The CAFC Finds That User Interfaces May be Patent Eligible

By Adam J. Smith, Associate Attorney, Standley Law Group LLP

Breathing new life into the § 101 analysis post-Alice , the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) found claims directed to a user interface to be patent eligible in Core Wireless Licensing S.A.R.L., v. LG Electronics, Inc., LG Electronics Mobilecomm U.S.A., Inc., Case No 2016-2684, 2017-1922 (Decided January 25, 2018).

In Core Wireless, the Applicant’s claims were directed to an improved interface for a mobile electronic device which allowed a user to quickly “drill down” into specific applications and data by presenting a summary window with a limited list of common functions and commonly accessed data for immediate access from the main menu. The CAFC found this invention to solve the common problem of how to most efficiently provide access to frequently used applications, as well as navigate otherwise complex menus and voluminous data indexes. The CAFC noted that this problem was particularly apparent in the context of mobile devices, which typically have a single small screen that limit the amount of information which may be presented to a user.

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Sixth Circuit Finds No Likelihood of Confusion in Jewelry Dispute

By Beverly A. Marsh, Partner, Standley Law Group LLP

The Sixth Circuit recently presided over a dispute between Artistry, Ltd. (“Artistry”), a jewelry wholesaler, and Sterling Jewelers (“Sterling”), the largest specialty jewelry retailer in the country, over the use of “Artistry.” See Sterling Jewelers, Inc. v. Artistry Ltd., Appeal No. 17-4132 (Decided July 24, 2018). Sterling owns roughly 1,300 jewelry stores, including Kay Jewelers and Jared. Artistry accused Sterling of trademark infringement when Kay Jewelers began marketing a line of jewelry under the name “Artistry Diamond Collection.” Artistry never registered a trademark for its name, whereas Sterling registered several of its “Artistry Diamond Collection” marks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, including ARTISTRY DIAMONDS, ARTISTRY BLUE DIAMONDS, and ARTISTRY BLACK DIAMONDS. Artistry asked Sterling to stop using “Artistry” in Sterling’s marks and filed a petition to cancel Sterling’s trademark registrations.

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Battle Over the Bourbon

By Stephen L. Grant, Senior Attorney, Standley Law Group LLP

Being the son of two native Kentuckians, as well as an occasional sipper of bourbon, a recent case from the Sixth Circuit caught my eye. Along the trail, it even teaches a good lesson about trademark law, specifically, nominative fair use. Besides that, the Kentucky party wins. An all-around good case to know about, with an opinion written by Judge Sutton.

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Biotech, Business Method, and Software Patents Receive a Boost

By Jeffrey C. Norris, Partner, Standley Law Group LLP

The determination of what constitutes patent eligible subject matter has been at the forefront of patent law in recent years. The United States Code has long held that “[w]hoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.” 35 U.S.C. § 101. Judicially-created exceptions to eligibility have, however, lead to uncertainty. In 2014, the United States Supreme Court addressed the patent eligibility of an invention for a computer-implemented scheme for mitigating settlement risk, wherein the Court determined that the invention was directed to patent-ineligible subject matter. See Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. V. CLS Bank Int’l, 134 S. Ct. 2347. In the wake of that decision, there has been heightened dispute and confusion about what qualifies as patent eligible subject matter, as well as the mechanisms used to make that determination. Inventions in fields such as biotech, business methods, and software have been caught in the crosshairs.

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Pleading Your Case: Complaint Drafting for Patent Infringement Following the Abrogation of Form 18

By Adam J. Smith, Associate Attorney, Standley Law Group LLP

The former Form 18 set out a bare-bones, minimum level of acceptability, complaint template for pleading patent infringement. In the not-so-distant-past, plaintiffs pleading patent infringement often relied on Form 18 when drafting complaints and rested easy knowing that their complaint would satisfy minimum pleading requirements. However, the relatively recent abrogation of Form 18 has upended this standard practice and left plaintiffs wondering with what level of specificity must they plead their case to avoid a potential dismissal.

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