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Author: Frederick Spaeth

Local Company Brings National Distributor to Local Court On Trademark Infringement Claim

The U.S. District Court of Connecticut has ruled that a small Connecticut manufacturing company can sue an Indiana- based national manufacturer and wholesaler for trademark infringement in Connecticut, based on the defendant’s modest sales to distributors in Connecticut.  This illustrates how Connecticut courts provide an important forum for Connecticut business to protect their brands against out-of-state competitors that sell into Connecticut.

High Court’s SLANT Play Hands REDSKINS and Other Offensive Marks a Victory

Washington Redskins fans have been doing touchdown dances for Tam, because while Tam was pursuing his cause, the Redskins team was trying to move the ball forward on their own appeal from the cancellation of a number of the teams REDSKINS registrations based on the same disparagement clause, on the basis that the mark is disparaging toward Native Americans.

New USPTO Policy To Clear Dead Wood from the U.S. Trademark Register

The USPTO has expanded its practice of testing the veracity of post-registration Declarations of Use under a program intended to improve accuracy and integrity of the trademark register, under a new rule which goes into effect Feb. 17, 2017. The rule formalizes a small-scale trial program in effect since 2012.

Under the new rule, the USPTO may respond to the filing of a Declaration of Use by requiring additional proof of use of the mark in connection with the goods/services identified in the registration. The additional proof may be provided in the form of information, exhibits, affidavits or declarations, and specimens of use. A registrant who cannot produce the additional proof of use for particular goods/services, or an acceptable claim of excusable nonuse, will be advised to cancel those goods/services from the registration as well as any others no longer being offered under the mark.

Judiciary Split on Interpretation of “Authorization” in Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

A split of opinions on the scope of authorization for accessing a computer that is needed to avoid violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA” or “Act”), 18 U.S.C. § 1030 was examined in Phillips Medical v. GIS (U.S. Dist. Of Puerto Rico) Aug. 2016, in which Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin adopted an inclusive view of the entities whose authorization is needed under 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2).

New Federal Remedies for Theft of Trade Secrets Comparable to Connecticut UTSA – Part I

This year Congress gave business owners a new tool to combat theft of their trade secrets: the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, Public Law No: 114-153 (18 U.S.C. 1836(b)) (“DTSA”). Even prior to DTSA, theft of trade secrets was a federal offense under 18 U.S.C.1832 (“Theft of Trade Secrets”)(“ToTS”), exposing offenders to penalties up to $5 million. However, only the U.S. Attorney General was authorized to take action against wrongdoers under this statute, so victims of trade secret theft hoping for compensation or enforcement when the AG would not act had to rely on state law. DTSA now gives victims of trade secret misappropriation a right of private action, with a remedy not available under state l

Data Protection at the Heart of New Connecticut Law

This summer, Governor Malloy enhanced data protection for Connecticut residents by signing into law AN ACT IMPROVING DATA SECURITY AND AGENCY EFFECTIVENESS, Public Act No. 15-142, which addresses data security on a variety of fronts.

Existing laws generally require that anyone who conducts business in the state and who stores personal information must disclose a security breach without unreasonable delay to affected state residents and to the Attorney General. Failing to do so constitutes an unfair trade practice under CUTPA (the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act). (CGS 36a-701b). Public Act No. 15-142 clarifies that the notice of a breach must be given within 90 days after the breach is discovered, and that identity theft protection and, if applicable, identity theft mitigation services, must be offered to victims.

Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment: Patent Licensors, Beware Getting Caught In Brulotte’s Web

On June 22, 2015 in Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, 576 U.S. ___ (2015), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a rule it established in 1964 in Brulotte v. Thys Co., 379 U.S. 29, which said that a patent holder cannot charge royalties for the use of a patented invention after the patent has expired. As a result of this ruling, Marvel does not owe royalties to Stephen Kimble based on sales of Spider Man “Web Blaster” accessory toys that fell under Kimble’s expired patent. (The Web Blaster lets would-be spidermen shoot foam web strands from their wrists, just like Peter Parker. Shazam!)

Nautilus vs. Biosig: A Bright Star to Sail By?

A few weeks ago, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals released its decision in Biosig v. Nautilus, (Fed. Cir. 2015) on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, Nautilus v. Biosig, 134 S. Ct. 2120 (2014) which instructed the Federal Ciruit to reconsider whether the claims of the patent in suit were sufficiently clear to meet the requirements of 35 USC 112. The Federal Circuit had already reviewed those claims and found them to valid under that court’s prevailing formulation for clarity: the claims in question were neither “insolubly ambiguous” nor “not amenable to construction.” Biosig Instruments, Inc. v. Nautilus, Inc., 715 F. 3d 891 (Fed. Cir. 2013), but was required to review the claims once again under the new “reasonable certainty” standard.