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Depravity or lust, hostility or prejudice? Whatever those might be. In Ogilvie v. Gordon, No. 20-cv-01707 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 24, 2020), the Northern District of California found that California DMV regulations excluding plaintiffs’ personalized plates were like the PTO trademark registration restrictions of SLANTS and FUCT — restrictions struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court for violating the First Amendment. The district court followed the Supreme Court in the trademark cases Matal v. Tam, 137 S. Ct. 1744 (2017) and Iancu v. Brunetti, 139 S. Ct. 2294 (2019), finding the PTO’s refusal to register certain trademarks was improper viewpoint discrimination. The result for would-be vanity license plates holders? The California DMV may not prevent registration of vanity plates like QUEER, BO1LUX, DUK N A, or OGWOOLF.
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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.