The class of plaintiff authors seeking to hold OpenAI liable for copyright infringement has faced yet another setback. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has knocked out the majority of their claims, refusing to accept the blanket allegation that “every output of the OpenAI Language Model is an infringing derivative work.” However, the court has allowed the plaintiffs another chance to cure many of the deficiencies in their pleadings, so the battle is not yet over.

As we’ve previously reported, named plaintiffs including Paul Tremblay, Sarah Silverman, and Michael Chabon have filed class action lawsuits against several companies associated with popular Large Language Model tools like ChatGPT. The lawsuits claim that because the defendants copied their original works of authorship to use as training material for the LLMs, the AI companies are liable under the federal Copyright Act and various state tort laws. For a quick recap of the theories they are asserting, check out our recent AI Update.Continue Reading The Latest Chapter in Authors’ Copyright Suit Against OpenAI: Original Pleadings Insufficient

In 2022, the Federal Circuit definitively ruled that artificial intelligence (AI) systems cannot be named inventors or co-inventors on patent applications, reinforcing the longstanding principle that only natural persons are eligible as inventors under the Patent Act.  This decision, however, left an important question unanswered: Are inventions created with AI assistance patentable?

Today, the United

In the film “Any Given Sunday,” Al Pacino, portraying Coach Tony D’Amato, poignantly compares football to life, describing it as a “game of inches … one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us.” This razor-thin margin is what gives football its unique charm. Not every play is a Hail Mary; often, the game hinges on tense moments, such as the dreaded 4th and inches. Not all teams have mastered the tush push and some of these drives end with a pile of players on the ball. The poor referees are forced to sift through a pile of players to determine the ball’s location. Sometimes, referees resort to watching replays frame-by-frame to pinpoint the spot of the football. Even then, they’re not always correct. These decisions typically leave one group of fans jubilant and the other in dismay. In the midst of the debate over the ball’s placement, it might come as a surprise that the NFL tracks the location of each game ball in real time using an RFID tracking chip.

Since the 2017-18 season, the NFL has collaborated with Zebra Technologies and Wilson Sporting Goods to implant RFID chips within footballs to monitor the football’s position. Weighing only 3.3 grams, these inconspicuous chips are inserted between an inner air bladder and the outer leather shell of the football. Even the players wear RFID chips in their clothing, allowing teams to generate a postgame report with detailed analytics as to player movement. Behind the scenes, Zebra and Wilson are building a rich patent portfolio directed to positional-tracking technology. A look at Zebra’s patents provides a scouting report as to how the positional-tracking technology works.Continue Reading Tech Touchdowns: Revolutionizing Football with RFID Tracking

As attorneys, we’ve all taken Legal Research and Writing. This is where we first encountered Westlaw and Lexis, using these sites to delve into case law for various assignments while chasing Westlaw and Lexis points in the hopes of getting a free TV or iPod (back when that was a thing). Professors always emphasized the critical process of tracing the history of a case and determining if the case is still considered “good law.”

With the rise of generative AI over the past year, it’s unsurprising that lawyers are turning to this advanced technology for legal research. However, there’s a growing concern: the blind acceptance of AI-generated content. This issue was highlighted in U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Robert’s 2023 year-end report on the federal judiciary. A notable incident involved the Second Circuit reprimanding a New York attorney for submitting a brief with reference to a non-existent case, hallucinated by ChatGPT, without proper verification.Continue Reading USPTO Sets to Clarify Attorney Guidelines in the Age of Generative AI

This article was originally published to Seyfarth’s The Blunt Truth blog.

Republic Technologies (NA) LLC (“Republic”) filed an application to register the proposed mark 4:20 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”).  Republic amended its goods twice during prosecution of the application and ultimately sought to register “tobacco; cigarette papers; cigarette filters; cigarette tubes; cigarette rolling machines; handheld machines for injecting tobacco into cigarette tubes; machines allowing smokers to make cigarettes by themselves; none of the foregoing containing or for use with cannabis” (emphasis added). The USPTO alleged that consumers would understand 4:20 to mean cannabis, the mark misdescribes non-cannabis related goods, and consumers would believe the misrepresentation. Therefore, the USPTO refused registration alleging that the mark was deceptively misdescriptive of the goods in the application. Republic appealed the decision to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”). But the Board saw through the smoke of Republic’s arguments and affirmed the refusal. 

Republic is a leading provider of smoking accessories. Republic initially filed its application for the mark 4:20 for use in association with the goods “tobacco; cigarette papers; cigarette filters; cigarette tubes; cigarette rolling machines; handheld machines for injecting tobacco into cigarette tubes; machines allowing smokers to make cigarettes by themselves.” Perhaps familiar with the many uses of Republic’s goods, the USPTO refused the application on mere descriptiveness grounds. It alleged that consumers understand 4:20 to mean cannabis and the goods describe a product containing or to be used with cannabis. The USPTO also asked Republic to provide additional information about its goods. In particular, whether the goods contain or would be used in connection with cannabis or marijuana. Continue Reading 4:20 Unfriendly – TTAB Says 4:20 is Deceptively Misdescriptive of Goods Not Used with Cannabis

Thursday, January 25, 2024
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Central
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Mountain
10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Pacific

REGISTER HERE

About the Program

Join Seyfarth partners Ken Wilton and Lauren Leipold for an examination of pivotal 2023 developments in trademark litigation, from U.S. Supreme Court decisions to new guidance from federal appellate courts, district courts, and the USPTO. This webinar will provide actionable takeaways for your legal practice in 2024, from doctrinal shifts in the application of trademark law to technicalities in TTAB procedure. Learn how these developments will impact the ongoing protection, maintenance, and enforcement of trademarks in the United States and beyond.

Speakers

Kenneth Wilton, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Lauren Leipold, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLPContinue Reading Upcoming Webinar! How to Win Your Next Trademark Battle: Lessons Learned in 2023

Decking the halls with festive flair is a beloved tradition, from cozy and simple to dazzling displays that could rival Clark Griswold’s winter wonderland. In this yuletide landscape, lights play a starring role, sparking whole industries focused on holiday home illumination. A centerpiece of this seasonal spectacle is often the twinkling Christmas tree.

Traditional tree lighting mainly focuses on the tree’s exterior, with their daytime wiring detracting from the tree’s aesthetic, requiring the wiring to be tucked away under tinsel and ornaments. Enter U.S. Patent No. 7,784,961, with its “clip-attachable light strings for Christmas tree branches,” a merry makeover for tree lighting. This jolly invention lights up each branch individually, featuring a central bus wire nestled near the trunk, branching into 5 to 10 light circuits, each sporting 10 to 20 bulbs. Clipped at each branch’s end, these strands can be extended to fit any tree, from a small spruce to a grand fir, creating a more enchanted, branch-by-branch illumination compared to the old ring-around-the-rosy style.Continue Reading Legal Lessons from Holiday Lights: Clarity in Patent Drafting

In the latest skirmish between Sarah Silverman and other authors against Chat GPT-maker OpenAI, OpenAI submitted a new decision from a California federal court in support of its attempt to dismiss the Silverman plaintiffs’ claims. According to OpenAI, that other court rejected theories and claims that are nearly identical to Silverman’s claims against OpenAI. If the court hearing Silverman’s claims agrees, copyright holders looking to sue AI companies in the future may find themselves facing long odds on certain claims.

The new California decision cited by OpenAI comes in the wake of a similar decision in a case involving an AI image generator. Like the court in that image-generator case, the new decision cited by OpenAI dismissed most of the plaintiffs’ copyright claims and other claims, although it did so with leave to amend all but one state-law negligence claim. The court in this new decision rejected as “nonsensical” the plaintiffs’ argument that large language models (or LLMs) “are themselves infringing derivative works,” holding that “[t]here is no way to understand the [LLMs] themselves as a recasting or adaptation of any of the plaintiffs’ books.” Similarly, the court rejected the notion that “every output of the [LLMs] is an infringing derivative work,” stating that “the complaint offers no allegation of the contents of any output, let alone of one that could be understood as recasting, transforming, or adapting the plaintiffs’ books. Without any plausible allegation of an infringing output, there can be no vicarious infringement.”Continue Reading “The Plaintiffs Are Wrong”: OpenAI Submits New Authority in Attempt to Knock Out Sarah Silverman’s Claims