Can Gray Market Goods Lawfully Be Sold in the United States?

Gray market goods include products with legitimate trademarks that are intended for sale and use outside the United States, but which are imported and sold in the United States without the consent of the trademark holder or U.S. distributor of like domestic goods. Can gray market goods lawfully be sold in the United States?

 

PATENT INFRINGEMENT VENUE AFTER TC HEARTLAND

In this past year the U.S. Supreme Court decided TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Grp. Brands LLC[1] and made a major change in the prevailing practice in federal courts regarding proper venue in patent infringement cases. By way of background, venue in federal civil cases generally is controlled by the federal venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1391, while venue in patent infringement cases is governed by the patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b). 

OFF THE CHAIN…OF IMMIGRATION

Many across the country have been giving a lot of attention in recent weeks to “chain migration”, meaning family-based immigration, or “family reunification”, a staple of United States immigration policy since the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”).  But, is the term “chain migration”[1] merely a pejorative used by critics, or does the term have factual basis?

WHAT HAVE AIA GOTTEN INTO?

Part 3: The Disharmony of Harmonization

This is the third in a series of blog posts examining the current state of the United States patent system, which is statutorily framed by the America Invents Act ("AIA")[1].  The AIA was signed into law on September 16, 2011.  Since that time, the AIA and its phased-in-over-time provisions have had a dramatic impact – in my view, much of it negative – on the United States patent system.

Is TPS Really Temporary?

Among many other hot-button issues in immigration right now, the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of certain countries has many people concerned.  Between 2018 and 2019, nationals present in the US from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan (not South Sudan) with TPS will no longer be able to renew their status.

THE PATENT BARGAIN AND THE CURSE OF RETROACTIVITY

Patents for inventions are issued by the federal government upon review and approval of an application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  One of the requirements for the USPTO to issue a patent is that the applicant’s claimed invention be fully disclosed in the application and published in the patent. This is sometimes referred to as the “patent bargain.” This is at the opposite end of the spectrum from trade secrets law, under which a company can sue for misappropriation of a trade secret but only if it takes reasonable measures to maintain confidentiality of the trade secret.  See my prior blog post, “Remember to Keep Your Trade Secrets “Secret.”  Ominously, retroactive application of new patent rules may severely prejudice patent holders in abrogation of the patent bargain.

THE GRANDDADDY OF THEM ALL

Taking a Detour into a Holiday Tradition

As I was enjoying the Christmas and New Year holidays, I reflected on the joy that the season brings.  For me, one of the great joys of the season is the excitement and pageantry of the traditional New Year's Day college bowl games.  The Rose Bowl Game, long referred to as "the Granddaddy of them all," has been played since 1902, which makes the Rose Bowl Game a tradition of longer standing than Major League Baseball's World Series, which was first played in 1903.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRADEMARKS AND SERVICE MARKS

Both trademarks and service marks are used in commerce. A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark (or servicemark) is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. The term "trademark" is often used generally to refer collectively to both trademarks and service marks.  

COMMON LAW RIGHTS IN A TRADEMARK USED IN COMMERCE

In a prior blog post, I explained that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) registers proper trademarks and service marks, but it does not issue them as it issues patents.  However, even if a company does not apply to register a mark, it will generally have common law rights in a proper mark used in commerce.  The common law rights are less extensive and less clearly articulated in case law than those for registered marks.

PROVIDING SANCTUARY OR OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE?

Many people are in an uproar regarding the jury verdict in the case trying Jose Garcia Zarate, a 5-times deported illegal entrant and convicted felon, who fatally shot Kate Steinle in 2015.  The entire matter raises too many issues to analyze in one article, so we will focus on legal implications of certain “sanctuary” policies of the hundreds of US city, county, and state jurisdictions and the authority of federal “ICE detainers”.

WHAT HAVE AIA GOTTEN INTO?

Part 2: What Was Here Before AIA Got Here?

This is the second in a series of blog posts examining the current state of the United States patent system, which is statutorily framed by the America Invents Act ("AIA")[1].  The AIA was signed into law on September 16, 2011.  Since that time, the AIA and its phased-in-over-time provisions have had a dramatic impact – in my view, much of it negative – on the United States patent system.

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT THE U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE DOES NOT ISSUE MARKS, IT ONLY REGISTERS THEM.

A common misconception about trademarks and service marks (collectively, “marks”) is that a business applies for them much like an inventor applies for a patent on an invention.  This is incorrect. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) only registers marks that are already in use in commerce by the applicant for registration.  Although registration creates certain additional rights primarily related to enforcement, the applicant’s rights derive from its own use of the mark (or in some instances, the use by a related entity).

Will 2019 Spell the End of Diversity Visas?

The US Diversity Visa Lottery (“DV Lottery”) program[1] is getting a lot of airtime in the last couple weeks after Uzbek national Sayfullo Saipov drove on a bike path in lower Manhattan on October 31, killing eight people and injuring several more.  Many may never have heard of the program before now, but as evidence about Saipov was revealed, we all learned that he was resident in the US since 2010, having received an immigrant visa through the DV Lottery program.  In this article, we will give a brief outline of the history of the program, how it works, and then address factors that may determine whether it is an immigration program whose clock has run out.

WHAT HAVE AIA GOTTEN INTO?

This is the opening post in a series of blog posts examining the current state of the United States patent system, which is statutorily framed by the America Invents Act ("AIA")[1].  The AIA was signed into law on September 16, 2011.  Since that time, the AIA and its phased-in-over-time provisions have had a dramatic impact – much of it negative – on the United States patent system.

REMEMBER TO KEEP YOUR TRADE SECRETS "SECRET."

Most companies have trade secrets.  These may include customer lists, strategic information related to product marketing, a formula or methodology used in making a product, and business methods that improve efficiency or reduce costs, among other items.  Often such trade secrets are critical to a company’s ability to compete and succeed.  Unlike with patents, where owners must disclose the details of their inventions to receive patent rights, the owners of trade secrets risk losing legal protection if they do not keep details secret.

Federal Court Holds Copyright Registration Is Not A Basis For Personal Jurisdiction In The District Of Columbia

In my Blog post dated March 8, 2015, I noted that the question of whether an allegedly fraudulent petition to the Copyright Office to register a copyright can be a basis for personal jurisdiction in the District of Columbia was currently before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. I also noted that the parties, including defendant Erling Vignisson represented by Farkas+Toikka , were awaiting a ruling on defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.

Copyright Registration and Personal Jurisdiction

CAN COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION BE A BASIS FOR PERSONAL JURISIDICTION IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA?

Generally, to establish personal jurisdiction over a non-resident, a court must engage in a two-part inquiry. First, examine whether jurisdiction is applicable under the state’s long-arm statute, and second, determine whether a finding of jurisdiction satisfies the constitutional requirements of due process. See GTE New Media Servs., Inc. v. BellSouth Corp., 199 F.3d 1343, 1347 (D.C. Cir. 2000). The District of Columbia long-arm statute provides that a District of Columbia court has personal jurisdiction over any person as to a claim for relief arising out of certain enumerated contacts with the District. D.C. Code Ann. § 13-423(a).

Copyright Basics

The term “intellectual property” generally means creations of the mind that are legally protected usually by copyrights, trademarks or patents but also may qualify for protection as trade secrets.[1]  In the United States, copyrights, trademarks and patents are generally the subject of federal laws and regulations, while trade secret protection is provided under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act as adopted by most of the states.  The nature and scope of protection afforded to the different forms of intellectual property differ.