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January 2012
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March 2012

Coach Services, Inc. v. Triumph Learning LLC

In a trademark dispute over the mark COACH between a publisher of books and software used to assist teachers and students in preparing for standardized tests and a seller of a wide variety of "accessible luxury" products such as handbags, luggage, clothing, watches, eye glasses, and wallets, the decision of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board with respect to the publisher's use-based applications to register the mark is: 1) affirmed in part, where: a) the Board did not abuse its discretion when it excluded corporate annual reports the handbag seller attempted to admit through a notice of reliance; b) the Board correctly found no likelihood of confusion; and c) the handbag seller failed to prove fame for dilution purposes; and 2) vacated and remanded in part as to its finding of acquired distinctiveness, where the Board's evidentiary errors called into question the validity of its secondary meaning analysis.

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ClearValue, Inc. v. Pearl River Polymers, Inc.

In a suit involving claims of indirect patent infringement and misappropriation of a trade secret: 1) the district court's denial of the defendant's motions for judgment as a matter of law of invalidity and noninfringement is reversed, where the jury lacked substantial evidence to find that another patent did not anticipate the claim; and 2) the district court's grant of judgment as a matter of law to the defendant on the plaintiff's trade secret claim is affirmed, where another patent publicly disclosed the alleged secret before the plaintiff communicated it to the defendant, and thus the jury's verdict of trade secret misappropriation was not supported by substantial evidence.

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Range Road Music, Inc. v. East Coast Foods, Inc.

In a suit by music companies that owned song copyrights against the corporate owner of a restaurant at which the songs were played without license and its sole officer and director, the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the music companies is affirmed, where: 1) the complaint contained an adequate statement of the claim of vicarious infringement; 2) there was sufficient evidence of infringement; 3) the district court properly held that the defendants were jointly and severally liable for the infringement; and 4) the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding fees and costs to the music companies.

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T-Peg, Inc. v. Vermont Timber Works, Inc.

On cross-appeals of a fee award made after a copyright infringement dispute between architectural firms, the First Circuit affirmed the amount of the award, finding no abuse of discretion in the district court's reasoned conclusions applying the attorney's fees provision of the Copyright Act.

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Should patent and commercialization activities by faculty count toward tenure and promotion?

A large percentage of universities do not include commercialization considerations for tenure and promotion

Tampa, Fla. (Feb. 22, 2012) – Increasingly, institutions of higher learning are including faculty member patents and commercialization activities in their calculus for offering tenure and promotion. However, a report published in Volume 13 Number 3 of Technology and Innovation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors® finds that 75 percent of institutions surveyed do not include patent and commercialization considerations in their tenure and promotion criteria.

"Texas A&M University created quite a stir in May 2006 when it added commercialization considerations as a sixth factor to be taken into account when faculty members are evaluated for tenure," said report co-author Dr. Paul R. Sanberg, senior associate vice president for research and innovation at the University of South Florida and president of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). "Surprisingly, their lead has not been followed by other major institutions."

According to Sanberg and co-authors Ginger A. Johnson (Technology and Innovation) and Dr. Ashley J. Stevens, former senior research associate at the Boston University School of Management and past president of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), there are a number of good arguments for adding faculty member patents and commercialization activities to the tenure and promotion criteria.

"Adding patents and commercialization to the existing tenure and promotion criteria will inspire tenure-track professors to engage in innovative activities earlier in their careers," said Stevens. "Also, encouraging the creative, productive and innovative ideas of young professors will increase their universities' research dollars."

The authors point out that in 2009 universities earned about $1.8 billion in royalties from academic inventions, an increase over $1.6 billion in 2008 and $1.3 billion in 2007.

Full story.

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Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc. v. W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc.

In patent infringement litigation involving a patent for prosthetic vascular grafts, the judgment in the district court in favor of the plaintiff is affirmed, where: 1) the district court did not err in denying the defendant's post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law on issues of proper inventorship, anticipation, obviousness, written description, and willfulness of the infringement; and 2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding enhanced damages, attorneys' fees and costs, and an ongoing royalty.

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AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP v. Apotex Corp.

In a patent infringement action involving patented methods for using the cholesterol-lowering drug rosuvastatin calcium, the district court's dismissal of the infringement claims is affirmed, where: 1) the district court erred in part by concluding that the plaintiffs' failure to state a cognizable claim under 35 USC section 271(e)(2) defeated its jurisdiction; but 2) the plaintiff failed to state a claim under 35 USC section 271(e)(2) based on the appellees' existing Abbreviated New Drug Applications filings, and 3) the plaintiffs' claims premised on presumed future labeling amendments were not ripe for adjudication.

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Mettler-Toledo, Inc. v. B-Tek Scales, LLC

In a patent infringement suit involving patents relating to technology for weighing objects, such as large commercial trucks: 1) the district court's denial of the plaintiff's motion for judgment as a matter of law is affirmed, where the district court correctly construed the claims of one patent and substantial evidence supported the jury's verdict of invalidity of another patent; and 2) the district court's denial of sanctions against the plaintiff for alleged withholding and destruction of relevant documents is affirmed, where the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the documents were not highly relevant and that there was little harm to the defendant.

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Adair v. Carter

On appeal a decision of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences holding that the appellants' single claim involved in an interference with the appellees was time-barred under 35 USC section 135(b)(1), the decision of the Board is affirmed, where: 1) to overcome a section 135(b) bar for a post-critical date claim, an applicant must show that such claim is not materially different from a pre-critical date claim present in the application or any predecessor thereto in order to obtain the benefit of the earlier filing date, and in this case the Board found material differences; 2) the Board properly presumed material differences between the plaintiffs' post- and pre-critical date claims; 3) the Board did not establish any absolute requirement that the pre-critical date claims must have been patentable to the plaintiff, and doing so would have been harmless error; and 4) the Board did not abuse its discretion in declining to consider a claim for the first time on rehearing.

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Secalt, S.A. v. Wuxi Shenxi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd.

In a suit claiming that the defendant's traction hoists infringed the trade dress of the plaintiffs' traction hoist, the district court's grant of summary judgment, its finding of exceptionality, and its award of attorney's fees under the Lanham Act are affirmed, where the plaintiffs did not present evidence sufficient to create a triable issue as to the nonfunctionality of its claimed trade dress, but the district court's award of non-taxable costs and certain taxable costs is reversed.

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