A patent issued under the U.S. Patent Laws has a finite life, which is 20 years from the date of filing. A strategy to monetize a patent through licensing must take into consideration that finite life span because after the 20 year patent term, the underlying invention falls into the public domain. A patent holder may not continue to receive license royalties after the patent’s expiration, as long ago decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in Brulotte v. Thys Co., 379 U. S. 29 (1964).
A court recently held that a CGL insurer owed a duty to defend its insured accused of breaching express and implied warranties.
This is a story about a U.S. manufacturer who got into a dispute with its Chinese supplier.
Recently, several courts across the country have considered whether filing a proof of claim on debt that is barred by the statute of limitations violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). The increased attention on this issue was sparked by the Eleventh Circuit’s decision in Crawford v. LVNV Funding, LLC, 758 F.3d 1254 (11th Cir. 2014). The Eleventh Circuit held that filing a proof of claim on debt that is barred by the applicable statute of limitations violates the FDCPA. After the Eleventh Circuit’s decision, many other courts have decided the issue, and the results of these cases have been mixed. Last week, the Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Missouri weighed in, and it found that there was no violation of the FDCPA. Dunaway v. LVNV Funding, LLC, No. 14-04132-drd, Adv. No. 14-4132, Doc. 29 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. May 19, 2015).
In 2011, the FTC requested public comment regarding its interpretations, rules, and guides issued under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. After four years of hard work, the FTC today issued a press release headlined “FTC Will Keep Consumer Product Warranty Rules in Current Form with Some Modifications.”
One tactic often used with varying degrees of success to thwart putative class actions brought under various federal statutes is to file an early offer of judgment under Rule 68 that provides the named plaintiff or plaintiffs complete relief in an effort to moot the putative class claims at the inception of a class case.
If you regularly read this column, you know that one of the things we spend a lot of time discussing is working appropriate protections into your contracts. Plaintiffs’ attorneys understand that, and often try to work around those protections by restyling breach of contract or breach of warranty actions as tort claims – that is, claims for negligence or fraud or the like.
The answer lies in the details of the underlying contract and the details of the underlying insurance policy. Today more and more companies are focusing on risk transfer mechanisms within the contracts they have with their vendors, suppliers, contractors and sub-contractors.
File this one under “does your warranty really say what you think it says?”
I recently wrote about a decision from a federal district court in Alabama that sidestepped the Eleventh Circuit’s Crawford decision by finding that the Bankruptcy Code (the “Code”) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) were in irreconcilable conflict, and the FDCPA gave way to the Code on the question of whether the mere act of filing a proof of claim on a stale debt in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy violated the FDCPA.