By Roberto Valenti

The new Italian Patent Box: an interesting measure for the fashion industry

The Italian Parliament recently approved the so called Stability Law 2015, a bill containing a number of measures aimed at revitalizing the Italian economy and boosting growth in the system, including the so-called patent box, a tax incentive designed to encourage companies to profit from their patents by reducing the tax paid on those profits.


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By Jeremy Elman and Andrew Stein

The United States Supreme Court issued two related opinions earlier today regarding the appropriate standard for awarding attorneys’ fees in patent litigation, Octane Fitness, LLC v. Icon Health & Fitness, Inc., and Highmark Inc. v. Allcare Health Management System, Inc. At issue in Octane was whether the “exceptional case” standard for awarding attorneys’ fees in patent litigation under 35 U.S.C. § 285 was too high, and at issue in Highmark was whether a District Court’s award under § 285 should be subject to deference or reviewed de novo.  Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivered the opinion of the Court in both cases, which was unanimous except for Justice Antonin Scalia disagreeing with three footnotes in Octane.

While the effect of these decisions on reducing patent troll litigation remains to be seen, they could have an immediate impact on the various legislative patent litigation reform proposals being considered in Congress.

The Court’s opinions today lower the standard for awarding attorneys’ fees and reviewing such decisions, overruling the Federal Circuit’s standard from Brooks Furniture Mfg., Inc. v. Dutailier Int’l, Inc., 393 F. 3d 1378 (2005).


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By John Wilks and Charles Harvey

UK IP legislation is changing.

First, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (which received Royal Assent on 25 April 2013), has just been published, and modifies UK copyright law (though not as drastically as some would have liked).

Secondly, the Government announced in the Queen’s Speech that it will be introducing an Intellectual Property Bill to make changes to the law of design and patents.


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Last night, we attended a DC Bar fashion law panel discussion, “For the Love of Fashion: Protect Yourself,” at Baker Hostetler in Washington DC. It was a very informative and comprehensive discussion from in-house and outside counsel, including DLA Piper’s Lisa Norton, who is Of Counsel in the Patent Prosecution group, on trademark, copyright, and patent protection as well as current hot-button developments in fashion law and anti-counterfeiting.


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Beijing Friendship Hotel, along with Beijing’s Renmin University of China, hosted the United States-China Intellectual Property Adjudication Conference. Ann Ford (Washington, DC), along with other DLA Piper partners including Yan Zhao (Shanghai), Ed Chatterton (Hong


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INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND TECHNOLOGY ALERT

Robert Benson

Today President Barack Obama signed into law the America Invents Act, marking the first time in nearly 60 years that US patent legislation has been reformed.

The US does not often update its patent law. The most recent set of federal patent laws was signed by President Harry Truman in 1952, which itself was the first major revision of US patent law since the Patent Act of 1836.


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Fashion designers and companies can seek to protect their jewelry and other accessory designs through copyright, trademark and/or design patent registrations. Copyrights, trademarks, and patents are separate and independent forms of law and protection; therefore, protection can be obtained in one or all of the three ways discussed in more detail below. 

 
First, a trademark registration protects jewelry and other accessory designs (“accessory” meaning handbags, belts, watches, hats, etc.) that are inherently distinctive or have acquired distinctiveness/secondary meaning in the marketplace. In other words, the design must function as a source identifier. For example, Gucci holds a U.S. registration (Reg. No. 3238962) covering wallets, purses, handbags, shoulder bags, clutch bags, tote bags and clothing apparel for its distinctive horse bit design pictured below.
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                        
Trademark protection, of course, also extends to the product’s name and appearance. The registration process typically takes about one year. 
 
Second, a copyright registration protects designs that are sufficiently creative and artistic. Copyrightable works include logos, artwork, or design elements that are stitched, imprinted or embossed onto fabric; and ornamental aspects of jewelry, watches, belts, and handbags. For examples, see Registration Nos. VA000111813 (artwork on handbags), VAu000699898 (belt and buckle collection) and VA0001664539 (Marquis Loop Necklace and Earring Set). Aspects that are not copyrightable include style, shape, cut, pattern or material of clothing articles and basic utilitarian aspects of jewelry, watches, belts, handbags and other accessories. On average, the registration process takes about three months to one year. 
 
Lastly, a design patent registration protects  the overall aesthetic appearance of a design (i.e., the ornamental aspects of jewelry, watches, belts, hats, handbags, rings, etc.). Specifically, the designs must be new and sufficiently different from all prior designs. For example, Louis Vuitton owns a design patent (Patent No. D466,689) for the “ornamental design for a handbag” and Tag Heuer owns a design patent for the “ornamental design for a watch” (Patent No. D413,815). The registration process takes about one to two years.
 
As a side note, utility patents, which protect how an object operates or functions (meaning, its functional/utilitarian features), usually cannot be used to protect jewelry or accessory designs unless the design includes some type of mechanical improvement. 


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