Today's Date: October 1, 2014 Search | Home | Contact | Services | Patent Attorney | Patent Search | Provisional Patent Application | Patent Application | Software Patent | Confidentiality Agreements

Companies We Follow

Dark Days Ahead: The Patent Pendulum

Posted: Wednesday, Oct 1, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 3 comments
| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Anti-patent Nonsense, Apple, Companies We Follow, Gene Quinn, IBM, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patentability, Patents, Twitter

Editorial Note: This article is part 1 of a 2 part series adapted from a presentation I gave earlier this week at the annual meeting for the Association of Intellectual Property Firms (AIPF).  CLICK HERE for my PowerPoint presentation.

____________________

Gene Quinn at the AIPF Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, September 29, 2014.

Today I am going to talk about what I call the patent pendulum. When Todd Van Thomme and I originally started talking about what I would talk about today I said that there would undoubtedly be something that comes up at the last minute. I even joked that I might wind up talking about how the Supreme Court actually got the Alice decision right, surprising us all and saying once and for all that software is clearly patentable. We all know it didn’t turn out that way. So the title of my presentation today is this: Dark Days Ahead: The Patent Pendulum.

As you are probably all familiar, patent law never stays the same in the same spot. It is always swinging one or another, either swinging more towards stronger patent rights and the patent owner, or away from strong patent rights and away from the owner. It has been that way throughout history.

Normally what’s happened is that we’ve seen the pendulum swing over longer periods of time, like over decades, and then it’ll move away. For example the 1952 Patent Act was premised on the fact that Congress didn’t like the way the law was developing over the preceding years and wanted more things be patentable, hence the 1952 Patent Act did away with the flash of creative genius test. So things swung back toward a more patent friendly law, at least for a while. And then in the 1970s no courts ever saw a patent that actually had valid patent claims. This famously prompted Congress to create the Federal Circuit. Under the guidance of Chief Judge Markey and Judges like Giles Sutherland Rich and Pauline Newman, who is still on the court, the pendulum swings back toward the patent owner once again.



Patents are Important: Bursting the Twitter Patent Mythology

Posted: Monday, Sep 29, 2014 @ 9:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 20 comments
| Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Anti-patent Nonsense, Companies We Follow, Gene Quinn, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patent Business & Deals, Patents, Twitter

One of the frequent claims made by those in the anti-software patent community relates to Twitter and the clearly erroneous belief that patents are not important to the company. Indeed, recently when I wrote Fairy Tales and Other Irrational Beliefs About Patents the claim arose in the comments suggesting that Twitter is proof that patents are unnecessary to succeed. Quite to the contrary. If you actually concern yourself with facts, Twitter is a perfect case study to demonstrate just how important patents, particularly software patents, are to a start-up company that has aspirations of going public.

Doubt me? Perhaps you will believe Twitter themselves. In repeated filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission since October 2013, Twitter has explained over and over again just how important their patented technology is to the company. They have also repeatedly explained that unlike other companies and competitors, even with nearly 1,000 patents, their own patent portfolio is extremely small by comparison. This poses real concerns for Twitter, which is why they warn the SEC and investors of the ramifications of such a small patent portfolio with every new filing.

Let’s begin our tale about Twitter at the start. Twitter, founded on March 21, 2006, was initially believed to be of the opinion that patents didn’t matter. Behind the scenes and unknown to many, Twitter was actively filing patents very early on in the development of the company. This is hardly shocking news given that Twitter’s initial round of funding dated back to 2007 and the near universal reality that high-tech investors not only love patents, but they demand patents. Investors love patents because if the company does not succeed at least some valuable patent assets will remain, which can be sold to recoup losses.



Improving Innovation Climate Critical to US Economic Future

Posted: Thursday, Sep 25, 2014 @ 9:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 1 Comment »
| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Anti-patent Nonsense, Apple, Companies We Follow, Ford, Gene Quinn, General Electric, IBM, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Microsoft, Patents, Pfizer, Technology & Innovation, US Economy

Yesterday the Partnership for American Innovation (PAI), which is comprised of Apple, DuPont, Ford, GE, IBM, Microsoft and Pfizer, submitted comments responsive to a request for public information published in the Federal Register back on July 29, 2014, titled Strategy for American Innovation. Some may recall that in February 2011, President Obama released a Strategy for American Innovation, which described the importance of innovation as a driver of U.S. economic growth and prosperity, and the critical role the government plays in supporting the innovation ecosystem. The Office of Science Technology Policy and the National Economic Council are now tasked with updating the document to create a revised Strategy for American Innovation.

One can hope that this group of venerable American innovators will be able to get through to decision makers who will be responsible for charting the new innovation and intellectual property strategy. Notably missing from the PAI, however, is Google, who will certainly have different views.

Google is known to be one of the primary advocates of watering down, if not outright destroying, the U.S. patent system. This is interesting because Google is a top 10 patenting company according to data from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for 2013. They have also spend tens of billions of dollars acquiring patent portfolios that now due to their lobbying efforts are practically worthless. Regardless of Google’s schizophrenic approach to patents, the arm of Google that seems to loathe patents and the U.S. patent system has particular influence in Washington, DC. Both current and former Google executives are known to have the ear of the White House, which is largely to blame for the substantial anti-patent sentiment flowing from the White House. Unfortunately, all of this suggests that whatever the new strategy for innovation will be it will be one that incorporates significant anti-patent positions support by Google.



Big Banks Get Software Patents Despite Alice

Posted: Friday, Sep 19, 2014 @ 11:36 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
| Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Bank of America, Companies We Follow, Financial Services, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, JP Morgan Chase, Patents, Software, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Wells Fargo

Financial services are one of the more interesting areas of innovation which we touch on in IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series. Many unique products and services for both individual consumers and business organizations are patent-protected, and a number of American banking institutions are regular applicants at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In our most recent look into the state of financial innovation in America, we sought out the most intriguing patent applications or patents assigned to the Bank of America Corporation, JPMorgan Chase Bank and Wells Fargo Bank. What becomes clear is that the Supreme Court decision in Alice v. CLS Bank does not seem to have slowed the allowance of financial services software patents to these and other major banking institutions.

Each of these major banking institutions have increasingly incorporated digital technologies into their financial services offerings, a development we visit in more detail below. All three of these banks have partnered with Apple for the development of the Apple Pay system, allowing iPhone users to conduct transactions directly from their device. The total transaction volume of the six banks in total that are using Apple Pay represents about 83 percent of America’s total credit card transaction volume. In other, more discouraging, technology news related to major American banks, it was recently reported that hackers were able to gain access to dozens of JPMorgan Chase servers, although no theft or fraud has been reported as a result.



Merck Patents Drugs for Metabolic Disorders & Alzheimer’s

Posted: Monday, Sep 15, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
| Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in: Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Merck, Patents, Pharmaceutical, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Merck & Co., Inc., also known as Merck Sharp & Dohme, MSD, is one of the world’s largest developers of pharmaceutical drugs and it is currently headquartered in Whitehouse Station, NJ. Currently, the corporation has nine major drugs in different stages of development which are attracting a lot of investor attention, leading some analysts to believe that Merck’s share prices will rise in the coming months. Merck was recently successful in petitioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve sales of Belsomra, the first insomnia drug designed to regulate the sleep-wake cycle by modulating the activity of orexin in the brain. The U.S. FDA also gave a fast-track designation in early September to move along development of a Merck antibiotic for hospital-acquired pneumonia.

As readers have probably noticed, we have recently surveyed patents and patent applications of pharmaceutical manufacturers as part of our Companies We Follow series. See Pfizer Focuses Recent Patent Activity on Antibacterial Agents and Eli Lilly Patents Treatments for HIV and Ebola. We’ll be wrapping up this segment focus with a look at Merck’s recent medical innovations, although we will certainly return to pharma and biotech again in the future.



Pfizer Focuses Recent Patent Activity on Antibacterial Agents

Posted: Friday, Sep 12, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
| Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Biotechnology, Cancer Research, Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Pfizer, Pharmaceutical, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Pfizer, Inc., is a major American developer of pharmaceutical medications and vaccines for a wide spectrum of medical disciplines. The majority of Pfizer’s business is operated in the northeastern United States, where the company has its corporate headquarters in New York City and its research headquarters in Groton, CT. A Pfizer vaccine that helps to protect against clostridium difficile, a potentially life-threatening bowel infection, received a fast-track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late August of this year. The company also recently announced that it has struck a partnership with fellow American pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. to conduct and evaluate a study on a treatment for lung cancer. Although Pfizer’s efforts to acquire British drug manufacturer AstraZeneca were squashed in May, speculation regarding stock movement in recent weeks has led some to believe that Pfizer may try to revisit the negotiations soon.

The Companies We Follow series  is visiting this major manufacturer of medications as we continue our survey of recent innovations in pharmaceutical fields. Patent applications recently published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office show that Pfizer’s recent development goals have focused on a broad spectrum of diseases and disorders. We discuss a trio of patent applications related to treatments involving the nervous system, including a couple of medications treating Alzheimer’s disease along with a host of other ailments. A couple of patent applications are also related to novel treatments for cancer, especially in the area of preventing cancerous growth.



Hitachi Patents: Big Data, Identity Authentication and Tsunami Protection

Posted: Tuesday, Sep 9, 2014 @ 10:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
| Tags: , , , ,
Posted in: Automotive, Companies We Follow, Electronics, Energy, Guest Contributors, Hitachi, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Security & Identity Theft, Steve Brachmann, Storage Systems & Devices, Technology & Innovation

Hitachi, Ltd., based in Tokyo, Japan, is an electronics and engineering conglomerate and the parent company of the Hitachi Group. Hitachi is involved in an incredibly diverse collection of business segments, including social infrastructure, power systems and digital media. Hitachi’s subsidiaries have been very active in recent days, including Hitachi Data Systems, which recently acquired the data protection firm Sepaton, Inc., a company from Marlborough, MA, which holds a patent portfolio related to data management. Hitachi Metals Ltd. just spent $1.3 billion on acquiring the Wisconsin-based Waupaca Foundry, Inc., the largest purchase completed by that subsidiary. The parent Hitachi company also entered into an agreement with three American universities to develop uses of radioactive waste material from nuclear power plants as fuel.

Many of the patent applications published recently by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and assigned to Hitachi involve various aspects of data storage and systems for data management, including a method for energy-efficient cooling of data center equipment. Hitachi is also involved in the development of automotive services, and we’ve included one patent application describing a vehicle information system that can improve pedestrian and bicyclist crossings. Other patent applications that intrigued us today include one waterproof panel for protecting a building against a tsunami influx and an identification system that can authenticate a person based on the blood vessel pattern in their finger.



Eli Lilly Patents Treatment for HIV and Ebola Virus

Posted: Monday, Sep 8, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Biotechnology, Companies We Follow, Eli Lilly, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Pharmaceutical, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Headquartered in Indianapolis, IN, Eli Lilly and Company is an American pharmaceutical developer and manufacturer which has existed since 1876. The corporation is heavily involved in creating medications for a wide spectrum of health conditions and it sells those treatments all over the world. Recently, a psoriasis treatment called ixekizumab created by Eli Lilly showed positive results in Phase 3 studies, leading company representatives to indicate that the drug would be submitted to regulatory authorities by the first half of 2015. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration lately granted tentative approval to an insulin injection developed in part by Eli Lilly. Other recent Eli Lilly operations have led many to speculate that the corporation will make major inroads into biotech and autoimmune disease treatments over the coming years.

Here at IPWatchdog, we wanted to take some time in our Companies We Follow schedule to take a closer look at the incredible world of innovation in pharmaceuticals. In our perusal of Eli Lilly patent applications recently published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, we got a close look at many of the medications created in recent months by this company. Leukemia, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease are all addressed by innovative compounds which we explore in detail below. We also feature a trio of patent application related to improvements to injector pens for self-administration of medications. But perhaps most exciting is the patent that covers antibodies that could be used to treat the Ebola virus.



Spotlight on Panasonic U.S. Patents: From Semiconductors to Complex Computer-Implemented Systems

Posted: Wednesday, Sep 3, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
| Tags: , , ,
Posted in: Companies We Follow, Electronics, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Medical Devices & Methods, Panasonic, Patents, Semiconductors, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Last week we profiled recently published  patent applications owned by Panasonic. In today’s edition of the Companies We Follow series, we’re wrapping up our in-depth coverage of Panasonic, one of the many major electronics developers found throughout the country of Japan. This company has been issued dozens of patents in recent weeks from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In our new format, we’re taking an extended look at the patents recently issued to this company to gain an even wider view of the type of inventions this corporation has been successful in protecting.

As you will see below, our recent survey of Panasonic patents shows us a great deal of innovation in all electronic fields, from the basic foundation of the semiconductor through complex computer-implemented systems designed to aid human functioning. Although Panasonic may be moving away from manufacturing the semiconductors and integrated circuits which it has designed, many of the issued patents shared below support the fact that this company is still heavily entrenched in this field.



Panasonic Patent Application Review: Portable Devices, Manufacturing Advancements and Behavior Analysis

Posted: Monday, Aug 25, 2014 @ 3:49 pm | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
| Tags: , , ,
Posted in: Companies We Follow, Electronics, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Panasonic, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

From U.S. Patent Application No. 20140226294, titled “Display Device.”

In our latest installment of the Companies We Follow series here at IPWatchdog, we want to take an in-depth look at an indisputable giant in the field of electronics development and manufacturing over the past few decades. The Panasonic Corporation of Osaka, Japan, is a brand well-known to consumers of electronics all over the world.

Recently, Panasonic created a little stir in the alternative energy industry by announcing a partnership with Tesla Motors to contribute to that company’s Gigafactory operations, producing many of the lithium-ion cells needed for Tesla’s electric vehicle batteries. Panasonic is trying to make forays into developing markets, notably through the release of its Eluga U smartphone in Indian markets. Panasonic has faced tough economic times in recent months, but many believe the corporation is reorganizing its operations to focus on products with a higher profit margin, thus improving its prospects. Interestingly, Panasonic has also shown a recent interest in agriculture and its technology is being used to support Singapore’s first indoor vegetable farm licensed to operate in that country.

There can be no doubt that Panasonic has lately been an intellectual property giant; in 2013, the company was issued 2,601 U.S. patent grants from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the 6th-most among any global entity seeking U.S. patents that year. We want to be thorough in our investigation of a company’s recent research and development operations, so today we’ll be focusing strictly on patent applications published recently by the USPTO. Although these applications do not indicate that a company has earned the right to protect an invention, they have been filed more recently than issued patents and are therefore a better indication of a corporation’s recent developments.