On May 30, 2018, the USPTO proposed rules to mandate e-filing of trademark applications based on Section 1 and Section 44 of the Lanham Act, and to require the designation of an e-mail address for receiving USPTO correspondence. The proposed rule also requires e-filing of all submissions including responses to Office Actions, maintenance declarations, renewal applications, international applications, subsequent designations, and direct filings with the USPTO relating to extensions of protection through the international registration system. More details are available here.
On May 24, 2018, a California jury awarded Apple $533M in damages for design patent infringement by Samsung. Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elec. Co., No. 11-cv-01846 (N.D. Cal.). Apple asserted three design patents and a number of utility patents relating to iPhones and iPads against Samsung. The design patents cover ornamental features of smart phone devices including their shape and graphical user interface. After jury trials in 2012 and 2014, Apple was awarded $399M in damages for design patents infringement. The Federal Circuit upheld the damages in 2015 and the U.S. Supreme Court reversed it in 2016. In reversing and remanding the case, the Supreme Court held that in a multicomponent product, the relevant "article of manufacture" for arriving at a Section 289 damages need not be the end product sold to the consumer but may be only a component of that product.
A new trial on damages was held on May 14-18, 2018. The district court adopted a test formulated by the U.S. Solicitor General during the Supreme Court proceedings. The district court instructed the jury to consider the following four factors: (1) the scope of the claimed design in the patent including the drawings and written description; (2) the relative prominence of the design within the infringing product as a whole; (3) whether the design is conceptually distinct from the product as a whole; and (4) the physical relationship between the patented design and the rest of the product, including whether the design pertains to a physically separable, separately sold, or separately manufactured component. The jury then awarded $533M to Apple in design patent damages. The jury verdict form breaks down the damages among 16 Samsung smartphones without any details on the article of manufacture. Apple sought $1B in total lost profits while Samsung urged the jury to limit damages to $28M based on the infringing components.
On May 8, 2018, the USPTO announced its proposed rulemaking for claim construction standard in PTAB proceedings. The PTO proposed to amend the rules to require the PTAB to interpret the claims in IPR/PGR/CBM proceedings using the same standard as applied in federal district courts and the USITC, and to consider any prior claim construction determination concerning a term of involved claim in a civil action or ITC proceeding that is timely made in the PTAB proceeding. The proposed changes would replace the BRI standard with the claim construction standard used in federal district courts and would be consistent with the PTO's current approach for interpreting claims in an expired patent. Full text of the notice is available here.
Disclaimer: The content in this blog is solely for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice.