This week, we are pleased to have a guest post from John Cordani.  John is a member of Robinson+Cole’s Manufacturing Industry Team and regularly counsels clients on intellectual property issues involving patent procurement, licensing, and litigation.

It is no secret that the competitive edge of U.S.-based manufacturers is often predicated, at least in large part, on technological innovation and the patents that protect them. The broader the patents, the better. Usually the only significant obstacle faced by manufacturers trying to obtain broad patent rights was ensuring that their patents were still narrow enough to be new and non-obvious in light of the known technologies in the industry. Most manufactures are not used to considering whether their innovations are not eligible for patent protection in the first place. After all, in order to be patent eligible, an invention need only be drawn to a “new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.” Since the statute explicitly calls out “manufactures” as eligible for patenting, manufacturers might be forgiven for believing that their patents would easily satisfy this standard. Not so, says the Federal Circuit.
Continue Reading Manufacturers are Not Immune to Claims that their Inventions are Patent-Ineligible

Manufacturers generally understand the importance of utility patents and branding in protecting their creations from unfair competition and confusion of their customers. But the power of the design patent sometimes goes overlooked. While the United States Patent Office has issued over ten million numbered utility patents, it has not yet reached the one-million-mark on design patents. My suggestion to manufactures: consider both for any new product because recent federal decisions may make it very worth your while.
Continue Reading The Increasing Strategic Importance of Design Patents

A recent court decision underscores the need for manufacturers to exercise caution when seeking to impose Post-Employment Restrictions on key employees.

Manufacturers often seek to bind employees to Post-Employment Restrictions (non-compete, non-solicitation and confidentiality obligations) in order to protect customer lists, pricing information and other confidential or “inside” information which gives them a competitive advantage

Regular readers know that a good part of my practice deals with the use of “post-employment restrictions” to prevent former employees from using, selling or distributing a company’s most valuable assets – its intellectual property.  In one of my first blog posts on this site, I commented that the “explosion” of litigation in this area

As we mark the Manufacturing Law Blog’s 5th anniversary, I am also pleased to announce the launch of our new manufacturing law website.  To access it, please click here.

Last week, Megan provided our thoughts and predictions for environmental, health & safety.  This week, I am providing our outlook for corporate compliance and litigation.

This week, we are pleased to have a guest post from James Nault, a patent attorney and member of Robinson & Cole LLP’s intellectual property litigation group.

The United States Supreme Court just limited where corporations can be sued for patent infringement in a case called TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands

Last month, we posted about the United States Senate’s passage of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016.  Breaking news:  It passed.  Thanks to members of our Labor & Employment (Ian Clarke-Fisher) and Intellectual Property Litigation groups (Jim Nault) for this guest post.

On May 11, 2016, President Barack Obama

Earlier this year, I wrote about efforts to reform the patent system to curtail abuses by “patent trolls.”  Patent trolls do not manufacture anything.  Rather, they often buy up patents and then bring lawsuits against businesses seeking to extract licensing fees.  Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported on its blog that it had