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Insights, Uncategorized / 22.08.2016

Christian R. Drago was recently appointed as a member of the executive board of the Cleveland Intellectual Property Law Association (CIPLA). As the Director, Christian will oversee all committee chairpersons and ensure they have the resources necessary to fulfill their responsibilities. Christian and the CIPLA committee chairpersons prepare and coordinate all continuing education events. They work together diligently to provide new and interesting speakers for CIPLA. His goal throughout 2016-2017 will be to keep CIPLA at the forefront of continuing education with respect to intellectual property....

Insights, Uncategorized / 19.08.2016

Rachel A. Smoot was recently named the District 8 Trustee of the Ohio Women’s Bar Association Board of Trustees. As the District 8 Trustee, Rachel represents OWBA members of Cuyahoga County and is responsible for writing at least one substantive article and holding at least one event. Her goals over the next year include forming a Young Lawyers Committee of the OWBA, increasing OWBA membership and coordinating a joint OWBA/ABA/CMBA professionalism and ethics event. Fay Sharpe is honored to sponsor Rachel’s first event Party At Playhouse, which will be held September 7 from 5PM to 8PM. The event will consist of a behind-the-scenes tour of the playhouses followed by a networking reception with live jazz music at Bin216. For more information or to register for the event, please follow the link below. http://owba.org/events ...

Insights, Uncategorized / 16.08.2016

By Theresa A. Rakocy In today’s business world, with increased competition and businesses facing unpredictability because of non-practicing entities, it is important for a business to minimize risk to itself and address uncertain outcomes by seeking a legal opinion. After investing time and money on new products, businesses seek to potentially leverage the marketability of a new product by pursuing potential protection. On the other hand, being unable to produce or sell the product due to infringement concerns, or worse, being sued over a product is not something any company wants to face. • Do you have a new product and want to know whether you can obtain a patent to protect it? • Are you concerned that the new product might infringe an existing patent? • Do you have questions about the validity of existing patents that could impact your business? These are just a few reasons that you should seek a legal opinion in...

Insights, Uncategorized / 28.06.2016

By Theresa A. Rakocy & Rachel A. Smoot For the past four decades, Led Zeppelin has proven itself a pioneer of rock and roll, cementing its place in history with such hits as “Whole Lotta Love,” “Black Dog,” “Kashmir,” and - arguably rock and roll’s greatest hit – “Stairway to Heaven.” Released in 1971, “Stairway to Heaven” was the most requested song on FM radio stations in the United States during that decade. Over forty years later, “Stairway to Heaven” is still making waves, albeit legal ones, rather than radio waves. In May 2014, Michael Skidmore, the trustee for the Randy Craig Wolfe Trust filed suit against Led Zeppelin and Warner Music Group Corporation, alleging copyright infringement (among other charges) of “Stairway to Heaven.” Randy Craig Wolfe, also known as a Randy California, was a member of the musical group Spirit, which existed and toured on occasion with Led Zeppelin. One of...

Insights, Uncategorized / 24.06.2016

For the time being, your IP rights registered in Europe will remain unaffected. We must emphasize that the referendum is advisory rather than mandatory and will take two years or more to implement. This two year period of implementation does not even begin until the UK actually files to withdraw which may be many months away. Your European patent rights will not change in any way. The European Patent Office is not an EU institution and is unaffected by the UK exit from the EU. Existing European Trade Marks will be enforced in the UK as usual until the UK officially leaves the EU. When the exit occurs in two or more years, your European Trade Mark or Registered Community Design will no longer provide protection in the UK. At the moment, whether or not the UK will pass regulations to convert these registrations to UK national...

Uncategorized / 16.05.2016

By Ryan Jones, attorney, Fay Sharpe LLP It’s just happened for you. That moment of inspiration. You’ve just come up with a brilliant idea, and now you want to get patent protection for it. Current U.S. patent law allows you to file a provisional (aka “temporary”) application with the U.S. Patent Office that describes the basics of your invention. You then have one year from that filing date to refine the idea and file a full patent application while claiming the priority date of the provisional application. Provisional applications work similarly to line stamps at an amusement park. You get a stamp to stand in line for a ride at a certain time (such as noon), then at your stamped time, you get to cut in front of everyone in line with a time stamp that is later than yours. Similarly, your provisional patent application allows you to cut in front of...

Uncategorized / 28.04.2016

By Mark Einsiedel, attorney, Fay Sharpe LLP While they may have similar meanings to a layperson, the terms “repair” and “reconstruction” have been used by the courts to distinguish between those activities that are permissible and those that are prohibited with regard to a patented article once it has been placed into commerce by the patentee. Courts distinguish between the right to reproduce a substantially new article from the component parts of the patented article (akin to prohibited “reconstruction”) and the right to “preserve the useful life of the original [patented] article” (akin to “repair). Id. “Repair” of a patented article is a complete defense to a claim of patent infringement. (See, e.g. Jazz Photo Corp v. Int’l Trade Comm’n, 264 F.3d 1094, 1101 (Fed. Cir. 2001)). That is, the purchaser of a patented article “has the rights of any owner of personal property, including the right to use it, repair it,...

Uncategorized / 18.04.2016

By Rachel A. Smoot, attorney, Fay Sharpe LLP In a sharply divided opinion issued on Dec. 22, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit redefined the Lanham Act. Enacted in 1946, the Lanham Act provides a national system for registering and protecting trademarks used in commerce. However, 70 years later, the Federal Circuit has deemed it necessary to give the statute a facelift, rendering a signification portion of the act’s Section 2(a) unconstitutional. Section 2(a) includes a bar on the registration of a mark that “[c]onsists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute.” Over the past seven decades, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has used the subjective language “may disparage” to reject any trademark application that an examiner finds disparaging...

Uncategorized / 11.04.2016

In professional baseball, when a player is traded, his former team often changes the hand signals it uses to call pitches and direct base runners, assuming the player will share everything he knows with his new employer. In corporate America, however, simply exchanging old data for new isn’t an effective means to protect intellectual property. Businesses need multiple forms of intellectual property protection to safeguard their patentable inventions, customer databases, digital coding, trade secrets and other intangible knowledge from competitors or other groups, and employee noncompete agreements can be part of that strategy. Consider these three factors to determine if a noncompete is right for your organization. Make sure there’s a real need A noncompete agreement is a legal document signed by key personnel, usually as a term of employment. It’s generally used to constrain those with inside knowledge from working for a competitor under stated conditions after leaving employment with your company. Some...

Uncategorized / 15.02.2016

By William J. Samore, attorney, Fay Sharpe LLP How does a company obtain the patent rights to something invented by an employee? The current rule, decided in Filmtec Corp., v. Allied-signal Inc., 939 F.2d 1568 (Fed. Cir. 1991), is that when an employment contract creates a present grant of rights in future inventions and related patent rights, the title to the patent transfers to the employer upon creation of the invention. In other words, when employment contract language uses the present tense (e.g., I “herby assign” my rights), title transfers automatically upon creation of the invention. On the other hand, if the employment contract uses the future tense (e.g., I “will assign” my rights), the company may get only equitable rights (not legal title), and, in this situation, if the employee refuses to assign rights to the company, it may have to obtain a court order forcing the employee to transfer rights. This...