Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Citigroup v. Capital City Bank: the DuPont factors

In the "patent reform" business of 2011, there is advocacy of post-grant review (aka opposition). To see how a bigger entity can use such a procedure against a smaller entity, see the trademark case of Citigroup v. Capital City Bank.

The final conclusion:

We conclude that no likelihood of confusion would
arise from the registration of CCB’s marks for banking
and financial services and Citigroup’s marks for the same
services. We affirm the T.T.A.B.’s denial of Citigroup’s
opposition to the registration of CCB’s marks.

Cross-reference: Application of E.I.
DuPont De Nemours & Co., 476 F.2d 1357, 1362 (CCPA
1973) (“DuPont”).

UPDATE. 11 August 2011:

The following is from a letter from former Senator Bayh (of Bayh-Dole) written in July 2011:

Big companies armed with savvy lawyers can now use the reexamination process as a way of quashing smaller companies; it costs little to file a re-exam petition and a lot to defend a patent. In the past four years, the number of re-exams filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has increased dramatically, and most of those requests are routinely granted. This trend has placed huge demands on a patent office that is underfunded and under-resourced.

See Patently unjust, which also included the text:

In effect, powerful unscrupulous players have court-approved legal immunity to abuse a patent reexamination system already showing signs of strain. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) observed recently that mere fact of re-examination, regardless of its outcome, can be "a death sentence for a patent."


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