Guest Contributors

US Inventor

Chenery doctrine another legal norm not respected by the CAFC

Posted 13 days ago

More than half a century ago, the Supreme Court announced a “simple but fundamental rule” of administrative law: “that a reviewing court, in dealing with a determination or judgment which an administrative agency alone is authorized to make, must judge the propriety of such action solely by the grounds invoked by the agency.” Chenery II, 332 U.S. at 196 (emphasis added). Thus, an agency’s “action must be measured by what [the agency] did, not by what it might have done,” SEC v. Chenery Corp., 318 U.S. 80, 93–94 (1943) (Chenery I), so if the agency’s “grounds are inadequate or improper, the court is powerless to affirm the administrative action by substituting what it considers to be a more adequate or proper basis,” Chenery II, 332 U.S. at 196… Unfortunately, Chenery is yet another baseline legal norm that is not given due respect in the Federal Circuit. That court swims against the tide of Chenery’s expansion, enacting a restriction on its operation that dramatically reduces the rule’s scope.

Matt Troyer

Predicting Patent Number 10,000,000

Posted 13 days ago

The date of patent number 10,000,000 will be June 19, 2018. We feel this one is the easiest part of the prediction. We also think the USPTO will award Patent 10,000,000 to Application 13/666670 – SEARCH SPACE DESIGN FOR E-PDCCH IN WIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS from Qualcomm Inc.

Josh Malone

PTAB Reform: An Urgent Request on Behalf of Independent Inventors

Posted 14 days ago

What follows is a letter on the topic of PTAB reform that will be sent to USPTO Director Andrei Iancu on Monday, May 14, 2018. The letter seeks urgent action on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in order to bring balance to a process that has tormented inventors for the last 6 years. We already have over 100 signatures from patent owners, patent attorneys, investors and inventors. If you would like to sign onto this letter please visit

Jeffery Langer

Rapid changes in the Chinese legal system, an increasingly attractive venue for IP litigation

Posted 14 days ago

For many years, foreign companies were reluctant to seek and enforce intellectual property protection in China.  A combination of challenging litigation with low damages, the lack of ability to effectively enforce judgments, allegations of protectionism by the courts; a lack of ability to patent certain subject matter, a lack of transparency on legal matters and other factors made China a less desirable jurisdiction.  The Chinese intellectual property legal system has matured rapidly, however.  From improvements in the scope of allowable patent subject matter to enhancements of litigation options, and a strong desire by China to be seen as having a level playing field for all parties, China deserves a second look… More companies are looking to China as a stand-alone enforcement jurisdiction, as a cost-effective second front to open in conjunction with US litigation.

Bruce Berman

New Canadian IP strategy includes money for IP tools and literacy

Posted 16 days ago

In a move that recognizes the importance of innovation and IP rights – and the need for diverse audiences to understand how they work – the Canadian government has announced that it is investing $88.3M (CD) to create a new IP strategy that incorporates IP awareness and education.

Bernard Knight

13 Tools to Make Your Client Communications Stronger

Posted 17 days ago

We must communicate effectively to be helpful. If the client isn’t listening because our delivery is ineffective or off-putting, it doesn’t matter that our legal opinion was brilliant because they will not be listening. Every interaction counts. Here are 13 tips to improve client communications.

Kelvin King

Image Rights: Valuable Intellectual Property

Posted 17 days ago

The cult of celebrity keeps creating more and more wealth. And concurrent with protecting that, ‘Image Rights”’have been receiving a lot of publicity – as well as the attention of tax authorities. Even James Bond, Sir Sean Connery, has just discreetly protected his brand and trademarked his name. Documents filed in both the EU and the US show the veteran star is ensuring that he and he alone can profit from his name.

Elizabeth Crompton

SimpleAir v. Google: Consider the Scope of the Claims in a Claim Preclusion Analysis

Posted 18 days ago

On March 12, 2018, the Federal Circuit held in SimpleAir, Inc. v. Google LLC, No. 2016-2738, that a terminal disclaimer does not raise a presumption that a continuation patent is patentably indistinct from its parent patent.  In SimpleAir, the issue was whether an action asserting infringement of two patents was barred by claim preclusion or the Kessler doctrine when the same activity had been judged not infringing in earlier litigations involving other patents in the same family, all of which were related as continuations, and all of which included terminal disclaimers to the ultimate parent patent.  The Federal Circuit held that notwithstanding the terminal disclaimers, the district court could not simply rely on a presumption that the claims were patentably indistinct, and instead must compare the scope of the claims to determine whether claim preclusion or the Kessler doctrine applies. 

Kristina M. L. Acri née Lybecker

Undermining Innovation Is Not A Victory: Hepatitis C Drug Center Stage in Global Patent Battle

Posted 18 days ago

Thanks to a number of new Hepatitis C drugs (Sofosbuvir Ledipasvir, Ladispavir) the disease is curable for many patients. While this is an undeniable victory for patients and payers, the innovators who made this possible have been villainized and undermined. At a time when the public health community should celebrate the tremendous health benefits these breakthrough drugs have brought to patients around the world, they are instead organizing to ensure the destruction of the incentives that made these drugs a reality. A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 2% – 3% of the world’s population is living with hepatitis C. The World Health Organization states that globally an estimated 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C infection and approximately 399,000 people die each year from the disease.

James Pooley

The Biggest Trade Secret Loophole You’ve Never Heard Of

Posted 19 days ago

What would you think if I told you that anyone from France or China or Brazil that was just thinking about some legal action in their country could come here and easily force discovery from a U.S. company, even though they couldn’t dream of getting the same information through their home courts? Crazy, right? That is exactly what has resulted from a law that’s so obscure it doesn’t even have a name, so we call it by its legal citation: 28 U.S.C. Section 1782.

Joe Naylor

Proof of Existence Is Not Proof of Ownership

Posted 19 days ago

There is a dangerous movement afoot; the idea that registration of your images on the blockchain is a cheap and simple alternative to registration with the United States Copyright Office. It is not…. While the costs of registration with the US Copyright Office can be significant, especially if you are shooting thousands of photos, don’t be deluded into thinking that the blockchain is some cheap cure-all for legally protecting your copyrighted work. The blockchain is not a government registry, but rather by definition is a distributed ledger without any central authority. Anyone can inscribe whatever they want in the blockchain without any legal recourse.

Joseph Allen

Unleashing American Innovation, Oil States and Eroom’s Law

Posted 20 days ago

NCATS is working with industry to de-risk promising therapies by helping to take them further down the development pipeline. But the key ingredient remains finding a private sector partner willing and able to assume the burden of commercial development, which dwarfs the amount of money the government spent on the underlying research. This investment can only be justified if the technology has strong patent protection… There’s a reason it’s called intellectual property. Ownership of inventions in the United States of America isn’t a gift from the king but the right of a free people to securely own what they create. That’s the driver of American entrepreneurs, who with proper support will astound centralized governments run by dictators for life with what they can do when turned loose. Restoring our patent system removes the leash holding them back. After that, watch out if you’re in their way.

Robert Schaffer

Defendant is Prevailing Party for Awarding Attorney’s Fees if Case Dismissed with Prejudice

Posted 20 days ago

If an action is dismissed with prejudice for lack of standing, the defendant will be considered the prevailing party and attorney’s fees can be awarded under 35 U.S.C. § 285. The Federal Circuit also affirmed that the case was exceptional under § 285 because the court properly examined the totality of the circumstances in making its determination that Raniere litigated the case in an unreasonable manner.

Joseph Robinson

Equitable Estoppel Requires Claim Scope Sufficiently Similar to Earlier Claims

Posted 21 days ago

Equitable estoppel does not bar assertion of patent claims later amended by reexamination when those new claims differ in scope from earlier claims in the patent that were not asserted. Thus, a defendant’s reliance on a patentee’s knowing silence and failure to enforce an earlier patent does not shield him from allegations of infringing later-issued claims of different scope.

Joseph Robinson

Software Development Agreement Not a Clear Conveyance of Patent Rights

Posted 21 days ago

Where a contractual assignment of patent rights is not unequivocal the contract cannot defeat standing at the pleadings stage in a correction of inventorship action. A contract between two legal entities cannot assign the patent rights of a non-party, when the non-party signed the agreement on behalf of one of the entities and not for himself. A contract to develop and deliver software, absent express language conveying an assignment, does not imply a transfer of patent rights and does not create an implication that the developer was hired to invent.