Here is a report on recent news and commentary related to the Federal Circuit and its cases. Today’s report highlights:

  • an article discussing how the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision that “an Italian company can’t register a ‘Parma Coffee’ trademark because it primarily refers to a product’s point of origin”;
  • another article addressing how Apple called the Solicitor General’s brief a “‘regrettable disregard’ of high court precedent” in Apple Inc. v. Qualcomm Inc.; and
  • a third article explaining how the Federal Circuit decided a “Delaware federal judge misconstrued part of UMass’ skin-cream patents when it found them invalid last year.”

Kyle Jahner wrote an article for Bloomberg Law discussing how, in In re A. ZETA S.R.L., the Federal Circuit ruled that an Italian coffee company, Zeta, “failed to undercut a trademark examiner’s conclusion that the mark [‘Parma Coffee’] met all the criteria to be refused as geographically descriptive.” Jahner explained how “Zeta argued to the Federal Circuit that the goods can’t originate in Parma, as coffee, tea and cocoa don’t grow in Italy, the country where Parma is located.” Jahner noted, however, how the Federal Circuit concluded Zeta “forfeited much of its argument because they weren’t raised before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.”

Dani Kass published an article for Law360 addressing how, in Apple Inc. v. Qualcomm Inc., Apple submitted a supplemental brief arguing that “the government failed to address two key pieces of Supreme Court precedent, while interpreting a third ‘so narrowly as to render it virtually meaningless in the portfolio licensing context.'” As the article notes, Apple’s brief maintains that, when properly applied, the precedent “‘show[s] that Apple has standing to challenge the validity of patents that — but for the parties’ license agreement — Qualcomm would unquestionably accuse Apple of infringing.'”

Blake Brittain filed an article with Reuters explaining how, in University of Massachusetts v. L’Oréal SA, the Federal Circuit reversed a Delaware district court order and found that “[t]he University of Massachusetts and a Christian religious order can pursue a patent lawsuit against L’Oréal SA over several skin cream brands.” Brittain noted how the district court “adopted UMass’ proposed construction of the patents” but later invalidated the patents for being too vague under that construction. As the article notes, however, the Federal Circuit “revived the patents after finding they . . . cover a specific amount of adenosine applied to the skin’s surface.”