Technology Law Blog

Showing 24 posts in Intellectual Property.

Why do I have to mark my product with the patent number?

We have all seen patent numbers marked on all kinds of products. In fact as I sit and write this article I can report that there are several items in my office with patent markings including my hole punch, stapler, Dictaphone and the insoles in my shoes.

So why is that? There has got to be a reason, right?

The reason is that if products are not appropriately marked before they enter the stream of commerce, the damages that the manufacturer can receive in a patent infringement action against someone that has copied that product are reduced. 35 USC §287(a) provides: Read More ›

Categories: Intellectual Property, Patents

Trade Secret Theft: Speed Date Sues Match.com for $6 million

Speed Date USA, Inc. is suing the online dating company Match.com for $5.65 million for allegedly breaching its contract and misappropriating trade secrets. In essence, the lawsuit claims that Match.com terminated the contract early and then breached its obligations to hold joint events. Match.com terminated the contract, according to the lawsuit, upon learning Speed Date's trade secrets. Match.com then allegedly began to run its own speed dating events without compensating Speed Date USA.

Trade secrets are commonly defined by state statues and generally consist of four elements for the information to constitute a trade secret. The elements of a trade secret are: (i) information; (ii) that has independent economic value; (iii) which is not generally known or readily available; and (iv) such information is subject to reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy. Read More ›

Categories: E-Commerce, Intellectual Property, News & Events, Trade Secrets

Why Can't I Plant My Own Seeds?

Soybean fieldAmong the many recent Supreme Court decisions, one decision regarding patents and self-replicating technology has a huge effect on farmers and the agricultural industry. 

Monsanto is an agriculture company headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. Specifically, Monsanto genetically engineers seeds to yield herbicide-resistant plants that produce higher yields for farmers. One of its more popular products is its "Roundup-Ready" line of soybeans, which has been planted in over 50 million acres to date. The seed is attractive to farmers because it is herbicide-resistant.  Monsanto was recently challenged on its Roundup-Ready product patent ›

Categories: Intellectual Property, Patents

Is the End Near for Patent Trolls? Vermont Passes New Law Targeting Patent Trolls

Patent stampPatent-trolling is a growing nuisance for business owners, particularly start-ups. Patent trolls will buy numerous patents – or buy struggling businesses just for the patents – for the sole use of threatening infringement claims on businesses. Most of the time, the threats are unfounded and rarely state which patents are being violated or how the target's use of that patent amounts to infringement.

Vermont has passed a new law that targets these patent trolls and allows their targets to pursue lawsuits against them. The law allows for a cause of action against "bad faith assertions of patent infringements," but does not define what this phrase means. Instead, it provides the courts a list of characteristics to consider when determining if an infringement assertion was made in bad faith. Read More ›

Categories: Intellectual Property, Patents, Regulatory

Did Newegg Save Online Retail?

Online shopping cartIn 2007, Newegg adopted a strategy to deal with patent trolls: Never settle – ever.

One of the first times it applied this new strategy was against Soverain Software. While Soverain's website appears legitimate, it has never made a sale. Instead, it targets large, online retailers that use shopping cart checkout technology. Soverain claimed that through two patents, numbers 5,715,314 and 5,909,492, it owned the "shopping carts" present in nearly every online retailer's website. Read More ›

Categories: Intellectual Property, Patents

XG Sciences Announces New Battery Anode with Four Times the Capacity of Conventional Materials

Battery charge levelsLansing-based XG Sciences, Inc. has launched a new generation of anode materials for lithium-ion batteries with four times the capacity of conventional anodes. The new anode material is produced through proprietary manufacturing processes and uses XG’s xGnP® grapheme nanoplatelets to stabilize silicon particles in a nano-engineered composite structure. The material displays dramatically improved charge storage capacity with good cycle life and high efficiencies.

This is great news for applications like smartphones, tablet computers, and other products that use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. XG is working with battery makers to translate this exciting new technology into batteries with longer run-time, faster charging capabilities, and smaller sizes.

Click here for more information about this exciting development.

Categories: Intellectual Property, Trade Secrets

Your Garage Sale could be at risk

Garage sale pictureIt might be illegal to sell those treasures.

The excitement of the hunt for the perfect item at the flea market or the thrill of selling your relative’s antique lamp at a great price could soon be dimmed by the Supreme Court of the United States.  Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property Rights and the Crowdfunding Platform

Intellectual Property words graphicCrowdfunding, some would say, is the new social networking platform of raising money from people online.  While crowdfunding is a relatively new term and concept, traditional principles of law still apply.  Artists, startups and online creators using this new platform are governed by Intellectual Property principles.

Intellectual Property (IP) refers to the creations of the mind; and most commonly include ideas or inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols that identify your brand, names, logos and/or competitive business ideas or information.  Under this broad umbrella of Intellectual Property, there are generally four categories that govern the use of Intellectual Property:

  1. Trademarks
  2. Patents
  3. Copyrights
  4. Trade Secrets

Before pitching or disclosing your concept to an online crowdfunding community to raise money these four categories of protection and the potential resulting consequences should be thoroughly examined.  Failure to do so could result in the inadvertent theft, infringement or forfeiture of your IP rights.  Let's take a deeper look at these four categories. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, Crowdfunding, Intellectual Property, Patents, Trade Secrets, Trademarks, Venture Capital/Funding

Proposed Legislation Expands Protection of Trade Secrets

Legislation allowing victims of trade secret theft to sue in Federal court was introduced in the Senate recently. The Protecting American Trade Secrets and Innovation Act of 2012, sponsored by Senators Herb Kohl, Chris Coons and Sheldon Whitehouse, grants companies the option of using Federal courts to bring a civil lawsuit against offenders. The proposed law helps companies maintain their global competitive edge by ensuring an effective and efficient way to recover their losses from trade secret theft. Read More ›

Categories: Intellectual Property, Trade Secrets

Top-Level Domain Names: Protect Your Rights

In 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) removed most restrictions on the names of generic top-level domains.  A top-level domain name is the letters after the “dot” in a website address.  The most common top-level domains are “.com” and “.org”.  Internet domains can now be any phrase and contain non-Latin characters (for example, Chinese, Arabic, etc.). Read More ›

Categories: Domain Name Registration, Intellectual Property