On March 16, 2013, the First-Inventor-To-File (FITF) provisions of the America Invents Act (AIA) will become effective.  In preparation for the new statute, the USPTO published its final rules on the FITF on February 14, 2013. 

In general, these final rules relate to the statutory changes to the definitions of novelty and prior art.  One of the changes is that a U.S. patent or a U.S. patent application publication has a prior art effect as of the filing date of the foreign priority application for the subject matter disclosed in the priority document.  In reaction to this change, new Rule 37 CFR 1.55(f) will require applicants to systematically file a certified copy of the foreign application, or an interim copy of the foreign application, within the later of four months from the actual filing date of the application or sixteen months from the filing date of the prior foreign application. 


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Beats Electronics, LLC (Beats) filed a complaint against Yamaha Corporation of America (Yamaha) on February 6, 2013, in the Central District of California, alleging infringement of Beats’ design patents and trade dress.  The complaint includes a request that the court enter a judgment that requires Yamaha to deliver to Beats, for destruction, all of the alleged infringing headphones and any materials which depict the alleged infringing headphones.  The complaint demands a jury trial on all issues.

According to the complaint, counsel for Beats notified Yamaha on November 30, 2012, of its belief that the Yamaha Pro 300, Yamaha Pro 400 and Yamaha Pro 500 headphones infringe Beats patents and Beats’ trade dress rights, and the complaint alleges that the Pro 300, Pro 400 and Pro 500 headphones are “knock-offs of Beats’ world-famous ‘Studio,’ ‘Solo,’ and 'Wireless’ model headphones.”


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Apple obtained a registration (U.S. Registration No. 4,277,914) which covers retail store services in the United States for the design and layout of its retail stores.  The description of the mark is as follows:

--The store features a clear glass storefront surrounded by a paneled facade consisting of large, rectangular horizontal panels over the top of the glass front, and two narrower panels stacked on either side of the storefront. Within the store, rectangular recessed lighting units traverse the length of the store's ceiling. There are cantilevered shelves below recessed display spaces along the side walls, and rectangular tables arranged in a line in the middle of the store parallel to the walls and extending from the storefront to the back of the store. There is multi-tiered shelving along the side walls, and a oblong table with stools located at the back of the store, set below video screens flush mounted on the back wall. The walls, floors, lighting, and other fixtures appear in dotted lines and are not claimed as individual features of the mark; however, the placement of the various items are considered to be part of the overall mark.--


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The Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s sua sponte dismissal of a complaint filed by Mr. Robert J. Hall for patent infringement and other claims.  The Federal Circuit opinion can be found here.

Mr. Hall accused Bed Bath & Beyond of infringing U.S. Design Patent No. D596,439 entitled “Towel Tote.” Fig. 1 from D596,439 is reproduced below.


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S. 3486 (the "Act") has passed the House and the Senate, and awaits signature by the President.  

The summary of this Act reads, with emphasis added:


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