Fall 2007

Cislo & Thomas LLP® Opens New Offices

Our firm is pleased to announce the first anniversary of the opening of our Westlake Village office, located at the Pepperdine University Westlake Campus, as well as our new location in Long Beach. We understand that having our offices close to our Southern California clients fosters direct contact with them so that we might better consider how to protect our clients’ intellectual property. The Westlake Village office joins our Santa Monica and Long Beach offices.

The Ownership Status of Patented Products Invented During the Course of Employment is Critical
An employer may generally have a right to use an invention where (a) the inventor assigns his or her rights to the company; (b) the employee was hired to develop inventive ideas; or (c) a “shop right” is created where the employee used the employer’s time and resources to develop the invention. Make sure your employees have signed a proper employment agreement. If you would like us to review your company’s exposure to losing an employee’s patent, give us a call.

For Design Patent Infringement, “Ordinary Observer” Can Be the Industrial Buyer
In a recent design patent case, the Federal Circuit held that the “ordinary observer” is not always the end consumer of the ultimate product, but in the case of a smaller component of a larger product, it can be the industrial buyer of that component. This allows an accused infringer to argue that the products should be viewed from the perspective of a sophisticated purchaser, who is more attuned to differences between products and thus would not be confused by minor variations.

Trademark Board Clarifies Treatment of “Use” Applications Where Mark Not Used on All Identified Goods
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) has held that, in the absence of a fraud claim, as long as a mark was used on some of the identified goods or services as of the filing of the application, a use-based application is not void in its entirety even if the applicant did not use the mark on all of the identified goods or services. Thus, provided an application is still pending and provided there have been no allegations of fraud, it appears that a list of goods can be amended to prevent voiding the application in its entirety. If you would like us to review the susceptibility of your pending trademarks, please give us a call.