Lottery Tickets: It’s On The House?

Property firm Savills recently estimated that the UK housing market is at its weakest point since the global financial crisis of 2007/2008 and it is perhaps unsurprising, therefore, that in recent years sellers have increasingly resorted to listing their property in a lottery or raffle.

However, running a property lottery whilst simultaneously staying compliant with all the relevant rules and regulations is no easy feat. There are many examples in the news of illegal property lotteries that have been abandoned prematurely.  Indeed, the volume of ticket payments processed from illegal property raffles via PayPal has led the company to ban the purchase of tickets for entry to house-prize draws in the UK through its service. As a brief aside, even in successfully organised property lotteries, there are potentially quite significant tax pitfalls to navigate. Accordingly, both homeowners and buyers should seek expert legal advice. Also, there is no guarantee that the lottery will cover the value of the house, as property developers discovered earlier this year.

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How Harmful do Gender Stereotypes Need to be? Ads Banned in UK Following New Rule

As we reported earlier this year, a new rule dealing with the depiction of harmful gender stereotypes, was introduced into the BCAP and CAP Codes as of June 2019.

The first decisions under the new rules have been released and we have seen two separate ads by Volkswagen and Philadelphia banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) under the new rule. Continue Reading

Towards Competition Law Based Regulation and Policy for the EU Digital Economy?

When Ursula von der Leyen announced the composition of her proposed European Commission, the announcement contained an interesting innovation.  For several decades, the Competition Commissioner has had a slightly distinct position from the other members of the College.  The Competition Commissioner has been responsible both for the policy framework governing competition, and for approvals of M&A and anti-trust enforcement, at European level.  Continue Reading

Fluid Trademarks: Will Companies Go With the Flow?

Consistency and repetition are important in building a brand.  Or are they?  The digital economy is evolving so quickly that it has pushed brand owners to challenge trademark fundamentals by adopting trademarks that evolve as well.  Proponents of such shifting trademarks, called “fluid” marks, believe that they attract the attention of potential consumers, increase brand awareness and maintain the interest of existing consumers in an accelerated marketplace.  Beyond the occasional update that a brand owner might traditionally make, say, every decade, a fluid mark changes regularly, even every day.  But fluid trademarks, although becoming more prevalent, create particular risks for the brand owner. Continue Reading

PTAB Trial Practice Guide Update Codifies Recent PTAB Decisions and Procedure (Third and Last of a Series)

Introduction

In two recent articles (see parts one and two of series), we discussed several aspects of a July 2019 Update that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued to the PTAB Trial Practice Guide.[i]  This article completes that discussion, addressing motions for joinder, and procedures regarding remands and the PTAB’s default protective order.

1. Motions for joinder

A party may seek to join a proceeding by filing a motion within one month of the date of institution of the proceeding.  The July 2019 Update lists identifies the following factors that the Board may consider in deciding a motion for joinder: Continue Reading

PTAB Trial Practice Guide Update Codifies Recent PTAB Decisions and Procedure (Second of a Series)

Introduction

In a recent article, we discussed several aspects of a July 2019 Update that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued to the PTAB Trial Practice Guide.[1]  This article continues that discussion, addressing institution decisions on multiple petitions, and motions to amend.

1. Multiple petitions challenging the same patent

The July 2019 Update discusses the preferred practice based on the PTAB’s experience when there are multiple petitions filed at or about the same time, challenging the same patent.  While recognizing that there are circumstances warranting more than one petition challenging patent claims, the Update states: Continue Reading

PTAB Trial Practice Guide Update Codifies Recent PTAB Decisions and Procedure (First of a Series)

Introduction

In July 2019, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued an Update to the PTAB Trial Practice Guide.[i]  The July 2019 Update documents practices and procedures that the PTAB has found useful, and in some instances, summarizes or repeats practices and procedures from precedential PTAB opinions.

The US Patent and Trademark Office’s announcement of the Update identifies eight areas of additional guidance.[ii]  This post discusses the first three areas, relating to additional discovery and oral testimony; the revised claim construction standard; and submission of testimonial evidence with a patent owner preliminary response.  Later posts will discuss the remaining areas, relating to institution decisions on multiple petitions; motions to amend; motions for joinder; procedures on remand; and procedures regarding the PTAB’s default protective order. Continue Reading

Artificial Intelligence Inventor Asks If ‘WHO’ Can Be an Inventor Is the Wrong Question?

Recently a group out of the University of Surrey provided a new challenge to the definition of inventor, asking “who what may be an inventor on a patent?” The group has created an artificial intelligence (AI) named DABUS. Using a first system of networks to generate new ideas, and second system of networks to determine consequences, DABUS invented a beverage container and a flashing device used for search and rescue that are the subjects of patent applications filed in the United States and Europe (which have not yet been published).

Regarding who can be an inventor, the America Invents Act (AIA), 35 U.S.C. § 100(f) defines the term inventor is as: “the individual or, if a joint invention, the individuals collectively who invented or discovered the subject matter of the invention.” Ryan Abbott, the leader of the University of Surrey group, hoping for an Air Bud  scenario (a Disney movie about a golden retriever who is able to join a basketball team when it is discovered there is no rule expressly prohibiting dogs from playing in the league) said “In these applications, the AI has functionally fulfilled the conceptual act that forms the basis for inventorship.” The term “individual” allows for a broad interpretation that does not necessarily exclude AI from being credited as an inventor. If an AI can perform the functions required to be an inventor and is not expressly excluded by the definitions in the statutes, why couldn’t an AI be credited as an inventor?

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Ford Scores Win at the Federal Circuit in Design Patent Case

In its recently issued opinion in Automotive Body Parts Association v. Ford Global Technologies, LLC, the Federal Circuit reaffirms the importance of design patents and their value in an overall patent portfolio strategy for automotive manufacturers and others who may be threatened by aftermarket sales of replacement parts.  It also provides guidance on the arguments that can and cannot be used to invalidate a design patent based on functionality of the design and whether, and to what extent, the concepts of patent exhaustion and repair rights can be used to protect potential infringers.

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