Here’s the latest.

QuikTrip Fails to Block Competitor’s “Kitchen” Logo

Reported by Kyle Jahner at Bloomberg Law

The Federal Circuit issued an opinion on Thursday allowing Weigel’s to continue to use its “Weigel’s Kitchens” logo after a challenge to the Trademark Trial and Board’s ruling by Quiktrip. Kyle Jahner covered the decision where the Federal Circuit held Weigel’s willingness to change its mark and subsequent alterations to avoid infringement evidenced a lack of bad faith.

The ruling leaves Weigel’s free to register its logo and continue using it, thanks largely to its willingness to alter it twice after cease-and-desist letters from QuikTrip.

In reviewing the TTAB’s decision, the court accepted that the similarity of goods and services offered by both parties weighed in favor of Quiktrip, but the dissimilarity of the marks outweighed this factor. Quiktrip also argued that the TTAB did not consider every piece of evidence; however, the court stated that the TTAB does not have to address every piece of evidence.

For more information, see our coverage.

Supreme Court Will Decide if Turnabout is Fair Play in Patent Law

Reported by Scott Graham at National Law Review

On Friday, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to Minerva Surgical v. Hologic to review the doctrine of assignee estoppel. While licensee estoppel has been rejected previously, the Court will now review this related doctrine.

“The unwarranted breadth of assignor estoppel harms important public policy interests in invalidating bad patents, ensuring free competition, and promoting efficient mobility of employees,” Stanford law professor Mark Lemley wrote on behalf of 31 law professors who supported certiorari in the case.

In this case, Minerva Surgical was estopped from challenging the validity of Hologic’s patents, but was able to invalidate one of the patents before the PTO which does not recognize the doctrine.

“Given the odd circumstance created in this case, I suggest that it is time for this court to consider en banc the doctrine of assignor estoppel as it applies both in the district court and in the Patent Office,” [Judge] Stoll wrote in “additional views” that accompanied her opinion. The Federal Circuit did not take up her suggestion, but now the Supreme Court has.

For more information, see our coverage.

Vaccine Act Claimant Gets Second Chance at Attorney’s Fees

Reported by Mary Anne Pazanowski at Bloomberg Law

A claimant may continue to pursue attorney’s fees in James-Cornelius v. Secretary of Health & Human Services as authorized by the Vaccine Act. Mary Anne Pazanowski recaps the opinion where the Federal Circuit held the special master assigned to the claim failed to consider relevant evidence and improperly weighed a lack of a medical opinion. The claimant’s son had suffered adverse symptoms after receiving a vaccine, but the claim was dismissed and the special master denied the request for attorney’s fees for claims filed in good faith and with a reasonable basis. However, the Federal Circuit vacated the special master’s decision.

The absence of an express medical opinion linking a vaccine to an injury doesn’t compel a conclusion that a claim lacks a reasonable basis, especially when a case is in its early stages and the claimant hasn’t yet hired any qualified experts, [the court] said. Sworn affidavits attesting to facts within a witness’s knowledge can be used when making a reasonable basis evaluation, the court also said.

For more information, see our coverage.