On April 15, Thomson Reuters published a very interesting article that should be read by attorneys who represent clients in preparing and filing patent applications. The article can be found here. The article reports that at least three cases have been filed by publishers and copyright holders of scientific, technology and medical journals (American Institute of Physics and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.) against law firms for using copyrighted materials as part of the patent application process. The law firms have been accused of “wrongly using copyrighted works to promote their business interests.” In particular, the article reports that the plaintiffs are not complaining about copies being submitted to the USPTO, but rather, they are objecting to the fact that law firms made and kept additional copies of the copyrighted materials. The law firms have responded by arguing that, inter alia, copies made during the course of the representation constitute fair use. We will continue to monitor these cases.
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