five manufacturers of generic drugs.

Lilly's '209 Patent describes a method of using an antifolate, pemetrexed, with vitamins. Antifolates are a type of chemotherapy drug used to treat certain types of cancer. They work by competing with folates, a class of essential nutrients that includes folic acid. By interfering with the action of folates, antifolates thereby deprive cancer cells of the DNA precursors they need to proliferate.

The generic challengers contended in part that the patent on the combined therapy is invalid, arguing that someone knowledgeable about both nutrition and medicine could have easily concluded that supplementation with B12 and folate might alleviate certain side effects of pemetrexed.

Lilly, in contrast, argued that the vitamin regimen was not only counterintuitive when it was proposed, it was called "crazy" by a leading cancer doctor before testing showed its benefits.

Lilly prevailed. The court found that Defendants failed to show by clear and convincing evidence that the asserted claims of the '209 Patent were invalid for obviousness, obviousness-type double patenting, inadequate description or lack of enablement. Thus, the '209 Patent is valid and enforceable.

The '209 Patent is presumed to be valid under 35 U.S.C. § 282. Defendants, as the parties challenging the validity of the '209 Patent, bore the burden of proving invalidity by clear and convincing evidence.

Defendants' first contention was that the '209 Patent was obvious. To prove obviousness, they would have to show by clear and convincing evidence that the differences between the claims and the prior art at the time the invention were such that, considered as a whole, the claims would have been obvious to a person of ordinary skill in the art ("POSA") in that subject matter.

Obviousness is a legal conclusion based on underlying factual findings. Such findings include: 1) the scope and content of the prior art; (2) the differences between the claims and the prior art; (2) the level of ordinary skill in the art; and (4) objective considerations of non-obviousness such as commercial success and satisfaction of a long-felt need. Moreover, it is insufficient that prior art merely includes separate references to the subject matter of a subsequent patent claim. Instead, obviousness requires the additional showing that a POSA would have combined those elements of the prior art. Thus, Defendants in this case bore the burden of proving that a POSA would have had reason to (1) administer folic acid pretreatment with pemetrexed, (2) administer vitamin B12 pretreatment with pemetrexed, and (3) administer each of them according to the doses and schedules indicated in the '209 Patent.

The court first found that folic pretreatment with pemetrexed was not obvious. Among its findings were that the prior studies on mice would not have led a POSA to consider such supplementation. There would have been considerable difficulty in comparing studies on the combined treatment in mice with effects likely to be observed in humans, given the differences between humans and mice. One substantial difference was that mice have much higher requirements for folic acid. As an additional confounding factor, the studies on mice given low-folate diets were only possible because the mice were also given an antibiotic to prevent bacteria in the intestines of the mice from making folic acid that would otherwise raise a mouse's level of folic acid.

These and other differences would have represented substantial obstacles in making the leap from the prior state of understanding of vitamin supplementation with antifolates to the claims of the '209 Patent. The court thus held that a POSA reviewing the prior art, instead of concluding that the supplementation was useful, would have likely concluded that supplementation decreased the efficacy of the drug. Consequently, those prior studies would have resulted in a "teaching away" from the claimed invention by discouraging a POSA from pursuing vitamin supplementation in conjunction with pemetrexed.

The court concluded that, likewise, vitamin B12 pretreatment with pemetrexed was not obvious and that, as of June 1999, a POSA would have expected that vitamin B12 would counteract the efficacy of antifolates. Instead, the court held that the benefit of using B12 in conjunction with pemetrexed was not discovered until late 1999, when a mathematician for Lilly ran an extensive statistical analysis of data from patients in the worldwide, phase-III pemetrexed trial.

The court next held that the doses and schedules within the claims asserted by Lilly were not obvious. The vitamin dosing regimens attempted in the prior art, which contained folic acid only, reduced the efficacy of pemetrexed as compared to unsupplemented trials. However, the regimen in the '209 Patent actually improved the efficacy of the drug over unsupplemented clinical trials. While normally a change in temperature, concentration or both would be an unpatentable modification, patentability may be found if the results of such a change are "unexpectedly good." The court held that the changes resulting from the methods described in the '209 Patent fell within this exception to the general rule.

The scheduling of the pretreatment with the vitamin supplementation was also deemed non-obvious by Judge Walton Pratt, as prior studies had shown that administration of folic acid one week prior to the administration of lometrexol (another chemotherapy agent) reduced the efficacy of the drug and was a cause of concern for oncologists. Based upon the results of that study, a POSA would have not have anticipated a likelihood of success with pretreatment with vitamins.

In its evaluation of non-obviousness, the court last considered secondary indicia of non-obviousness of the asserted claims of the '209 Patent. These indicia include the commercial success of the invention at issue and its satisfaction of a long-felt need; skepticism or disbelief before the invention; failure of others and evidence of unexpected properties. It found these indicia supported a conclusion of non-obviousness.

Finally, the court held that the claims at issue were not invalid for obviousness-type double patenting, concluding that the claims asserted in the '209 Patent were patentably distinct from Lilly's U.S. Patent No. 5,217,974 (the "'974 Patent"). The court included in its reasoning that the '974 Patent discloses, inter alia, the use of a much greater amount of folic acid, does not reference pemetrexed and includes nothing about pretreating with vitamin B12.

Consequently, the court found that the asserted claims of the '209 Patent were valid and enforceable, and entered judgment in favor of Lilly and against Defendants.

Practice Tip #1:

Patent-infringement litigation between brand-name manufacturers and generic-drug makers is common. In a typical lawsuit, a company that wishes to sell a generic version of a brand-name drug, usually a widely used drug, will try to invalidate the patent on the drug, in the hopes that it could then offer the same drug in generic form.

This litigation was different from traditional patent litigation. The original patent on Alimta, administered as a stand-alone treatment, protects only Alimta's active ingredient. That patent will expire in 2017. However, the focus of the current litigation was on the combination treatment - a "method-of-use patent" - that involves both Alimta and the vitamin regimen.

Practice Tip #2:

Because the '209 Patent was upheld, the period of exclusivity for Alimta, in conjunction with the vitamin supplementation, now expires in 2022. In 2013, Lilly earned revenues of $2.7 billion from global sales of Alimta. Thus, the extra five years of patent protection may result in additional revenues in excess of $10 billion for Lilly.

Continue reading "Lilly Successful in Defending Alimta Method-of-Use Patent" »

July 23, 2014

Indiana Trademark Law: Trademark Infringement and Counterfeiting Defendants Held Liable for Both Damages and Plaintiff's Attorney's Fees

Coach-Picture.jpgSouth Bend, Indiana - Chief Judge Philip P. Simon of the Northern District of Indiana ordered Defendants The Treasure Box, Inc. and Heather Hiatt, both of Elkhart, Indiana to pay statutory damages, attorney's fees and costs to Coach, Inc. of New York, New York and Coach Services, Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida for trademark infringement and counterfeiting.

By way of summary judgment, the court had earlier determined in this Indiana trademark and counterfeit litigation that Defendants The Treasure Box and Hiatt were liable for the trademark infringement and trademark counterfeiting of Plaintiff Coach's trademarks. The court's summary judgment determinations also included a finding that "The Treasure Box and Heather Hiatt acted with knowledge and intent" that was sufficient to support enhanced statutory damages. In this opinion and order, the court fixed the amount due to Coach from Defendants.

Instead of requesting actual damages resulting from Defendants' trademark infringement and counterfeiting within Indiana, Coach opted for statutory damages under §1117(c). It asked the court for damages of $100,000 for each of the 15 infringing marks, for a total of $1,500,000. The Treasure Box and Hiatt, unrepresented by counsel at the time, filed no response or opposition to Coach's damages request.

The court first addressed the proper measure of damages. Statutory damages for trademark infringement and trademark counterfeiting under 15 U.S.C. §1114 are limited to:

(1) not less than $1,000 or more than $200,000 per counterfeit mark per type of goods..., as the court considers just; or
(2) if the court finds that the use of the counterfeit mark was willful, not more than $2,000,000 per counterfeit mark per type of good..., as the court considers just.

Because the statute provides little guidance regarding what constitutes a "just" award, the court referred to the relevant factors under the analogous statutory damages provision in the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §504(c). These considerations include: the profits reaped by the infringer; the revenues lost by the plaintiff; the value of the trademarks; whether the infringing conduct was willful; the duration of the infringement; and the potential deterrent effect on the defendant and others.

The court considered each factor in turn. It found that, because The Treasure Box's operations were both brief and "even trivial" in scale, neither Defendants' profits nor Coach's lost revenue supported a large statutory damages award. Instead, the court cited Nimmer on Copyright for the proposition that statutory damages "should be woven out of the same bolt of cloth as actual damages." "Statutory damages," said the court, "should represent some approximation of actual damages and are not to represent a windfall to a prevailing plaintiff."

In contrast, the factors of "value of the trademarks" and "willful conduct" weighed against Defendants. The court acknowledged that the Coach trademarks were valuable and noted that, in determining statutory damages, other courts had valued the trademarks at between $2,000 per mark and $30,000 per mark, for an average of approximately $14,000 per mark. Moreover, it characterized Hiatt's infringement as having been pursued with "bold willfulness" with regard to her efforts to sell what she knew was knock-off Coach merchandise.

The last two considerations - duration of infringement and potential deterrent effect on Defendant and others - weighed against a large award of damages. The Treasure Box had operated for only three months, closing in late 2011. Such a brief term of infringement, as well as the court's conclusion that Hiatt and the defunct The Treasure Box were now apparently beyond deterrence, militated in favor of lower damages. Regarding deterrence for others, the court stated, "Mom & Pop operators such as the Hiatts could doubtless be deterred from similar conduct by much less frightful sums than the $1.5 million Coach requests."

The court concluded that an award of $3,000 per trademark for each of the 15 counterfeited trademarks at issue, for a statutory damages award of $45,000, was appropriate.

The court was also asked to award to Coach attorney's fees of $14,780 pursuant to §1117(a)(3). This section permits a court "in exceptional cases" to award reasonable attorney's fees to the prevailing party. The court first noted the ambiguity inherent in the placement of §1117(a)(3) within the statute. Specifically, subsection (a) addresses recovery for actual damages, while subsection (c) allows a plaintiff to opt for statutory damages. Here, Coach chose an award of statutory damages under subsection (c), which raised the question of whether the provision for attorney's fees under §1117(a)(3) could be applied.

The only Court of Appeals to have addressed the question was the Second Circuit. That court concluded that subsection (c) offers an election as to the basis for damages, but not an election regarding remedies, including attorney's fees. Thus, it concluded, a court could award attorney's fees in conjunction with an award for either actual or statutory damages. Chief Judge Simon adopted the Second Circuit's reasoning. He also determined that the definition of an "exceptional" case - for example, one in which "the losing party was the defendant and had no defense yet persisted in trademark infringement" - was also met, given the willfulness of Defendants' knowing sale of counterfeit Coach goods and that Defendants had no viable defense.

In addition to the statutory damages award of $45,000, the court awarded attorney's fees of $14,780 as well as expenses and costs of $1,076.16 to Coach. The judgments were entered against Treasure Box, Inc. and Heather Hiatt jointly and severally.

Practice Tip: Chief Judge Simon noted that Coach had a history of requesting statutory damages that were considerably in excess of what was eventually awarded by the courts in other cases. In Coach, Inc. v. Paula's Store Sportwear LLC, 2014 WL 347893 (D.N.J. Jan. 31, 2014), Coach requested $800,000 in statutory damages - $100,000 for each of eight counterfeited marks - at a shop from which four counterfeit Coach wallets and two counterfeit Coach handbags had been seized. In that litigation for counterfeiting, the court noted that the retail value of the six counterfeit items was less than $1500 and awarded $5000 for each of the eight marks that had been counterfeited, multiplied by the two types of goods, for a total statutory damages award of $80,000.

Continue reading "Indiana Trademark Law: Trademark Infringement and Counterfeiting Defendants Held Liable for Both Damages and Plaintiff's Attorney's Fees" »

July 21, 2014

IUPUI Research Commercialization and Outreach on the Rise

Indianapolis, Indiana - The Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Innovation-to-Enterprise Initiative, which supports faculty and students as they turn research and product development into profitable commercial ventures, is resulting in a sharp increase in inventions, patents and start-up business concepts.

The initiative was created to enable the campus community to reach its full potential in research commercialization and economic development, and to provide opportunities for students to learn about discovery, innovation and enterprise creation, while developing entrepreneurial and business skills.

IUPUI.bmpIn 2013, IUPUI collaborated with almost 200 companies and organizations in developing over 500 student internships and community-engagement research and service projects supported by just under $1 million in direct and in-kind support from IUPUI and its community partners. A recent collaboration contributed to improving the quality of life and healthy habits on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis through the realization of 17 projects that addressed dental care, public health, urban produce gardens, fitness care and career development.

"The Innovation-to-Enterprise Initiative illustrates IUPUI's commitment to support our community by increasing research commercialization as well as student outreach," IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz said. "Through student, faculty and staff innovations and community engagement, we hope to help build a more successful Indiana."

Through this initiative - in collaboration with the IU Research and Technology Corp. - IUPUI has achieved significant growth in research commercialization, as demonstrated by the consistent increase in the intellectual property indicators over the past five years: In 2009, there were 98 invention disclosures, 98 patent applications, 20 technology licenses, three patents issued, and five start-up companies formed. By comparison, in 2013, invention disclosures more than doubled, to 199; patent applications saw an even larger increase, to 233; 31 technology licenses were issued; 16 patents were issued; and 15 start-up companies were formed.

The Innovation-to-Enterprise Initiative allows a multidisciplinary team of students to partner with mentors to learn about research commercialization and develop entrepreneurial and business skills. Mentors teach students research innovations and to explore opportunities for transformation to commercial enterprises. This and other student-centered experiential learning programs contribute to preparing the next generation of innovators and business leaders.

Practice Tip:

Certain patent fees are reduced by 50% to 75% for business qualifying for "small entity status." In March 2013 and again in January 2014, several additional patent-related fees for which no reduction had previously been offered were also lowered for small entities.

For entities qualifying as a "micro-entity," many of these fees are discounted even further.

July 18, 2014

Indiana Patent and Trademark Litigation: American Archery Accused of Patent and Trademark Infringement

220px-Compound_Bow_full.jpgEvansville, Indiana - Indiana intellectual property attorneys for SOP Services, Inc. of Las Vegas, Nevada and Bear Archery, Inc. of Evansville, Indiana (collectively "Bear Archery") initiated an infringement lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that American Archery, LLC of Suwanee, Georgia infringed "Arrow Rest," Patent No. RE38,096; "Arrow Rest System and Method," Patent No. 6,978,775; WHISKER BISCUIT ARROW REST, Trademark Registration No. 2,501,255; and WHISKER BISCUIT, Trademark Registration No. 3,312,392, which have been issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Bear Archery is in the business of researching, developing, designing, manufacturing, and selling archery products. Its business includes traditional archery bows, compound bows, bow sights, arrow rests, arrows and arrow components, archery targets, and various other archery accessories. American Archery is in the business of selling hunting products and accessories, including archery products.

At issue in this Indiana intellectual property dispute are arrow rests for mounting to archery bows. The lawsuit asserts claims of patent infringement, trademark infringement, as well as false and deceptive labeling and unfair competition.

American Archery is accused of selling counterfeit arrow rests, both through its website and through online auction sites. Specifically, Bear Archery asserts that the "ready to shoot" packages offered by American Archery advertise that they include a genuine Bear Archery Whisker Biscuit® arrow rest as part of the preassembled bow. However, Plaintiffs state, the bow that a consumer receives instead includes a pre-installed counterfeit arrow rest.

There are two patents at issue in this litigation: "Arrow Rest," Patent No. RE38,096 (the "'096 patent") and "Arrow Rest System and Method," Patent No. 6,978,775 (the "'775 patent"). The '096 patent and the '775 patent (collectively "the patents-in-suit") are owned by SOP Services. Bear Archery has been granted an exclusive license to the patents-in-suit. Plaintiffs accuse American Archery of having willfully, intentionally and deliberately infringed the patents-in-suit by offering the allegedly counterfeit items.

In addition to patent infringement assertions, this Indiana litigation also includes allegations of trademark infringement. Bear Archery contends that it owns trademark rights for the Whisker Biscuit mark, indicating that it has used the mark with its arrow rest products since at least 1999. It claims that consumers have come to recognize the mark as identifying Bear Archery's arrow rest products. It further asserts that it owns a trademark on "Whisker Biscuit Arrow Rest" for archery equipment, namely arrow-rest devices. Bear Archery claims that American Archery's use of the marks is likely to cause confusion, mistake, or deception as to origin, sponsorship or approval and therefore constitute trademark infringement and counterfeiting in violation of Section 32 and 43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1114 et seq. and the common law.

Bear Archery includes a final claim of "false and deceptive labeling and unfair competition" under Lanham Act 15 U.S.C. §1125 and the common law.

Bear Archery, via its Indiana intellectual property lawyers, asks the court for the following relief:

A. A judgment of infringement of the '096 patent and the '775 patent;
B. A judgment that the use of the "WHISKER BISCUIT" mark in Defendant's commercial advertising and sales in the Unites States creates a likelihood of confusion, mistake, or deception among relevant consumers and therefore infringes Plaintiff's trademarks;
C. A judgment that Defendant has engaged in counterfeiting with respect to Plaintiffs' trademarks;
D. An order permanently restraining Defendant or any of its agents from further acts of infringement of the patents-in-suit;
E. An order permanently restraining Defendant or any of its agents from engaging in misleading advertising of products or services bearing or resembling the "WHISKER BISCUIT" mark that have caused actual confusion, mistake or deception of the public;
F. An order that all infringing devices or materials in the possession of, or subject to control by, Defendant or its agents be delivered up and destroyed or altered to eliminate any possibility any further infringement;
G. An award of damages not less than a reasonably royalty, adequate to compensate Plaintiffs for Defendant's acts of infringement under 35 U.S.C. §284;
H. An award to Plaintiffs of treble Defendant's profits under 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a) and (b);
I. An award to Plaintiffs of statutory damages for counterfeiting up to $2,000,000, pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1117(c);
J. An order declaring that this is an exceptional case pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 285 and 15 U.S.C. 1117 as a result of Defendant's knowing and willful infringement of the patents-in-suit and the asserted trademarks, and awarding Plaintiffs their attorneys' fees;
K. An award of Plaintiffs' costs, and/or expenses; and
L. Aw award of Defendant's wrongful profits associated with its infringement of Plaintiffs' patent and/or trademark rights.

Practice Tip: Bear Archery requested that eBay remove various auctions posted by Bear Archery on the grounds that the items for sale were counterfeit. Bear Archery indicates that eBay removed the auctions and notified American Archery that the auctions had been removed because they had been flagged as offering counterfeit goods. Bear Archery requested this under eBay's Verified Rights Owner ("VeRO") Program. The VeRO Program provides a mechanism for an owner of intellectual property to request the removal of eBay auctions that offer items that infringe that owner's intellectual property rights.

Continue reading "Indiana Patent and Trademark Litigation: American Archery Accused of Patent and Trademark Infringement" »