Sep 24, 2020

Welcome to the SGR Intellectual Property Department

Dr. Ram Sabnis – Atlanta | Patent Agent Ram Sabnis is a registered patent agent, with a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. Prior to joining SGR, he worked as a patent agent drafting and prosecuting patent applications in-house for Georgia-Pacific LLC and Pfizer Inc., as well as at a major law firm. Before becoming a patent agent, he worked as a scientist for 16+ years, and has also authored 200+ publications.  Bio   Anca Marcu – Washington, D.C. | Associate Anca concentrates her practice on trademark and copyright matters, including counseling, prosecution, enforcement, and portfolio management. Prior to joining SGR, Anca most… Read more


Jul 10, 2020

Singing About Brands: Expressing Emotions in Song

Music Branding

Music is a demanding form of expression. For an artist to communicate through lyrics in a song, the artist must conform his or her ideas within a time signature and in rhythm. When artists are limited in the number of syllables to express an idea or tell a story, they need to find shorthand ways to communicate. For many artists, they find the shorthand that they need to convey ideas, evoke emotions, and connect with their audiences in brands. For example, in 1966, Wilson Pickett told us he bought his paramour Sally a new 1965 Ford Mustang. Mr. Pickett’s audience… Read more


Apr 27, 2020

Supreme Court Holds that Annotations Written by Legislative Body are not Copyrightable

copyright shield on a blue background

On April 27, 2020, the Supreme Court held in a 5-4 split decision that explanatory legal materials created by a legislative body cannot be protected by copyright.   The background facts of this case are discussed in the January 29, 2020 article Can the State of Georgia Own a Copyright in its Official Code? by Elizabeth Borland. In Georgia v. Public.Resource,Org, Inc., Case No. 18-1150 (April 27, 2020), Chief Justice Roberts delivered the opinion for the Court and was joined by Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh to form an unusual majority.  The Court first determined that the case was controlled… Read more


Apr 23, 2020

Supreme Court Overturns Second Circuit Precedent, Holds Willful Infringement Unnecessary for Award of Profits in Trademark Infringement Case

Supreme Court and Lady Justice

April 23, 2020, Washington, D.C.  The Supreme Court today held that a plaintiff need not prove that a defendant acted “willfully” in order to recover profits as an equitable remedy for trademark infringement under Section 35(a) of the Federal Trademark Act of 1946, as amended (the “Lanham Act”), 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a).  Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc., No. 18-1233, — S.Ct. —-, 2020 WL 1942012 (April 23, 2020). The plaintiff, a designer of fasteners used in handbags, brought an action against a handbag manufacturer alleging infringement of its “ROMAG” trademark.  A jury found the manufacturer liable for patent and… Read more


Apr 23, 2020

Musicians’ Class Actions Play On

Gavel with Headphones

In the midst of this global pandemic—as many musicians (like so many others) are struggling to make ends meet—courts in New York have continued to issue important decisions that impact musicians’ livelihoods.  Within the last month, the Southern District of New York permitted two separate class actions against Sony Music Entertainment, Inc. (“Sony”) and Universal Music Group (“UMG”), respectively, to proceed.  The class actions, styled Johansen v. Sony Music Entertainment, Inc. and Waite v. UMG Recordings, Inc. were brought by musicians and songwriters David Johansen, John Lyon (a.k.a Southside Johnny), Paul Colins (from Paul Collins’ Beat), John Waite, Joe Ely,… Read more


Apr 1, 2020

Update on USPTO and U.S. Copyright Office Extensions and Adjustments

photo of Intellectual Property Blocks

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which provides, in part, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) with the authority during the current emergency to “toll, waive, adjust, or modify any timing deadline established,” in the Patent Act, Trademark Act, and the Copyright Act, including regulations implementing timing deadlines. Before taking such action, the USPTO must determine that the COVID-19 emergency “(1) materially affects the functioning of the patent and trademark office; (2) prejudices the rights of applicants, registrants, patent owners, or others appearing before the office; or… Read more


Mar 25, 2020

Impact of COVID-19 on Intellectual Property

COVID 19 on keyboard

The reach of COVID-19 has been felt across all facets of life. Travel bans have been enacted. Primary schools have canceled classes, and colleges have turned to full time online education. Supplies of toilet paper and hand sanitizer are scarce. The world of intellectual property has not been spared either, but COVID-19 has not brought it to a halt. IP right enforcement means have been impacted. Trademarks, trade secrets, patents, and copyrights fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. federal court system, the latter two exclusively. Many federal district courts have issued orders greatly reducing physical access. For example, the… Read more


Mar 19, 2020

Federal Circuit Provides Clarity on the Question of Whether Computer Equipment Can Serve as a Basis for Venue in Patent Infringement Actions

intellectual property law

Last year, we published an article concerning whether the presence of computer servers satisfies the “regular and established place of business” requirement for establishing proper venue in patent cases Establishing Proper Venue in Patent Cases.  In that article, we discussed the Federal Circuit’s refusal to grant a writ of mandamus filed by Google in patent litigation initiated by SEVEN Networks, LLC in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.  In that litigation, Judge Rodney Gilstrap denied a motion by Google to transfer venue, finding that Google’s provision of Google Global Cache (GGC) servers that were owned by Google but… Read more


Mar 12, 2020

Can’t Touch This: Visual Artists’ “Moral Rights” and Real Estate Implications

Photo of Artist painting on wall

On Thursday, February 20, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit released a long-awaited final ruling on an issue of first impression regarding interpretation of the Visual Rights Act of 1990 (“VARA”). VARA provides unique federal protection granting artists of eligible visual artworks, regardless of whether the artist is the copyright owner, certain moral rights in their visual works. The rights include the ability to prevent any “intentional distortion, mutilation, or other modification” of their work that would be prejudicial to the artist’s “honor or reputation,” and to prevent any destruction of a work of “recognized… Read more


Mar 4, 2020

The Strictly Limited Scope of Inter Partes Review

Patent Law

Last month, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued an opinion in the case of Samsung Electronics America, Inc. v Prisua Engineering Corp., case number 2019-1169, again holding that the authority of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Board) to institute an inter partes review (IPR) is statutorily limited only to grounds of anticipation and obviousness, under 35 U.S.C. §§ 102 and 103; though further clarifying that the Board also may not expand the scope of a properly instituted IPR to address other patentability requirements beyond the statutorily authorized grounds. The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act… Read more