As reported on Hunton’s Blockchain Legal Resource blog, in the race to develop blockchain technology, companies are increasingly devoting capital to creating proprietary blockchain solutions. A search of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (“USPTO”) as of today returns 355 patent applications that contain either “blockchain” or “distributed ledger” in the abstract. Patents are being filed related to a wide variety of industries and applications, including supply chain management, autonomous deliveries, energy networks, electronic health records, 3D printing, travel itinerary management, data security and securing rights to digital media. Continue Reading Major Companies Are Quietly Amassing Blockchain Patents Across Industries

On Tuesday, December 22, 2015, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a much-anticipated opinion regarding the constitutionality of the prohibition against “disparaging” trademarks. In an 9-3 en banc opinion, the Federal Circuit held that the exclusion of disparaging trademarks under Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act violates the First Amendment.

Many of the marks rejected as disparaging convey hurtful speech that harms members of stigmatized communities. But the First Amendment protects even hurtful speech …. The  government cannot refuse to register disparaging marks because it disapproves of the expressive  messages conveyed by the marks. It cannot refuse to register marks because it concludes that such marks will be disparaging to others.

Continue Reading First Amendment Protects Hurtful Speech, Even Hurtful Trademarks

The en banc US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its opinion today in SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag, et al. v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC, et al., Case No. 2013-1564. In a 6-5 decision, the court reaffirmed that laches is a defense to a suit for damages for patent infringement. In reaching this decision, the Federal Circuit distinguished Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 1962 (2014), in which the US Supreme Court held that laches is not a defense to a suit for damages under the Copyright Act.

Continue Reading En Banc Federal Circuit Reaffirms Laches as Defense to Patent Infringement Damages

Yesterday, the US Supreme Court in Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises, No. 13-720 (June 22, 2015), upheld the longstanding precedent provided by Brulotte v. Thys Co, 379 U.S. 29 (1964), which stated that “a patentee’s use of a royalty agreement that projects beyond the expiration date of the patent is unlawful per se.” Id. at 32. Justice Kagan, writing the opinion of the Court, stated that stare decisis requires the Court to adhere to the decision in Brulotte.

Read the full client alert.

This week, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision addressing two important patent damages issues: the entire market value rule and the proper application of the Nash Bargaining Solution in VirnetX, Inc. v. Cisco Systems, Inc., No. 13-1489 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 16, 2014). In vacating a $386 million damages award against defendant Apple Inc., the Federal Circuit first resolved conflicting treatment of the application of the entire market value rule (EMV) by the district courts in cases where the smallest saleable unit is the entire accused device. Holding that the district court’s jury instruction was improper, the Federal Circuit clarified that, unless the EMV rule is satisfied, damages must always be apportioned between patented and unpatented features—even in cases where the smallest salable unit is the accused device itself. Second, the Federal Circuit held that the patentee’s damages expert had improperly relied on the Nash Bargaining Solution because he failed to sufficiently tie the controversial theory (positing a 50 percent/50 percent profit split between the patentee and accused infringer) to the specific facts of the case.

Read the full client alert.