June 2020

Ransomware Attacks On the Rise In 2020

Takeaway: Remote workers and internet users need to take extra precautions to prevent possible ransomware attacks.

Ransomware attacks continue to rise in the first quarter of 2020. Furthermore, specialty insurer groups do not expect any relief for companies regarding the number of attacks in the upcoming months as the COVID-19 pandemic and working remotely continues.

While the manufacturing sector has been hit the hardest, financial services and healthcare companies have also been hit hard with ransomware attacks. These cyber criminals have been using the pandemic and financial crisis to their advantage by seizing security holes and creating phishing incidents and fraudulent social media posts among other attacks.

While many businesses are understaffed with IT support and the economic and health crisis continues, it is of the utmost importance for internet users and remote workers to be extra cautious when receiving unusual emails or clicking on links for downloads.

Google Implements Takedown Reports for Counterfeit Goods

Takeaway: Google now allows users to report counterfeit goods in a manner similar to the DMCA process for removal of copyrighted infringement content.

Google’s new option to allow for users to report counterfeit goods is implemented in its legal troubleshoot form where users could also previously report instances of copyright infringement and other legal notices. This report is similar to other processes, such as Google’s process to report copyright infringement with DMCA takedowns.

Once a user reports the counterfeit goods, a Google employee will then review the takedown request and, based on the content, decide whether or not to remove it. In time, the reports for counterfeit goods will enable Google to develop algorithms that will help Google limit the visibility of websites offering counterfeit goods for sale.


Amazon Patent Evaluation Procedure Helps Remove Counterfeit Products

Takeaway: Amazon’s neutral patent evaluation procedure offers patent owners the opportunity to remove product listings on Amazon that infringe their patents without the expense of litigation.

Amazon is taking affirmative steps to help sellers remove counterfeiters from the Amazon market. If a seller on Amazon has a patented product and comes across counterfeit products being sold by other sellers on Amazon, the neutral patent evaluation procedure can be a helpful tool to remove counterfeit sellers.

The neutral patent evaluation procedure is a pilot program at Amazon where Amazon invites patent owners to provide a claim chart comparing the patent owner’s product and the allegedly counterfeit product(s) being sold on Amazon. Amazon then notifies each seller of the claim against them and invites all to participate in the process. If Amazon does not hear back from a seller, Amazon will remove the allegedly infringing seller’s product listing from Amazon. On the other hand, if the seller agrees to participate, each seller pays $4,000 to Amazon, and a neutral third party patent lawyer is hired to resolve the patent infringement claim. The losing party is responsible for the $4,000, and the winning party is returned their payment. Amazon’s pilot program is a highly effective and cost-efficient alternative to litigating patent infringement.


USPTO Expedites Examination of COVID-19 Related Patent Applications

Takeaway: Under the USPTO’s new COVID-19 program, patent applicants can file a petition to advance the examination of their COVID-19 related patent application.

In early April 2020, Cislo & Thomas Managing Partner Daniel M. Cislo sent a personal letter to Director Iancu of the USPTO, requesting expedited handling for patent filings related to COVID-19 innovation. Since his request, the USPTO recently announced its new program, allowing applicants with qualifying COVID-19 related inventions to file a petition to the director of the USPTO to seek advanced examination of their applications. Patent applications are traditionally examined in the order in which they are received. Only under special qualifying circumstances, such as COVID-19, may the examination of the applications be expedited. The purpose of allowing prioritized examination of COVID-19 related patent applications is to expedite the process so that the public will gain access to these COVID-19 related advancements at an accelerated rate.


USPTO Allows Additional Time for Restoring Lapsed Provisional Patent Applications

Takeaway: If you failed to file a non-provisional U.S. application by your provisional application’s one-year deadline due to COVID-19, the USPTO has extended the time to claim priority to July 31, 2020 and is waiving the petition fee.

As of June 11, 2020, applicants who have filed a U.S. provisional patent application, or an earlier foreign patent application, and who have missed their one-year deadline to file for a U.S. non-provisional are in luck if they still want to claim the right of their earlier filing date.

Normally, applicants have an additional two months after their one-year deadline to claim the right of their earlier filing date with a petition fee. This recent USPTO initiative has now extended that right to July 31, 2020, unless the preexisting two-month period rule would provide a later deadline, in which the deadline would remain unchanged. Additionally, this initiative applies to:

1. Non-provisional utility applications seeking priority to foreign applications filed on or after March 27, 2019;

2. Non-provisional utility applications seeking benefit from provisional applications filed on or after March 27, 2019; and

3. Non-provisional design applications seeking priority to foreign applications filed on or after September 27, 2019.

Applicants are required to submit a statement to the USPTO explaining that due to COVID-19 they were unable to file the U.S. non-provisional application in a timely manner.


Cislo & Thomas LLP Spotlight

Katherine Sales Awarded 2020 Southern California Rising Stars by Super Lawyer®

Congratulations to Cislo & Thomas Attorney Katherine Sales, who has been awarded 2020 Southern California Rising Stars by Super Lawyer®.

Katherine is an experienced IP prosecutor for domestic and international patent, trademark, and copyright matters.

Great work, Katherine!


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