Mike Atkins at the Seattle Trademark Lawyer has an interesting post — click here for the post — about a pending Chinese trademark infringement suit, in which plaintiff seeks monetary damages and a public apology to be published in newspapers. IP Dragon follows up Atkins’s post, explaining that an apology is a Chinese trademark remedy and that an apology is a punishment in a “face saving culture,” as IP Dragon describes China and Japan, the nationalities of the two entities involved in the suit. Click here for IP Dragon’s post.
But punishment or not, this raises an interesting question for US trademark law. It seems to me that a public apology (or acknowledgement of the infringement) would be a more powerful tool for the consumers that trademark law intends to protect than just monetary damages and an injunction. An acknowledgement of the infringement would warn consumers who might still unwittingly purchase items based upon the infringing marks after the injunction is in place. Maybe it is time to amend the Lanham Act.

Continue Reading Should Apologies be Added to Trademark Damages?

Since my last post listing the Blog’s “cousin” blogs — regional IP blogs – another has joined the family. The Los Angeles Intellectual Property Trademark Attorney Blog, published by Milord & Associates. Welcome to the family. Here is the revised list:
Australian Trademarks Law Blog*
Canadian Trademark Blog
Delaware IP Law Blog
E. D. Texas Blog
Florida IP Blog*
Illinois Trial Pratice Weblog (okay, it is not IP specific, but it is regional and provides excellent content)
IP Dragon(China)
IP Legal Lounge
Las Vegas Trademark Attorney
Los Angeles Intellectual Property Trademark Attorney Blog
Maryland Intellectual Property Law Blog*
Patent Trademark Blog(some Orange County focus)
Seattle Trademark Lawyer Blog
Tech Law Forum Blog (N.D. Cal.)
If you know of other regional IP blogs, post a comment or send me an email and I will add them to the list. A hat tip to Mike Atkins for pointing out the new blog at his Seattle Trademark Lawyer blog.
*These are blogs developed and hosted by LexBlog just like this Blog.

Continue Reading New Regional IP Blogs

In yesterday’s edition, the Chicago Tribune published a commentary on the Patent Reform Act of 2007 by Cummins-Allison Corp.’s Chairman William J. Jones — Cummins-Allison is based in Mt. Prospect, Illinois and develops and distributes coin and currency handling/counting machines. Jones has strong feelings about the Act and offers some unique opinions. First, he is against “harmonizing” US law with international patent laws, arguing that the European and Japanese systems are “parochial.” He also makes the, in my experience unfair although widely held, argument that the Chinese system “specializes in intellectual property theft.” I believe if you look at recent Chinese cases or the experts on Chinese IP law — like the excellent IP Dragon — you will see that China has become increasingly willing to protect the intellectual property of foreign entities, as long as the entities have invested in the necessary Chinese patents, trademarks, etc.
Jones notes that at the recent Congressional hearings, no manufacturing firms testified, despite some interesting statistics:
U.S. manufacturers undertake 60 to 70 percent of the nation’s research and development and hold 60 percent of its patents.
* * *
. . . . Roughly one-third of all patent applications are made by independent inventors, small manufacturers, universities and non-profit research groups. Their efforts are crucial for leading-edge scientific advances, and their views should be heard.
Jones is against the proposed post-grant review process because he believes it will diminish the value of patents by making their strength very uncertain. He also suggests that instead of giving an “overburdened” PTO broad, new rule-making powers, Congress should fully fund the PTO so that it can hire and retain a high quality staff of sufficient size to expedite the prosecution of patent applications. Finally, Jones points to what he believes is the diverse opposition to the Act, which he argues warrants taking the time for additional, robust debate.
Jones has some very strong views, not all of which I agree with. But I do not see how additional debate and discussion could harm the Act at this point. There are some strong dissenting voices, the Federal Circuit’s Judge Michel for example.

Continue Reading A Dissenting Voice on Patent Reform