Monthly Archives: January 2015

IPR Statistics Suggest an Interesting Recent Trend

By Stephen C. Hall

Inter Partes Review (“IPR”) is a trial proceeding established by the America Invents Act that started in September 2012. Conducted before the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (“Board”), IPR allows an interested party to challenge claims in a patent for obviousness or lack of novelty, based on prior art patents or printed publications. Generally, IPR involves two steps: (a) filing a petition, which may (or may not) be followed by the patent owner’s response, and the Board rendering an “institution decision” within six months of petition; then (b) if the Board decides to institute IPR, it should in most cases enter its final determination within one year of institution. To institute an IPR (step “a” above), the Board must find that a reasonable likelihood exists that the petitioner would prevail with respect to at least one challenged claim.

Using IPR, petitioners have challenged thousands of claims contained in hundreds of issued patents. As discussed below, data existing on the USPTO website suggests a Continue reading IPR Statistics Suggest an Interesting Recent Trend

Commentary: Trademarking Tragedy

By Carl Eppler

It may not seem intuitive to connect intellectual property rights with a human tragedy, but indeed, the two intersect more often than we realize. This is likely not the proper forum to opine on the propriety of such an intersection, or the motives of those who mine its connections, but it is a topic ripe for discussion because it is so common in today’s world.

In the wake of the Paris Charlie Hebdo massacre on January 7, 2015, people from around the world began showing their solidarity with the victims under the hashtag “#jesuischarlie.” “Je Suis Charlie!” also became a rallying cry for the multiple demonstrations that followed the attack. Forty-eight hours later, someone in the U.S. filed a trademark application for “Je Suis Charlie.” You can check out the filing for yourself.

On its face, the filing appears legitimate — the applicant, the Je Suis Charlie Trust, is seeking to trademark the phrase for “[p]romoting charitable giving that reflects the core values of the donor by providing a method to identify the donor’s core values and to select charities that foster those values.” The application claims the first use of the mark in commerce was “at least as early” as the day of the attacks, though it is unclear how Continue reading Commentary: Trademarking Tragedy