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Category: News

Are Your Secrets Still Safe? How Trade Secret Protection is Evolving Under the DTSA

Trade secret law provides protection for information that its owner takes reasonable measures to keep secret and that derives independent economic value from not being generally known or readily ascertainable. If a trade secret is misappropriated by another, the owner may be entitled to damages, an injunction preventing further use or disclosure of the trade secret, and in some cases the recovery of attorneys’ fees.

Déjà vu at the Federal Circuit: Personal Web Technologies, LLC, v. Apple, Inc.

There is a scene in the Big Lebowski where the Dude complains about the lousy day he just had as he tosses down some snacks at a bowling alley bar.  In answer, the Stranger (played by Sam Elliot) offers the above advice as to the Dude’s existential situation.  It didn’t help.  One can almost imagine a similar response from Apple following the Federal Circuit’s decision in Personal Web Technologies, LLC, v. Apple, Inc., 2018-1599 (Fed. Cir. March 8, 2019), since it marked the second time in two years they had won at the Board, only to be disappointed at the Federal Circuit on the same patent, PWT’s 7,802,310 (‘310 Patent)[1].  While the Federal Circuit’s analysis in both cases was nominally different, the underlying theme in both was the need for a proper motivation-to-combine analysis.

Lead Compound Analysis in Mylan v. RCT

Lead compound analysis (LCA) has been used in the evaluation of chemical compound Obviousness for the past 20 years.[1]  This approach supplemented the historic formulation of In re Dillon.[2]  While the Dillon analysis pivots about the structural similarity of the cited compound to that claimed and any motivation to make the claimed compound, LCA involves selection of a lead compound that is the most promising candidate for modification to improve its activity.  As such, it represents a somewhat more difficult standard than in Dillon.

Dilworth IP Partner Presents at Lawyer-Pilot Bar Association’s Winter 2019 Convention

Dilworth IP’s Benjamin Lehberger recently spoke at the Lawyer-Pilot Bar Association’s Winter 2019 Convention in Cocoa Beach, FL. Ben’s talk, entitled “Where are We Headed in Space? Charting the Industry’s Trajectory Through Patent Filings” showed how the patent landscape for space technology has changed dramatically over time. Despite NASA being the dominant filer for decades, Ben showed that the last 20 years of filings have been led by private firms. He also considered how the latest patents filings, on technologies such as artificial gravity and global internet access, give insight into what’s next in space.

Determining Trademark Confusion with DuPont Factors

Forty years ago, people were dancing to Stayin Alive by the Bee Gee’s, munching on Reese’s Pieces for the first time, and watching John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John in Grease, and Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween (the first one!).  A lucky few were playing Space Invaders on their Atari 2600, or DOS-based games on their Apple II computer; and the iPhone was not yet a glint in Steve Jobs’ eye.  Coincidentally, forty years ago the mark “GUILD INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT” (GIM) was being used by Guild Investment Management, Inc. for investment advisory services while the mark “GUILD MORTGAGE COMPANY” (GMC), owned by Guild Mortgage Company (Guild), was being used for mortgage banking services.[2]  Nevertheless, decades later an application for the GMC mark in International Class 36 was refused by the Examiner, who argued that there was a likelihood of confusion with the GIM mark because “the marks, nature of the services and trade channels were similar.”[3]  The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board agreed, despite finding that “consumers ‘may exercise a certain degree of care in investing money, if not perhaps in seeking a mortgage loan.’”[4]  Guild appealed to the Federal Circuit.

Rising Temperatures – Federal Circuit Warming to Patent Eligibility of Medical Diagnostics

For the first time since the Mayo Supreme Court decision of 2012, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in Exergen vs Kaz has ruled in favor of the patent eligibility of a medical diagnostic invention.  While nonprecedential, this 2-to-1 decision is noteworthy for the guidance it provides to patent professionals seeking to protect diagnostic inventions.  Specifically, it instructs that diagnostic methods may be eligible for patent coverage so long as they use unconventional methods for detecting analytes.  Additionally, the Exergen decision offers another endorsement of the view put forth recently by the CAFC in Berkheimer v. HP and Aatrix v. Green Shades, that the inventive concept analysis that can arise in step-2 of the Mayo/Alice test is at least in part a factual question and not just a question of law.  This factual vs legal debate continues to have reverberations throughout the patent law field, affecting both the manner in which courts conduct 101 examinations as well as the conclusions they reach.