patent

USPTO Grants Blockchain Patent to Tennessee Based Company

On June 5, the United States Patent Office issued U.S. Patent 9,990,418 to a Tennessee-based company, 2020 IP, LLC. The ‘418 patent covers Blockchain technology in the market research space and was prosecuted by past TBA Intellectual Property Chair A.J. Bahou. This patented method covers novel technology that puts the user in control of his/her data and allows the user to set the value for the user’s data. Although a variety of companies use Blockchain technology to collect data and record secure information, the ‘418 patented technology uses Blockchain to create a revolutionary consumer-led exchange for market research.
 
In the growing field of Blockchain technology, many companies are seeking patent protection on a variety of different applications, including cryptocurrency, supply-chain management, messaging applications, and payment networks. In general, Blockchain technology records data on a decentralized database that is similar to a ledger entry. Once the data is validated, the information is written in a block of data and chained together in a secure way so that it is very difficult to modify any validated information. In addition, since the data is duplicated in various places throughout the decentralized database network, an improper change to any one copy does not impact the other valid copies of the information. You can view the patent here.
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Knoxville-based Company Earns Canadian Patent for Electronic Visit Verification

Knoxville based healthcare technology company HealthStar has earned an additional patent for the company's electronic visit verification (EVV), according to a June 25 press release. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office granted the patent for the underlying technology used in HealthStar Visit, the company's signature EVV software. It uses GPS-based technology to help reduce fraud, waste and abuse in Medicaid reimbursement for services delivered in a home-based setting.

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Knoxville Based Boat Company Accused of Violating Patent Injunction

Cobalt Boats LLC filed a motion in federal court on May 11 accusing Brunswick Corporation's Knoxville based Sea Ray brand of violating an injunction order by continuing to infringe on Cobalt's patented flip-down "retractable swim step," according to a press release issued on Wednesday. Cobalt contends that the swim steps currently sold on Sea Ray boats are not significantly different from the Sea Ray swim steps found to be an infringement in a previous trial, in which Cobalt was awarded upward to $5.4 million.

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This Friday: Intellectual Property 2018– CLE Bytes

This innovative program presented by the TBA Intellectual Property Section will feature timely analysis on cutting-edge topics designed to up your game by helping you stay on top of trends and advancements relevant to the world of IP. This event is a la carte, with registration open all day, allowing you to customize your schedule to the topics you are interested in. Take as many or as few hours as you need, paying only for the hours you attend. The forum will feature first-rate programming from speakers and producers such as:

  • Andre Bahou, Bahou Miller PLLC, Nashville
  • Scott Augenbaum, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Nashville
  • Kevin Christopher, Christopher Intellectual Property Law PLLC, Cookeville
  • William Fortunato, Patterson + Sheridan, Greensboro
  • James Fox Jr., Adams & Reese LLP, Memphis
  • Mark Graham Esq., The Graham Law Firm PLLC, Knoxville
  • Ian McFarland, Merchant & Gould PC, Knoxville
Topics include:
  • viral trademarks
  • how to protect software using intellectual property
  • Supreme Court updates on trademarks and copyrights
  • blockchain technology
  • Supreme Court updates on patents, and patent-eligible subject matter
Section members receive a discount for the program. Here’s the key info:

When: Friday, April 27, registration begins at 8 a.m., CST; programming will continue until 3:45 p.m., CST

Where: Tennessee Bar Center, 221 Fourth Avenue North, Nashville

Click here to register

 

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Changes in the Propriety of “Venue” in a Patent Infringement Suit

Recently, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, 16-341, US S. Ct. This decision heralds a major change in the propriety of “venue” in a patent infringement suit brought against a US company in a US district court for infringement of a US patent.
 
The patent venue statute reads as follows:
 
 28 U.S.C. § 1400. Patents and copyrights, mask works, and designs
(a) Civil actions, suits, or proceedings arising under any Act of Congress relating to copyrights or exclusive rights in mask works or designs may be instituted in the district in which the defendant or his agent resides or may be found.
(b) Any civil action for patent infringement may be brought in the judicial district where the defendant resides, or where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business.
 
The Supreme Court held in TC Heartland that for purposes of §1400(b) (venue in patent infringement actions), a domestic corporation will now be deemed to “reside” ONLY in its state of incorporation. This, in effect, overturns the prevailing interpretation of §§ 1391 & 1400(b), read together, that venue would be proper in any judicial district in which a defendant accused of patent infringement is also subject to personal jurisdiction. The Supreme Court has now determined this interpretation of §§ 1391 and 1400(b) contravenes its decision some 60 years ago in In Fourco Glass Co. v. Transmirra Products Corp., 353 U. S. 222, 226 (1957) that, for purposes of §1400(b), a domestic corporation “resides” only in its State of incorporation.   
 
In light of TC Heartland, a domestic corporation may now only properly be sued for patent infringement in a judicial district (i) in its state of incorporation or (ii) where the domestic corporation has both (a) committed acts of infringement and (b) has a regular and established place of business. The bottom line is that, in the wake of TC Heartland, many of the new patent infringement suits are likely to be brought in states like Delaware, Nevada, and other states where companies have historically favored chartering their business or, of course, in states where such companies have regular and established places of business and have allegedly committed acts of infringement. On the other hand, states like New York, New Jersey, Illinois, California, and Texas are likely to see a significant drop in the filing of new patent infringement actions.
 
Many new questions are likely to be raised by TC Heartland, which undoubtedly represents a major change in how future patent infringement suits will be brought, including, for example, the impact of TC Heartland on pending or recently filed cases, its applicability to patent declaratory judgment actions, and the like. It is also not known whether Congress will be pressured to act to, in effect, overrule TC Heartland by appropriate legislative amendment to the general and/or patent venue statutes. One approach some are taking as a result of TC Heartland is to sue customers who sell or resell products alleged to infringe patents and/or products made by processes/methods alleged to infringe US patents. This is likely to spark considerably more adjudication over the little-known, but potentially very powerful, “customer suit” exception. The customer suit exception allows a “supplier” or manufacturer entity (the so-called “real party in interest”) to commence a DJ action in the supplier/manufacturer's home state of incorporation or any other state where the suit could properly have been brought, and then intervene and have the case brought against its customer moved to the court where the DJ action is pending, assuming the plaintiff is subject to the jurisdiction of the court in which the DJ action has been filed.
 
Mark Graham, The Graham Law Firm PLLC
 
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Legal Assistance Volunteers For Patent Applicants

Pro Bono Support for Under-Resourced Inventors

Legal Assistance Volunteers for Patent Applicants (“LAVPA”) is a program created by the Tennessee Bar Association to provide pro bono legal support for qualifying independent inventors in Tennessee.  Through LAVPA, volunteer attorneys provide qualified clients with assistance in preparing and filing provisional and non-provisional patent applications at no charge for inventors that could otherwise not afford their services.

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