Design Patents and Copyrights for Designs on Useful Articles

IP

Two recent cases illustrate the potential benefits of protecting intellectual property rights with both design patents and copyrights, particularly for an article that has both utility and a design, including because a design patent infringement analysis may sometimes be more straightforward to apply. In a design patent case, Columbia Sportswear North America, Inc. v. Seirus Innovative Accessories, No. 3:15-cv-00064 (D. Or. Aug. 10, 2016), a court applied a clear-cut analysis in granting summary judgment of infringement of a design used for breathable heat-reflective material. In contrast, in a copyright case, Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., 136 S. Ct. 1823, No. 15-866, 2016 U.S. Lexis 3031 (2016), the Supreme Court has granted certiorari to examine the test of whether a feature of a useful article – such as a garment or piece of furniture – is conceptually separable from the article and thus protectable by copyright, which courts have consistently struggled with. Continue reading this entry

Employer Handbook Policies Violate the National Labor Relations Act

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As recently noted, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is laser-like focused on scrutinizing employer personnel policies. In yet another example of this ongoing campaign, a recent administrative law judge (ALJ) decision highlights how some common employer’s handbook policies can be found to be unlawful.

Here are just a few of the policies the ALJ considered and found illegal: Continue reading this entry

Enjoy Your Holiday Weekend!

14.10673_AutoBlog_300x225The Dashboard Insights team wishes you a safe and happy Labor Day.

We’ll be back to our regular posting on Thursday, September 8.

Thanks for your continued support of our blog!

Could Rise in Auto Loan Delinquencies Signal Cooldown in Auto Industry?

Money

The summer yielded mixed economic signals for the auto industry. On the plus side, U.S. unemployment rates and interest rates remain low. However, auto sales at several auto manufacturers, including Ford and GM, slipped in July. Analysts are also focusing on an increasing area of concern: auto loan delinquencies. Earlier this year, the total amount of auto loans topped $1 trillion. Subprime (FICO score of 600 or lower) auto loans make up approximately one fifth of auto loans. Those loans are starting to see marked increases in delinquencies. Delinquencies of at least 60 days in subprime auto loans climbed to 4.59% in July, an increase in 13 percent compared to June and 17 percent higher than a year ago Prime auto loan delinquencies also jumped up to 0.4%, which is 21% higher than a year ago. Continue reading this entry

Self-Driving Ride Sharing Cars on the Road in 2016 (!)

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You know how flying cars, jet packs and things like that always seem way off into the future? Many feel the same about self-driving cars being on the road in the United States. However, Volvo and Uber are out to prove them wrong. As the Automotive News reported, the existing vehicles plus some Uber modifications “will enable the seven-seat SUV to drive itself…” Wow! Continue reading this entry