Category Archives: IP Litigation

Power to the Patent Office! No Judicial Review of IPR Time Bars

Patent applications are routinely a back and forth process between the patent applicant and the Patent Office. In some rare situations, a third party can submit evidence of prior use to the USPTO during the application process. However, the third party cannot actively participate in the application process.

After a patent is granted, third parties are increasingly using inter parties reviews (IPR) to challenge claims to an issued patent. An IPR is conducted at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) where it will review the patentability of one or more claims based on Section 102 (anticipation) or Section 103 (obviousness).

In a recent decision by The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in Thryv v. Click-to-Call, the Court was tasked with deciding whether 35 U.S.C. 314(d) permits judicial review of the PTAB’s decision to institute an IPR upon finding that Section 315(b)’s time bar did not apply. Section 314(d) states that “[t]he determination by the Director [of the Patent Office] whether to institute an inter parties review under this section shall be final and nonappealable”. Section 215(b), the time bar, states that “[a]n inter parties review may not be instituted if the petition requesting the proceedings us filed more than one year after that date on which the petitioner … is served with a complaint alleging infringement of the patent”.

Despite the long procedural history, the case boils down to whether there should be judicial review of the PTAB’s decision or is the action is limited to the Director of the Patent Office. In a 7-2 majority opinion written by Justice Ginsburg, the Court held that there is no judicial review of the USPTO’s authority to decide whether a party properly petitioned under the AIA within a year of being sued for patent infringement, or was in privity with a supplier, business partner or other party who had been sued.

The unsettling part of this opinion is that the USPTO admitted that the IPR proceeding should not have been instituted due to the privity of the underlying parties and resulting time bar. However, SCOTUS’ decision says a time bar decision is not judicially reviewable under Sections 314(b) and 315(d). Justice Giunburg stated that the language supports the Patent Office’s goal of removing bad patents.

The result will cede more power to the Patent Office’s Precedential Opinion Panel (POP), where PTO management, including Director Andrei Iancu, exercises discretionary review over panel decisions.

The Intellectual Property team at Assouline and Berlowe includes two Registered Patent Attorneys, Peter Koziol and Greg Popowitz. For any questions about the case or how to handle your patent strategy, please contact our office below.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

213 East Sheridan Street, Suite 3

Dania Beach, Florida  33004

Main: 954.929.1899

Fax: 954.922.6662

Email: GMP@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

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Mobile/Gaming Patent Presentation by Peter Koziol (3/3/2020)

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Registered Patent Attorney and Partner Peter Koziol will be presenting an audio webcast on March 3, 2020 (at noon) on the subject of Mobile Applications, Gaming and Entertainment Patent Law.  To sign up to attend the presentation, click here.  Presented by  the Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law (EASL) section of the Florida Bar, the one hour CLE will provide Technology Credit, which is a relatively new requirement for Florida attorneys.

Peter is a seasoned Intellectual Property attorney that handles the prosecution and litigation surrounding patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.  Peter has developed a unique skill set regarding application/software related patents given his background in software engineering and his litigation surrounding software patents.

For any questions about the presentation and Intellectual Property, contact Peter Koziol and the Intellectual Property team at Assouline & Berlowe.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

2300 Glades Road

East Tower #135

Boca Raton, Florida 33431

Main: 561.361.6566

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

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BANKRUPTCY LAW – Small Business Reorganization Act, New Interim Rules Released

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The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida, through its Chief Judge, Laurel M. Isicoff, issued several updates tonight regarding the new Small Business Reorganization Act (SBRA), which goes into effect TOMORROW!

As stated by the Chief Judge: “The SBRA creates a new subchapter V of chapter 11 for the reorganization of small business debtors.  It does not repeal existing chapter 11 provisions regarding small business debtors, but instead creates an alternative procedure that small business debtors may elect to use.”

The Court further stated that: The Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States has promulgated Interim Rules and Form Amendments to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure as a result of the passage of the Small Business Reorganization Act.

Among the numerous orders, is Administrative Order 2020-02 In re: Adoption of Interim SBRA Bankruptcy Rules.  This is an important set of rules that bankruptcy practitioners in the Southern District of Florida must follow.

Amended Official Forms 101, 201, 309E (renumbered 309E1), 309F (renumbered as 309F1), 314 (use Local Form LF-33), 315, and 425A, and new Official Forms 309E2, and 309F2 become effective February 19, 2020. For changes in the Bankruptcy Forms please visit: https://www.uscourts.gov/rules-policies/pending-rules-and-forms-amendments/pending-changes-bankruptcy-forms.

Additional SBRA Resource:

A Guide to the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019” by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Paul W. Bonapfel Northern District of Georgia.

Eric N. Assouline, Esq.

 

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“Brand” New Trademark Rules Starting 2/15/2020

TMThe United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will not issue a federal trademark registration without the applicant first proving the mark (brand) being protected is actually being used in commerce.  Whether the proof is submitted with the initial application (for actual use applications) or later in the application process (for intent to use applications), the applicant will need to submit specimen of use for the  brand.  The types of evidence varies depending on the type of class associated with the brand.  For products, the specimen must be on the product itself, the packaging, or manuals.  While service based classes can use marketing materials, such a flyers, websites, and signage.

On February 15, 2020, the USPTO is updating the rules of specimen that are submitted to prove use in commerce.  The rules are becoming stricter.  For goods, the goods themselves must be included with the packaging, labels, or displays.  For apparel, hang tags or labels must actually be connected to the apparel, not merely next to the products.

Screen shots of websites showing the mark and detailing the services provided have been relatively standard as specimen over the years.  Under the new rules, any such screenshots will now require the URL and a date of the screen print.

The purpose behind the new rules is to prevent the submission of fraudulent specimen for marks that actually are not in use.  This is why digital images and mock ups of marketing materials are often rejected by the USPTO.

While the purpose of the rules is to help thwart fraud, one of the rule updates requires the inclusion of an applicant’s email address, not only the attorney’s email address.  This was optional in the past.  There is a known issue with companies mining the USPTO public records for applicant physical addresses and mailing official looking invoices that mislead applicants to pay fees that provide little to no value.

While the intent of the USPTO to require applicant email addresses is to help communication channels between the USPTO and applicants, the result will be greater access to applicants to those companies that mine USPTO databases trying to mislead applicants directly.  As a result of significant push back from practitioners and the public at large, the USPTO is presently looking at ways to “mask” the applicant’s email addresses from public viewing.

For any questions about the new trademark rules or to look into protecting your brands, contact Greg Popowitz.

Greg M. Popowitz, Esq.

Registered Patent Attorney / Partner

Intellectual Property Litigation

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

213 East Sheridan Street, Suite 3

Dania Beach, Florida  33004

Main: 954.929.1899

Fax: 954.922.6662

Email: GMP@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

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HAPPY 17th ANNIVERSARY to ASSOULINE & BERLOWE!

MIAMI – Assouline & Berlowe, P.A., The Business Law Firm, is pleased to announce that today it is celebrating its 17th Anniversary.

Started on February 10, 2003, through humble beginnings, in a small subleased space in Coral Gables, Assouline & Berlowe has weathered the many business climate changes and challenges of the past two decades.

Assouline & Berlowe is proud of its contributions to its communities in the tri-county area, as part of its presence with offices in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale/Dania Beach, and Boca Raton.  Assouline & Berlowe regularly supports both its legal community and numerous charitable organizations alike.

Assouline & Berlowe is strategically positioned to continue its expansion as a strong player in South Florida’s international business environment.

To all those that we have worked with in the past and to those we hope to work with in the future, we say thank you.

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You Thought All Settlement Offers Were Confidential?

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Photo by Alexander Mils on Pexels.com

That is not the case if the settlement offers show the case was litigated in an unreasonable manner. Federal Rule of Evidence 408 protects settlement communications.  The purpose being to encourage litigants to communicate and work on resolving the claims of the case.  Like most rules, there are exceptions.

Enter Blackbird Tech LLC v. Health in Motion LLC, 2018-2393 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 16, 2019).  Blackbird sued Health in Motion (“HIM”) and Leisure Fitness Equipment LLC (“Leisure”) for patent infringement regarding exercise equipment.  After 19 months of litigation, Blackbird voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit, with prejudice, and executed a covenant not to sue.  Shortly thereafter, the Defendants moved for attorneys’ fees under 35 U.S.C. 285, which allows an award of attorneys’ fees in patent cases to the prevailing party in “exceptional cases”.  The District Court granted attorneys’ fees and expenses in the amount of $363,243.80, which Blackbird appealed.

The Federal Circuit, which streamlines patent decisions of the district courts, affirmed the decision, holding the District Court did not abuse its discretion due to the way Blackbird litigated the case.  During the course of the litigation, Blackbird had a peculiar settlement strategy of decreasing offers that stood out.  The first offer was $80,000, then $50,000, then $15,000, and finally a walk-away offer of zero.  Defendants rejected all the offers.  The Federal Circuit analyzed the settlement offers and the nature of the decreasing offers, each of which were “significantly less than the cost of litigation.”  The Federal Circuit viewed the offers with suspicion.

The District Court also found that Blackbird unreasonably “delayed in producing documents, withheld many documents until after [Appellees] took [Blackbird’s] deposition[,] and completely failed to produce other responsive documents.”  Lastly, Blackbird unreasonably “filed a notice of dismissal, covenant not to sue, and motion to dismiss without first notifying [Appellees’] counsel, on the same day pretrial submissions were due and shortly before [Appellees’] motion for summary judgment was to be decided.”

While all of the issues led to the exceptional fee award due to Blackbird’s abusive litigation, the unique aspect was the court’s ability to open the window into settlement offers to demonstrate the abusive litigation tactics.  Blackbird’s settlement demands were far less that the anticipated cost of defense, which Blackbird admitted, and equated to mere “nuisance value settlement offers.”  While most settlement offers and negotiations are closed from public view, the court may open that door to assess whether attorneys fees can be awarded in exceptional cases.

For any questions about trademarks, patents, or copyrights, contact Greg Popowitz.

Greg M. Popowitz, Esq.

Registered Patent Attorney / Partner

Intellectual Property Litigation

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

213 East Sheridan Street, Suite 3

Dania Beach, Florida  33004

Main: 954.929.1899

Fax: 954.922.6662

Email: GMP@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

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INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION / BANKRUPTCY PANEL DISCUSSION – October 23, 2019 at the University of Miami

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ONLY 7 DAYS LEFT.

The International Arbitration Society at the University of Miami School of Law is presenting a panel discussion on the conflict between International Arbitration and Domestic Insolvency.

Date : October 23, 2019

Time: 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

The discussion will be followed by a networking social.

Students, professionals and practitioners are invited to attend and participate.

Please RSVP here: https://lnkd.in/eAT24JM

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Want to Learn More About Intellectual Property? Check out the new CLE by Greg Popowitz.

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Assouline and Berlowe Registered Patent Attorney Greg Popowitz recently recorded a lecture for the National Academy of Continuing Legal Education (NACLE), focusing on a general Intellectual Property Overview and 2019 IP case law update.

Mr. Popowitz detailed the fundamental differences of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets and the nuances of each area of Intellectual Property.  He also discussed some recent key court decisions, including Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) holding the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act unconstitutional under the First Amendment and paving the way for the mark F.U.C.T.  In addition, Mr. Popowitz discussed SCOTOS’ resolution of a circuit split, holding that a party must have completed the registration process before filing suit in federal court, as opposed to simply applying for protection.

To view the NACLE CLE, please click here.  The link is also provided below:

https://www.nacle.com/CLE/Courses/Intellectual-Property-Case-Law-Update-and-General-IP-Overview-1353

For any questions about trademarks, patents, or copyrights, contact Greg Popowitz.

Greg M. Popowitz, Esq.

Registered Patent Attorney

AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell

Intellectual Property Litigation

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

213 East Sheridan Street, Suite 3

Dania Beach, Florida  33004

Main: 954.929.1899

Fax: 954.922.6662

Email: GMP@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

LinkedIn  ||  Twitter

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PARALEGAL SEMINAR – OCT. 19, 2019 – South Florida Paralegal Association

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Assouline & Berlowe Litigation Partner Peter E. Berlowe is one of the guest speakers at this year’s Annual Fall Seminar for the the South Florida Paralegal Association. 

On October 19, 2019 at the Florida International University – College of Law

Located at Rafael Diaz Balart Hall (RDB) Room 2008, 11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33199

Offering 6.5 Credits

Including 1  Ethics Credit and 0.5 Technology Credit

With Keynote Speaker

Mercedes M. Prieto, Esq., Clerk of the Third District Court of Appeal on Introduction to Legal Research and Legal Memoranda Writing

and guest speakers


 Peter E. Berlowe, Esq. of Assouline & Berlowe, P.A. on Analysis of an Injurious Falsehood Case and the Paralegal’s Role

 Marc Hurwitz of Crossroads Investigations on A Former CIA Officer’s Guide to Investigations for the Divorce Process

Bianca Moreiras of Bianca Moreiras & Associates on Time Management, Goal Setting and Taking Action

 Felice Solomon of Solomon Search Group on How Paralegals Can Deal With Seven Personality Types in the Workplace

and

 Valencia N. Poitier, Esq. of American Integrity Insurance of Florida, Inc. on HIPPA: Accountability, Ethics and Evidence – Avoiding the Pitfalls of Suppression and Lack of Foundation

The cost to attend the event is:

Students: $25 

Member & Affiliate Members: $55

Non-Members: $65

Continental breakfast & hot lunch will be provided Your Savory Fare

For more information regarding the event, please contact SFPA Vice-President Summer Marshall by email at smarshallfrp@gmail.com


For more information on how to sponsor this event, please contact

Sadena Blatt Miropol by email at sb0929@gmail.com

This seminar meets the requirements of the NALA Certifying Board for Paralegals for continuing legal education credit required to maintain the CP (Certified Paralegal) credential.

To recap:

The South Florida Paralegal Association is proud to present its 2019 Annual Fall Seminar on October 19, 2019 at the Florida International University – College of Law, located at Rafael Diaz Balart Hall (RDB), RDB 2008, 11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33199

Celebrating 40 Years of Commitment to the Legal Community

Offering 6.5 Credits (including .5 Ethics Credit and 1 Technology Credit)

With keynote speaker:
Mercedes M. Prieto, Esq., Clerk of the Third District Court of Appeal

And guest speakers:
Peter E. Berlowe, Esq. of Assouline & Berlowe, P.A.,
Marc Hurwitz of Crossroads Investigations,
Felice Solomon of Solomon Search Group,
Valencia N Poitier, Esq. of American Integrity Insurance of Florida, Inc., and
Bianca Moreiras of Bianca Moreiras & Associates

The cost to attend the event is:
Students: $25
Member & Affiliate Members: $55
Non-Members: $65

Continental breakfast & hot lunch will be provided Your Savory Fare

For more information regarding the event, please contact SFPA Vice-President Summer Marshall by email at smarshallfrp@gmail.com

For more information on how to sponsor this event, please contact Sadena Blatt Miropol by email at sb0929@gmail.com

This seminar meets the requirements of the NALA Certifying Board for Paralegals for continuing legal education credit required to maintain the CP (Certified Paralegal) credential.

All content © SFPA 2019.

South Florida Paralegal Association, Inc. is a non-profit organization. 123 S.E. 3rd Avenue, #367, Miami, Florida 33131.

http://sfpa.info/event-3565682

 

 

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LABOR LAW UPDATE – Exempt Employee Thresholds

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It is Finally Here!

Over the years, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has attempted to change certain rules applicable to implementation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and increase the salary threshold for exempt employees from $455 per week (the level it has been at since 2004).

Many may recall that a rule to increase the salary thresholds for exemptions was first enjoined and subsequently invalidated by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in 2016.   A year later, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has held the appeal in abeyance pending further DOL rulemaking regarding a revised salary threshold.  In other words, the DOL has consistently enforced the 2004 salary level for the last 15 years.

However, the DOL has now finally announced a final rule which is expected to make 1.3 million American workers eligible for overtime pay under the FLSA.  In a nutshell, this rule, which will go into effect on January 1, 2020, accomplishes three primary objectives:

First, the rule updates the earnings thresholds – from $455 to $684 per week – necessary to exempt certain white collar positions, i.e., executive, administrative and professional employees, from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime pay requirements.

Second, the new rule will allow employers to meet up to 10% of the new salary level from nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions).

Third, the rule will increase the salary requirements for the “highly compensated employees (HCE)” exemption from $100,000 to $107,432 per year.

Again, please note that the final rule will be effective on January 1, 2020.

Additional information about the final rule is available at www.dol.gov/whd/overtime2019.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Ellen M. Leibovitch, Head of Labor & Employment Practice – Boca Raton Office and can be reached by email at eml@assoulineberlowe.com or by Telephone: 561-361-6566.

 

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