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In the recent U.S. Supreme Court case of USPTO v. Booking.com, No. 19-46 (June 30, 2020), the Court held that the term Booking.com is not necessarily generic merely because it is composed of two components, each itself generic. In so deciding, Justice Ginsburg averred that there is an appropriate metric to determine if such a term is indeed generic, that of consumer perception. The Court cited the Lanham Act’s provision on cancellation that states: the “primary significance of the registered mark to the relevant public … shall be the test for determining whether the registered mark has become the generic name of goods or services.”
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By Stan Soocher
To survive preemption under §301 of the Copyright Act, courts consider whether a state law claim in a lawsuit has an “extra element” that qualitatively distinguishes it from a federal copyright claim. Courts typically find that state law claims, such as breach of contract, have an extra element. Other state law claims, such as conversion, get varying court determinations as to whether they are preempted.
By Darin Snyder, Brad Garcia, Amy Liang, and Daniel Silverman
In the past year, the Federal Circuit has repeatedly required the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to transfer patent infringement suits from that district to more convenient venues, and in doing so it has provided increasingly specific — and often pointed — guidance to courts and litigants on the appropriate analysis for transfer motions.
By Robert W. Clarida and Robert J. Bernstein
The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Unicolors v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz to address the following question: “Did the Ninth Circuit err in breaking with its own prior precedent and the findings of other circuits and the Copyright Office in holding that 17 U.S.C. §411 requires referral to the Copyright Office where there is no indicia of fraud or material error as to the work at issue in the subject copyright registration?”
By Scott Graham
The agency announced that the Department of Commerce has applied to register the USPTO’s marks in a bid to crack down on scammers who are impersonating the agency.