Federal Circuit Serves a Slice of Victory to Apple and Domino’s Pizza

Last week, in Apple, Inc. v. Ameranth, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit delivered a victory for Apple, Inc. and Domino’s Pizza, LLC in their patent war with Internet-based solutions provider Ameranth, Inc. over online ordering patents. The Federal Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part four Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decisions in three Covered Business Method (CBM) reviews because Ameranth’s patents are unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. Section 101.

The PTAB decisions addressed the subject matter eligibility of certain claims of three of Ameranth’s patents, U.S. Patent No. 6,384,850 (the ‘850 patent), U.S. Patent No. 6,871,325 (the ‘325 patent), and U.S. Patent No. 6,982,733 (the ‘733 patent). The court provided a summary of the three restaurant menu patents: Continue Reading

Christian Faith Fellowship Church is Going 12 Rounds with adidas AG in David-versus-Goliath Trademark Battle

Last week, Christian Faith Fellowship Church prevailed at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on its appeal of a final judgment of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) that, in response to a petition filed by adidas AG (Adidas), cancelled its trademarks for failing to use the marks in commerce before registering them. Last year, the TTAB held that the Church’s documented sale of two marked hats to an out-of- state resident were de minimis and therefore did not constitute use of the marks in commerce under the Lanham Act. In its decision, Christian Faith Fellowship Church v. adidas AG, the Federal Circuit reasoned that the Lanham Act defines commerce as all activity regulable by Congress and that the Church’s sale to an out-of-state resident fell within Congress’s power to regulate under the Commerce Clause. Continue Reading

Precedential TTAB Ruling Vaporizes Marijuana-Related Trademark Registrations

After the Patent and Trademark Office’s (PTO) youthful experimentation with allowing trademark registrations for “processed plant matter for medicinal purposes, namely medical marijuana” in 2010, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) has now made it clear that neither it nor the PTO is going to allow registration of cannabis-related trade or service marks, at least if the product or service may violate the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). In last week’s precedential decision of In re JJ206, LLC, dba JuJu Joints, the TTAB upheld the PTO’s decision to deny the applicant’s intent-to-use trademark application because the applicant admitted that the products at issue were “vaporizing devices for cannabis or marijuana,” which remain illegal under the CSA regardless of whether those devices are legal under individual state’s laws. Continue Reading

U.S. Trademark Office Fees Go Up, Effective January 14, 2017

Back in June, we shared that the U.S. Trademark Office announced a fee increase and it was intended to go into effect October 1, 2016. Well, the U.S. Trademark Office fees did not go up on October 1, 2016, but will go up (as previously announced) on January 14, 2017. All those filing with the U.S. Trademark Office should consider this delayed fee increase as an early holiday gift.

Most important for standard trademark filers: there will be no fee increase for Teas Plus and Teas RF (Reduced Filing) applications. Our firm files 100% of our new trademark applications as either Teas Plus or Teas RF filings. I suspect that the vast majority of regular filers use Teas Plus or Teas RF exclusively. However, if you are still wedded to Teas Regular, this is a good time to make the switch as Teas Regular fees will go up $75/class. For context, paper filings will go up a whopping $225/class (to $600/class!). This is the time to switch to electronic filing if you haven’t already done so. Continue Reading