Ornamental Features, Apple and Samsung: The Reverse of the $400M Verdict

The Supreme Court has stepped into the Apple and Samsung argument by reversing a $400 million verdict.

According to Bloomberg, “The U.S. Supreme Court gave Samsung Electronics Co. its first good news in a while on Tuesday, reversing a nearly $400 million verdict against it for infringing on Apple Inc.’s iPhone patent. The holding was narrow, and the justices sent the case back to the appeals court to figure out what the correct damages should be. But the thrust of the opinion was that damages could be computed based on the profit Samsung made from specific infringing features of the phone — not based on the overall profit from all sales of infringing smartphones.

The case is the latest in a string of decisions over the past several years in which the Supreme Court has rejected rulings by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which specializes in patent law, among other things.”

According to William P. Smith, Counsel at Spilman Thomas & Battle who practices patent law and intellectual property law, “Design patents protect only the ornamental features of a product, which traditionally has been a very narrow scope of protection.  The lower court decision in Samsung appeared to have broadened the scope of design patent protection.  Now the Supreme Court reversal, while leaving intact the lower courts’ scope of protection, may ultimately limit the damages that may be recovered for infringement of a design patent.”

Click here to read the entire Bloomberg article.




Maintaining Your Trademark Registrations-Part 2

Once you have obtained a U.S federal trademark registration, you must take certain steps to maintain the registration or else you risk losing your trademark protection. We now discuss a key step in maintaining your federal trademark registration—showing use of your trademark.

Our last article explained that certain post-registration documents and fees are required to maintain a U.S. trademark in force. In this article, we discuss the requirements for filing the Affidavit of Use under Section 8, and the specimens that go along with the Affidavit of Use.

Click here to read the second part of maintaining trademark registrations.

By William P. Smith



How to Maintain Your Trademark Registrations

This article explains filing deadlines and document requirements for maintaining federal trademark registrations with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). The documentation for establishing proof of continued use of your mark, registration renewals and establishing the incontestability of your mark are all explained in this first article of the series. Special requirements for international registrations will also be discussed.

Click here to read the entire article.

By William P. Smith


Post-Brexit: EU and UK Intellectual Property Protection

Many U.S. companies rely on foreign intellectual property protection for their inventions, including, of course, the European Union (“EU”).

European Patent Organization (“EPO”) President Benoit Battistelli issued a brief statement today on the U.K. referendum voted in on June 23, 2016. President Benoit’s statement indicates that the outcome of the referendum, i.e., the vote in favor of Brexit, has no consequence on the membership of the U.K. in the EPO. The Brexit vote will have no effect on European patents in the U.K. The EPO anticipates that the U.K. and EPO member states will resolve the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court soon to allow full implementation of these long-delayed provisions.

European Community (“EC”) trademarks and designs are still valid in the U.K. There will be no immediate loss of protection. When the U.K. withdraws from the EU, trademark and design protection in the U.K. may be subject to validation or conversion procedures. There will be no loss of priority associated with such validation or conversion.

Please contact our Intellectual Property Group if you have legal questions with respect to European patent or trademark protection following the Brexit vote.

By William P. Smith