William and Mary Law School

Philly

Dear Readers,

I am back in Philadelphia for Memorial Day weekend with my family.  Yeah, I just remembered that my grammar check was turned off due to testing for Law school.  Oops… and I though my grammar was really improving because of Law school.  Anyways, I will talk a little more about patents and trademarks and then about one of the three summer projects I am working on (maybe or save it for later). 

I am updating myself by reading the Claim Construction in the Federal Circuit by IPLAC (Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago).  The first thing about patent law; is get ready for tedious titles and almost unbearable acronyms.  The book is published by Westlaw which is interesting. Although there is the MPEP which is the bible for patent law, a lot of U.S. patent law comes from cases.  Eaton v. Rockwell in 2003 was the first patent law case I read; it was a case about the preamble of a patent.  In patent, the invention has to be defined exactly; Storage Technology v. Cisco Systems in 2003 discusses the all important “scope” of the patent.  What I enjoy most about patent cases is reading about the big name plaintiffs and defendants.  L.A. Gear v. Thom McAn in 1993, Contessa Food Products v. ConAgra, Inc. in 2002, or Innova/Pure Water, Inc v. Safari Water Filtration Systems, Inc in 2004 have amazing backstories.   I love pulling random patents up to look at.  Okay, so I sidetracked myself for a bit.  I was actually going to talk about trademarks today since I did patents recently.

In China trademarks made 90 percent of the patent, trademark, copyright business in 2006.  China is notorious for trademark “imitation”.  Some amusing trademark imitations include Phillip instead of Phillips, Sonitec instead of Sony, Dura instead of Duracell, a rounder almost oval Nike symbol, GUCCY instead of GUCCI, Mark Jacobs instead of Marc Jacobs, and the list continues.  The bigger issue is what I label “Chinese versions of American companies”.  This happens a lot.  For example; you have a company named X, if X is popular enough of a brand name someone in china will name their company X in China, China X, or various other ways to copy the name without really copying it.  The money you spent towards adding good will to your company name is now diluted.  X in China will not care about product quality as much as you do.  This is a huge problem. 

My research project with Professor Butler is a lot of fun.  We are doing work with “scale of land use” property rights.  I love ecology so this was the perfect project for me.  The international twist comes from Germany.  Germany has written a giant handbook on this topic.  I will blog about this more later.  Kind of sleepy right now.

Fifth post. 

Tony