While patent litigation in the e-cigarette industry has garnered significant attention, the growing number of companies and brands competing in this market raises a host of issues with other types of intellectual property—issues that have already swept across industries that similarly involve a reusable base product and high-margin refill supplies, such as coffee machines and pods, razors and blades, and printers and ink cartridges. 
Continue Reading The Vapor IP Wars: Beyond Patents

The saga of plaintiff Timothy Sheridan, named inventor of U.S. Patent No. 7,415,982 for a “Smokeless Pipe,” continues.  In the latest chapter, Sheridan filed a pro se complaint for patent infringement against the United States government in the Court of Federal Claims on August 4, 2014, alleging that the government somehow prevented Sheridan from enforcing the ‘982 patent.  Underlying that allegation is Sheridan’s contention that all currently marketed e-cigarettes and vaporizers infringe the ‘982 patent.
Continue Reading E-Cigarette Patent Litigation Continues

Earlier this year, Altria Group Inc. (the parent company of cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris USA) announced that it had purchased for $10 million the naming rights for Richmond’s Landmark Theater.  Some industry observers wondered how this was possible, when regulations promulgated by the Food & Drug Administration pursuant to the Tobacco Control Act generally prohibit cigarette and smokeless tobacco manufacturers from sponsoring athletic, musical, artistic, or other social or cultural events. 
Continue Reading Philip Morris Parent Company Uses Exemption to FDA Marketing Requirements to Name Richmond Theater

Star Scientific and R. J. Reynolds have settled their long-running litigation over Star’s patents covering a curing process that prevents the formation of some cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco. The settlement leaves in place a federal appeals court decision that Star’s patents are not invalid and so removes a potential cloud over the validity of the patents. Star thus can now seek to enforce the patent against other tobacco manufacturers whom it believes are using its patented curing process.
Continue Reading Star Scientific’s Settlement with R. J. Reynolds Leaves Star Free to Enforce Tobacco Curing Patents

Often, the most significant impression a customer has of a company comes from the company’s website.  An attractive, well-organized and easy to use website is crucial in today’s “click and buy” economy.  A company’s website also can represent a large investment, especially for a small manufacturer or retailer.

The process of creating a website, however, can be time-consuming and filled with unexpected hurdles. 
Continue Reading Tips for Negotiating Your Website Development Contract

Part I of this post addressed the content that appears on your company website – both content you create or that was created for you and content generated by users of your website.  Today, we will look at the various technologies for collecting information from users – often without their knowledge or explicit consent – and the rules governing the use and protection of that information.

  • Does your website track visitors’ activities through “cookies” or “web beacons”?

Continue Reading Avoiding Legal Problems Created by Your Company Website (Part II: Gathering Information from Website Visitors)

In today’s technology-focused age, commercial websites are ever more sophisticated and interactive, allowing customers to do far more than view and purchase a company’s products.  More and more businesses use social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter to reach consumers and build brand loyalty.  Many companies also now host blogs in order to better connect with their customers.  It is also becoming common for businesses to subsidize the operation of their website by including advertisements for non-competing companies selling related products, and in many cases these advertisements are personalized to the website visitor. 
Continue Reading Avoiding Legal Problems Created by Your Company Website (Part I)