“CHURRASCOS” determined generic for restaurant services – earlier registration have no bearing on the USPTO’s genericness analysis

Kumiko Ide | May 19, 2016

In re: Cordua Restaurants, Inc.

May 13, 2016

Before Prost, Dyk, Stoll.  Opinion by Dyk.

Summary

Appellant Cordua Restaurants, Inc. (Cordua) applied to register a stylized word “CHURRASCOS” for “Bar and restaurant services; Catering.”  Although Cordua had prior registration for the standard character mark “CHURRASCOS” for the same services, that the mark was registered in the Principal Register had no bearing on the USPTO’s determination of whether the stylized form of “CHURRASCOS” was generic.  In addition, even if the public does not understand the term to refer to the broad genus of restaurant services as a whole, the term is still generic, as the relevant public understands the term to refer to a type of restaurant within the broad genus of restaurant services.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the decision of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), finding the mark to be generic, and ineligible for registration.

Cordua Restaurants, Inc.(以下、「Cordua社」)のCHURRASCOSデザイン文字商標出願は、CHURRASCOSという言葉が、レストランサービスについて使用された場合、一般用語であるため、登録はできないとして拒絶された。Cordua社は、先登録として、標準文字のCHURRASOCOS商標登録を有しており、この先登録が存在するため、デザイン文字出願の方も登録されるべきと主張したものの、CAFCはこれを受け付けなかった。また、CHURRASCOSという言葉が、レストランサービス全体において一般用語として認識されていない場合でも、当該者はその言葉を、レストランサービスという大きな括り中のレストランの一種類であると理解しているため、CHURRASCOSは一般用語である。


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More than one point of attack of Prima Facie cases of Obviousness can be presented

Bernadette McGann | May 16, 2016

Pride Mobility Products Corp. v. Permobil, Inc.

April 5, 2016

Before Reyna, Chen, and Taranta.  Opinion by Taranta.

Summary:

Pride argued before the Board, in an inter partes review, and the CAFC that a skilled artisan would not be motivated to combine the cited art, as alleged, because it would compromise the performance of the resulting wheelchair.  The argument by Pride focused only on a lack of motivation to combine the cited art and did not address the potential issue that if the rejection is sustained, there is a prima facie case of obviousness.  The Board found, and the CAFC affirmed, that the disputed claims were obvious.


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Design patent claim must not be construed eliminating functional elements.

Sadao Kinashi | May 11, 2016

Sport Dimension v. The Coleman Company

April 19, 2016

Before Moore, Hughes and Stoll.  Opinion by Stoll.

Summary:

The district court interpreted the claim of a design patent for a personal flotation device eliminating armbands and side torso tapering entirely from the claim because these are functional.  CAFC rejected the claim construction vacating the judgment of non-infringement and remanded.  CAFC ruled that even though the elements served a functional purpose, the construction improperly converted the claim scope of the design patent from one that covered the overall ornamentation to one that covered individual elements.

地裁は、救命胴衣に関するデザイン特許のクレームの解釈で、アームバンドと、次第に細くなる胴体側部をクレームから除外して解釈した。CAFCは、クレーム解釈及び非侵害の判断を破棄し、地裁に差戻した。CAFCはそれらの要素が機能的目的のものであっても、地裁の解釈は、全体的な装飾的観点をカバーするデザイン特許のクレーム範囲を、個々の要素をカバーするものに不当に変更するものであるとした。


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The Federal Circuit Resolves Uncertainties of Venue Selection in Patent Cases

Sung-Hoon Kim | May 6, 2016

In Re: TC Heartland LLC

April 29, 2016

Before: Moore, Linn, and Wallach.  Opinion by Moore.

Summary:

The Federal Circuit denied a petition for a writ of mandamus by TC Heartland LLC (“Heartland”) after the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware denied its motions to dismiss the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction and transfer venue.  The Federal Circuit held that Congress’ 2011 amendments to 28 U.S.C. §1391 did not overruled the VE Holding Corp. and actually broadened the applicability of the definition of corporate residence.  Therefore, at least for now, the status quo remains in place with regard to venue in patent cases.

본 사건은 Heartland사가 연방항소법원에 Kraft사를 상대로 직무집행영장소송 (Writ of Mandamus)을 제기한 건으로, 연방항소법원은 기존의 특허 소송 재판지 (venue) 관련 판례를 뒤집지 않고 Heartland의 청원을 기각한다.  당분간 특허 소송 재판지에 관한 논란은 줄어들 것으로 예상된다.  하지만 특허소송 재판지는 특허 소송에 큰 영향을 미치므로 앞으로 의회 및 대법원의 대응을 주목할 필요가 있다.


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