Intellectual Property

FTC, Past and Future - Podcast

Telecommunications & Electronic Media and Intellectual Property Practice Group Podcast
Alden Abbott, Maureen K. Ohlhausen February 16, 2017

The Federal Trade Commission has dual missions to protect consumers and competition. The agency has a 100+ years of history as an antitrust enforcer and general consumer protection agency. And over the last 20 years it has emerged as the lead U.S. agency addressing consumer privacy and data security. During the past administration, the agency faced challenges within and without. How well has it executed its dual missions? What external factors (such as actions by the CFPB and FCC) have affected its ability to further its missions? And how might the agency improve in the coming administration? To answer these questions we'll talk to Heritage Senior Fellow Alden Abbot and FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen.


  • Alden Abbott, Deputy Director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and the John, Barbara, and Victoria Rumpel Senior Legal Fellow, The Heritage Foundation
  • Hon. Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission


Lee v. Tam - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 2-10-17 featuring Megan Brown
Megan L. Brown February 10, 2017

On January 18, 2017, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Lee v. Tam. Simon Tam of The Slants, an Asian American rock band, applied to register the band’s name with the U.S. Trademark Office, but the application was denied. The Office claimed that the name would likely be disparaging towards “persons of Asian descent,” citing the Disparagement Clause of the Lanham Act of 1946, which prohibits trademarks that “[consist] of or [comprise] immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute.” Tam appealed to a board within the Office but was again denied. On appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, a panel of judges determined that the Office officials were within their rights to refuse the application. The Federal Circuit then reviewed the case en banc and found that the Disparagement Clause violated the First Amendment and that the Office should not have refused the application.

The question before the Supreme Court is whether the disparagement provision of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1052(a), which provides that no trademark shall be refused registration on account of its nature unless, inter alia, it “[c]onsists of . . . matter which may disparage . . . persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute” is facially invalid under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.

To discuss the case, we have Megan L. Brown, who is Partner at Wiley Rein LLP.

Samsung Electronics Co. v. Apple - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 2-9-17 featuring Trevor Copeland and Art Gollwitzer
Trevor K. Copeland, Arthur Gollwitzer III February 09, 2017

On December 6, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Samsung Electronics Co. v. Apple. In April 2011, Apple sued Samsung Electronics, alleging that Samsung’s smartphones infringed on Apple’s trade dress as well as various design patents for the iPhone. A jury awarded Apple nearly $1 billion in damages under Section 289 of the Patent Act, and the trial court upheld most of the award against Samsung’s post-trial challenges. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected Samsung’s argument that the district court erred by allowing the jury to award damages based on Samsung’s profits off of its phones in their entirety, rather than just the portion of profits attributable to the smartphone components covered under the design patents.

The question before the Supreme Court was whether, where a design patent is applied to only a component of a product, an award of infringer’s profits should be limited to those profits attributable to the component.

By a vote of 8-0, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Federal Circuit and remanded the case. In an opinion by Justice Sotomayor, the Court unanimously held that in the case of a multicomponent product, the relevant article of manufacture for arriving at a damages award under Section 289 need not be the end product sold to the consumer but may be only a component of that product. Whether the relevant article of manufacture in this particular case should be the entire smartphone or merely a component thereof is an issue the Court left open for resolution on remand. 

To discuss the case, we have Trevor Copeland, a Shareholder at Brinks Gilson & Lione, and Art Gollwitzer, a Partner at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP.

Young Legal Scholars Paper Presentations - Event Audio/Video

19th Annual Faculty Conference
Daniel Hemel, Aaron Nielson, Ryan Holte, Christopher Seaman, Stephen Sachs, Christopher J. Walker, Ilan Wurman, Richard A. Epstein, Amy Coney Barrett January 23, 2017

This panel was held on January 5, 2017 during the 19th Annual Faculty Conference in San Francisco, CA.

Young Legal Scholars Paper Presentations
2:15 pm - 4:15 pm
4th Floor, Cyril Magnin III

  • Prof. Daniel Hemel (University of Chicago Law School) & Prof. Aaron Nielson (Brigham Young University School of Law): "Chevron Step One-and-a-Half"
  • Prof. Ryan Holte (Southern Illinois College of Law) & Prof. Christopher Seaman (Washington & Lee University School of Law): “Patent Injunctions on Appeal: An Empirical Study of the Federal Circuit’s Application of eBay”
  • Prof. Stephen Sachs (Duke Law School): “Pennoyer Was Right: Jurisdiction and General Law”
  • Prof. Christopher Walker (Ohio State University College of Law): “Legislating in the Shadows”
  • Mr. Ilan Wurman (Winston & Strawn): “As-Applied Nondelegation”
  • Commenter: Prof. Richard Epstein, New York University School of Law, University of Chicago Law School
  • Moderator: Prof. Amy Coney Barrett, Notre Dame Law School

Parc 55 San Francisco - A Hilton Hotel
San Francisco, CA