Last week the intellectual property world obsessed over injunctions – specifically, a preliminary injunction hearing in the Eastern District of Virginia resulting in an injunction against the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office’s (“PTO”) new continuation rules. There was a lot of analysis about the injunction, including live blogging by Patent Practice Center Patent Blog and a lot of post-injunction analysis by, among others: 271 Patent Blog; FileWrapper; Patent Baristas; Patent Docs (and here); Patent Prospector; PHOSITA; Patently-O; WSJ Law Blog; and Washington State Patent Law Blog. For those of you who have no idea what a continuation is or just do not care about the particulars of the rules, I promise that I am done with patent continuations for this post. Honestly, I find the rules rather tedious myself. I prefer to focus on litigating patents, rather than the PTO’s prosecution rules. So, today we talk about injunctions:
According to TechCrunch, Patent Monkey received a permanent injunction when it was sold to the Internet Real Estate Group. But Patent Monkey’s patent search technology will see its injunction lifted when it is used on www.patents.com. Hopefully, for those like me who enjoyed it, Patent Monkey’s Infinite Monkey Theorem Blog will also see its injunction lifted.
Virtually Blind has an interesting report on Second Life’s* new Patent & Trademark Office, the SLPTO. No word on whether the SLPTO and the Second Life legal system generally will allow for any permanent injunctions. Right now it appears that the SLPTO will be heavily skewed toward copyright and trademark, which makes sense in a virtual world. And before we learn whether the SLPTO has any enforcement mechanisms, Blawg IT is offering to represent virtual clients before the SLPTO. I would get a retainer up front Brett – virtual clients can be difficult to track down when the bills are due.
The Patry Copyright Blog shows why Second Life injunctions may be necessary. Six Second Life players have sued a Queens man in the Eastern District of New York for trademark and copyright infringement based upon sales of goods in Second Life. I wonder if the trademarks and copyrights were registered with the SLPTO or the US PTO/Copyright Office. And does the E.D.N.Y. have authority to issue cyber-injunctions?
Promote the Progress provides an interesting piece on the long-term effects of last week’s injunction against the PTO on shaping patent reform.
SportsBiz explains that plaintiffs who were bilked out of millions in attorneys’ fees by their now-jailed lawyers were not irreparably harmed. A Kentucky court awarded them a 20% ownership interest in Curlin, the prize race horse and Breeder’s Cup Classic winner partially owned by the jailed lawyers.
Adams Drafting issues its own injunction against using virgules. Using what? The virgule, or the forward slash. He explains that it is frequently used to mean: 1) “per” – 50 miles/hour; 2) “or” – and/or; and 3) “and” – all parents/subsidiaries/affiliates are bound by the obligations. The problem is that the various uses create ambiguity. Adams acknowledges that he cannot find any litigation specifically about the virgule. But the best solution is to remove the virgule from your writing before you become embroiled in the first litigation over one. And when it comes to rules of writing and grammar, the best solution is to listen to Adams.
What if you do not want an injunction or just want a faster, cheaper resolution? The IP ADR blog is talking about last week’s big settlement between Vonage and Verizon. They suggest that you consider using contingent agreements to control for changing future conditions and charitable contributions. They also point out that creativity and out-of-the-box thinking are important elements for reaching settlements.
Another way to avoid an injunction is to understand how best to argue against the opposing party and their counsel. The Center for Internet & Society discusses how men and women in the United States and in other cultures communicate and suggests that understanding the nuances of how different people communicate around the globe could advance legal discourse.
Lowering the Bar reports on a Michigan man sentenced to sixty days in jail for a home invasion that ended in him throwing two large pickles at residents of the home. No word on whether he will be enjoined from pickle ownership. Okay, that is a weak tie-in, but who can resist a pickle invasion story.
Deliberations discusses one of the basic truths of trial law – you must connect with your jury about basic truths of your case. That is equally true when seeking an injunction – if the judge senses something is not right about your argument, you will not get your injunction.
The writers’ strike that is expected this week is not an injunction, but it will mean an end to new scripted television and movies. Concurring Opinions has an interesting post about a brewing legal dispute between the studios and the writers’ union, the Writers Guild of America (“WGA”). The WGA is requiring that members provide information on all unproduced projects and an update on the status of those projects, as per the labor agreement between the WGA and the studios. But the studios, based upon their individual agreements with writers, are warning writers that the studios own the scripts and the writers are barred by contract from giving the WGA any information about the projects. These conflicting contracts place the writers in quite a pickle (I could not resist), and it poses an interesting legal question as to which contract controls.
And I end with a post that is actually about an injunction. The Maryland IP Law Blog (another LexBlog creation) posted about a District of Delaware court that upheld a jury verdict of patent infringement and plans to enter a permanent injunction against Lonza, Ltd., Nutrinova Inc. and Nutrinova Nutrition Specialties & Food Ingredients GmbH prohibiting the U.S. sale and use of a fatty acid product currently marketed under the brand name Lonza DHA for use in functional foods and dietary supplements.
Thanks for reading. And for the Blog’s regular readers, I will be back to my usual Northern District of Illinois focus tomorrow.
* Second Life is an internet-based virtual world where “residents” interact through avatars. For example, the Seventh Circuit’s Judge Posner appeared in Second Life with an avatar closely resembling him to answer questions from, among others, a DC IP lawyer using an avatar of a humanized raccoon. Check out the New World Notes blog for a transcript and some screenshots.