Author archives

Patent Basics

Patents protect the utility of new and useful inventions as well as ornamental designs of articles of manufacture. In particular, utility patents cover machines, products and processes (including methods of doing business), and design patents protect the visual impression or “look” of an article of manufacture. A patent enables its holder to prevent others from …

Copyright Basics

A copyright protects the tangible expression of ideas, but not ideas themselves. A copyright will not protect any process, system, concept, principle or discovery (which generally are the subject of patents). For example, a copyright will protect the expression of a computer program as embodied in its operational software and/or on a website. It will …

Patent Licensees Can Challenge A Patent’s Validity While Paying Royalties to the Licensor

The Supreme Court’s decision in MedImmune v. Genentech, 127 S.Ct. 765 (2007), permitted MedImmune to challenge Genetech’s drug patent before breaching its patent license with Genentech. Historically, breach of a patent license restrained licensees from challenging patents on invalidity grounds since patent holders could retaliate against those who willfully breached a patent license with an …

Trademark and Copyright Fair Use

With larger numbers of common language trademarks working their way into our daily lives, normal communication would become very difficult if courts gave absolute property rights to trademark owners.  Section 33(b)(4) of the Lanham Act outlines the fair use defense to trademark infringement.

Microsoft Wins Patent Case With “eBay” Argument

A Texas federal district judge recently denied Z4 Technologies Inc.’s request to enjoin Microsoft from selling, making and using its infringing Windows and Office products. The ruling appears to be the first case to apply the holding in eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C., 126 S.Ct. 1837 (2006).  The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in eBay ended …

Typosquatting and Domain Name Dispute Arbitration

In the early days of the Internet, enterprising and oftentimes unscrupulous persons would reserve domain names that were the same as or similar to the trade names and trademarks of others and then offer to sell those domains, at high fees, to their “rightful” owners. This practice was known as “cybersquatting.” The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection …

Internet Assets of Decedents

When a person dies, attention must be paid to the decedent’s intangible assets, such as Internet assets, as well as his/her tangible assets. Email accounts, online gaming property, Internet based bank and credit/debit accounts are all intangible property of the decedent’s estate. Care must be taken to assure that such property is recognized, categorized, quantified …

Digital Watermarks

As traditionally used, “watermarks” are embedded text or images on a work of authorship, photograph or the like that identifies the author of the work. Their modern equivalents, “digital watermarks,” are used to fingerprint electronic media such as photographs, music and movies. Digital watermarks should be considered mandatory for artists and others who routinely post …