Velcro Companies Comments On Successful Jury Verdict In U.S. Patent Case

By: Velcro Companies-Nov 29, 2017

BOSTON, Nov. 29, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Velcro Companies won an important jury verdict in a patent lawsuit brought by YKK Corporation. The jury concluded that Velcro Companies' VELCRO® Brand fasteners do not infringe YKK's patent.

"We are pleased to have won a favorable jury verdict following a four-year lawsuit against YKK Corporation," said Fraser Cameron, President and CEO of Velcro Companies. "Innovation is what drives our work and has been deeply rooted in the company since its founding more than 60 years ago. We strongly believe in ethical conduct and the value of intellectual property, and we take care to ensure our new products do not infringe on existing patents. We are pleased the jury in this case agreed with us."

In August 2013 YKK sued Velcro Companies – its primary rival in the transportation and automotive segment of the hook-and-loop fastener business – for patent infringement with the goal of obtaining an injunction and removing VELCRO® Brand 4Gi and MH4 hook fasteners from the transportation market. Many cars in the U.S. with fabric or leather covers use hook fastener strips embedded in seat cushions to secure seat trim covers, so a large market was at risk. The jury delivered a complete defense verdict of non-infringement, finding that Velcro Companies' VELCRO® Brand fasteners do not infringe YKK's patent. 

The case is YKK Corporation et al v. Velcro USA Inc. (Middle District of Georgia). Velcro Companies was represented by Fish & Richardson (

About Velcro Companies

Velcro Companies is a technology-driven, global organization providing fastening solutions that solve problems in simple, elegant and surprising ways for businesses and consumers around the world. We have a heritage of innovation spanning more than 50 years and own over 400 active patents and numerous trademarks, including the VELCRO® trademark, which is registered throughout the world. We develop and deliver solutions for customers through an integrated production and service system that includes manufacturing locations in the United States, Belgium, Canada, Mexico, Uruguay, Spain and China and sales offices around the world. To buy genuine VELCRO® brand products and to find out more about our company, visit and

Note to editors:

At Velcro Companies, we are proud that VELCRO® brand products have become a part of everyday life, but that ubiquity sometimes produces confusion. The VELCRO® trademark should be used only when referring to genuine VELCRO® brand fasteners.  Non-VELCRO® brand products should be identified by their functional terms, such as "hook and loop," "self-adhesive straps," and so forth.  The VELCRO® mark should always be used as an adjective and never as a noun or a verb.  The term "Velcro Companies" should be used when referring to our company and its executives.

The proper use of the VELCRO® trademark assists us in safeguarding the integrity of the VELCRO® brand, and helps to protect consumers from products incorrectly sold as VELCRO® brand products.  For further information on the proper use of the VELCRO® trademark, please see the guidelines on our website.

About Fish & Richardson

Fish & Richardson is a global patent prosecution, intellectual property litigation, and commercial litigation law firm with more than 400 attorneys and technology specialists in the U.S. and Europe. Our success is rooted in our creative and inclusive culture, which values the diversity of people, experiences, and perspectives. Fish is the No. 1 U.S. patent litigation firm, handling nearly three times as many cases as its nearest competitor; a powerhouse patent prosecution firm; a top-tier trademark and copyright firm; and the No. 1 firm at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, with more cases than any other firm. Since 1878, Fish attorneys have been winning cases worth billions in controversy – often by making new law – for the world's most innovative and influential technology leaders. For more information, visit or follow us at @FishRichardson.

SOURCE Velcro Companies

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Startups Intellectual Property Right Protection Scheme

By Aapka Consultant -  November 30, 2017

Intellectual Property Rights are very important asset for Startups in India and it is important to protect them by taking effective measures. Intellectual Property Rights are very effective tool for any Business Organisation to boost Industrial Competitiveness. Various business groups should focus to protect their IP (Intellectual Property) along with other important things. The Startup India Action Plan 2016 through the “Scheme for Facilitating Startups Intellectual Property Protection” promotes Intellectual Property Registration. The scheme for facilitating Startups Intellectual Property Protection is made to protect Patent, Trademarks and Designs of Startups.

Scheme for Facilitating Startups Intellectual Property protection (SIPP)

The scheme is released by the Office of Comptroller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks on 22nd April 2016 with the objective to protect and promote Intellectual Property Rights awareness for Startups in India. By this scheme the appointment of experienced and registered Trade Marks /patent Agents as Facilitator to guide and help the Startups in matters relating to protection of Intellectual Property. The Startups shall not have to pay any kind of fees for availing services from the Facilitators because they are directly paid by the Central Government. The Objective of this Scheme is to assist the Startups in protection and promotion of their Intellectual Property by providing good IP services. This Scheme is designed to promote awareness and adoption of Intellectual Property Rights.

Intellectual Property Facilitators

For the effective implementation of the scheme the Controller General of Patent, Trademark and Design appoint Facilitators to assist the Startups in protecting the Intellectual Property Rights. There is a list of persons who can be appointed as Facilitators:

Any Patent Agent registered with the Controller General of patent, Design, Trademark (CGPDTM)
Any Trademark Agent registered with the Controller General of Patent, Design, Trademark (CGPDTM)
Any Advocate as defined under The Advocates Act, 1961 who is actively involved in filing and disposal of applications for Patents, Trademarks and Designs.
Government Departments, Organisation, Agencies.

Functions of Facilitators

The functions of Facilitators are decided by the Controller General of Patent, Design, and Trademark (CGPDTM). The Facilitators provides following Intellectual Property Protection Services to the Startups:

It provides general advice on different Intellectual Property Rights to Startups.
It provides assistance in filing and disposal of the Intellectual Property applications related to Trademarks, patents, designs.
It provides assistance for inventions of Startups.
It prepares and files responses to examination reports and other notices, letters by the IP office.
It appears at hearing on behalf of the Startup.
It contests opposition by other parties.
It provides information on protection and promotion of IPR to Startups in other Countries.
These are the basic functions of Facilitators which they are bound to perform during their duty. The facilitators can be removed from the office by Controller General of Patent, Design, and Trademark (CGPDTM) if:

He receives any information about the professional misconduct of Facilitator.
He receives any complaint from the Startups.
Intellectual Property Rights are very important tool for a Business Organisation in achieving the success. It is the main reason why we should protect the IPR in Startups. Every Startup should have the knowledge of protecting the Intellectual property (Patent, Trademarks, and Designs etc). For the protection of Startup IP the Central Government had taken a good initiative by making the scheme for facilitating Startups IPR. For the effective enforcement of the scheme the Government appointed facilitator. These Facilitators provides the advice and assistance to Startups in protecting the Intellectual Property. They also provide awareness to the Startups to protect their Intellectual Property Rights. Overall this Scheme is objected to protect the Startups Intellectual Property Rights.

Patent Wars: Swords, Shields, Trophies, and Startups


Fortune 500 companies earn thousands of new patents every year, because they view patents as a measurement of “innovation.” It takes years and thousands of dollars to earn a patent, but earning a patent is just the beginning. The cost of maintaining each patent is not insignificant. Patent maintenance fees are due at three points following issuance: 3 ½ years; 7 ½ years; and 11 ½ years. Current patent maintenance fees total $8,710 per patent. Those fees are just the money patent-holders pay to the USPTO directly; however, the legal fees and administrative costs for patent maintenance are much higher. Are Fortune 500 (and other large enterprises) spending more on patent maintenance than they might spend to spin out and fund a startup based on an unused patent?

IBM Received 24 Patents PER DAY in 2016

As an example, we looked at the leader of leaders in earning patents, IBM, which has earned 89,594 patent awards in the last 20 years. We added up all the maintenance fees for the last 20 years of IBM’s patent dominance: $780 million! That number is an estimate (our math, not theirs) based on the last 20 years of IBM’s patent mastery, and assumes that IBM maintains all of its patents.

Where is All of this Innovation?

Most corporate patents fall into one of the following general categories:

Sword: Active, in market patent that is making money for the organization
Shield: Inactive patent that is preventing competition from gaining ground
Trophy: Inactive patent on a byproduct of R&D, sitting on the shelf

IBM and other Fortune 500 enterprises use their patents as either swords or shields. If one of big blue’s 89,594 patents is not a sword or a shield, it’s gathering dust on a shelf. Yet IBM is spending a large amount of money maintaining patents that they will never use. I say “large amount” because fewer than 2% of all patents ever get monetized. We understand why, and we’ve previously explained why enterprises like IBM don’t put money into every innovation they create. When you spend $6B per year on R&D, the innovations you take to market have to be multi-billion dollar innovations. Most patents are not billion dollar ideas.

Startup Spinouts Instead of Patent Maintenance

Instead of maintaining unused patents (and other latent, orphaned IP), what if IBM and other Fortune 500 enterprises performed the following annual exercise:

Evaluate the IP & Patent portfolio for items that are “non-core” to their business operations, meaning even if it were a billion dollar idea, it wouldn’t make sense for the company to get into that line of business.
Identify the five most interesting of these non-core patents, and spin them out as startups. By “interesting”, we mean that it solves a massive problem within a very large market and the potential audience is ready for such a solution.
Stop maintaining those patents that that are non-core and not in the top five.
Invest the cash that would have been spent maintaining unused patents into the five startups or into a fund that might capitalize future spin-outs.startups


The Role of Trademark Law in the History of US Visual Identity Design, c.1860–1960

By Oxford University Press on behalf of The Design History Society


Design historians still await a truly authoritative account of the development of visual identity design (aka graphic identity design or corporate identity design1) in the United States. Historians of visual identity design still disagree on basic matters of fact, such as when visual identity design was first practised in the USA, and which US designers and companies were the first to engage in it. There is, as yet, no widely accepted explanation as to why so few US businesses commissioned visual identity designs prior to World War II, nor why a small but significant number of US businesses simultaneously decided to do so in the mid-1930s (as opposed to at some earlier or later historical moment). Moreover, many historians have relied on highly dubious assertions about the character of US designers and businesses in order to explain the post-war surge of interest in visual identity design.

In this essay, I argue that US trademark law has played an under-recognized but formative role in the early history of US visual identity design. For example, design historians have seldom offered explanations for why US businesspeople did not commission visual identity designs in the 1900s, 1910s and 1920s; the few who have done, have suggested that US businesspeople’s ignorance, or their ‘conservative tastes’, were the reason for their lack of interest in them. In contrast, I argue that US trademark law during those decades strongly favoured ‘conservative’ styles and furthermore made visual identity design a risky and in some cases actively undesirable investment. Second, earlier design historians have offered changing tastes or an increasing acceptance of modernism as reasons why a small but significant minority of US businesses simultaneously commissioned the country’s first visual identity designs in the mid-1930s. I propose instead that changes in US common law pertaining to trademark licensing and franchising, coupled with anti-chain legislation, made visual identity design feasible and desirable for the first time, and indeed downright necessary for certain kinds of franchises. Third, earlier design historians have credited the efforts of individual designers with strong personal visions, the changing size and character of US corporations and, once again, changing tastes as explanations for why nearly every large regional, national and multinational US company invested in visual identity design following World War II. In contrast, I argue that the strong statutory trademark protection afforded by the Lanham Act of 1946 sparked the strong and sustained surge of interest of businesses in visual identity design. And ultimately, I suggest that attending to the laws that condition the actions of all businesses and designers can at times yield more satisfying historical explanations than traditional archival research on individual businesses or designers.

How US common law shaped nineteenth-century trademark design

Today, legal scholars routinely lump trademark law together with copyright, patent, and design patent law as a form of so-called intellectual property law.2 But trademarks are far more ancient than patents and copyrights, and spring from entirely different motives. Patents and copyrights are intended to provide incentives to innovation by granting inventors and creators a limited-term, exclusive right to produce their novel inventions or original creative works. Trademarks provide no incentives to create new goods, nor exclusive rights to produce goods. Because their original purpose was simply to identify the source of goods, they can endure under both common and statutory law for as long as a producer remains in operation.

Producers, consumers, and governing bodies all have reasons to be interested in trademarks. Producers have, for millennia, voluntarily moulded, stamped, incised and painted their names or makers’ marks on their products in order to solicit repeat custom and to deter copyists. Consumers use trademarks to identify goods by makers whose products they have liked in the past. Civil and religious authorities have often mandated printers’ marks, just as guilds often required trademarks and hallmarks, in order to regulate the number of authorized producers and to punish those whose output they deemed sacrilegious, unethical or incompetent.

The authors of the Constitution did not explicitly authorize Congress to write federal trademark legislation, presumably because there were no precedents and no recognized need for it. Until 1870, the US states individually adjudicated trademark and unfair competition disputes under common law. Under state common law, the person or business who could demonstrate the earliest continuous use of a trademark in a given field of commerce in a given state received exclusive rights to the mark in that state. But since the purpose of trademarks is to identify the source of goods, another bedrock principle of nineteenth-century US common law was that people could not be precluded from doing business under their own names. And indeed, the vast majority of early and mid-nineteenth-century American businesses used their founders’ names as, or as part of, their trademarks (e.g., Procter & Gamble; F.W. Woolworth’s; Montgomery Ward, J.C. Penney, Levi-Strauss, Smith Brothers).

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By Michael J Foycik Jr.

So you're starting a new business, congratulations! The sky's the limit. If your new startup business is based on a new idea, a new concept, or a new invention, then you'll need something first.

What will you need for success? At least one thing: something unique that you own. The key word here is “own” and that includes intellectual property: patent rights, trademark rights, copyright rights, and trade secret rights. Otherwise, your initial success can be copied or taken by anyone.

You should have a pending application of some type. That is, unless you already have an issued patent or a registered trademark, though a startup is unlikely to have either one. What you can have is a pending application: a pending patent application, a pending trademark application, or both. For some businesses, a copyright application is needed instead of, or in addition to, a patent application.

A pending application documents ownership, as of the filing date. For patent applications, the law now is first-to-file. If you wait to file a patent application, anyone can take your idea and file on it. So be the first! If you are first, then your rights are documented by the filing of the application.

Costs can be kept fairly low on the patent side by filing a provisional patent application (PPA), which gives true patent pending rights for one year, which can give priority rights for any later filed utility patent application. The PPA also documents trade secret rights when the subject matter is kept confidential, and such rights can be valuable.

A pending federal trademark application also documents rights. What's in a name? Sometimes an entire business depends on a catchy name. Even if there are no other types of rights, just having trademark rights can mean success. Even a pending trademark application can be valuable!

Investors look for rights of some type. Pending rights are just fine in most cases. Otherwise, what are the investors getting for their money? This is typically also true for crowd funding. If you own nothing, your and your investors may end up with nothing.

Finally, if possible, consult an IP attorney early.

Pick the Right Intellectual Property Law Program

By Ilana Kowarski, Reporter 

Intellectual property plays a critical role in American life. According to a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office report, IP industries account for more than 38 percent of the gross domestic product.
It's no surprise then that intellectual property law – which protects people's ownership claims to their ideas, inventions and works of art – is a growing field.
Intellectual property attorneys say their skills are in demand, and experts note there are opportunities to practice IP law within any industry that involves human creativity. This means a wide array of commercial legal jobs, particularly in the rapidly expanding high-tech sector, and jobs that involve international litigation to resolve the significant number of disputes between U.S. and international companies.
[Discover what a typical day is like for an intellectual property attorney.]
This legal field is likewise becoming more central to important U.S. policy disputes, IP attorneys say. Jon Kappes, a patent lawyer and lecturer at Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, says "IP law, particularly patent law but also copyright and trademark, has in recent years become one of the most dynamic areas of the law."
Kappes says congressional members regularly propose revisions to the nation's IP laws, and there are a growing number of Supreme Court cases on this topic.
For law school hopefuls who enjoy science, art or entertainment, experts say this discipline may be an attractive option. IP law is also essential for future business attorneys to fully understand, since patents, copyrights, trade secrets and trademarks are invaluable to businesses.
[Consider a legal career focusing on either health care or intellectual property.]
"If students are interested in sort of a rapidly changing, cutting-edge area of practice, I can’t think of one that is evolving at the rate of intellectual property," he says.
Experts say that law schools vary in how well they prepare students to practice IP law. Here are three signs of a strong intellectual property law program.