By Benjamin M. Anderson

Today, the ICM Registry launched the new sponsored top-level domain – .XXX. The .XXX domain is being launched specifically for the adult entertainment industry; however, the .XXX launch is also important for individuals, businesses, and organizations owning trademark rights. Trademark owners will have a short, fifty-two (52) day period (“Sunrise B

By R. Lee Vail

In Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling, Inc. v. Maersk Contractors USA, Inc, 617 F.3d 1296 (Fed. Cir. 2010), the Federal Circuit reversed a district court’s summary judgment decision that no patent infringement occurred when a US company made an offer to sell to another US company when the sale negotiations occurred outside of the US.

Transocean filed suit for infringement of patents related to an improved apparatus for conducting offshore drilling. In order to drill for oil and other offshore resources, drilling rigs must lower several components to the seabed including the drill bit, casings, BOB’s, and the drill string. A conventional offshore drilling rig utilizes a derrick with a single top drive and drawworks that can only lower one element at a time in a time consuming process. Transocean patented a specialized derrick to improve the efficiency of lowering the above components. The specialized derrick included “two stations – a main advancing station and an auxiliary advancing station that can each assemble drill strings and lower components to the seabed.” Id. at 1301. This duel-activity rig could significantly decrease the time required to complete a borehole. Id at 1302. Transocean sued Maersk rig for infringement of the specialized derrick patent.
 


Continue Reading

By Russel O. Primeaux

In one of its last acts before its summer 2010 recess, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in the long-awaited case of Bilski v. Kappos (S.Ct. 2010 80-964). In the Bilski case, the inventor was seeking to obtain a patent on a method of hedging risk. The Supreme Court found that the method was not patentable because it was merely an abstract idea. In earlier jurisprudence from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), the CAFC had used a “machine-or-transformation test” to determine whether business methods were patentable. In Bilski, the Supreme Court refused to say that the machine or transformation test was the sole test for determining patentability, and the Court did not reject the machine or transformation test. Instead, the Bilski court stated that the machine or transformation test is a useful tool, but not the only tool, for evaluating whether an invention is proper subject matter for patent protection.


Continue Reading

By Sonny Chastain

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently addressed the standard for a declaratory judgment action in the context of trademark rights. In Vantage Trailers, Inc. v. Beall Corporation, 567 F.3d 745 (5th Cir. 2009), Vantage filed civil action seeking declaratory judgment finding that its designed for a new aluminum bottom dump trailer would not infringe on any valid trademark rights of Beall Corporation.  Beall manufacturers and sells an aluminum bottom dump trailer which is protected by a registered trademark.  In early 2006, Vantage began designing its own aluminum bottom dump trailer.  In July 2006, Beall’s vice president sent a letter to Vantage stating that if your company places any trailers into service that violate any of Beall’s trademarks we will pursue legal action to stop the infringement. In response to the letter, Vantage filed a civil action seeking a declaratory judgment that Beall’s trademark is invalid and that the design of Vantage’s trailer did not infringe on any intellectual property rights of Beall’s.


Continue Reading

By Pamela A.  Baxter

Recent court decisions show that patent infringement opinions are still important for any person or entity that becomes aware of a United States patent that is similar to their products, methods or processes.

Under federal patent law, anyone who either makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention in the United States or actively induces another to do so is liable for patent infringement.  In addition to regular damages, courts may award up to three times the damages for willful infringement.  Under the 1983 Underwater Devices Inc. v. Morrison-Knudsen Co. opinion, if a party had actual notice of another person’s patent rights, then that party had an affirmative duty to exercise due care to determine whether that party was infringing those patent rights.  This affirmative duty included the duty to obtain patent infringement opinions prior to engaging in any potentially infringing activities.
 


Continue Reading

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time), on Saturday, June 13, 2009, members of the social networking website, Facebook, will be able to claim usernames to associate with their Facebook accounts and Facebook pages. This will allow Facebook pages to be accessed by using a url such as, http://www.facebook.com/unitedairlines, or something similar.

Facebook is taking

By Russel O. Primeaux

As we continue our shift to a more knowledge-based economy, frequently the greatest assets of a company reside in the creativity of its employees. This is especially true for service companies in which the services can be repeated for multiple customers (example: software). Whether or not a company owns something that has been created by one of its employees will depend to a great extent on the category of intellectual property into which the creation is classified. Generally, the creations or discoveries of employees will fall into the intellectual property categories of copyright, patent, or trade secret.


Continue Reading

by Tara Montgomery Madison

“Someone is using my photos and website design on the internet without permission. What can I do?” These questions arise more and more with the increased use of the internet in business. The technical answer is that you have a potential claim for copyright infringement. Filing a federal lawsuit under the Copyright Act, however, is not a realistic option for many businesses, particularly when monetary damages may not be at issue. The goods news is that with the enactment of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), 17 U.S.C 512, victims of internet copyright infringement now have a more practical option for achieving the desired result – removing the infringing material from the internet – without filing a lawsuit. 


Continue Reading