Food for Thought: Intellectual Property Protection for Recipes and Food Designs

By: Kurt M. Saunders and Valerie Flugge As any chef will tell you, cooking and food preparation is a creative, sometimes innovative, endeavor. Much thought and time is invested in selecting ingredients, developing the process for preparing the dish, and designing an interesting or appealing look and feel for a food item. If this is true, then it should come as no surprise that recipes, food designs, and other culinary creations can be protected by various forms of intellectual property, namely: trade secrets, design and utility patents, trade dress, but usually not copyright. This article considers how intellectual property law has been applied to protect recipes and food designs, along with broader issues relating to how these rights may overlap and their implications for competition. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 19 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 159

Crashed Software: Assessing Product Liability for Software Defects in Automated Vehicles

By: Sunghyo Kim Automated vehicles will not only redefine the role of drivers, but also present new challenges in assessing product liability. In light of the increased risks of software defects in automated vehicles, this Note will review the current legal and regulatory framework related to product liability and assess the challenges in addressing on-board software defects and cybersecurity breaches from both the consumer and manufacturer perspective. While manufacturers are expected to assume more responsibility for accidents as vehicles become fully automated, it can be difficult to determine the scope of liability regarding unexpected software defects. On the other hand, consumers face new challenges in bringing product liability claims against manufacturers and developers. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 16 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 300

The Licensing Function of Patent Intermediaries

By: John E. Dubiansky The contemporary patent marketplace is a complex ecosystem comprised of innovators and manufacturers who are often connected by a varied group of intermediaries. While there are a variety of intermediary business models—such as patent assertion entities and defensive aggregators—each facilitates a variant of a similar licensing transaction, connecting a set of patents held by a patent owner with a product or service offered by a prospective licensee. One explanation for the prevalence of intermediaries is that they engage in practices tantamount to arbitrage, acquiring patents and then licensing them at a profit because they enjoy greater success in patent litigation than patent holders would on their own. This paper advances an additional explanation: some intermediaries may serve a function analogous to a platform trading in non-exclusive licenses, overcoming search and valuation costs to facilitate licensing. This paper focuses on the use of two contract terms in intermediaries’ dealings with technology market participants: revenue sharing in patent acquisition and non-exclusive licensing. The Federal Trade Commission’s Patent Entity Activity Study reported that intermediaries used both of these terms. Building on those findings, this paper argues that intermediaries that use both provisions may, under some conditions, operate in a

Unprotected and Unpersuaded: The FCC’s Flawed Merger Review Procedures

By: Trey O’Callaghan In CBS Corporation v. FCC, the D.C. Circuit struck down the Federal Communication Commission’s rules for protecting confidential information that it collects during certain merger proceedings. In response, the Commission released a new order, pursuant to the Charter, Time Warner, and Bright House merger proceeding, for protecting confidential information. This iBrief analyzes the policy and legal implications of the Order, arguing that the Order is unlawful because it violates the Trade Secrets Act and notice-and-comment rulemaking requirements. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 15 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 39

The FTC Has a Dog in the Patent Monopoly Fight: Will Antitrust’s Bite Kill Generic Challenges?

By: Jennifer D. Cieluch Antitrust laws have been notoriously lenient in the patent realm, the underlying reason being that patents’ grant of exclusion create monopolies that defy antitrust laws in order to incentivize innovation. Thus, antitrust violations have rarely been found in the patent cases. But after the Supreme Court’s holding in FTC v. Actavis, brand name pharmaceutical companies may need to be more cautious when settling Hatch-Waxman litigation with potential patent infringers. Both brand-name drug manufacturers and generic drug manufacturers have incentives to settle cases by having the brand-name pay the generic in exchange for delaying their entry into the market. While courts usually found that these reverse-payment settlements did not violate antitrust laws, the Supreme Court recently held that they sometimes can, even if the settlement’s anticompetitive effects fall within the scope of the exclusionary potential of the patent. The Court tried to take the middle ground after rejecting several bright line rules promulgated by appellate courts, including the Third Circuit’s “quick look” presumption against reverse payment settlements and the Second, Eleventh, and Federal Circuit’s “scope of the patent” test. This note finds that the Supreme Court’s ruling will make the Hatch-Waxman legal landscape murky and, therefore, difficult