In his co-authored non-fiction book, “That Used to be Us,” Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist and author Thomas Friedman advocates for Americans to become a new “Us” that invests in education, infrastructure, and research and development, opens society more widely to talented immigrants, and fixes economic regulations that govern our economy. How different is Friedman’s “Us” from the one arising from the November 2016 elections? This February 2017 issue of the HULSEY PC, IP MoNIToR starts to ask this question.

Donald Trump kicked off an IP intensive administration with inaugural festivities involving  copyright infringement concerns, as one of his presidential inaugural cakes was confusingly similar to an inaugural cake created four years ago for the 2013 Obama inauguration. And, confusion now exists as to who will lead the USPTO with the Office making the statement that “Unusual Circumstances” are preventing the announcement. 

With the changes, challenges, and uncertainties of 2016, We welcome better and more stable IP laws and their application. It appears that more certainty in the IP laws may, in fact, ahead. The 2016 Defend Trade Secrets Act answers part of this need by providing to businesses more certainty through national-level, and no longer just state-level, adjudication and interpretation of trade secret laws. With new quality metrics permeating the USPTO, standards and more certainty will become more telling in the prosecution and enforcement of patent rights. Moreover, the recently promulgated Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission antitrust rules for IP licensing suggest a more consistent and reliable review of intellectual property rights transactions–not only domestically, but also internationally. And further internationally, China heightens its pace of IP systems developments through its recently promulgated 13th National IP Strategic Plan. 

For trademarks, new interpretations of registrability for disparaging marks, such as “REDSKINS” and “THE SLANTS,” will be tested by the U.S. Supreme Court this year. Patents continue to be ever more important for new technologies such as autonomous or driverless cars and digital currencies and their digital exchanges.

I sincerely hope that your business and personal efforts and aspirations succeed in these final winter months 2017. We here at HULSEY PC stand ready to serve our valued clients and friends in fulfilling our mission to be A Gold Standard in IP for a Creative and Inventive Entrepreneurial Marketplace!