USPTO Helps Battle COVID-19

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) now has an “IP Marketplace” web platform where they publish patents that claim technologies that could help fight COVID-19. That platform goes further to identify whether licensing is available.  The listed patents span numerous fields, including prevention, treatment, helpful equipment, and even include inventions created for other diseases that might help battle COVID-19. 

Willfulness Not Needed for Trademark Infringement Action

In Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil Group, Inc., fka Fossil, Inc., No. 18-1233 (Argued Jan. 14, 2020, Decided April 23, 2020), the Supreme Court ruled that in a trademark infringement action, the heightened standard of “willfulness” is not needed to obtain damages against a defendant. This makes it much easier for manufacturers to secure profits for infringement from unauthorized online resellers, which is especially significant as ever greater numbers of sales are conducted online.

Billy Joel Sued for Copyright Infringement

Billy Joel was sued for copyright infringement, and it had nothing to do with his music. He hired a contractor to renovate his Oyster Bay mansion in Long Island, but when he fired that contractor and hired a new one to do the same job, he was sued for copyright infringement, on the grounds that the new architectural plans infringed the plans of the previous contractor.

USPTO extends deadlines….again.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) extended until July 1, 2020 the time for patent applicants to file various patent-related documents and fees.  The extensions only apply to small and micro entities, and only where the original deadline was on or after March 27, 2020.

The First Ever Teleconferenced Supreme Court Hearing

The U.S. Supreme Court held its first ever oral argument over teleconference, which was live-streamed to the public. The case was concerned with the registrability of’s name, even though simply added “.com” to the end of a common word. Following’s win in two U.S. District Courts, the USPTO petitioned the Supreme Court for review in US Patent and Trademark Office v. B.V. (Argued May 4, 2020).

Reposting Photograph on Instagram not Copyright Infringement

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York recently ruled that use of another’s photograph on Instagram, without permission from the photograph’s owner, did not constitute copyright infringement.  The owner had previously posted the photograph herself on Instagram, and in doing so, she effectively granted a license for others to use the photograph on Instagram.  Sinclair v. Ziff Davis, LLC and Mashable, Inc.