Batmobile - You're a Character!

By Stephen L. Grant, Sr. Atty, Standley Law Group LLP

"In our well-ordered society, protection of private property is essential." This is how a panel of the Ninth Circuit started its conclusion in DC Comics v. Mark Towle (Case 13-55484, September 23, 2015), quoting a statement by Batman to his trusty sidekick Robin in an episode of the Batman television show. We certainly strive to keep our society "well-ordered." As a result, Mark Towle’s replica Batmobiles, sold at about $90,000 each, are infringements of DC Comics’ copyright in the Batman comic books.

Does it make sense to consider the Batmobile a "character"? I think that the Court’s decision in affirming a summary judgement at the district court is well-reasoned and correct. In deciding the case, however, the Court reveals once again that copyright law, while appearing quite rudimentary and logical, can occasionally exhibit some unexpected depth.

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Ohio lawmakers take a stab at patent reform

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

In an effort to address patent reform at the state level, the 130th General Assembly of the State of Ohio has introduced House Bill No. 573. 1 The asserted purpose of Bill 573 is to: 1) prohibit "bad faith" assertions of patent infringement, 2) allow tort actions to be brought against those making bad faith assertions of patent infringement in the Ohio Courts of Common Pleas, and 3) allow the Attorney General to investigate and bring suit against those it believes are making bad faith assertions of patent infringement. Patent holders who are unsuccessful in defending against such a suit may be required to pay the other side’s costs and attorney’s fees, compensatory damages, and possible trebling of costs, fees, and damages. This bill has no doubt been introduced to lessen the harsh impact that a growing number of patent infringement suits have caused Ohio businesses.

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Double Trouble?

By Stephen L. Grant, Sr. Atty, Standley Law Group LLP

"Double patenting" comes in two different flavors. One flavor is a bit bland; it doesn’t have the depth of nuance. But the second flavor, and especially its US patent law overtones, makes for tasty reading. And so, a sample of Gilead Sciences, Inc. v. Natco Pharma Limited 1 is suggested to you.

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Cybor lives!

By Stephen L. Grant, Sr. Atty, Standley Law Group LLP

On Feb. 21, the Federal Circuit handed down the awaited decision in Lighting Ballast Control,1 a case scheduled for en banc rehearing to determine the ongoing viability of the Cybor2 doctrine that all patent claim constructions are entitled to de novo review upon appeal. In a split 6-4 decision,3 Cybor lives on. From reading the three opinions,4 the concurrence by Judge Lourie may have the most lasting value. But first, let’s set up the case for you.

The questions posed by the Federal Circuit for briefing were:

  • Should this Court overrule Cybor?
  • Should this Court afford deference to any aspect of a district court’s claim construction?
  • If so, which aspects should be afforded deference?

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