The first quarter of 2021 continued to reflect much of what we experienced during most of 2020 – challenging circumstances at work, at home and in our society more broadly, coupled with close ties and collaboration among our teams, our colleagues and our clients to successfully address the matters at hand, solve longer term problems, and prepare not just to meet, but also to thrive in and shape, the ever changing technology and legal landscape unfolding before us.
Because, as we have seen, even under these challenging circumstances, innovators continue to innovate and technology continues to advance, resulting in business, legal and societal issues that we all must address. The goal of this IPT News publication – along with our ongoing relationships and work with you, as well as our many and diverse webinars, alerts and podcasts – is to continue to partner with you by providing information and tools to assist you in successfully addressing any IPT issue that you may face. We are here for you.
Our inaugural 2021 edition of IPT News features a new editor, Susan Krumplitsch, a dynamic life sciences patent litigator based in Silicon Valley who assists biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device companies with their most challenging issues. As with most of us who practice in the IP field – where the issues facing our clients are increasingly interconnected – Susan’s practice also intersects with artificial intelligence, IoT, blockchain and other diverse technologies. We welcome Susan as our new editor and look forward to her keen insights and ability to collaborate with our colleagues to bring thought leadership to our readers.
Our feature article dives into the exploding marketplace of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which can be tied to, well, anything. In this article, Chris Bennett addresses how blockchain technology is being used to create authenticated digital assets, including artwork and collectables and now beyond. Chris explains what NFTs are, how they work, the rapidly expanding marketplace for NFTs, and legal and business issues and questions that arise from their use.
This edition also addresses developments across a broad swath of other intellectual property issues, including the sweeping changes to U.S. trademark law implemented by the Trademark Modernization Act of 2020. In this article, Keith Medansky and Michael Geller highlight key changes to the Lanham Act – especially those pertaining to current trademark owners – that provide new certainty for litigants seeking injunctions and new tools for challenging current registrations.
In another article, Barry Heller, a member of DLA’s premier franchise group, addresses recent decisions and legislative activity distinguishing between employees and independent contractors and the significant challenges those distinctions pose to the franchise industry.
Patent prosecutor Joseph Wolfe addresses important USPTO guidance on patenting artificial intelligence (AI) technology, including strategies practitioners should consider in light of that guidance. In our Pharmaceutical Corner, Stuart Pollack, Kristin Beale and Christian Chessman address the Federal Circuit’s February 2021 decision in Amgen v. Sanofi regarding functional claiming, and identifying practical considerations for claim drafting in light of that decision. In our Supreme Court Corner, authored by Stan Panikowski, Brian Biggs and Christian Chessman, we report on two eligibility issues – one regarding recent filings before the Court regarding patent eligibility, and a second regarding the USPTO’s response to a 2020 decision by the Court on trademark registration eligibility.
We also welcome Tony Lin to our top-tier Telecom practice. Tony has vast experience in satellite and space regulatory issues and can greatly benefit clients operating in that field. Finally, we note a recent recognition of our intellectual property litigation team as a national leader in that field.
We hope you benefit from this and our future issues of IPT News, and please accept our best wishes for you, your families and your colleagues during this challenging time. If we can be of any assistance to you, please contact us.
|Mark D. Fowler, Global Co-Practice Group Leader, Intellectual Property and Technology
||Gina Durham, Deputy Practice Group Leader, Intellectual Property and Technology, Chair, US Trademark, Copyright and Media