Friday, June 20, 2014

Trademarks and website headings

In a decision by the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia, it was decided that use of the generic term "Lift Shop" in the title of a webpage was not trademark infringement.

See:  Lift Shop v. Easy Living Home Elevators [2014] FCAFC 75

See also comment.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Town Like Alice

The U.S. Supreme Court decided the Alice Corp v. CLS Bank patent case today.

In a unanimous decision authored by Justice Thomas, the Supreme Court today affirmed the Federal Circuit’s en banc decision invalidating the patents asserted by Alice Corporation against CLS Bank International as ineligible for patent protection under 35 U.S.C. §101 because they are directed to an abstract idea. See Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International et al. (U.S. June 19, 2014). 

In an opinion by Justice Thomas, today’s Supreme Court opinion held that:

[T]he claims at issue are drawn to the abstract idea of intermediated settlement, and that merely requiring generic computer implementation fails to transform that abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention.

In applying Mayo step one, the Court determined that Alice’s claims were drawn to the abstract concept of intermediated settlement (i.e., the use of a third party to mitigate settlement risk). Rejecting Alice’s arguments that the abstract-ideas category is confined to preexisting fundamental truths that exist apart from any human action, the Court ruled that intermediated settlement has long been a fundamental practice in our system of commerce, and recognized that Alice’s claims to intermediated settlement were not meaningfully distinguishable from the risk hedging claims it previously held to be abstract in Bilski v. Kappos, 561 U.S. 593 (2010).

In a brief concurring opinion, Justice Sotomayor, joined by Justices Ginsburg and Breyer, opined that claims to business methods are ineligible per se for patent protection, because they do not qualify as a process under 35 U.S.C. §101.

See note from WilmerHale and prior blog posts below.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Machines v Lawyers

"Some observers, not implausibly, blame the recession for these developments. But the plight of legal education and of the attorney workplace is also a harbinger of a looming transformation in the legal profession. Law is, in effect, an information technology—a code that regulates social life. And as the machinery of information technology grows exponentially in power, the legal profession faces a great disruption not unlike that already experienced by journalism, which has seen employment drop by about a third and the market value of newspapers devastated. The effects on law will take longer to play themselves out, but they will likely be even greater because of the central role that lawyers play in public life."

See Full Article - Machines v. Lawyers