Week Ahead in Intellectual Property: Sept. 20, 2021

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(Reuters) – Here are some upcoming events of interest to the intellectual property law community. Unless otherwise noted, all times are local, and court appearances are in person.

Monday, Sept. 20

9 a.m. – A jury trial will begin in Delaware on claims that Comcast’s troubleshooting apps and services infringe two patents owned by NexStep Inc. NexStep’s founder Robert Stepanian created the patented inventions, which relate to remote device controlling, and said in the company’s 2019 complaint that he met with Comcast about potentially licensing the technology. Comcast argues that its systems don’t infringe and that the relevant parts of the patents are invalid. U.S. District Judge Richard Andrews is presiding.

The case is NexStep Inc v. Comcast Cable Communications LLC, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, No. 1:19-cv-01031. For NexStep: Paul Andre and Jonathan Caplan of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, Philip Rovner of Potter Anderson & Corroon. For Comcast: Bill Lee and Mindy Sooter of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, Jack Blumenfeld of Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell.

Wednesday, Sept. 22

9 a.m. – The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments by videoconference in a trademark showdown between the Wyoming-based Trial Lawyers College and its founder Gerry Spence, who allegedly infringed its trademarks by creating “Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College at Thunderhead Ranch” after a split with the school’s board. Spence’s school appealed a Wyoming court decision that preliminarily blocked it from promoting itself as the real “Trial Lawyers College,” arguing among other things that the injunction amounted to a “gag order” by blocking Spence’s group from claiming to be the school’s “true board” and that TLC didn’t show it would suffer irreparable harm without the order.

The case is Trial Lawyers College v. Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College at Thunderhead Ranch, 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 20-8038. For Spence’s group: Tim Getzoff and Brad Cave of Holland & Hart. For TLC: Christopher Ralston of Phelps Dunbar

12:30 p.m. – The US*MADE Coalition and the Alliance for Automotive Innovation will host an event commemorating the 10th anniversary of the passage of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. Among other things, the AIA established the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and created a “first inventor to file” system to determine priority for patent applications. The free Wednesday event will be held in Washington, D.C., and will feature the act’s writers, Democratic U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont and former Republican U.S. Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, as well as former acting PTO director and current Haynes and Boone partner Joe Matal and Harvard Business School professor Lauren Cohen. The event has both in-person and virtual attendance options.

Know of an event that could be included in an upcoming Week Ahead in Intellectual Property? Contact Blake Brittain at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com

Blake Brittain

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com

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