USPTO refuses Apple’s Trademark Application

The US Patent and Trademark Office refused Apple’s application for trademark “Touch ID”. The USPTO ruled in May, that Apple’s intended trademark could be confused with an earlier Touch ID trademark, assigned to the biometric timekeeping firm, Kronos, first released in 2005. In its rejection letter the USPTO stated that Apple’s intended Trademark was very similar to the term “Kronos Touch ID” (US Registration number 2735480), issued in 2003.

The letter further informed that Apple’s requested trademark “does not create a distinct commercial impression because it contains the same common wording as the registered mark, and there is no other wording to distinguish it from the registered mark. In this case, applicant’s mark merely deletes ‘KRONOS’ from the registered mark.”

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Crossing the Rubicon: A fork in the road – go Right or Left?

Case Analysis of Dr. Aloys Wobben and another vs. Yogesh Mehra and others.


Facts: Dr. Aloys Wobben (Appellant) owns approximately 2,700 patents in more than 60 countries of which 100 patents are in India in the field of wind turbine generators and wind energy converters. Appellant was carrying out the manufacturing process in India through a joint venture partnership with the Yogesh Mehra and Ajay Mehra (Enercon India Limited) (Respondents).

Intellectual Property licence agreements to use the technical know-how of the inventions, was granted to Enercon India Ltd. by the Appellant and further terminated due to the non-fulfillment of the obligations contained in the IP licence agreement. Respondents continued to use the Appellant’s patents without authorization and also filed 19 revocation petitions before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board. Thereafter, the Appellant filed a few infringement suits before the High Court for which the Respondents filed their counter claim. Further, four other revocation petitions were filed by the Respondents before the IPAB. On January 20, 2012, the Delhi High Court held that both counter claim and revocation petition could be explored simultaneously against the same patent.

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Now Apple is being trolled; or is it HTC?

Anything that comes out of Apple gets scrutinized, and even sued, now and again. Let us look at what is “happening” in the Apple scene now.

Who is suing Apple this time?

Cedatech Holdings, a Texas based company, filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple alleging that Apple had violated their rights covered by patent titled “Integration of Audio or Video Program with Application (US 7707591)“, granted in 2010. The lawsuit focuses on Apple’s use of speech recognition software products such as the iPhone and the iPad.

Cedatech Holdings is a patent trolling company that acquires patents from various companies/inventors and use them for the sole purpose of generating revenue through licensing and litigation, a strategy also known as ‘patent assertion’.

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You may need to Calm Down to access your own Mobile Device

Over the past few decades, mobile phones have evolved from being a mere means for communication to a user’s personal friend. In addition to providing the means for calling and messaging, mobile phones serve as trusted companions to users and store data of sensitive nature, in the form of text, image, video and audio files. As a result, for obvious reasons, theft of this device or access by an unauthorized person, may give rise to data security/privacy issues. Adding to this concern, we know that mobile device theft has become quite commonplace.

Most mobile devices offer means for locking the device using different options such as entering secret PINs, biometric authentication options etc. However, with the advancement in technology, cracking a PIN has become quite easy. Although biometric authentication systems are better in terms of security, if a user has forgotten to lock the screen, even biometric systems cannot help prevent unauthorized device/data access.

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Sherlock Holmes’ copyright (mis)adventures land him in the Public Domain

Justice Elena Kagan on Thursday dismissed the Emergency Petition filed by the Conan Doyle Estate Ltd. to block publication of a new collection of stories based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. Doyle’s heirs claim that “Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were not static but dynamic literary characters who changed and developed throughout the Sherlock Holmes canon”. The Doyle heirs have been successfully guarding all literary, merchandising and advertising rights of his works. Anyone wanting to use Sherlock or his friend Dr. Watson had to typically pay the estate a license fee.

But Leslie S. Klinger, a Californian Lawyer and Editor of “The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes,” successfully challenged in the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that Doyle’s characters are in the public domain and therefore, he did not need to get the estate’s permission — or pay a fee — to publish his upcoming collection, “In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon” (Pegasus). Klinger had previously published A Study in Sherlock and paid $5,000 (£2,923) as licensing fee for the rights, by the second time he was asked to pay, he had decided to challenge this practice.

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Role of Third Parties in your Patent Grant Process

The subject of today’s topic would probably leave a patent applicant feeling a bit like the reigns are slipping. A patent is not a piece of cake to acquire. The right owner of the invention be it an inventor or an applicant has to prove themselves beyond any doubt. It is the basic right of every individual to oppose the grant of any patent, in cases where such a grant would seem detrimental to a third party. Hence, it would be a justifiable opportunity for third parties to intervene in the procedure of patent grant.


Under the Indian Patent Law, Opposition can be made twice during the life of a patent application. First is the Pre-grant representation under section 25(1) wherein any person may challenge the application for grant of a patent. Pre-grant opposition acts as a defensive shield to confirm the validity of patent applications before patents are granted. Post grant opposition under section 25(2) may be made only by any person interested at any time after the grant of patent but before the expiry of a period of one year from the date of publication of grant of patent.

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Silly Seating

How would you feel if you had to travel standing on your plane journey? Yes, a plane, not a bus. AirBus seems to be taking its name a tad too literally. At least that’s what their recently filed patent seems to say.

What does this mean?

Airbus filed a patent in December, 2013 for a new airplane seat design that would have travelers resting on bicycle-like seats for short-haul flights.

Why was this even proposed?

One guess would be to reduce costs. Airbus’ retractable bicycle seat design manages to add extra seats by reducing the width of passenger’s seating and leg room, minimizing the bulkiness of current airline seats. The smallest seat width on a short-haul flight is now 41.28 cms, while the smallest seat pitch or the distance from the same point on one seat to another, often referred to as legroom is 68.58 cms, according to Seat Guru.

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Common Reasons for delay in Grant of Patent

A Patent gives its owner a monopolistic right and protection against unauthorized use of anything under its protection. This is the reason that a patent only gets granted once it passes several levels of stringent scrutiny. This phase is called the examination of the patent application. Examination of the application determines whether the patent application is worthy of a patent grant and thus, unless the application fulfills all patentabilty criteria, it does not receive a grant.

For a patent application to be examined, a specific request has to be filed within a stipulated deadline, in accordance with the laws of the country that the application is filed in and the required fee, if any, has to be paid. Time and again we criticize Patent Offices for not promptly processing applications. Patent Offices, are usually overburdened with applications, since anyone can file as many applications as they please at any time. This has taken a toll on the prompt prosecution of an application. What has to be mulled over here is whether the applicants share any responsibility for the delayed prosecution of applications. Ways to minimize delays in examination of application can be:

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A life saving Patent Pool

A fresh breeze of air in the times where the tragedy of the anticommons has become a matter of worry in the health care industry where patents and regulatory exclusivity is coming in the way of access to health seems to be round the corner.

The UN backed Medicines Patent Pool  has announced sub-licensing agreements with seven pharmaceutical companies for the manufacture of two anti-AIDS drugs viz: atazanavir and dolutegravir.

What is interesting about this pool is that both these drugs are off patent and generic. So ideally anyone interested could manufacture and market these drugs without infringing on any exclusive rights. Then why exactly pool the drugs? Well, both these drugs are positioned for HIV AIDS treatment. Given the high burden of the disease throughout the world and the high cost of treatment, there is a need to pursue cost and time effective ways of making the drug. The pool aims at bringing together second generation patents (patents for improved processes, forms etc) which are superior to the generic base patents to ensure that the demand of the market is met for these drugs, which are critical in the HIV treatment regime. The model on which this pool group intends to work is by sub licensing the patents in the pool to local manufacturers who can produce the drug at much lower price.  Indian pharmaceutical companies such as Cipla, Aurobindo Pharma, Micro Labs, Emcure and Mylan have come together to form this pool.

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Patent Invalidation in the US: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

After studying citations from patents that were invalidated by US Judges, researchers from the London School of Economics commented, “Patent invalidation has a significant impact on cumulative innovation in the fields of computers and communications, electronics and medical instruments (including biotechnology). We find no such effect in fields involving drugs, chemicals or mechanical technologies.” Let us now take a look at why this discrepancy exists.

What is patent invalidation?

The Patents Act outlines circumstances under which a granted patent can be revoked on certain grounds.

Who is affected by this and how has this come to be?

Start-ups seem especially vulnerable to bad patent policy because they may not have the legal or the economic negotiating power to deal with big business. The researchers commented that when large patentees are involved, bargaining breakdown occurs and small firms are normally less capable of resolving disputes cooperatively, without resorting to the involvement of courts.

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