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When thinking about intellectual property (IP), most people likely think about patents, trademarks and copyrights. In the most simplistic terms: patents protect novel and non-obvious inventions; trademarks protect a business’ brand names and logos; and copyrights protect tangible, fixed works of creative expression. Trade secrets are also increasingly being recognized as the fourth main pillar of IP and can run the gamut from things like customer lists and pricing, to inventions that may or may not be patentable. Every business has some or all of these forms of IP, but what about lesser known forms of IP such as “trade dress”? Trade dress is a kind of trademark that protects the overall look and design of products and packaging. Many (if not most) product companies and retail establishments have protectable trade dress, although not all companies recognize that they have it (and therefore don’t protect it!).
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By Hanchel Cheng
Regardless of whether a patent practitioner’s clients favor a stricter or more lenient eligibility regime, patent eligibility decisions continue to evolve. We need a line drawn for what practitioners expect to be clearer. Hardware inventions are facing patent eligibility challenges that would have seemed more likely in software inventions. Recent court decisions have shown that what once made a hardware invention eligible may no longer fly.
By Richard S.J. Hung, Jacob N. Nagy and Evangeline T. Phang
A recent Federal Circuit opinion sheds light on the process for settling co-ownership disputes pursuant to an underlying agreement. Although the precedential opinion does not change the rules of contract interpretation, it suggests considerations when drafting ownership agreements.
By Stan Soocher
Composers of pre-1978 works often assigned both the initial and renewal copyright terms in their works when signing songwriter agreements with music publishers. But what happens when a grant of the copyright renewal term of a pre-1978 work has been made post-1977?
By Keith Hauprich
In the last two decades, the music industry and, more specifically, songwriters, producers and recording artists have been losing the value of their efforts to online piracy. Perhaps a business-to-business solution can be found between the music industry and cable providers.