Starting Small In 2020

By Sarah Nagae

Happy 2020! Did you set any New Year’s resolutions? I’m a self-described gym rat and the number of people I see working out invariably spikes this time of year. That is, the treadmills are suddenly completely full, stay that way for a week or two, but then are back to normal just as quickly. Why, by mid-January, do so many of us feel like we’ve already failed to carry out the goals we made just a few short weeks ago? A big reason is because we set our goals way too high – they are unrealistic, and therefore unattainable, from the get-go.

What if, in 2020, we choose instead to start small? I’ve been thinking about this approach after hearing the personal finance guru Dave Ramsey’s advice for getting out of debt, what he calls the “Debt Snowball Method.” He tells people who have multiple debts to tackle the smallest one first, then the next smallest and so forth until they have paid them all off, the largest one last. By getting rid of the smaller ones first you build up momentum, which then motivates you to continue to keep going to the larger ones. The snowball effect is a general principle which applies outside of personal finance as well.

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Decade of Distinctiveness

By Ed Timberlake

From the way they are typically discussed in news stories, a casual observer could perhaps be forgiven for concluding that trademarks are primarily about confusion. In North Carolina – the only state that recognizes Trademark Law as a separate, board-certified specialty – we are not casual observers.As a result, we recognize that trademarks (and federal trademark registrations) might more properly be characterized by distinctiveness, by the ability to set one’s goods and services apart from others’. In an effort to accentuate this positive aspect of Trademark Law, here’s a look back at ten years of memorable trademarks registered at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

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MacCord’s List: IP News & Notices From Art MacCord

Art MacCord is a patent attorney with 40 years of experience. He keeps an eye on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office for new rules and practice tips of interest to intellectual property attorneys. Find his latest updates here:

NCBA IPL Section Blog News Blasts for December 31, 2019

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office releases policy statement on standards-essential patents subject to voluntary F/RAND commitments
https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/news-updates/us-patent-and-trademark-office-releases-policy-statement-standards-essential

National Patent Application Drafting Competition sign-up extended to Jan. 14
https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/news-updates/national-patent-application-drafting-competition-sign-closing-dec-15

MacCord’s List: IP News & Notices From Art MacCord

Art MacCord is a patent attorney with 40 years of experience. He keeps an eye on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office for new rules and practice tips of interest to intellectual property attorneys. Find his latest updates here:

NCBA IPL Section Blog News Blasts for December 3, 2019

Updated Legal Framework for Patent Electronic System
https://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/sol/og/2019/week47/TOC.htm#ref9

Changes to Requirements for Orthodox Crop Seed Deposits at the Provasoli-Guillard National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota (NCMA) at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
https://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/sol/og/2019/week47/TOC.htm#ref10

Patent Public Advisory Committee Annual Report 2019
https://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/sol/og/2019/week48/2019PPACAnnualReport.pdf

Trademark Public Advisory Committee Annual Report 2019
https://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/sol/og/2019/week48/2019TPACAnnualReport.pdf

America Invents Act (AIA) Trial Practice Guide (second edition)
https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/news-updates/consolidated-trial-practice-guide-november-2019

MacCord’s List: IP News & Notices From Art MacCord

Art MacCord is a patent attorney with 40 years of experience. He keeps an eye on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office for new rules and practice tips of interest to intellectual property attorneys. Find his latest updates here.

Update on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility
https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/news-updates/update-patent-subject-matter-eligibility

Participate in the Patent Center 2019 Beta release
https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/news-updates/participate-patent-center-2019-beta-release

Copyright Office Submits Proposed Fee Schedule and Analysis to Congress
https://www.copyright.gov/rulemaking/feestudy2018/

Changes to the Trademark Rules of Practice To Mandate Electronic Filing (delay in effective date)
https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-10-02/pdf/2019-21178.pdf

New TEAS login requirement
https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/news-updates/teas-login-requirement

https://www.uspto.gov/trademark/login?utm_campaign=subscriptioncenter&utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

Updated Oct. 29, 2019

Welcome to the 2019-2020 IP Law Section!

By Sarah Nagae

I am excited to start my role as Chair and to be working with a great group of attorneys on the Board, Council, and those serving as Committee Chairs (list here).

Three important notes:

  • Our Annual Meeting will be held on Friday, April 3, 2020 in Wrightsville Beach. Please mark your calendar now and let us know if you have an idea for a topic, would like to be a speaker, or have a speaker recommendation. Our CLE committee co-chairs are Dan Becker (danbeckr@gmail.com), Erica Rogers (ebrogers@wardandsmith.com) and Andy Prokepetz (aprokopetz@cottoninc.com).
  • If you are interested in joining a committee, we would love to have you. View our list of committees and sign up here.
  • You will soon receive a short survey about the types of programming you would like to see this year. Everyone who responds will be entered into a drawing to win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards. We hope that this survey will enable us to understand your interests and preferences so we can plan our programs accordingly.

If you have any questions about the Section or would like to get involved but are not sure where to start, please contact me at sarah.at.ncba@gmail.com or (919) 360-1210.

First Amendment Is a Friend U Can Trust to Register Offensive Trademarks

By Amy Pruett and Jackie Knapp

At the end of June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law that allows the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) to reject words and symbols that are considered immoral or scandalous, on grounds that it violates the First Amendment. This is another chapter in a battle against the second part of the same provision that prevents registration of allegedly racist or disparaging terms, like (the band) “Slants” and (the football team) “Redskins.”

In 2011, the PTO denied Erik Brunetti’s attempts to register the mark “FUCT” for his streetwear clothing line, claiming it was a profane and “scandalous” term. According to Brunetti, in addition to a clever play on a vulgar word, FUCT is actually an acronym for Friends U Can’t Trust.

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Mixtape Magic

By Angela Doughty

I would like to think my time as IPL Chair could be described as a compilation of assorted melodies creating the perfect intellectual property mixtape. As we look back, let’s lend an “ear” to the top tracks from the past year.

Track 1:  Is My Subject Matter Eligible?

Our Patent Committee hosted a Lunch & Learn with Carolyn Kosowski of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office covering practical guidance on the USPTO’s examination procedure for subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

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Pro Bono Outstanding Achievement Award

https://www.coatsandbennett.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/152/2019/03/will-pagan.jpgCongratulations to William G. Pagán of Coats & Bennett PLLC, the recipient of the 2018 Pro Bono Outstanding Achievement Award, which was announced at last week’s NCBA IP Law Section’s Annual Meeting held in Charlotte.

Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay.  Pursuant to Rule 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, a lawyer should aspire to render at least 50 hours of pro bono publico legal services per year.  In fulfilling this professional responsibility, Pagán serves as a pro bono Legal Officer for the NC Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), United States Air Force Auxiliary.  CAP is a volunteer force that is the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force.  As an NC Wing Legal Officer, Pagán serves as a member of the NC Wing Commander’s staff and supervises a team of Assistant Legal Officers in handling the legal affairs of approximately 30 local squadrons statewide for approximately 2,000 members.

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USPTO China Road Show Coming To Durham

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s China Intellectual Property (IP) Road Show
Find details and a registration link here.
9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Thursday, April 25
Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s China Intellectual Property (IP) Road Show is a free, one-day program that brings together experts from the U.S. government, academics, IP attorneys, and local business people to share their insights on China and IP issues that will benefit U.S. IP rights holders.  The next China IP Road Show will be held at the Duke University Sanford School for Public Policy in Durham, North Carolina, on Thursday, April 25, 2019.  Registration is now open here.

The Road Show includes key participation from the USPTO’s China Team, a group of China IP experts who work nationwide to help U.S. businesses and inventors understand how to obtain and enforce IP rights in China.  Speakers at the road shows also include IP attorneys with decades experience in helping US companies protect and enforce their IP rights in China. This road show is one of a series that the USPTO is conducting across the country.  Join us to hear from experts about protecting and enforcing IP rights in China and the United States.