News & Updates

Firm Named “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers

November 5, 2020

For the eleventh consecutive year, Woodard, Emhardt, Henry, Reeves & Wagner, LLP has been named U.S. News Media Group (U.S. News) and Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list. For 2021, Woodard was recognized with top regional rankings in 5 practice areas including Copyright Law, Litigation – Intellectual Property, Litigation – Patent, Patent Law and Trademark Law.

Firms included in the 2021 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.


New associates: Step one — develop your skills

November 2, 2020

Many of you recently passed the state bar exam and were sworn in to practice law within the last couple of months. Now it is time to start practicing law, implement what you learned in law school and begin to learn from your colleagues how to be a lawyer in the real world. Some of you may be looking for advice on how to proceed following your law school experience. I was in your shoes one year ago and will now impart some of the “knowledge” I have learned in my first year as a lawyer. It is up to you to decide if what I have learned is helpful to you or if I am full of it.

Develop a solid foundation

It is tempting to want to hit the ground running. Many lawyers want to try the biggest cases and to leave their mark on the profession. However, in order to do so, you need to develop a solid foundation of skills. In every area of the law, there are steps you must take to develop those skills. My advice is to learn what they are and become proficient in each no matter how rudimentary. Learn how to use a calendar, how to file a document with the court, how best to communicate with partners and clients, and how to work well with others in your firm including the paralegals, staff and assistants. Do not shy away from difficult work or hide from a partner with a reputation for being tough to work for. If there are partners at your firm willing to teach you, be grateful and learn as much as you can from their experiences. I believe the best way for anyone to learn is to do — make sure to gather as much work as possible. Working on a variety of matters will provide you with real-world legal experience and exposure to clients, helping you build your client service skills.

To read the full article, visit The Indiana Lawyer

 


USPTO Access to Relevant Prior Art Initiative Status Update

October 23, 2020

This article first appeared in the AIPLA Patent Law Committee October 2020 Newsletter.

By Hayley Talbert and Michael M. Morris

For the past few years, the USPTO has been quietly testing a way to automatically import prior art references from related applications at the USPTO (i.e., without any prompt from the Applicant) and improve examiner review of those references.  The program, referred to as the Access to Relevant Prior Art (RPA) initiative, launched in November of 2018 and is currently being piloted in one Art Unit in each of the nine technology centers at the USPTO (currently Art Units 2133, 1616, 1731, 2431, 2675, 2879, 2922, 3635, and 3753). Other than a recent announcement regarding the Art Units within the program and the occasional Notice of Imported Citations received by an Applicant—which indicates their application was entered in the program—the USPTO has been relatively silent regarding this initiative. So, earlier this summer, AIPLA Patent Law Committee Members Hayley Talbert and Mike Morris met with USPTO personnel working on this program to understand how the initiative has been going and learn where the initiative may go. The following is a summary of what the USPTO shared with the AIPLA.

The RPA initiative is currently in Phase 1, which is limited to US patent applications with only one non-provisional parent application or patent and in only certain Art Units.  For applications in the initiative, software created to implement the RPA initiative collects prior art from Information Disclosure Statements (IDSs), PTO 892 forms, and Third Party Submissions in the parent application or patent and presents those references to the Examiner as a Master Reference List.  An applicant whose application is included in the RPA initiative receives a Notice of Imported Citations informing them of their application’s inclusion and listing the references on the Master Reference List.  The Applicant, however, need not take any affirmative steps to participate in this program.

Currently, for citations printed on the face of a patent outside of the RPA, the references come from up to three sources (Applicant provided, Examiner cited, Third Party Submission). Under the RPA, the USPTO has now added another category—automatically imported references.  All four of these categories of prior art references will be printed on the face of patent granted from the RPA.

So why was this program created? The USPTO’s primary goals in the program are to increase patent examination quality and efficiency. An automated tool developed for USPTO examiners to help them review the references from the Master Reference List is the primary means to achieve these goals.  While the USPTO is still collecting data on the new tool which is currently available only for cases in the RPA, the general sense is the new automated tool for examiners has increased the number of relevant reference presented to the Examiner and also does aid the Examiner in his/her review of those references.

Another goal of the RPA is to assist Applicants and patent prosecutors in meeting the duty of disclosure under 37 C.F.R. 1.56, and—hopefully—save Applicant’s money during prosecution. Whether this goal is being met is unknown. From informal conversations, many practitioners seem unfamiliar with the program and, therefore, may be surprised when they receive a Notice of Imported Citations—perhaps causing them to spend time investigating the program. Additionally, while some practitioners that receive a Notice of Imported Citations may trust the completeness of the references listed, the AIPLA suspects many practitioners will compare the list of references on the Notice of Imported Citations with the references in their own records of prior art to ensure no relevant reference is omitted.

So what are the USPTO’s plans for future phases of the RPA? While the RPA currently imports references from only an immediate parent application or patent, the USPTO intends to eventually pull references from more distant family members (grandparents, PCTs, etc.). Also, rather than the single import done now, the USPTO plans to import relevant prior art in real-time (e.g., as citations are entered in the parent case). Additionally, the USPTO intends to collect prior art from other patent offices (e.g., the EPO and JPO).

While Phase 1 is about to have its second anniversary, the USPTO has not yet scheduled a transition to Phase 2 of the initiative.  When Phase 2 occurs, however, practitioners may see an increase in the number of Examiners using the Master Reference List and related new tools, expansion in the types of applications allowed in to the initiative (such as applications that have more than one priority claim), and expansion in the sources from which the prior art references are collected. The USPTO is also considering providing a mechanism for Applicants to indicate other applications to be imported, such as cross-cited families that may not share a priority claim.

Takeaway, the USPTO is currently automatically importing references for only certain cases in certain Art Units. If you receive a Notice of Imported Citations, please know that the USPTO is currently doing only a one-time import of references from the parent application.  If the parent application is still pending and additional prior art arises in the parent application after the import into the child application, practitioners will need to identify and provide such references to the USPTO in an IDS if they want such references to be considered by the examiner and listed on the face of any patent issuing from the child application.

More information is available on the Access to Relevant Prior Art webpage of the USPTO website.


Obtaining and Enforcing Patents and Trademarks for Flavor Burst

October 15, 2020

Flavor Burst is a leading manufacturer of flavor and candy delivery equipment for frozen confections. The company designs and manufactures self-serve dispensing systems that increase a restaurant and retail establishments’ menu flavor offerings for soft service ice cream, shakes, slushies, frozen coffee, smoothies, frozen carbonated beverages, and frozen cocktails. Since Flavor Burst released its first product in 1992, it has expanded to more than 40 countries worldwide.

Flavor Burst executives have worked with the Woodard firm for decades to obtain and enforce patents and trademarks for its unique flavor blending and dispensing systems, syrups, mixes, and candies. Recently, Woodard attorneys Mike Morris and Andrew Nevill helped Flavor Burst prepare and file new patent applications on the next generation of flavor blending and dispensing systems that will increase efficiency for restaurants and retail establishments and provide patrons with even more enjoyable products.

For more information on Flavor Burst Company, please visit: https://www.flavorburst.com/


The Firm’s Key Role with Gatorade®

October 8, 2020

The Indianapolis Star published an interesting article about the history of Gatorade® thirst quencher: The Fascinating Tale of Gatorade’s Indy Beginning

Our law firm has played a key role in this famous product over the decades. We prepared and secured the original patent rights for the product. We also secured the original trademark registrations for “GATORADE” mark. We continue to represent the University of Florida, home of the Gators, in connection with the Gatorade® brand.


Lisa A. Hiday Celebrates 25th Firm Anniversary

October 2, 2020

Woodard, Emhardt, Henry, Reeves & Wagner, LLP partner, Lisa A. Hiday, celebrates 25 years of service with the firm. Over the years, Ms. Hiday became an integral member of the litigation team, litigating patent, trademark and copyright disputes across a wide range of industries, including industrial manufacturing, medical devices, pharmaceutical technologies, packaging, and computerized systems services.

Please join us in wishing Ms. Hiday a happy anniversary, congratulating her on this milestone and thanking her for 25 years of service to clients and the Firm.


Protecting the Patented Slipstream Bracket® by ThatGrin LLC and Removing Counterfeit Products From the Market

September 1, 2020

Electric vehicles are becoming more mainstream, and none are more beloved than Tesla. However, many states require a front license plate, and Tesla owners are left with the difficult decision to drill into the bumper of their new Tesla or install some other adhesive or flimsy aftermarket license plate mount.

Faced with this problem themselves, Chad and Cristi Nowakowski chose to make their own, giving birth to the Slipstream Bracket. The Slipstream Bracket is a NO-drill, NO-holes, NO-adhesives front license plate mounting solution for the Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model X, and the all-new Tesla Model Y. The Patented design of the Slipstream Bracket is aerodynamically invisible to the cold air intake and does not interfere with any of Tesla’s autopilot sensors. The secure, quick-release system (using the provided L-key) is ideal for car washes, Tesla events, detailing, and for anyone who wants the ability to “pop-on” or “pop-off” their front license plate without the risk of damaging their vehicle.

Many months went into testing, developing, and producing the Slipstream Bracket. Precise dimensions, OEM placement, and specific high-quality construction materials ensure 100% compatibility with the onboard safety systems. Additionally, the unique product design protects the body parts and finish of Tesla models. Many of the painstakingly designed components used in making the Slipstream Bracket ensure maximum protection of the body parts and the painted finish of Tesla vehicles. Furthermore, the proprietary to ThatGrin LLC makes it very difficult to duplicate the product safely.

Given the precise dimensions and sensitivity of the Tesla Autopilot and safety systems, ThatGrin LLC owners were very concerned when counterfeit brackets began showing up online. These counterfeit brackets did not meet the tight tolerances required and thus risked interfering with the vehicle’s function. To protect their product and the consuming public, ThatGrin LLC began working with Firm attorney, William A. McKenna, to protect the patented design and remove counterfeit products from the market. So far, the results have been successful, and the Slipstream Bracket remains an overwhelming success with a five-star rating on Amazon with several thousand sold.

For more information about ThatGrin LLC and to order the Slipstream Bracket, visit: ThatGrin.com.


Charles J. Meyer Celebrates 25th Firm Anniversary

August 21, 2020

Woodard, Emhardt, Henry, Reeves & Wagner, LLP attorney Charles J. Meyer celebrates his silver anniversary with the firm. As a prosecutor and litigator, Mr. Meyer represents and counsels clients in various aspects of patent, trademark and copyright law. He also serves as Chairman of the Firm’s Trademark Practice Group.

Please join us in congratulating Mr. Meyer on this milestone and thanking him for 25 years of service to clients, the Indianapolis community and the Firm.


Seven Firm Partners Included in The Best Lawyers in America© 2021

August 20, 2020

Woodard, Emhardt, Henry, Reeves & Wagner LLP is pleased to announce that seven partners have been included in the 2021 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© 2021.

The Firm would like to congratulate the following lawyers named to 2021 The Best Lawyers in America© list:

  • Spiro Bereveskos – Litigation – Intellectual Property, Litigation – Patent, and Patent Law
  • Kenneth A. Gandy – Litigation – Intellectual Property, Litigation – Patent, Patent Law, and Trademark Law
  • Thomas Q. Henry – Copyright Law, Litigation – Intellectual Property, Litigation – Patent, Patent Law, and Trademark Law
  • Daniel J. Lueders – Litigation – Intellectual Property, Litigation – Patent, and Patent Law
  • William A. McKenna – Litigation – Intellectual Property, Litigation – Patent, and Patent Law
  • Charles J. Meyer – Litigation – Intellectual Property
  • Charles P. Schmal – Patent Law

 

Lawyers on The Best Lawyers in America list are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.


Jeremy J. Gustrowsky and Michael M. Morris included in the Inaugural Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch

August 20, 2020

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch inaugural list recognizes attorneys who have been in practice for 5-9 years for outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States.

The Firm congratulates Jeremy and Mike for their recognition in the following 2021 Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch practice areas:

  • Jeremy J. Gustrowsky – Patent Law
  • Michael M. Morris – Intellectual Property Law

 

Older Posts »