Uncategorized

Uncategorized / 18.08.2015

By Sandra Koenig, partner, Fay Sharpe LLP If you own a corporate trademark, you have to use it, or you’re going to lose it. If your company stops using a particular mark, it can eventually be legally co-opted, in whole or in part, by another party. So why do you care? If you’re not using the package of words, phrases, symbols and designs that identify and characterize your company or brand, do you really care that some other marketer might use one or more of those elements that you’re abandoning? Your company may want to resurrect the product at a later date — or strip it for parts, so to speak. Or maybe it’s simply a matter of blocking competitors, or even marketers outside of your industry, from creating a brand usage with your elements that might confuse or mislead your target audience. Unless you’re absolutely certain that you never again will want to...

Uncategorized / 23.07.2015

By Sandra Koenig, partner, Fay Sharpe LLP There are many dangers on the Web today, both threats against your company’s website and pitfalls you can inadvertently fall into that leave your site open to legal challenges. Here are areas to look out for. Cybersquatters When a trademark is used in a domain name with the intent to profit from the goodwill of another existing mark, it is considered cybersquatting. Cybersquatters direct traffic away from a valid website, often to a competitor’s page or to a website with a list of advertisements that relate to the industry, brand or subject being searched, enabling another entity to cash in on the goodwill you have established with your name on the Internet. The Anti-Cybersquatting Protection Act states that civil action can be taken against any person who, in bad faith, uses, registers or traffics in a domain name that is confusingly similar to another’s trademark. For example, cybersquatters...

Uncategorized / 13.07.2015

By Matthew Dugan, partner, Fay Sharpe LLP Companies routinely direct substantial resources to the development of new products, which includes the design of exterior shapes and visual characteristics, in addition to the product’s technical and functional features. To protect the look of your new product from being copied, go beyond a utility patent and consider obtaining a design patent. A design patent protects the appearance of a product, such as the shape or the surface ornamentation that gives the products its look. And while this type of patent is often not considered as valuable or as comprehensive as a utility patent, design patent rights are invaluable for protecting many types of products and can be quickly acquired at a relatively low cost. The benefits Let’s say your company is in the eyewear business, and an employee has developed a new pair of sunglasses. There is nothing particularly innovative about this product — it has...

Uncategorized / 16.06.2015

Language that should not be included your patent protection By Ryan Jones, Associate, and Mark Einsiedel, Law Clerk, Fay Sharpe LLP Patents are secured to protect intellectual property from theft, but they only work as intended if carefully written. It’s important to consult with a patent law firm to ensure that when your patent is filed, it offers strong defenses against infringement. Here are three examples of “patent profanity,” the language that can leave your patent open to either intellectual theft or products liability suits. Preambles The preamble, or introduction, to claims of the patent application should only be used to provide such information as the intended use of the invention. It should not provide details or state claim limitations (the patent language that describes the invention’s scope). If a competing product can be described as operating beyond that scope, the legal case can be made that there’s no infringement. The body of the claim,...

Uncategorized / 01.06.2015

By Sandra Koenig, partner, Fay Sharpe LLP When corporations develop new and unique logos, designs, packaging configurations or even sensory elements and other unique identifying elements of goods and services, they need to protect these distinctive features from being cannibalized. If competitors can reap a financial benefit from piggybacking off your branding efforts, your creativity and innovation are squandered. That’s why you need to hire intellectual property attorneys to secure, protect and maintain what can sometimes be a large and complex portfolio of trademarks. Smaller companies may only have a single mark to obtain and defend, but larger corporations could have hundreds. These portfolios can be so large because of the quantity of elements that might qualify. For example, for one client, I once successfully registered the color red for a brand of handheld vacuum cleaners. On another occasion, I played a significant role in securing approval for the registration of the color...

Uncategorized / 28.05.2015

Fay Sharpe has been recognized by Forbes as a top U.S. law firm in the Forbes “Legal Black Book,” which is a compendium of elite law firms recognized for providing critical legal services to major U.S. and global companies. The methodology for selection is based on a law firm’s track record of providing outside counsel to top corporations, practice area range and focus, and high rankings for quality of execution in multiple reviews. The list includes law firms of all sizes. In addition, Fay Sharpe partner Steven Haas will make an appearance in the May 25 issue of Forbes. Haas is among the intellectual property experts quoted in the Legal Black Book article, titled “Are patents losing presumption of validity?” The article addresses the ways in which a case presently before the U.S. Supreme Court could impact the legal validity of patents moving forward, depending on the Supreme Court’s ruling. In Commil...

Uncategorized / 20.05.2015

As a result of the U.S. joining the Hague Agreement on Industrial Designs, beginning May 13, 2015, U.S. applicants can file a single design patent application and elect one or more of the 70-plus countries that are members of the Hague Agreement. U.S. applicants should see a reduction of costs because they will no longer need to hire local patent attorneys in individual countries to file separate applications. In addition, as many as 100 designs can be included in a single application, as long as the designs all relate to the same class of design. However, each design carries an additional cost, so applicants must be careful when deciding how many designs to include in an application. The length of U.S. design patents will also increase, from 14 years to 15 years, per the treaty. As with all design patents, particular attention must be paid to the quality of the drawings and...

Uncategorized / 08.05.2015

Sandra Koenig, who was recently elected vice president of the Cleveland Intellectual Property Law Association (CIPLA) Board for 2015-2016, will be inducted at the annual CIPLA meeting on May 16. Koenig’s membership with CIPLA dates back nearly as far as her 30-year career with Fay Sharpe LLP in Cleveland, where she practices intellectual property law and is a member of the law firm’s Management Committee. For CIPLA, Koenig previously served as committee chair for the Trademark Committee in the 1990s, and has held the position of committee co-chair for each of the last three years. “I’m honored at being elected to the board and excited to begin working with my fellow board members for the next year,” said Koenig. “CIPLA is a valuable and highly respected organization within our field and I’m eager to help continue to advance its membership benefits and activities.” The Cleveland Intellectual Property Law Association brings together...

Uncategorized / 05.05.2015

By Christian Drago, Counsel, and Brad Pulfer, Law Clerk, Fay Sharpe LLP A Supreme Court decision from June 2014 has left some companies with patents on software-related inventions on unstable ground and subsequent lower court decisions only continue to raise questions for those who hold or desire a patent on software. The initial ruling in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International changed what is considered patent-eligible subject matter. That could leave some patents unenforceable, and will challenge companies to rethink how they draft future patent applications. Up until this decision, it was understood by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and patent attorneys in general that software-related patents were patent-eligible subject matter is they were sufficiently tied to a machine, such as a computer. In essence, you’re not claiming the software, you’re claiming the computer that’s performing the function that the software is instructing it to do. After Alice, the court...

Uncategorized / 23.04.2015

By Ann Skerry, partner, Fay Sharpe LLP As green technology becomes more and more a part of our everyday lives, companies may have questions about obtaining patents that protect their inventions. In drafting a patent application, particular attention should be paid to the claims. As with any patent, it is up to you to find out who is infringing your claims and keep an eye on your potential competitors. Green technology patents generally fall into three categories. Energy generation Reduction in energy consumption Improvements to environmental quality In the energy generation field, Northeast Ohio has been a source of numerous innovations in wind turbines, dating back to 1888, when the world’s first electric wind turbine generator was constructed in Cleveland. Advances have included improvements in motors and blades for the turbines and the towers on which they are mounted. Across Ohio, there are projects for large turbines, as well as much smaller devices that can be used at...