The battle for attorneys’ fees after an intense trademark dispute often leaves many prevailing parties empty handed. This is because the Lanham Act only provides for attorneys’ fees in “exceptional cases.” Congress’s (and courts’) reluctance to award attorneys’ fees stems from the “American Rule,” which provides that each party to a
View my professional biography
For me, creativity has always been a way of standing out from the crowd, doing the unexpected, and adding passion to my work. My parents nurtured my creative side from an early age, gifting me Legos, subscribing me to Popular Science, and encouraging me to get involved in school activities with an artistic angle. I remember creating a hoverboard using a leaf blower in fifth grade, winning the science fair in sixth, and joining my small-town high school newspaper shortly thereafter. Soon, I began designing beautiful centerfolds, reporting on the latest tech topics, and writing poems and short stories. I also began to apply my creative skills to my schoolwork, adding unexpected pizzaz to my assignments.
In college, I continued to develop my creative skills. I taught myself how to code websites, crafted logos for non-profits, tried my hand at techie DIY projects (parabolic wi-fi dish, anyone?), and began painting abstract art. I also continued to apply my creative design and writing skills to the classroom and leadership positions in student government. Creativity helped me stand out in these venues and present my ideas in compelling ways. Furthermore, infusing imagination into everything I did made tasks fun and fulfilling. This strategy also worked well for me in law school, where I developed my love for all things intellectual property: patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, right to publicity, you name it. That passion continued to develop after law school as a clerk to a federal judge in the District of Minnesota.
Join me on this blog as I return to my journalist roots, discuss contemporary topics in intellectual property, and add creative commentary to the marketplace of ideas.
Billy Goats, Trademark Twins, and the Descriptive Limits of Language
I’ve been thinking about the nature of language lately, ever since I listened to a podcast about various philosophers who devoted their study to language. For example, Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century, is famous for his work on the logic of language. A fundamental premise to his…
Mohawk Tribe v. Mylan Highlights USPTO Constraints
Credit: Federal Circuit (what it looks like to argue there)
One week ago, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 18-1638 (Fed. Cir. July 20, 2018)–by all accounts, one of this decade’s most important decisions concerning the America Invents Act and the…
Can a Word Which Means a Lot (Aloha) Mean Almost Nothing in Trademark?
Hawaii seems to be on the mind here at DuetsBlog lately. Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting three Hawaiian islands for the first time. While there, I quickly became acquainted with Hawaiian life and language. It’s a beautiful place; I recommend everyone visit.
When I first landed on Kauai, the “garden island,”…
Buc-ee’s Fights ‘Tooth and Nail’ For Total Texas Takedown
Recently, we have been covering updates from a trademark infringement, dilution, and unfair competition action between Buc-ee’s and Choke Canyon, two rival Texas convenience stores with endless rows of gas pumps and checkout lanes (everything’s bigger in Texas, you know; even gas stations). About a month ago, a Texas jury found that the Choke Canyon…
Can a YouTube Video Invalidate a Patent? It’s Certainly Possible
One of the most common defenses to patent infringement is that the asserted patent is invalid. The reasons for invalidity regularly range from lack of utility, to incorrect inventorship, and even to fraud (as I’ve recently written about). Often, the defendant asserts that the patent is invalid for lack of novelty or non-obviousness–pointing…
Buc-ee’s Beaver Chomps Reptilian Competitor
About a week ago, we reported on an interesting case out of the Southern District of Texas involving two competing convenience stores with cartoon animal mascots: Buc-ee’s (a beaver) and Choke Canyon (an alligator).
As someone who has personally visited Buc-ee’s stores, I can tell you that they are quite the destination. Buc-ee’s tend to…
Trader Joe’s Takes on Trademark “Schmo”
In recent USPTO news, Trader Joe’s, the supermarket chain known for its eclectic and unique foodstuffs, recently filed an opposition to registration of the mark “Trader Schmo,” which is described as designating a wide variety of Kosher foods. Understandably, Trader Joe’s took issue with the mark, and particularly its use in the…
PTAB-Lovers Rejoice; IPR Lives!
Five months ago to the day, I predicted that the U.S. Supreme Court would uphold inter partes review (“IPR”) proceedings at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) as constitutional in Oil States v. Greene Energy. On April 24, 2018, the Court so-held.
Back in November, the questions at…
Patent Appeals to the District Court: Win or Lose, You Pay Attorneys’ Fees?
Recently, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (the federal appellate court that primarily hears appeals in patents cases) heard arguments in NantKwest Inc. v. Matal, No. 16-1794 on the issue of attorneys’ fees (a timely topic) in certain patent cases.
Attorneys’ fees are a necessary and inescapable cost of enforcing…