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On May 5, 2011, the United States Patent and Trademark Office kicked off a new program intended to give applicants and examiners an opportunity to discuss the substance of a patent application before a formal, written examination report is mailed to the applicant. Dubbed the First Action Interview Pilot Program, it requires that the applicant electronically file, at least one day before the first action on the merits is mailed, a Request for First Action Interview.
Both the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government have been working on patent reform. For example, the White House released a report last June entitled “Patent Assertion and U.S. Innovation,” accompanied by several executive initiatives and legislative recommendations. In addition, several pieces of legislation have been introduced in both the House and the Senate to address this perceived “patent troll” problem. As Sens. Leahy and Lee explained, the goal of such legislation is “to make it harder for bad actors to succeed, while preserving what has made America’s patent system great.” The difficulty is in narrowly crafting such legislation to specifically address the perceived problems without also ensnaring legitimate patent holders, and without introducing unexpected negative consequences for the patent system as a whole.
Much analysis of data privacy issues in recent years has focused on the European Union. However, there have also been significant efforts regarding data protection in the Asia-Pacific region, an area of ever-increasing focus for patent practitioners. This article addresses the role of regional organizations in developing and enforcing policies, laws and regulations throughout the Asia-Pacific arena, and considers the potential impacts of ongoing national and international efforts to protect the right of privacy.
Robin Thicke’s massively popular and controversial “Blurred Lines” song has captured much public attention, including the attention of the family of Marvin Gaye who accused Thicke of using elements of Marvin Gaye’s song, “Got to Give It Up” in “Blurred Lines” and allegedly threatened litigation if a monetary settlement were not paid. In this article, we discuss the latest developments in this high-stakes legal fight and the difficulty the court will have in drawing the line between inspiration and copying in the blurry area of copyright infringement of music.
It is time for a new look at trademark bullying. In recent months, trademark bullying has captured the attention of the trademark bar and the national media. The Wall Street Journal has written about it, the International Trademark Association has sponsored programs and articles to address it, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office has even reported to Congress about it. This increased attention is not because the actions of brand owners have changed – cease and desist letters have been around for decades. Instead, it is the actions of “accused infringers” that have taken center stage as they have taken their cases to the court of public opinion.
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