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Nuvera Fuel Cells retained Finnegan to manage all of the company's IP portfolio assets, which were recently consolidated. Much of the management is focused on the procurement of patents, both U.S. and foreign, directed to various aspects of fuel cell technology.

In its highly anticipated Bilski v. Kappos decision, issued on June 28, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit's "machine−or−transformation" test, which required that a patentable process either be tied to a machine or apparatus or involve a transformation of a particular article into a different state or thing.   The Court also affirmatively recognized that "business methods" are not categorically excluded from the scope of 35 U.S.C. § 101.   The decision was the culmination of Finnegan’s efforts on behalf of the applicants in In re Bilski, which began with the Supreme Court granting Finnegan’s petition for a writ of certiorari filed in June 2009.  The petition sought to overturn a decision issued on October 30, 2008, by the Federal Circuit which set forth a test requiring that a patentable process either be tied to a machine or apparatus or involve a transformation of one thing into something else.  While the Supreme Court affirmed the rejection of the Bilski business method patent application, its decision overturning the Federal Circuit’s machine-or-transformation test was a victory for patents on business method and software.  Finnegan made the oral argument before the Court on November 9, 2009. 

We assisted our client in developing and negotiating an arrangement for pooling essential patents for an adopted standard. We created contracts by which the client became the agent for the patent owners in granting licenses to all applicants on a RAND basis.

Finnegan secured a victory for Juniper Networks in the Northern District of California against Florida-based Juniper Media in a trademark infringement and cybersquatting law suit. Defendant moved to dismiss (or to transfer) the trademark infringement and cybersquatting case claiming lack of jurisdiction on the grounds that its website was a passive website and the majority of the company’s operations were based in Florida. Judge William Alsup ruled in Juniper Networks’ favor finding that the Defendant’s repeated representations of being located in, or having connections with, Silicon Valley in its Twitter account, its Linked In page, and its CEO’s personal web pages was sufficient to demonstrate that it expressly aimed its activities at the Northern District. The investigative efforts of our inhouse investigation team were critical to building the case for personal jurisdiction. Following Juniper Networks’ win on the jurisdictional issue, the parties ultimately reached a settlement pursuant to which Juniper Media agreed to change its name, abandon its trademark applications, and transfer its domain names to the client. The case was ultimately dismissed following the defendant’s completion of all phase-out activities.

Finnegan’s work for Eastman Chemical covers a wide variety of technologies, including Eastman’s valuable specialty polyester resin portfolio. Our work has involved drafting and prosecuting applications for commercially important technologies; specialty prosecution proceedings, such as reexaminations and reissues; the preparation of opinions; prelitigation investigations; and issues involving licensing.

Petroleum Equipment Manufacturing Company (PEMCO) had unsuccessfully sought to have oil drilling and oil well equipment certified by Finnegan client American Petroleum Institute (API). Despite the fact that it was not certifi ed, PEMCO placed a counterfeit of the API certifi cation mark on its products. API objected and PEMCO agreed to cease using the counterfeit API certification mark. API later discovered that PEMCO was continuing to use the counterfeit API certification mark and retained Finnegan to sue PEMCO for trademark infringement, counterfeiting, and breach of contract. PEMCO agreed to a permanent injunction against further use of the API marks and payment of API’s costs. This result successfully stopped a counterfeiting operation that falsely passed off uncertified products as meeting API’s safety standards.

Starbucks is a household name with thousands of retail locations across the globe and a brand that extends well beyond coffee. Finnegan successfully opposed an application for the mark LESSBUCKS COFFEE for coffee, tea, and coffee- and tea-based beverages and related retail locations. We obtained a ruling that the STARBUCKS trademarks is a famous mark entitled to a broad scope of protection, and that the LESSBUCKS mark was likely to cause confusion.

On behalf of Crucible Materials, we filed an ITC patent infringement case involving industrial neodymium-iron-boron magnets and prevailed against all eight respondents. We obtained a combination of consent orders, cease and desist orders, limited exclusion orders, and general exclusion orders against Chinese competitors. The general exclusion order prohibits all of Crucible’s foreign competitors from importing infringing magnets, regardless of whether they were parties to the ITC case. We later brought an enforcement action that resulted in civil penalties of $1.5 million against several respondents. The civil penalty was affirmed on appeal.

We represented a major travel-related company in securing worldwide patent protection on a diverse portfolio of software and business-method–related inventions. We advised and defended the client on various allegations of patent infringement and third-party claims for indemnification against infringement allegations.

Finnegan obtained urgent relief for AMC, which was fighting for its very existence. In addition to stopping Ameriquest's use of AMC, Finnegan negotiated the assignment of several of Ameriquest's federal trademark applications and registrations to AMC. AMC Mortgage Corporation is a small mortgage company founded over twenty years ago with the goal of becoming one of the country's most trustworthy and dependable mortgage companies. In contrast, Ameriquest Mortgage Company was the largest mortgage company in the country and had one of the worst reputations for customer service. Ameriquest began using the mark AMC for mortgages and related services. As a result, and due to Ameriquest's enormous size and pervasive use of the mark AMC, consumers began associating the mark with Ameriquest instead of AMC. AMC brought an action for trademark infringement, unfair competition, and cybersquatting against Ameriquest and its subsidiaries. Several months into the case, consumer criticism against Ameriquest grew and a potential sale to Citigroup was widely reported in the mainstream media. As a result, the potential harm to AMC's reputation increased exponentially and preliminary relief became urgent. AMC filed a preliminary injunction motion and, as a result, Ameriquest entered into a Court-approved judgment requiring Ameriquest to cease all use of AMC.


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