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EDVA Rejects Argument That a Common Law Trade Dress Infringement Claim Is Subsumed by a Trademark Infringement Claim

Judge Liam O’Grady upheld a unanimous jury verdict in favor of Reynolds Consumer Products, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Virginia. The jury found that Handi-Foil Corporation willfully infringed on Reynolds’ trade dress rights. See Reynolds Consumer Products, Inc. v. Handi-Foil Corporation, No. 1:13-cv-214, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98059 (E.D. Va. July 18, 2014).

Both parties manufacture aluminum roll foil. Reynolds Wrap has been the leading brand for decades. Reynolds sued Handi-Foil in 2012 when it launched its version of the product claiming that the company’s packaging violated its trade dress. The jury found in favor of Reynolds on that count. By post-trial motion, Handi-Foil requested that the court set aside the verdict. Handi-Foil filed a renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law and, in the alternative, moved for a new trial. In its argument for a new trial, Handi-Foil posited that the jury’s decision was inconsistent. [Read more →]

July 24, 2014   Comments Off

Troutman Sanders Federal Circuit Review – July 17, 2014

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Each week, Troutman Sanders’ Federal Circuit review summarizes the Federal Circuit precedential patent opinions from the prior week.   

This week:

  • Post-AIA False-Marketing Statute Survives Constitutional Challenge
  • Claims Issued as Invalid Cannot Be Asserted Until After Certificate of Correction Issues 
  • New Evidence Admissible in District Court Challenge of Interference Decision

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July 18, 2014   Comments Off

EDVA Judge Denies Preliminary Injunction in Patent Case

In a brief opinion, Judge Doumar denied Hill-Rom Company’s motion to preliminarily enjoin General Electric from infringing its patent covering a system to track hand hygiene for hospital workers. Hill-Rom Co., Inc. v. General Electric Co., No. 2:14CV187, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96258 (E.D. Va. July 15, 2014) (found here).

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July 17, 2014   Comments Off

EDVA Court Applies Justice O’Connor’s “Stream of Commerce-Plus” Approach in Dismissing Trademark Suit for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

As we have previously noted, the law is unsettled as to what is necessary to establish personal jurisdiction under a “stream of commerce” theory – under which courts establish jurisdiction over a defendant by virtue of the defendant’s placing a product in the “stream of commerce” that takes the product to the forum state.  The theory has important implications for manufacturers, because companies that sell products that eventually reach a particular forum may find themselves subject to jurisdiction there under the stream of commerce theory, even if their presence in the forum is otherwise lacking.

In a recent case, Judge Ellis of the Eastern District of Virginia weighed in on the issue, ruling that in cases governed by Fourth Circuit law, Justice O’Connor’s “stream of commerce-plus” approach is the relevant test. AESP, Inc. v. Signamax, LLC, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92663 (E.D. Va. July 8, 2014). [Read more →]

July 16, 2014   Comments Off

Fourth Circuit: Not Every Case Involving a Trademark Involves a Federal Question

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed the Eastern District of North Carolina, finding that simply because a case involves a trademark does not mean that the case also involves a federal question. Flying Pigs, LLC v. RRAJ Franchising, LLC, No. 13-2135 (4th Cir. July 1, 2014).

Flying Pigs initiated an action in North Carolina state court against RRAJ Franchising to enforce, by foreclosure and judicial sale, an equitable lien against certain trademarks and associated good will. RRAJ removed to federal court, asserting federal questions jurisdiction and citing the Lanham Act. The federal district court denied Flying Pigs’s motion to remand for lack of federal jurisdiction and then granted RRAJ’s 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. The Fourth Circuit vacated the dismissal order and remanded the matter to be returned to the state court. A matter does not implicate federal jurisdiction simply because it involves a trademark. [Read more →]

July 11, 2014   Comments Off

WDVA Court Awards Attorney’s Fees in Copyright Suit

In a July 1 decision, Judge Moon of the Western District of Virginia granted a motion for fees and costs, awarding the defendant just under $35,000 in attorney’s fees associated with securing the dismissal of a copyright infringement suit filed by the former dean of Liberty Theological Seminary, Ergun M. Caner. Caner v. Autry, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90179 (W.D. Va. July 1, 2014). [Read more →]

July 10, 2014   Comments Off

Troutman Sanders Federal Circuit Review – July 9, 2014

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Each week, Troutman Sanders’ Federal Circuit review summarizes the Federal Circuit precedential patent opinions from the prior week.   

This week:

  • Federal Circuit Dismisses Suit Challenging Constitutionality of AIA for Lack of Standing

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July 10, 2014   Comments Off

Troutman Sanders Federal Circuit Review – July 3, 2014

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Each week, Troutman Sanders’ Federal Circuit review summarizes the Federal Circuit precedential patent opinions from the prior week.   

This week:

  • Court Reverses Claim Constructions Related to Remote Hospital Bed Monitoring and Returns Case to District Court

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July 3, 2014   Comments Off

Fourth Circuit Addresses Utility Patents in the Context of Trade Dress and the Functionality Doctrine

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently limited the applicability of utility patents in determining whether a design feature sought to be protected as trade dress is functional and therefore not worthy of trademark protection in McAirlaids, Inc. v. Kimberly-Clark Corporation et al., No. 13-2044, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11945 (4th Cir. June 25, 2014).

At the core of trademark protection is brand reputation. Trademark law aims to encourage competition by protecting reputation, by protecting marks and designs that identify the source of a product or service. Patent law, on the other hand, aims to encourage innovation and invention by providing inventors with the security offered by the exclusive right to exploit their new product designs or functions for a limited time. Although the two areas of law protect different interests, this has not always stopped parties from attempting to stretch trademark law to protect patent interests when patent protections are lacking. This often arises in the area of trade dress. [Read more →]

July 2, 2014   Comments Off

Troutman Sanders Federal Circuit Review – June 20, 2014

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Each week, Troutman Sanders’ Federal Circuit review summarizes the Federal Circuit precedential patent opinions from the prior week.   

This week:

  • Supreme Court Finds Claims to an “Abstract Idea” are Ineligible Subject Matter But Does Not Resolve Debate over Software Patents 
  • Board Should Have Considered Combination of References As New Ground of Rejection in Reexam
  • Choice to File Terminal Disclaimer Was Not “Error” Under Reissue Statute 
  • Disclosing an “Entire Class” of Algorithms is Not Sufficient Structure for Means-Plus-Function Claims 

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June 23, 2014   Comments Off