IPT News Q1 2021

Intellectual Property and Technology News (North America), Issue 49, Q1 2021

Intellectual Property and Technology News

Intellectual Property and Technology News

Around the corner

The first quarter of 2021 continued to reflect much of what we experienced during most of 2020challenging 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 publicationalong with our ongoing relationships and work with you, as well as our many and diverse webinars, alerts and podcastsis 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 fieldwhere the issues facing our clients are increasingly interconnectedSusan’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 Actespecially those pertaining to current trademark ownersthat 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 issuesone 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 Fowler
  Gina Durham
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

IPT News Q1 2021
Non-fungible tokens: Emerging issues in the emerging marketplace
30 March 2021

Any digital asset, or a right in an underlying asset, can be tokenized to make an NFT.

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IPT News Q1 2021
The Lanham Act's makeover – Congress gives new clarity and tools to trademark owners and applicants
30 March 2021

The Trademark Modernization Act of 2020 gives new certainty for litigants and new tools for challenging current registrations.

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IPT News Q1 2021
Employee and independent contractor classification: Still the top legal issue in franchising
30 March 2021

Franchising rests on a basic premise that franchisees are independent contractors and not employees.

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IPT News Q1 2021
Supreme Court Corner
30 March 2021

Numerous amici in American Axle urge the Supreme Court to take the case; update on USPTO v. Booking.com.

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IPT News Q1 2021
The Pharmaceutical Corner
30 March 2021

The opinion may render functional claiming more difficult, but functional claims that follow its guidance may still have an important role to play in pharmaceutical patents.

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IPT News Q1 2021
Understanding the USPTO guidance on patenting AI technologies
30 March 2021

The USPTO guidance opens the door for applicants to obtain patent protection for their AI technologies.

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IPT News Q1 2021
Washington, DC grows telecoms capabilities with a new arrival
30 March 2021

Tony Lin has joined our Washington, DC office and award-winning Telecom group, bringing his vast experience in satellite and communications law.

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IPT News Q1 2021
Recognized as a leading IP defense firm in the United States
30 March 2021

In its 2021 Law Firms Activity Report, Lex Machina has named DLA Piper among the leading intellectual property defense firms in the United States.

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