- Federal Circuit May Have its Eye on West Texas Patent Hot Spot – A Federal Circuit order in In re Adobe Inc. may signal the Court’s attention to a new patent litigation hot spot in Central Texas.
- Federal Circuit Reverses TTAB Ruling on Standing – The Federal Circuit overturns TTAB standing ruling in trademark dispute.
- When “Killing Competition” Isn’t Anticompetitive – Antitrust claims fall flat as the Federal Circuit affirms the lower court’s dismissal of Power Analytics Corp. v. Operation Technology, Inc.
Here’s the latest.
Federal Circuit May Have its Eye on West Texas Patent Hot Spot
Patent litigation has become much more frequent in the Waco Division of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. The court’s presiding judge, Alan D. Albright, has developed new rules to streamline the cases and manage the higher caseload. With the grant of a writ of mandamus in In re Adobe Inc., however, the Federal Circuit may be turning its attention to this new patent litigation hot spot. Perry Cooper provides insight from Megan La Belle, a law professor at Catholic University Law School:
The transfer denial in Adobe is an ‘extreme case,’ La Belle said. Albright acknowledged that very little about the case connected it to Texas, and the inventor of the asserted patents is located in Adobe’s preferred forum, the Northern District of California. But it provides an ‘important signal’ that the Federal Circuit may clamp down on Albright for improperly denying transfer motions, she said. . . . [P]laintiffs may realize they’ll need stronger arguments for keeping a case in Albright’s court.
Federal Circuit Reverses TTAB Ruling on Standing for Petition to Cancel Condom Trademark
The Federal Circuit, in Australian Therapeutic Supplies Pty. Ltd. v. Naked TM, LLC, reversed a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruling. While the Board “reasoned that Australian could not show an interest in the cancellation proceeding or a reasonable belief of damage because it had contracted away its proprietary rights in its unregistered marks,” the Federal Circuit disagreed. Eileen McDermott explains why:
[T]he Court held that “a petitioner seeking to cancel a trademark registration establishes an entitlement to bring a cancellation proceeding under 15 U.S.C. § 1064 by demonstrating a real interest in the cancellation proceeding and a reasonable belief of damage regardless of whether petitioner lacks a proprietary interest in an asserted unregistered mark.”
When “Killing Competition” Isn’t Anticompetitive: Federal Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Power Grid Tech Company’s Antitrust Claims Against Rival Firms
Power Analytics recently lost its appeal in an antitrust suit at the Federal Circuit, with the court upholding the dismissal of its case in Power Analytics Corp. v. Operation Technology, Inc. Power Analytics had alleged the defendants engaged in anticompetitive activity and pointed to one defendant’s internal memo stating the company needed to “kill competition” stemming from Power Analytics. Despite this memo and other antitrust allegations, Shearman & Sterling report that
the Federal Circuit agreed with the trial court that plaintiff failed to plead the requisite elements of anticompetitive conduct and antitrust injury flowing from that conduct. . . . This decision highlights the high burden that plaintiffs face in proving a § 2 violation under Trinko and the importance of distinguishing statements evidencing anticompetitive intent from those demonstrating a valid business interest in maintaining an upper hand over rivals.