Last night, the Senate voted 89-9 to pass H.R. 1249, commonly referred to as the America Invents Act, which seeks to introduce vast changes to the current patent system in the U.S. The most notable change will be moving from a "first-to-invent" to a "first-inventor-to-file" system, placing more emphasis than ever on the need to move quickly to file patent applications. Other notable provisions include: allowing third party submissions of prior art during prosecution of applications, prioritized examination option for patent applications, post-grant review of patents, inter partes review replacing interference proceedings, derivation proceedings, an increase in many fees charged by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office ("USPTO"), prohibition of patents for business methods on tax strategies and human organisms, allowing for virtual marking, revamping standards for false marking claims, some diversion of USPTO fees, and additional programs and studies for the USPTO.
A few moments ago, the Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor (93 yea, 5 nay) of cloture on H.R. 1249, commonly referred to as the America Invents Act. Accordingly, further debate on the bill is now limited to 30 hours and only currently existing amendments can be considered. A vote on the merits of the bill itself (highlights to be presented in a forthcoming blog entry) will then occur before moving to the President for approval or veto.
Stay tuned for further updates to this important legislation affecting patent reform in the U.S.
With the somewhat controversial launch of the new top level domain .XXX scheduled for late-2011, trademark owners should take note of the upcoming dual sunrise periods: one for those within the adult entertainment industry; another for those who wish to block their registered marks from use in .XXX.
- Sunriseis the time period when trademark owners and other IP holders within the adult sponsored community can apply for .XXX domain names ahead of the general public. This period will run for 52 days starting September 7, 2011.
- Sunrise Bthe time period when trademark owners and other IP holders outside of the adult sponsored community can apply to opt-out of .XXX to block their registered marks from use in .XXX. This period will also run for 52 days starting September 7, 2011.
More information on the .XXX registry, click here.
Several months ago, Amazon unveiled its “Cloud Drive” – a web application which permits users with Amazon accounts to upload up to five gigabytes of music, free of charge, to Amazon's server. Along with providing storage, the service also allows users to access, stream, and download their music from any location. Given that Amazon is providing streaming access music, there is some questions as to whether Amazon’s decision to offer the service, without a license from music owners, may result in future legal disputes. In this respect, Amazon has taken the position it is simply providing users with access to their own music files and, therefore, that no additional licenses are necessary. In contrast to Amazon's approach, Apple has actively negotiated licenses with music publishers in anticipation of it's Fall 2011 launch of its "iCloud" service. Music labels, for their part, are remaining silent on the issue as they wait to see how this “plays” out.
For more information click here.
Since February of 2010, Alzheimer's Institute of America (AIA) has been embroiled in a patent infringement suit it brought against a number of defendants, claiming infringement of certain patents covering the genetic mutation, dubbed the "Swedish mutation", that causes early on-set Alzheimer's disease. Last week, AIA dropped the case against one defendant, Jackson Laboratory of Bar Harbor, Maine, for an unusual and interesting reason.
Paris-based footwear designer Christian Louboutin was denied a preliminary injunction to prevent famed-fashion house Yves Saint Laurent from selling shoes with red soles similar to Louboutin's. In April, Louboutin filed a federal lawsuit for trademark infringement against Yves Saint Laurent in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York claiming that YSL infringed Louboutin's signature red soles.