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15 Aug 0
World globe soccer ball

In the Game of Global Trademarks, Don’t Lose Your Underwear

We’ve written before about soccer-based trademark issues, and here we go again. This time, it’s not about FIFA but one of international soccer’s star players: Cristiano Ronaldo. Who Owns the Number Seven? Ronaldo wears number seven on his Real Madrid and Portuguese National Team jerseys and thus has earned the nickname CR7. Ronaldo (or more […]

8 Aug 0

Brewskee Ball Lives On: Two Lessons From the Brewskee-Ball Settlement

A while back, I talked about the trademark lawsuit between Brewskee-Ball, the bar-based Skee-Ball league, and Skee-Ball, Inc., the maker of Skee-Ball machines. Those of you hoping to get in on the fun can breathe easy: the parties informed the District Court and the Patent and Trademark Office that they have reached a confidential settlement. […]

31 Jul 0

Will Comic Book Superheroes Save Copyright?

Things may be looking up for authors and comic book fans due to a provision of U.S. copyright law that is little known among the public at large. The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering whether it will review the case of Lisa Kirby v. Marvel Characters. In the Kirby case, the children and heirs […]

29 Jul 2

Mister Softee and the Case of the Trademark Infringer

You see them everywhere this time of year: ice cream trucks! They are hard to miss—or—resist. In certain parts of the country, they are the unmistakable blue-and-white Mister Softee trucks, complete with the anthropomorphic, well-dressed, ice cream cone smiling from their sides. I have happy childhood memories of Mister Softee’s chocolate dipped cone, and I […]

25 Jul 0

USPTO Sees New Examination Policy through Alice’s Looking Glass

The PTO didn’t waste a minute. On Wednesday, June 25, the Office issued a new patent examination policy based on the recent Supreme Court decision in Alice v. CLS Bank. We expected this new policy, and we also expected that it would not significantly change our view of how software patents should be written. But […]

22 Jul 0

Washington Redskins, Football And The Constitution

Wow – the recent decision from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) cancelling several Washington Redskins trademarks has sent shockwaves through the Washington, DC area. With the team’s headquarters and training facilities located in Virginia, where they generate lots of revenue, residents—and the commonwealth itself—seem to be taking the news especially hard. Three members […]

24 Jun 0

Alice v. CLS Bank: Abstract Idea + Generic Computer = Sorry, No Patent

Did you know that Einstein could not get a patent for E=mc2? His famous equation for showing the equivalence of mass and energy is, without a doubt, brilliant. Unfortunately, it is also a pure abstract idea, and, according to U.S. patent law, cannot be patented. Until recently, however, a common way to bring an abstract […]

18 Jun 0

Don’t Get Crushed: Your Guide to the Differences Between Trademarks and Copyrights

As noted in our recent post on the not-so-sweet dispute between the makers of games Candy Crush Saga and CandySwipe, the differences between copyright and trademark are widely misunderstood. Because these differences are super important to your brand’s value, your company’s marketing strategy, and your ability to communicate clearly with your IP lawyer, here are […]

16 Jun 0

A Patent in Sheep’s Clothing?

It looks like Dolly, the cloned sheep, is not patentable subject matter. In a recent case called In re Roslin Institute (Edinburg), the Federal Circuit found that Dolly was too similar to the donor sheep and was essentially a copy of a naturally occurring organism, making her patent ineligible. The Roslin Institute, which would own […]

12 Jun 0

Can Copyright Get The Led Out?

It turns out that the soundtrack to my high school years might have been chock full of copyright infringement. Led Zeppelin has already settled copyright infringement disputes out of court regarding some of my favorite tunes: The Lemon Song, Whole Lotta Love, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, and Dazed and Confused. And after all these […]