Companies invest vast resources in the development of intellectual property with the legitimate expectation that they will be the principal, if not exclusive, beneficiaries of their intellectual endeavors. Protecting technical
Continue Reading Creating Intellectual Property is Hard; Losing It to Uncle Sam is Easy

By Louis Victorino and Jonathan Aronie (originally published in the San Diego Business Journal)

It has been noted, the more things change, the more they stay the same. In the world of Government Contracts Law, however, the more things change, the more the phone rings. And while we’re only a few weeks into 2013, the phone has been ringing off the hook. Here are a few of the reasons why.


Continue Reading What Does 2013 Have In Store for Government Contractors and Their Lawyers?

By Louis D. Victorino

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) recently issued a so-called en banc (all judges of the court) decision with great importance to Federal Government contractors. In Zoltek Corp. v. United States, Fed. Cir., No. 2009-5135, March 14, 2012 ("Zoltek II"), the Court redefined the scope of the statute underlying the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) "Authorization and Consent" clause, 28 U.S.C. §1498. In so doing, the Court confirmed Federal Government contractor immunity from patent infringement suits in instances where the patent infringement may have occurred in whole or in part outside of the United States. The more fundamental holding of the case was to reverse its own prior decision in the same case (“Zoltek I”), in which the CAFC had held that §1498 does not waive Federal Government patent immunity from certain patent infringements occurring in part outside the United States.


Continue Reading In the Tradition of Gilda Radner, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Proclaims “Never Mind” in Zoltek II

By Louis D. Victorino

A great deal of discussion has transpired regarding recent legislation that reportedly could alter significantly the established “follow-the-funds” test used for the allocation of intellectual property rights in data developed under a government contract. The legislation involved is a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (the “Act”), signed into law on January 7, 2011. In particular, Section 824 of the Act provides “Guidance Relating to Rights in Technical Data” and, more importantly, amends Section 2320(a) of Title 10 of the United States Code, the provision that defines the allocation of rights in intellectual property under Government contracts.
 


Continue Reading Frankenstein’s Monster: Data Rights Changes Adopted In The National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2011

The Department of Homeland Security recently updated its website to identify agency intellectual property that should not be used without prior authorization from the agency. The website identifies a long list of agency related trademarks including those applicable to well known agency programs.  Whether all of the claimed trademarks would prove enforceable if challenged remains to be seen. The agency’s asserted blanket "no use" prohibition without prior consent also is legally suspect. Regardless, the newly published list serves as a reminder that contractors must use the government identifiers with care in connection with any promotional or advertising materials.

Even absent such a trademark designation, federal, state and foreign laws and regulations restrict the use in promotional or advertising materials of government personnel images, uniforms and insignia without specific, prior authorization. Indeed, applicable laws, in many cases, impose civil or criminal sanctions for such misuse.
 


Continue Reading Use of Government Personnel, Uniforms and Insignia in Promotional or Advertising Materials

The United States has long been the world’s principal purchaser of (a) research and development services, (b) the products generated by the R&D, and (c) the intellectual property relating to that R&D.  Historically, Government-funded R&D has evoked images of an omnipresent, overly intrusive, audit-fixated purchaser bent on levying a host of required terms and conditions on the seller, many of which are wholly unrelated to the underlying R&D and are designed solely to advance socio-economic policies and preferences. For these (and other) reasons, companies, particularly new and emerging companies, are often reluctant to accept federal funding to advance their privately conceived and privately developed ideas.


Continue Reading A Brief Guide to Alternative Contracting Arrangements for R&D