Osha Liang Obtains $28.8 Million Architectural Copyright Judgment

Osha Liang and co-counsel Pat Zummo, acting on behalf of client Preston Wood & Associates, won a judgment of nearly $29 million against Houston real estate promoter Urban Living for copyright infringement and violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  

18 Months Gone: TC Heartland's Evolving Impact on Patent Litigation in the Eastern District of Texas

The United States Supreme Court decision in TC Heartland, LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands, LLC, 137 S. Ct. 1514 (2017) (8-0 decision) (hereinafter "TC Heartland") upended 30 years of patent venue law. Specifically, Justice Thomas authored the opinion finding that "a domestic corporation 'resides' only in its State of incorporation for purposes of the patent venue statute."At the time of the TC Heartland decision, it was unclear to what extent a case emanating from a federal district in Delaware would reshape patent litigation for other districts, such as the popular venue found in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (hereinafter "the Eastern District of Texas").
The Technological Problem: 
The Elusive Key to Patent-Eligible 
Subject Matter

In  Data Engine Technologies LLC v. Google LLC , No. 2017-1135 (Fed. Cir. October 9, 2018), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit provides an example of where the line exists for patent-eligible subject matter. In the field of electronic spreadsheets, the court found one claim directed toward a specific solution to a technological problem. However, the same court found another claim from the same technical art merely directed toward an abstract idea without significantly more. Using the prior art, industry recognition of the solution, and case law precedent, the Federal Circuit illustrates the careful analysis for determining which claims read on a specific solution to a technological problem and which ones do not.
Inventors and Others In Privity With Them May Challenge Validity of Their Own Previously Assigned Patents in PTAB Proceedings

"Assignor estoppel prevents a party who assigns a patent to another from later challenging the validity of the assigned patent." This equitable doctrine has been applied by U.S. district courts and the U.S. ITC for over a hundred years to protect companies from the basic unfairness that would result if inventors could challenge validity of the patents that they previously assigned to their employers and other assignors, all presumably for good value. The CAFC has now ruled, however, that the doctrine of assignor estoppel does not apply to inter partes review proceedings in the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.
China Issues New Appellate Procedural Rules for IP Cases

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China recently passed new procedural rules regarding appeals in intellectual property (IP) related cases. According to the new rules, the Supreme People's Court (SPC) of China becomes the only appellate court for judgments and procedural rulings originating from the courts of the first instances in IP related cases. The new rules will take effect on January 1, 2019. One major factor in prompting these rule changes is that a high technical knowledge is typically required in certain IP cases, such as those in relation to patents, new varieties of plants, layout designs of integrated circuits, trade secrets, computer software, and antitrust law.  

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