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Why You Should Spend Dollars on Patent, Trademark Protection 04/11/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Intellectual Property.
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Sean D. Detweiler (SDD)In the article, “Why You Should Spend Dollars on Patent, Trademark Protection“, published on CFO.com, patent and trademark attorney Sean Detweiler discusses why it is important for companies to protect the thoughts they pay for through patent and trademark protection. According to Sean, failure to protect this information could lead to loss of company value and a narrowing of opportunities.

Most often, patents are the best form of protection for innovations implemented in your products or services. But if you take your time in pursuing them they may no longer be available to you.

For more information, read the full article on cfo.com or feel free to contact Sean directly.

Patent and Trademark Attorney Sean Detweiler Discusses Possible Risks from Using Low-Cost Trademark Registration Services in New Article 03/21/2017

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Intellectual Property.
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Sean D. Detweiler (SDD)In the past 5 or so years, there have been a number of online, low-cost, entrants into the trademark registration space. Companies like The Trademark Company, TTC Business Solutions, and others, promote low-cost trademark registration services. However, questions have surfaced as to whether such services are operating ethically.

Sean Detweiler discusses recent charges brought against low-cost trademark registration companies by the USPTO and the potential risks from using one of these services. He states that:

It is true that the counseling and advice will likely cost more than going it on your own, or using one of these low-cost services that claim an attorney is involved. However, there is clearly a substantial risk in skipping the advice and counseling that experienced trademark attorneys offer, and either filing trademark applications pro se (as an individual, on your own) or using some of the low-cost online trademark registration providers, such as The Trademark Company.

Read the full article, “Recent Developments Should Have Trademark Owners Thinking Twice About Using Low-Cost Registration Services” for more information.

MBBP Client Kewill Finalizes Acquisition of LeanLogistics 06/09/2016

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Client News, Deal News, M&A.
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Firm client Kewill announced that as of June 1, 2016, its acquisition of LeanLogistics is closed.  The acquisition will allow the two companies to better serve their customers’ supply chain logistics needs.

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Kewill specializes in enabling its clients to efficiently move their information and goods across the global supply chain through its logistics software.
LeanLogistics’ is a software as a service (SaaS) company with a cloud-based transportation management system. 2016-06-09_11-49-46

Kewill’s acquisition of LeanLogistics creates “the most expansive and largest carrier network feeding into the most sophisticated Transportation Management platform available in North America.”  Congratulations to both companies on the acquisition!

Survey Says: Top NINE Intellectual Property Developments of 2015 03/04/2016

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Computer Software & Hardware, Intellectual Property, Licensing & Strategic Alliances, Life Sciences, Privacy and Data Security, Publishing & Media.
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happy-birthdayBy: Callie L. Pioli

2015 was another busy year in terms of intellectual property law, but luckily, MBBP has been carefully monitoring all of the important developments. There were many contenders for spots in our list, but only a select few could make the cut.

Get a recap on 2015 (and prepare for success in 2016) by reading our list.

We cover:

  1. Happy Birthday to All! – Marya v. Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
  2. Google Books (Authors Guild v. Google, Inc.)
  3. Disparagement versus Free Speech: In re Tam
  4. Issue Preclusion & The TTAB: B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Indus., Inc.
  5. Patient Infringement Liability: Akamai Techs., Inc. v. Limelight Networks, Inc.
  6. Biosimilarity: Amgen v. Sandoz
  7. ­Patentability of Natural Phenomena: Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc. v. Sequenom, Inc.
  8. Computer Fraud & Abuse Act
  9. Safe Harbor Down, EU-US Privacy Shield Up

 

Happy Birthday Coca-Cola® Bottle! 11/16/2015

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Intellectual Property.
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Coke Bottle100 years ago today, inventor Alexander Samuelson was granted the design patent for the bottle that would come to be known as the iconic Coca-Cola® bottle. The design patent lasted 14 years and then expired, but obviously the design has lived on, and is now considered protected under trade dress laws. The term of design patents filed on or after Dec. 18, 2013 is now 15 years from the date of grant. However, if the ornamental features covered by the design patent are sufficiently distinctive, such as the Coca-Cola® bottle, then over time the design may be protected by common law trade dress, and may even be registered at the Patent and Trademark Office, both of which can provide intellectual property protection for years beyond the design patent term.

For questions about design patents – or to Share a Coke® – please contact Sean D. Detweiler.

The Sweetest Trademark Cases of 2015 10/30/2015

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Legal Developments, New Resources.
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By Callie L. Pioli

In 2015 the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (“USPTO”) received hundreds of thousands of trademark applications. While the USPTO did not face a scary number of cases in the candy and sweets industry, the ones that did appear addressed some very creative issues. As we prepare for this year’s Halloween and brace ourselves for the accompanying sugar-highs, we took a moment to trick-or-treat for the sweetest trademark cases of the year.

In re Kabushiki Kaisha Lawson

LawsonThe Japanese mega-brand Lawson filed with the USPTO to extend trademark protection covering its Uchi Café Sweets product line, currently registered in Japan. Lawson is a well-known operator of 便利店, “convenience stores” whose product lines epitomize the trend of cute, or kawaii, designs and objects common in Japanese culture and gaining popularity in the U.S. as well. Unfortunately for Lawson, UCHI had already been registered in the U.S. by Austin, Texas’s Uchi, a Japanese restaurant. Because of the similarity of the goods at hand, the USPTO declared that there is a likelihood of confusion among consumers as to the source of the confections, and accordingly denied registration.

In re Kristin Harris

GlutenIt is estimated that 1 of every 133 Americans suffers from Celiac disease; more still suffer from gluten-intolerance or gluten allergies. A great many delicious treats contain gluten-based sweeteners, such as barley malt, to sweeten the products (pure cocoa is devastatingly bitter.) Further, the tools and machinery used to harvest and process cocoa beans are often the same tools used to harvest and process wheat and other grains, creating cross-contamination issues for those with allergies. In response, entrepreneur KristAnn’s online store caters to those who are afflicted with Celiac disease, and offers shoppers the opportunity to purchase apparel and confections under the CELIABRATE (a combination of “celiac” and “celebrate”) brand. The issue that concerned USPTO was the use requirement. As trademarks are granted based on a mark’s use in commerce, a specimen demonstrating such use has to be submitted to the USPTO office during the registration process. In the specimen demonstrating use, KristAnn combined its mark with other phrases such as “Celiabrate Life,” “Celiabrate Love” and “Celiabrate Bliss.” The Examining Attorney felt that such combinations were inconsistent with the CELIABRATE mark for which KristAnn initially sought protection. Fortunately for KristAnn, the Trademark Trials & Appeals Board (“TTAB”) disagreed with the Examining Attorney based on the mark’s use with the variety of additional terms, as well as the mark’s independent significance. With the TTAB’s reversal of the Examining Attorney’s position, the mark will move on through the registration process and KristAnn may quite soon have another reason to Celiabrate!

In re August Storck KG

Storck

Have we gone 2far in our trans4mation of letters in common words? German candy company August Storck seemed to think it could push the boundaries a little farther. August Storck, known primarily in the U.S. for their brand “Werther’s Originals,” sought protection for its latest product in the candy market: “2good”. It is 2bad however that the mark “toogood” is already registered for use by the French distribution company Triumph Snat. The TTAB issued an opinion that, while not visually identical, the two marks were phonetically identical, and as the goods sought to be protected are substantially similar (though connoisseurs of German and French chocolate may disagree), there is a high likelihood of confusion between the two marks. August Storck was just 2 L8 this time.

For the rest of our list, click hereFor more information on trademark matters, please contact the MBBP Trademark team.

The Contours of Copyright #1: Can You Copyright Fast Foods? 10/19/2015

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Intellectual Property, Legal Developments, New Resources.
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Attorney Howard ZaharoffBy Howard Zaharoff

As broad and creator-centric as copyright is, it doesn’t protect every creative output. For example, as a recent case confirmed – to no one’s surprise (probably not even the plaintiff’s) – copyright does not protect chicken sandwiches, nor even chicken sandwich recipes, nor even chicken sandwich names, no matter how original.

The conflict began after Noberto Colón Lorenzana, while employed by a Puerto Rican fried chicken chain, invented the “Pechu” chicken sandwich. Ultimately his employer greatly benefited from sales of the sandwich and various derivative items, but never compensated Mr. Colon for these remunerative products. Feeling he’d been cheated, Mr. Colón filed an amorphous set of trademark, fraud and (the district court generously found) copyright claims.

After ruling against Mr. Colón’s trademark claim – having never used the mark, he had no trademark rights to infringe – the court considered his assertion of copyrights in his sandwich. After quoting Section 102(a) of the Copyright Act, to the effect that copyright does not protect ideas or inventions, but only works of authorship, and remarking that the Register of Copyright specifically denies copyright to “mere listings of ingredients,” the court stated: “Neither plaintiff’s idea for the chicken sandwich recipe or the name ‘Pechu Sandwich’ is subject to copyright protection.”

To drive home its message, the court proceeded to note that neither the idea for the sandwich, nor its recipe, nor the concept of serving a chicken sandwich at a fast food restaurant, nor even the term “Pechu Sandwich,” were subject to protection by copyright (regarding the last, the court quotes several cases to the effect that copyright does not protect fragmentary words or short phrases).  In short, to the extent the plaintiff was raising a copyright claim – not clear from the proceedings – it was “dismissed with prejudice.”

The case was appealed to the First Circuit, which upheld the district court’s holdings. Regarding the copyright claim, the appeals court noted that neither the recipe nor the name fits any of the categories of eligible works and endorsed the district court’s finding that “a chicken sandwich is not eligible for copyright protection.”

So eat your hearts out, designers of designer-sandwiches and other food products … and be happy that, if you do, you’re not infringing anyone’s copyrights.

Stay tuned for more examples of what copyright does not – and does – protect.

For more information on this topic, please contact Howard Zaharoff.

MBBP Event: Unfair Competition and False Advertising 07/30/2014

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Events, Intellectual Property.
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Intellectual Property Attorney Sheri MasonOn August 12th MBBP is hosting a seminar on Unfair Competition/False Advertising: How the Supreme Court’s recent decisions impact false advertising claims against competitors. The Supreme Court recently issued two decisions, Lexmark International, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc. and POM Wonderful LLC v. Coca-Cola Co., which impact rights a party may have against competitors for false advertising claims under the Lanham Act. This seminar, presented by MBBP Trademark Attorney Sheri Mason, will discuss unfair competition and false advertising under the Lanham Act, the Lexmark International, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc.and POM Wonderful LLC v. Coca-Cola Co. decisions, and how these decisions may affect your rights against third parties.

To learn more or to register, please visit our events page.

For more information on false advertising, please feel free to contact Sheri directly.

Washington Redskins Trademark Canceled: What Does This Mean For the Team? 06/18/2014

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Intellectual Property.
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Intellectual Property Attorney Sheri MasonBy: Sheri Mason

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board issued a decision today cancelling six of the Washington Redskins’ registered trademarks, finding that the marks disparage Native Americans. In 2006, five Native Americans filed a petition to cancel the marks, which were registered between 1967 and 1990, on the grounds that the marks disparage Native Americans. The T.T.A.B. agreed, finding that the marks were disparaging to Native Americans at the time the marks were registered.

If Pro Football, Inc. decides to appeal the decision, the T.T.A.B. will suspend cancellation of the registrations pending a decision by the court, which may take years. If they do not appeal, the registrations will be cancelled at that point.

What does this mean for the Washington Redskins? While the T.T.A.B. has authority to cancel the registrations of the marks, it does not have the authority to issue a ruling concerning the use of the marks. Therefore, even if Pro Football, Inc. does not appeal and the registrations are cancelled, the T.T.A.B.’s decision does not prevent the Pro Football, Inc. from continuing to use the Washington Redskins mark as the name of its professional football team.  This decision also does not mean that third parties may use the marks once the registrations are cancelled; Pro Football has well-established common law rights to the marks and can still prevent third-party use.

The full opinion can be found here.

For more information on trademarks, please feel free to contact Sheri.

Intellectual Property Today Names MBBP a 2012 Top Trademark Firm 05/10/2012

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in MBBP news.
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In the May 2012 issue of Intellectual Property Today, Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton was named 71st on the list of the 2012 Top Trademark Firms in the country, jumping 7 spots from last year. This year, the list is comprised of 142 law firms/individuals that are ranked according to the number of U.S. trademark registrations issued in 2011 where the firm or individual is listed as the legal representative on the registration.

For the full list, please click here.

Visit our website for more information on our trademark practice!

Intellectual Property Today Names MBBP a 2011 Top Trademark Firm 05/20/2011

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in MBBP news.
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In the May 2011 issue of Intellectual Property Today, Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton was named 78th on the list of the 2011 Top Trademark Firms in the country, jumping 16 spots from last year. This year, the list is comprised of 140 law firms/individuals that are ranked according to the number of U.S. trademark registrations issued in 2010 where the firm or individual is listed as the legal representative on the registration.

For the full list, please click here.

Visit our website for more information on our trademark practice!

MBBP Welcomes Trademark Attorney Greg Krakau 05/26/2010

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, MBBP news.
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MBBP is pleased to announce that Gregory Krakau has joined the firm as an associate. Greg, formerly of Fish & Richardson P.C., practices in all aspects of trademark law, including litigation, opposition and cancellation proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, prosecution, enforcement, and transactional work, including intellectual property licensing and the IP portions of mergers and acquisitions. He has represented clients across a wide variety of industries, including pharmaceuticals, healthcare, sporting goods, energy drinks, interactive gaming, semiconductors, online retailers, publishing, and education.

Please feel free to contact Greg directly.

Intellectual Property Today Lists MBBP in Top 100 U.S. Trademark Firms 05/17/2010

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Client News, MBBP news.
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Intellectual Property Today recently named Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, P.C. (MBBP) as one of the Top Trademark Firms in the United States for the year 2010. The firms are ranked “according to the number of trademark registrations issued in 2009 where the firm or individual is listed as the legal representative on the registration.” MBBP came in at #94 with 116, 166 and 145 trademark registrations in 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively.

Please see the Top Trademark Firms list for more information.

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