Earlier today, the United States Supreme Court granted a request by Costco, the wholesale retailer, to review a federal appellate decision involving the first-sale doctrine under copyright law, in connection with the purchase and resale by Costco of Omega brand watches that were purchased on the gray-market (also known as parallel imports). In general, the first-sale doctrine allows the owner of a particular copy of a copyrighted work which was “lawfully made” to resell that copy without permission from the copyright holder.
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SELLER OF “YAAGBOMB” CUPS SUED FOR PATENT INFRINGEMENT
A Bradenton, Florida company has sued Cup Solutions, Inc., an online seller of cups used for mixing drinks with shots of hard liquor, alleging that the Defendant’s “YAAGBOMB” cups, pictured below, infringe a patent owned by Hurricane Shooters, LLC, the Plaintiff.
GENE PATENTS INVALID?
Gene patents are currently a hotly debated topic, having caught the attention of the public and the media, including the news program 60 MinutesTM. The debate essentially pivots around the interpretation of whether a gene patent improperly covers a gene as it occurs within the human (or when isolated is no different from the natural gene), as opponents contend, or whether the patent is merely protecting an isolated version of the gene as produced by the hand of man (and therefore is no different than any other chemical compound), as proponents maintain.
The debate has been raging in federal court in New York since last May, concerning several patents owned by Myriad Genetics that involve the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are implicated in breast cancer. Last week, the judge in that case ruled that several claims of the patents were invalid for encompassing non-statutory subject matter. Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. United States Patent and Trademark Office, et al. (S.D.N.Y.). Some interpret this to mean that gene patents are invalid.
But before leaping to that conclusion, consider: only some of the claims were found invalid, leaving many other claims valid. Also, the decision concerned particular claims of certain patents; the Court did not address the broader constitutionality aspects of the case, so this decision is narrowed in its scope. Additionally, the Defendants are appealing this judgment to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, who will review the decision and may overturn it. It seems likely, though, that since this is such a significant case, it could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court before the public, and patentees, have a final answer on this important question.
PTO CONSIDERS DEFERRED PATENT FEE PROGRAM (AND DEFERRED EXAMINATION) – YOUR THOUGHTS?
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is considering a new program which will provide applicants the option to defer payment of a considerable portion of the fees due upon filing certain U.S. patent applications for up to 12-months. The program is intended to allow applicants additional time to evaluate the market potential of their invention, before incurring the full costs of pursuing a U.S. patent.
The fee deferral program is proposed for applicants filing non-provisional applications which claim priority to a provisional patent application, within the 12-month provisional period. Applicants electing to take advantage of the deferred fee option would not be entitled to file a Request for Non-Publication with the non-provisional application. Under the proposal, applicants would only be required to pay the basis filing fee, currently $330 (or $165 for small entities), and would be allowed up to 12-months from filing a qualifying non-provisional patent application to pay the search and examination fees, currently $760 (or $380 for a small entity), along with a surcharge and any additional fees which may have been incurred. Of course, until the additional fees have been paid, the application will not be placed into the queue for examination by the PTO.