Nov 15, 2018

The Intersection of Trade Dress and Design Patents in Product Design

Trade Dress and Design Patents

On October 30, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the International Trade Commission’s decision regarding the trade dress infringement of Converse’s design in its Chuck Taylor shoes (see below). In a split opinion, the Court held that trade dress infringement occurs only if the defendant’s design is substantially similar to the plaintiff’s design – a standard which the Federal Circuit noted was analogous to the standard for design patent infringement: “where infringement cannot be found unless an ordinary observer would perceive that the ‘two designs are substantially the same.’” Given the tie… Read more


Jun 7, 2018

Is Inadequate Data Security an Unfair Trade Practice?

Doctor's Office: Inadequate Data Security?

In LabMD, Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission, Case No. 16-16270 (decided June 6, 2018) the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit addressed the enforcement of an FTC order finding that a business’s allegedly inadequate data security practices were unfair trade practices under Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act. LabMD operated a medical laboratory that conducted diagnostic testing for cancer. Contrary to LabMD policy, an employee installed on a company computer a file-sharing application. That application allowed an outside party to download a file that contained the personal information of thousands of customers. The FTC initiated… Read more


Jun 12, 2009

New Ruling on Exclusive Cable Contracts

TV Remote

On May 26, 2009, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in the case of National Cable & Telecommunications Ass’n v. Federal Communications Commission, 2009 WL 1444094 (D.C. Cir. 2009), upheld a rule and order of the Federal Communications Commission, 22 F.C.C.R. 20,235 (2007), that banned exclusivity provisions in contracts between cable companies and owners of apartment buildings.   There is the possibility that this decision may be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court, but absent a reversal by the Supreme Court, the FCC rule governs. The decision by the Court of Appeals is an important… Read more