2019 – Looking Back.

Intellectual property filings in the District of Massachusetts remained high in 2019. Of the 94 total district courts in the United States, the District of Massachusetts ranked 11th for new patent filings, 14th for trademark filings, 20th for copyright filings and 18th for trade secret filings. Presently, there are 61 open patent cases, 82 open trademark cases, 39 open copyright cases and 31 open trade secret cases in this District. New patent cases covered a wide range of technologies, including medical devices, robotics, and communications. A long-running dispute between SiOnyx and Hamamatsu Photonics went to trial, with SiOnyx prevailing on infringement, contract and unjust enrichment claims as well as correction of inventorship and injunctive relief. A significant number of 2019’s copyright litigation revolves around allegations that a business took a copyrighted photograph from the internet without license and placed it on their website, often further alleging the removal of copyright management information. This stems from the rise of reverse image search software that can continuously scour the internet for copies or derivative works, allowing much easier discovery of potential infringements. In the trademark realm, Massachusetts was home to several infringement suits against resellers such as Amazon stores who were (or at least may have been) selling products actually made by the trademark holder but not obtained as authorized resellers. Smart home control product maker ecobee was one of the leaders in this area, filing four such suits after having filed three in November 2018.

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