Monthly Archives: August 2017

Training Teachers to Educate the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

Blog by Joe Matal, Performing the Functions and Duties of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO

As students are starting the school year, teachers are heading back with new lesson plans, some of which include intellectual property concepts. Last month, more than 50 K-12 educators from across the nation took part in the 4th Annual National Summer Teacher Institute (NSTI) on Innovation, STEM, and Intellectual Property. This year’s NSTI was hosted by the USPTO’s Office of Education and Outreach in Denver, Colorado in collaboration with the University of Denver’s Project X-ITE Team. NSTI is a week-long innovation and entrepreneurial boot camp designed to help teachers unleash the innovative potential of their students.

Teachers participate in hands-on activities at NSTI

The central focus of this year’s Institute was on the creation and protection of intellectual property. Educators were broken up into teams and took part in a wide range of hands-on activities designed to inspire and motivate America’s young innovators, entrepreneurs, and “makers”. These activities encouraged participants to seek innovative solutions to a broad set of problems ranging from food and cooking to sports, design, and protecting the environment. Teams were supported by IP subject matter experts from the USPTO and innovation professionals from industry, academia and government agencies. At the end of the event, teams pitched their inventions to a panel of esteemed judges led by Molly Kocialski, Director of the Rocky Mountain Regional U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Denver, Colorado.

For students interested in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, computer science, innovation, and entrepreneurship, a strong understanding of the IP system is critical for success. The NSTI works to give teachers the tools and training they need to get students excited about innovation and IP protection. Teachers will now return to their communities ready to encourage students to innovate and invent.

This year’s class of educators now joins a growing network of NSTI grads dedicated to applying their training to improve their students’ understanding of the IP system. As past NSTI participant Yolanda Payne explained, “Attending NSTI is a life changing experience. It is a lot of hard work, but it’s fun learning new things…At NSTI, you learn things you and your students will benefit from. It will make you a better teacher. Anything that captures students’ attention is winning for a teacher.”

Do you want to learn more about the experiences of past NSTI participants? Read about how a former athletics coach from Massachusetts lead his InvenTeam to the White House Science Fair or about how a science teacher from Maine gets her students excited about innovation.

Source: USPTO

Arbitrator addresses conflict between California Kin Care law and collective bargaining agreement

A dispute arose between Southwest Airlines and TWU concerning the relationship between their CBA and the provisions of California’s Kin Care law. Kin Care allows an employee to use up to one half of accrued sick leave to care for an eligible family member.

Grievant, a ramp agent, was scheduled to work his regular 1:30 pm to 10 pm shift on January 8, 2017. He had also agreed to work an earlier shift the same day from  5:15 am to 1:30 pm. He called in sick before starting work that day to take care of his ill son. It was undisputed that the reason for this absence fell within the terms of Kin Care.

The dispute between the parties arose from the Company’s decision to treat all of grievant’s missed time (i.e. both his regular shift and the additional shift, a total of 15.7 hours) as covered by Kin Care and to pay out sick leave accordingly.The Union claimed that the CBA limited sick leave to a maximum of 8 hours in any one day and sought to have the remaining hours returned to grievant’s sick leave bank.

The dispute was submitted to Arbitrator Joshua Javits for resolution.

The Union argued that the payout exceeded the contractual maximum and was an attempt by the Company to improperly force grievant to exhaust his sick leave as quickly as possible. It maintained that an employee should be permitted to choose how much Kin Care leave he/she wanted to use during any period of absence. Southwest argued that it was required by statute to treat all work scheduled but missed as covered by Kin Care notwithstanding the contractual maximum. It noted that if it didn’t cover all of the hours missed, any hours not covered by Kin Care would be treated under the CBA as unprotected and would subject grievant to being charged one disciplinary point for an absence other than for his own illness. It argued that Kin Care protections were not waivable by a collective bargaining agreement.

In reaching his decision, Arbitrator Javits noted initially that an arbitrator is ordinarily limited to considering only the language of the CBA. Here, however, the parties’ agreement anticipated that any particular provision might be rendered invalid by subsequent legislation and that in that case the relevant provision should be deemed invalid. He noted:

The prevailing view among Arbitrators is that external laws and legislation that are not expressly incorporated by reference in to the CBA should not be treated as part of the parties’ CBA. Arbitration is generally considered a forum for interpreting and applying the contract – not a forum for enforcing statutory rights. Only in the most limited circumstances would the Arbitrator be prepared to void a contractual term in order to incorporate external legislation. To strike down a contractual provision, the Arbitrator would require compelling evidence that the external legislation was entirely incompatible with the parties’ contract. The burden of proof for declaring a contract term invalid in this way is high and is not easily met, the Arbitrator believes.

Accordingly he turned to the question of the interpretation and potential application of the Kin Care statute. Arbitrator Javits noted that there was a clear disagreement between the parties concerning the Kin Care requirements. The case also presented the somewhat unusual situation in which the grievant argued that he did not wish to take advantage of all that Kin Care may provide.

Arbitrator Javits concluded that Southwest had not presented the “compelling evidence ” he deemed necessary to deny the grievance. While the Company had presented its own interpretation of what the law required he noted:

…this is only the Company’s interpretation of how the Kin Care law is to be applied; there is no ruling from a state court/agency that definitively provides that the Company must enforce the Kin Care law in this manner. Absent such a ruling, the Arbitrator believes that he is compelled to follow the clear and express language of the parties’ CBA. For Arbitrators to apply potentially 50 different state laws to a nationwide contract would result in a chaotic situation, one that was never contemplated by the parties, the Arbitrator finds.

Accordingly, Arbitrator Javits agreed with the Union that the explicit language of the cba that “the maximum for which an employee will be paid [in sick leave] is one shift per day” should prevail.

The Arbitrator’s award can be found here.       

Source: ADR

What does the GPC Series data say about dispute resolution trends?

The main aim of the Global Pound Conference (GPC) Series, a project spanning 18 months, with events in 29 cities across six continents, is to collect data on dispute resolution around the world. Participants answer a set of Core Questions through a specifically designed app in which they are asked to rank their answers is order of preference.

Source: JAMS ADR

Tomorrow’s Leader Award Applications Due Soon


2017_tla_blog_082317.jpgDon’t miss your chance to receive INTA’s first-ever Tomorrow’s Leader Award!

Apply now! Applications will be accepted through August 31, 2017. 

In its first year, INTA’s Tomorrow’s Leader Award will recognize two outstanding young trademark professionals for their early leadership merits in the IP industry. As part of the award, the winning practitioners will gain the unique opportunity to serve on an INTA committee of their choice, will receive complimentary admittance to INTA’s 2018 Annual Meeting in Seattle and to 2017 Leadership Meeting in Washington, D.C, and will be given an INTA mentor. Award recipients will be announced at the Opening Ceremonies at the 2017 Leadership Meeting in D.C., and the winners will be exclusively featured in the INTA Bulletin. 

The award package was established to strengthen both professional and personal development for the award recipients and to raise their visibility as tomorrow’s leaders within the trademark community.  Winners will be chosen by the Tomorrow’s Leader Award Subcommittee of the Young Practitioners Committee.

For more information, check out our post in the INTA Bulletin or visit our website at If you have any questions, please email the staff liaison for the Young Practitioners Committee, Krista Volgenau, at​

Published: 8/25/2017 5:36 AM
BlogTag: Young Practitioners; Young Practitioners Committee

Source: TM NEWS

Research and analysis: UK patent system: Building the evidence base

The government has an ambition to be the most innovative country in the world. As part of this ambition, the IPO has conducted research on the performance of the UK patent system. This research investigates the difference in patent numbers between the UK and comparison countries.

This report brings together new and existing research including data analysis of patent datasets, interviews with users of the patent system, and reviews of the academic literature.

Source: UK IPO News

Changing Landscape of Latin America Conference: Co-Chair Video Interview


​Don’t miss INTA’s Changing Landscape of Latin America Conference! Taking place in Cartegena, Colombia, on October 2–3, 2017, this two-day advanced-level conference focuses on the regulatory restrictions, technological advances, and political uncertainties that underpin doing business in Latin America today for both start-up and established companies. 

What inspired the theme for this conference? What are the three biggest opportunities and challenges for brand owners in Latin America today? What can attendees expect from this conference? Conference Co-Chairs Maria Cecilia Romoleroux (Corral Rosales, Ecuador) and Diana Arredondo (Grupo Televisa, S.A.B., Mexico) answer these questions and more!

Watch the full video interview and register today:

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​​To watch more INTA videos, please visit our YouTube page​

Published: 8/22/2017 9:34 AM
BlogTag: Trademark Administrators (TMA) Committee; Color Mark

Source: TM NEWS

Verizon ordered to arbitrate benefits claim

A District Court in Pennsylvania has ordered Verizon to arbitrate a grievance filed by Communications Workers of America claiming that the Company breached a contractual prohibition on “Making any changes in the Verizon Pension Plan or the Verizon Sickness and Accident Disability Benefit Plan which would reduce or diminish he benefits or privileges provided by the Plans for employees within the bargaining unit without agreement of the Union.” Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, District 2-13 v. Verizon Pennsylvania, LLC

The Union asserted that Verizon had discontinued a practice of providing healthcare and life insurance benefits to terminated employees who were receiving accident disability benefits. According to the Union, per the applicable plan an employee terminated while receiving benefits is eligible to continue to receive benefits until the employee is no longer certified as disabled or has been paid the maximum amount of benefits under the plan.

The cba provides:

16.01 During the life of this Agreement the Company will not:

16.011 Make any change in the Verizon Pension Plan or the Verizon Sickness and Accident Disability Benefit Plan which would reduce or diminish the benefits or privileges provided by the Plans for employees within the bargaining unit without the agreement of the Union.

* * *

16.02 A claim that this Article has been violated may be submitted to arbitration under Article 10. A claim of an employee within the bargaining unit that they have been deprived of any benefits or privileges to which they are entitled under the Plans may be processed as a grievance under the provisions of Article 10, but shall not be subject to arbitration. However, nothing in this Agreement shall be construed to subject the provisions of the Plans or their administration or the terms of a proposed change to arbitration.

The Union’s grievance claimed a violation of Article 16.011. Verizon refused to arbitrate, claiming that the grievance was a claim for benefits, expressly excluded from arbitration by the last sentence of Article 16.02. The Union filed a Petition to Compel Arbitration. The Court summarized the dispute before it:

At issue between the Union and Verizon is § 16.02 of the CBA. Verizon claims the Union’s grievance is excluded from arbitration under the second and third sentences of § 16.02 because the grievance is merely a claim for benefits, which would require plan interpretation. … Thus, Verizon argues that the remedy for former Verizon employees who claim to be denied benefits is the claims and appeals procedure outlined in SADBP § 9.1. … In contrast, the Union contends that its grievance is arbitrable under the first sentence of § 16.02. … The Union further takes issue with Verizon’s construction and interpretation of § 16.02, claiming that Verizon’s interpretation fails to take in account the distinction between claims being made by the Union on behalf of its members, and claims by individual members that they have been denied benefits.

Agreeing with the Union, the Court concluded that the dispute, as framed by the Union, was properly subject to arbitration. It noted:

…§ 16.02 makes a distinction between claims brought by the Union on a unit-wide basis, and claims by an individual that he or she has been denied benefits. The latter is not arbitrable because the second sentence of § 16.02 expressly carves it out of arbitration, stating that “[a] claim of an employee within the bargaining unit that they have been deprived of any benefits or privileges to which they are entitled under the Plans . . . shall not be subject to arbitration.” (CBA § 16.02) (emphasis added). The second sentence of § 16.02 specifically states that a claim of an employee that he or she has been denied benefits is not subject to arbitration. Contrary to Verizon’s interpretation, however, it does not necessarily follow that a claim by the Union on behalf of its bargaining members that there has been a reduction or diminishment in benefits is excluded from arbitration. If that were the case, then any claimed reduction in benefits would be excluded from arbitration and the second sentence of § 16.02 would swallow the first. In this case, we have a labor union that has made a claim of a violation of § 16.011 on behalf of all of its members. No other provision in the CBA or Article 16 forecloses that type of subject matter from arbitration. Accordingly, the Union’s grievance is not excluded from the scope of the arbitration clause. [Footnotes omitted]

Finding no other “forceful evidence” that the parties intended to exclude grievances of this type from arbitration, and noting that it was making no decision on the merits of the Union’s claim, the Court granted the Union’s request to compel arbitration.
Source: ADR

Thailand and Indonesia Implement New Customs Regulations: Thailand’s New Customs Act B.E. 2560


On May 17, 2017, Thailand published its new Customs Act B.E. 2560 (in the country’s Royal Gazette. The new laws will take effect this November, and are the culmination of eight years of negotiations and drafting. 

The new act represents the largest change in customs laws since the first act was introduced in 1926. The new act also addresses weaknesses of the 1926 act, such as those related customs officers’ commissions, proportionality of penalties for offenders, and transparency in the customs process. 

Some of the specific changes introduced in the 2017 customs act include:  

  • Reducing the incentive and reward payments (or “commissions”) that customs officers receive for investigating alleged offenders. While the 1926 Act set commission rates very high, resulting in the involvement of multiple parties, complicating and prolonging the process. Under the new act, commissions will depend upon the type of non-compliance by the alleged offender (smuggling, false declaration, etc.), and are capped at 5 million baht per customs officer per case. 
  • Expanding liability for directors and officers of an alleged offender. For instance, if an offender is a juristic person, and if the offense has occurred because of an order or act of a director, manager, or person responsible for business operations, such a person may face the same criminal penalties as the juristic person. Directors and officers can also be liable for negligently causing a juristic person to commit an offense. 
  • Reducing the penalties for various customs offenses, including smuggling, duty evasion, false document declaration, and provision of false information. 
  • Setting a five-year limit for customs authorities to conduct a post-clearance audit.
  • Setting a three-year limit for customs authorities to evaluate a duty, beginning at the date of submission of an import or export entry clearance form. 
  • Setting a 180-day limit for the Appeal Commission to conclude a matter brought before it, subject to an extension not exceeding 90 days. 
  • Extending the duty refund period (wherein a taxpayer can claim a duty refund) from two to three years.
  • Requiring importers to produce their import license just prior to the taking of goods by customs authorities, as opposed to at the time when the goods enter port.  

For more information on the modernization of the Thailand Customs Act, please click here

Indonesia’s New IPR Customs Regulation

On June 2, 2017, Indonesia enacted its customs IP border protection system, providing a recordal system for trademarks and copyrights. Recordals are renewable, but valid for one year only. Additionally, only right holders with a business entity domiciled in Indonesia may submit applications to the recordal system. Customs has 30 days to approve or reject an application. 

The recordal system detention process for suspected infringing goods is summarized below: 

  • Customs sends a notification of restraint to the right holder; 
  • The right holder must confirm the notification within two days; 
  • The right holder must file a suspension request to the commercial court within four days of their confirmation of the notification. 
  • The suspension request process is summarized below: 
  • The right holder must pay operational costs security to customs in the form of bank or insurance guarantee;
  • The right holder must submit sufficient evidence of IPR ownership and infringement;
  • The right holder must apply for a physical examination of the goods for which suspension is being requested. 

When executing the suspension order, customs may detain the suspected infringing goods for up to ten days from the receipt of the order. At the expiration of the order, the goods may either be (a) destroyed by customs, (b) surrendered to investigators, pursuant to legal action, (c) dealt with in a private settlement, or (d) given to the court bailiff in the event the right holder files an action and or application for security for costs over the suspended goods. 

Implementing the new recordal system will require additional regulations that are currently being drafted by the Ministry of Finance. 

For further details on the new IPR Customs Regulation, please visit the IP Komodo blog here

Category: Asia
Published: 8/18/2017 8:13 AM

Source: TM NEWS