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James has extensive practice experience in all aspects of U.S. intellectual property law and regularly counsels clients in the areas of utility and design patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret law, with emphases on rights procurement, portfolio development and management, rights enforcement, and licensing.

A recent decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has fundamentally altered the law on prior art anticipation for design patent applications. In this decision, captioned In re: SurgiSil, L.L.P. et al., No. 2020-1940 (Oct. 4, 2021), the Federal Circuit reversed a decision by the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”), which had previously affirmed an examiner’s anticipation rejection of a design patent claim for a lip implant based on a prior art reference depicting a similarly-shaped tool for artists.
Continue Reading In re SurgiSil : Much More than a Cosmetic Change to Design Patent Law

In a recent decision, the Review Board of the United States Copyright Office (“Board”) reversed an examiner’s prior refusal to register a copyright in the artistic elements present in the bed shown above, paving the way for the applicant to obtain a copyright registration in this work.
Continue Reading Design Protection: Don’t Sleep on Copyrights

This is the first article in a planned series that will analyze available design protection strategies for various categories of products.

Now that the era of work-from-anywhere and software-for-any-service has fully arrived, obtaining proper legal protection for software is paramount for many companies.  However, due to an expansive interpretation by courts of the “abstract idea” exception to utility patent eligibility in recent years, protection for software-based systems and methods via utility patents has been made difficult.  Accordingly, companies in this space should look to employ design-related rights to protect their software.

In this post, we will address how design patent, copyright, and trademark laws can be employed  to provide protection for software-based designs.
Continue Reading Protecting the Product™: Software

The United Kingdom (UK) officially withdrew from the European Union (EU) in early 2020, which commenced a transitional period that expired on December 31, 2020. During this transitional period, the UK remained subject to the EU Design System and the design laws of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). However, as of January 1, 2021, the UK is no longer subject to the EUIPO design regime.
Continue Reading Brexit’s Impact on European Design Registrations

Since April 1949, when legendary golfer Sam Snead took the top prize, the winner of the annual Masters Tournament has been awarded a green blazer with gold buttons on the front and sleeves.

Now, after more than 70 years of use, that color configuration as applied to a jacket—as shown in the mark image below—has become a federally-registered trademark.
Continue Reading Augusta National Blazes a Trail to Registration of its Iconic Green Jacket 

Paisley Park Enterprises, Inc., the music publishing company founded by the late artist Prince, recently obtained a federal trademark registration for the purple color shown below known as “Love Symbol #2” in the Pantone Matching System.  The registration covers music, video, and motion picture-related recording goods in International Class 009.

Continue Reading Prince’s Estate Makes it Rain Purple on the USPTO 

The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) has recently published a Fourth Revision to the patent laws of the People’s Republic of China, and included in those revisions are several updates that help move Chinese design patent law towards harmonization with the laws of most other major markets. In particular, the following revisions—which will come into effect on June 1, 2021—are the most relevant for Chinese design patent applicants and design patent holders:


Continue Reading New Revisions to Chinese Patent Law Increase Design Patent Harmonization