Another Battle in the Patent War of Apple and Samsung

By: Tyler S. Hood* | Staff Writer

On September 17, the federal circuit decided Apple, Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the latest patent case decision in a protracted series of smartphone patent infringement battles between the two electronics giants.  The case concerned Samsung’s alleged infringement on a few Apple smartphone patents, perhaps most notably the patent for the swipe-to-unlock feature. The District Court had ruled that Samsung had infringed on the Apple patents in question, but the court denied to issue a permanent injunction on the grounds that Apple  failed to demonstrate that the infringement resulted in irreparable harm.

Transferred from Flickr by User:Fæ

Transferred from Flickr by User:Fæ

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Can Your Facebook Friend List Cause Creditors to Deny you a Loan?

By: Sarah Wesley Wheaton* | Staff Writer

There are now more reasons than ever to keep that Facebook friend request in “limbo.”  In early August, a patent was bought by Facebook to curtail spamming; however, a section of the patent allows lenders to examine the credit scores of your Facebook friends in order to determine if you are eligible for a loan. This suggests that your Facebook friends, even if you have not seen them since high school, can keep you from getting a mortgage.

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The Journal of Business and Intellectual Property Law is pleased to announce our blog has been nominated for Best Legal Blog in the Expert Institutes Annual Legal Blog Contest. We would like to thank our staff bloggers, summer guest writers, and readers for this nomination.  Please take a moment to vote!  No sign up is required; just give us the thumbs up in the top right hand corner.

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The FDA Hits R.J. Reynolds

By: Alec Robertson* | Staff Writer

Photo by Geierunited

R.J. Reynolds, a subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc., is the second largest tobacco company in the United States and has historically done well through the sale of its popular cigarettes such as Newport and Camel. Even with all of this success, recently smoking has been on the decline because of various things including increase in taxes on cigarettes, the increase in preventive messages sent towards the youth, and the realization of the true harm smoking can do to humans. Now, another shot at the R.J. Reynolds empire has been fired by none other than the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”). The FDA on September 15, 2015 ordered that all stores carrying Camel Crush Bold, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter Menthol, or Vantage Tech 13 must immediately stop the sale of those cigarettes and dispose of them within 30 days of the order or face severe financial penalties.

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Shark Attacks in the Carolinas

By: Carolyn Trepasz* | Summer Guest Writer

Shark attacks in the Carolinas this year have been more than double the average of six attacks per year.  Naturally, there has been a lot of speculation about why there are so many more attacks.  And with that speculation comes blame; who or what can be blamed.

The drought is one alleged culprit.  The drought led to a higher saline content in the shoreline waters since there was no runoff to dilute the salt water.  Most sharks prefer a higher saline content, so the sharks have been venturing into shallower waters than usual – swimming waters.Carcharodon_carcharias_drawing

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The Evolving Standard of Antitrust Analysis in Pharmaceutical Product Hopping

By: John S. Sears* | Summer Guest Writer

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Is it “pharmaceutical innovation” or “product hopping”?  The distinction is not always clear.  While pharmaceutical innovation brings new and improved pharmaceuticals to patients, the term “product hopping” refers to a tactic by which brand name pharmaceutical companies try to obstruct generic competition by making modest reformulations that offer little or no therapeutic advantages.  Such approaches are contrary to section 2 of the Sherman Act that makes it an offense to “monopolize, or attempt to monopolize … any part of the trade or commerce among the several States.” Continue reading »

Disc Jockey to Juris Doctor, Spotlight Interview

By: Rivver Cox* | Summer Guest Writer

COE RAMSEY practices entertainment and communications law at Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP in Raleigh, North Carolina. His music and entertainment law practice includes representing major recording artists and producers, songwriters, and other artists. Coe advises his clients on copyright and other intellectual property disputes, music licensing, record contracts, publishing agreements, and live performance contracts. His communication law practice emphasizes FCC regulations, corporate transactions, and intellectual property matters where he advises his television and radio clientele. Coe’s passion for music and broadcasting arose from his young career as a disc jockey for 102 JAMZ of Greensboro while he was in high school. In addition, Coe is an Adjunct Professor at his alma mater, Wake Forest University School of Law, where he lectures on Entertainment Law.

Offensive Penalty: The Cancellation of the Redskins Trademark

By: Sarah Remes* | Summer Guest Writer

This summer, the Washington Redskins lost.  Although defeat is nothing new to the infamous franchise, this time it came off the field when a federal judge upheld the cancellation of the team’s federal trademark registrations, finding that the term “redskin” was disparaging, and therefore that the mark had been registered in violation of the Lanham Act.

The namesake of the Redskins, William “Lone Star” Dietz

The namesake of the Redskins, William “Lone Star” Dietz

The Redskins began defending their trademark registrations in the early 1990s but until recently had been successful in fending off legal opposition.  The first major challenge was brought in 1992 when a group of Native Americans filed a petition to cancel multiple Redskins trademarks, claiming that their protection violated the Lanham Act, a federal law that prohibits protection of marks that “consist of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt.” That case was successfully appealed by the team on two grounds: first, that the theory of laches barred the petition, as one of the plaintiffs was only one year old at the time the Redskins trademarks were registered in 1967; and second that the plaintiffs had not provided enough evidence as to the “disparaging” nature of the trademark, which must have occurred at the time they were registered.  While controversy surrounding the name continued to grow – even President Obama couldn’t avoid commenting – legally the team appeared in the clear.

This time, the plaintiffs, led by Susan Blackhorse, were determined not to make the same mistakes.  In June of 2014, Blackhorse challenged six Redskins trademarks, again under the Lanham Act, which led to their cancellation by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Not surprisingly, the team contested the decision, arguing instead that the name represents a strong and proud history that serves to celebrate and pay tribute to Native Americans, not degrade them.  “A Redskin is a football player.  A Redskin is our fans,” owner Dan Snyder explained.  “The Washington Redskins fan base represents honor, represents respect, represents pride.  Hopefully winning.” (This last part is definitely still up for debate).  On appeal, the court sided with Blackhorse, holding that the trademarks were disparaging at the time of their registration, and should not have received protection.

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Patent Reform in the 114th Congress

By: John S. Sears* | Summer Guest Writer

1868 Typewriter Patent

1868 Typewriter Patent

Despite recent years having witnessed the most extensive overhaul of U.S. patent law since the U.S.  Patent Act of 1952, it is clear more reform of U.S. patent law is on the horizon.  I recently had the privilege of leading a panel discussion on patent reform legislation at a meeting of university technology transfer professionals. Some proposals in the 114th Congress could have significant impacts on university tech-transfer practice, but for now I want to give a more general summary of the bills making their way through Congress

There are three bills in the 114th Congress considered “comprehensive” patent reform legislations, including major revisions such as to how we handle post-grant review proceedings, pleading requirements, demand letter practice, discovery, and willful infringement.  These include the Innovation Act (HR.9) and the corresponding Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship (PATENT) Act of 2015 (S1137), and the Support Technology and Research for Our Nation’s Growth (STRONG) Patents Act of 2015 (S.632).

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Biggest Loser Host Hopes To Win Big In Court

By: Hunt Harris* | Summer Guest Writer

Jillian Michaels, the popular celebrity trainer and former host of “The Biggest Loser,” has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Lionsgate over YouTube videos posted to its channel.  Michaels, who recently quit the show for the third time in June 2014, claims Lionsgate has not compensated her for her workout videos that are used on the company’s YouTube channel.  The complaint states that “despite receiving millions of dollars in revenue from YouTube, and half of all views on the YouTube BeFit channel relate to Ms. Michaels’ Lionsgate (videos), Ms. Michaels has not received any compensation whatsoever.”  Lionsgate’s BeFit, which launched in 2012, has generated more than 200 million views to date and has more than 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube. According to Michaels, Lionsgate “did not consult her before they used her image and brand on the channel, and exceeded the number of videos posted to YouTube allowable under her contract.”

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