Thursday, January 17, 2013

East Texas is a hotbed for patent plaintiff "forum shopping"


Joe Mullin has an interesting article in Ars Technica about forum shopping for patent litigation.

Companies like to file patent lawsuits in East Texas courts because they get heard more quickly and because judges there are much more likely to let them be heard by (local) juries rather than dismiss them.  This increases defense costs, particularly for out-of-state or foreign companies and maybe individuals. 

Delaware is also a popular location for patent suits.

The link for the article is here

I lived in Dallas from 1979-1988 and am familiar with the generally flat area of pine-tree country.  It's "The South".  

Friday, January 04, 2013

What's happening with "Lost Dog"?

I had an "ad hoc" breakfast conversation this morning (in Arlington) with someone about the trademark controversy over the "Lost Dog cafe" (and related "Stray Cat"), first reported here July 28, 2012).

The party said that the Arlington restaurant does not object to other businesses in other states using similar names as long as they don't try to franchise the names themselves or sell other merchandise under it.

But, selling other merchandise could make a business have a different "type" under USPTO and able to use the same wordmark, under USPTO practices.

Also, up to a point, wordmarks do go national in the restaurant business.  You probably can't open an independent restaurant business called "McDonalds" or "Friday's".   In the bar business, it's pretty common for independent businesses to have the same name.  In the midwest, "The Saloon" is a common name for unconnected bars -- some of them gay, some of them not.

Restaurants and bars often fight vigorously when neighboring businesses try to get liquor licenses -- a libertarian argument against regulating these licenses, which can become a corrupted political issue, which they tend to be in the DC area.  

Thursday, January 03, 2013

EFF site tracks abusive patent applications


Visitors ought to look at Electronic Frontier Foundation’s “patent-busting project” website, where EFF explains its successes in opposing or narrowing various “frivolous” or abusive patents, with link here. EFF calls these “crimes against the public domain”. 

A few of these attracted my attention. One was for “test.com”, and Internet test giving method that school systems could use, maybe even for the SOL’s in Virginia. 

Another would be Seer Systems, which is a system for assembling and distributing music work files, which composers would use.   Any system that could affect playback (or conversion to sheet music like in PDF files) of a midi file could be affected.  I encounter this process when I use Sibelius.