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

For years, Samsung and Apple have battled over intellectual property rights associated with each party’s smart phones. Apple sued Samsung in 2011 and the jury found that Samsung had infringed Apple’s trade dress, design patents, and utility patents. On May 15, 2015, the Federal Circuit upheld the findings regarding infringement of design and utility patents,

Samsung appears to be the most recent brand to board the brandverbing bandwagon with its Galaxy Note 4 advertising campaign, asking the critical question: Do You Note?

SamsungDoYouNote

Samsung has federally-registered in the U.S. the trademark GALAXY NOTE for smart phones, mobile phones, and tablet computers — note the absence of a disclaimer of NOTE,

A picture is said to say a thousand words, and ironically that is almost literally and exactly true when it comes to Apple’s focus on non-verbal icon branding.

A week before the 4th of July, Apple filed these three non-verbal trademark applications:

A
B

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Much of the success of Apple products can be traced to Apple’s emphasis on design as being equal or greater than the technical advancement of its products.  Talking with a product designer the other day, we both remarked on how often companies do the opposite of Apple – they care more about getting a new

Jeffrey Stone and Brett Klein, Patent Attorneys, Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.

The design patent is perceived by many designers and patent attorneys as being a relatively weak and impotent patent protection mechanism as compared with the better-respected utility patent. It is typically thought that design patents are only useful in protecting against exact

On April 15, Apple launched a massive suit against Samsung alleging various counts of patent and trademark infringement arising from Samsung’s Galaxy line of products. (The Complaint is here.)

While the lawsuit involved claims of trade dress infringement and patent infringement, I was most interested in the trade dress aspects of the case.  Of particular interest

–Dan Kelly, Attorney

Certain late-baby boomers and gen X’rs will know that 3 is “The Magic Number.”  Don’t believe me?  See here.

I raise this cultural referent principally because I once stumbled upon, quite by accident and for reasons that I cannot now recall, the following items in the U.S. Trademark database:

  • The English translation of “SAMSUNG” is “three stars.”
  • The English translation of “MITSUBISHI” is “three rhomboids.”
  • The English translation of “SANYO” is “three oceans.”

I was starting to wonder if I was on to something, like the blue oval phenomenon, thinking that there might be some Asian cultural affinity to the number three, but I was hard pressed to find other well-known (in the U.S.) brands from Asian companies that also had ties to the number three.  Alas, another great theory down the drain.  But I did find some telling design trademarks for these companies, some of them admittedly old:

And, of course, astute readers will know that Samsung’s current logo is…


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–Dan Kelly, Attorney

I think Steve once remarked something to the effect that the Internet is employment security for trademark attorneys.  Road tripping is too.  On one such recent occasion, my wife remarked on the similarity of Culver’s blue oval signage to Ford’s famous blue oval.

Obviously, there is no issue here from a trademark