Inside Insights

  • Confused? Just the Carfax, ma'am!

    In May, in a non-precedential ruling in Carfax, Inc. v. American Automobile Association, Inc., Cancellation No. 92056568 (May 7, 2015), the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted a petition for cancellation of the American Automobile Association’s registration for the mark...

  • Trade secrets and the AIA: The practical considerations of establishing prior user rights by clear and convincing evidence

    The doctrine of prior user rights as expanded under the America Invents Act (AIA) amendments to 35 U.S.C. § 273 provides entities a safe haven from patent infringement for certain internal commercial uses that are the subject of another’s later patent filing. This doctrine offers an additional defense to entities...

  • Without intellectual property, everything is free to copy

    If you fail to obtain proper intellectual property protection your invention then falls into the general rule of “free to copy,” in which case you may be relegated to bottom feeding, competing primarily on price, or trying to replicate others’ inventions without running afoul of their intellectual property rights.

  • Spider-Man and the tangled web of the Kimble v. Marvel decision

    How did the inventor of such a popular plaything end up in a 20-year battle against Marvel and its universe of superheroes? And why did the Supreme Court choose not to stick up for the “little guy” in this one-sided fight? Well, the story might not be as exciting and...

  • Controlling the Grey Market in the U.S. and E.U.

    This is the first of a series of articles that will discuss new legal developments and strategies in six specific niche areas of brand protection relating to (1) the grey market, (2) FCPA/Regulatory compliance, (3) criminal enforcement, (4) running investigations, (5) online monitoring, and (6) data breaches. This first article...

  • Trade secrets and the AIA: Prior user rights and the clear and convincing evidence standard

    More than three years after the enactment of the AIA, the expanded doctrine of prior user rights remains largely undeveloped, but its existence nonetheless should remain a consideration for businesses as they implement strategy to protect intellectual property rights and trade secrets in particular.

  • Franchising faces a major threat

    The basic structure of the franchise relationship is that the franchisor provides its franchisees with a trademark, a business system and a certain degree of assistance and the franchisee is an independent businessperson, running his or her own business, including making personnel decisions such as hiring and firing of employees....

  • Federal Circuit repairs ‘cracked’ pretzel logic

    In a recent precedential decision, a unanimous Federal Circuit panel vacated the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s decision holding the mark Pretzel Crisps to be generic for "pretzel crackers," and remanded the case to the Board for application of the legal standard set forth in Marvin Ginn.

  • The state of patent trolls in 2015

    When it comes to smothering inventions, no one does it better than patent trolls, also known as “patent assertion entities,” “non-practicing entities,” or “non-manufacturing entities.” Whatever the name, these parasites feed off the work of legitimate manufacturing companies that strive to create products and American jobs.

  • $18 billion in invoices suggests corporate legal re-visiting big law

    Two years ago, when the CounselLink team published the first of its semi-annual Enterprise Legal Management (ELM) trends report, it took many by surprise.

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