Posts in Inventors Information

Jump Rope Company Asks High Court to Weigh in on CAFC Approach to Collateral Estoppel for PTAB Invalidations

The inventor of a novel jump rope system (the Revolution Rope), Molly Metz, is petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court through her company, Jump Rope Systems, LLC, to seek clarification of the collateral estoppel doctrine as applied by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) to bar a patent infringement suit in district court where the CAFC has affirmed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) finding of unpatentability. Jump Rope Systems is arguing that the CAFC’s decision in  XY, LLC v. Trans Ova Genetics, L.C. (2018) conflicts with the Supreme Court decisions in B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Indus., 575 U.S. 138 (2015); Medtronic, Inc. v. Mirowski Family Ventures, LLC, 571 U.S. 191 (2014); and Grogan v. Garner, 498 U.S. 279 (1991).

IP Leaders Join Forces to Counter Anti-IP Narratives

A new intellectual property (IP) organization launched today will be headed by former vice president of U.S. policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC), Frank Cullen, and features a Board of Directors comprised of bipartisan frontrunners in the IP realm. The Council for Innovation Promotion (C4IP) will aim to educate on the importance of innovation to the U.S. economy at a high level, and to fill the void its creators say exists with respect to clarifying the often-negative public narrative about the role of IP in access to innovation. The Board includes former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Directors Andrei Iancu and David Kappos, Retired U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Judge Kathleen O’Malley and Retired CAFC Chief Judge Paul Michel.

District Court Grants Dismissal of Due Process Case Against Former USPTO Officials

A Tennessee district court judge on Monday granted a number of former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) officials’ motion to dismiss a case brought by Martin David Hoyle and B.E. Technology alleging violation of the plaintiffs’ constitutional right to due process under the Fifth Amendment. Hoyle filed the suit in the Western District of Tennessee’s Western Division in August 2021 against former USPTO Director Michelle Lee and a number of other former USPTO officials for allegedly depriving the plaintiffs “of their valuable property rights in quasi-judicial administrative proceedings before the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (‘PTAB’).” The complaint further claimed that PTAB proceedings have been “tainted by various improprieties and underhanded tactics, designed to stack the deck against [plaintiffs] and in favor of their far more powerful opponents.”

Can a Human Patent a Space Alien’s Invention?

The 56th anniversary of the first broadcast of Star Trek just passed on September 8. I recently moderated a panel discussion at the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, titled “Patents in the Future,” where I asked one of my favorite patent questions, one that most patent attorneys get wrong. If I find an alien invention and figure out how it works, can I patent it? I usually get the impatient answer “no” because I didn’t invent it—isn’t that obvious? But actually that’s not correct. I can get a patent.

Amici Cite Relevance of GAO Report, Empirical Data, to Back New Vision’s Claim that AIA Review Structure Violates Due Process

Inventor organization US Inventor (USI) and Ron Katznelson—the author of a widely cited study detailing the link between Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) judges’ decisions and their compensation—have filed separate amicus briefs supporting New Vision Gaming and Development, Inc. in its most recent appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). New Vision is arguing that America Invents Act (AIA) trials violate the Due Process Clause and that the recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report documenting how U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and PTAB management control influences Administrative Patent Judges’ (APJ) decision making bolsters its previous arguments and warrants a new appeal. While USI’s brief expands upon this argument, Katznelson’s provides both old and new data that he says proves a “structural bias” exists.

Employing ‘Technology Analysis’ to Determine AI Inventorship

Not long ago, Dr. Stephen Thaler, a member of the scientific community, began claiming that his artificial intelligence (AI) machine, DABUS, was a bona fide inventor. The outcome so far has been that the claim has been rejected in most jurisdictions. A notable exception is South Africa, which accepted Thaler’s patent application under “Formalities Examination” with DABUS as named inventor. The acceptance of the patent in South Africa and the evolution of the legal field opens the possibility of further assertions and challenges with respect to AI inventorship. I recently authored an article about some of the challenges presented by AI inventorship to the technological and philosophical community. The article highlights that more technological evidence is needed before claiming such inventorship. This technological evidence must be based on the burgeoning concept of “technology analysis,” that is, an analysis that is based on logico-mathematical foundations.  

Amicus Brief in OpenSky Case Implores USPTO Director to Change Rule on Abuse of PTAB Process

Inventor Ramzi Khalil Maalouf yesterday filed an amicus brief suggesting that U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (UPSTO) Director Kathi Vidal change the language of Rule 37 CFR 42.12(a)(6)) to indicate that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) “shall” rather than “may” sanction abuse of the post grant process. The brief was filed in response to Vidal’s July request relating to OpenSky Industries, LLC v. VLSI Technology LLC, IPR2021-01064 and Patent Quality Assurance [PQA], LLC v. VLSI Technology LLC, IPR2021-01229, both of which have been the subject of much scrutiny by members of Congress and patent practitioners.

Amicus Brief Backing Inventor’s Eligibility Petition to SCOTUS Says 101 Exceptions Constitute ‘Judicial Legislation’

On August 5, US Inventor and Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund (Eagle Forum ELDF) jointly filed an Amicus Brief supporting inventor David Tropp’s petition for a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) regarding whether Tropp’s method claims are patent-eligible under 35 U.S.C. 101. Tropp owns two patents relating to luggage lock technology that enables airport screening of luggage while still allowing the bags to remain locked. In July, just days after the Court denied cert in American Axle, Tropp asked the High Court to answer the question: “Whether the claims at issue in Tropp’s patents reciting physical rather than computer-processing steps are patent-eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101, as interpreted in Alice Corporation Pty v. CLS Bank International, 573 U.S. 208 (2014).”

Blockchain IP: DAOs Are Innovative—But Will They Be Inventors?

Intellectual property (IP) provides us a front row seat to the cutting-edge of technology. The legal questions arising at this frontier are often as complex as the resulting inventions and creative works. The Federal Circuit’s recent Thaler v. Vidal opinion clarifies an important patent law concept, specifically whether an artificial intelligence (AI) may be listed as the inventor of a patent. The current industrial revolution powered by blockchain and crypto continues to raise issues about how it meshes with our current IP legal framework…. The latest question at the cutting-edge of “who, or what may, be an inventor” begs whether a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), a new type of digital blockchain-based organization, can participate in IP-related activities, including the invention, ownership, licensing, and enforcement of patent rights.

A Plea to Senator Tillis: Words Matter in Section 101 Reform

In U.S. government, setting public policy is the sole and exclusive domain of Congress. The laws they pass effectuate the public policy positions that Congress alone has the power to set. In law, words are everything. The precise meaning of the words in law determines whether the public policy is implemented as intended by Congress. Altering the meaning of just one word can change the entire public policy set by Congress, even turning the public policy on its head. Anyone following the debate on patent eligibility can attest to how the Supreme Court’s redefinition of the word “any” in 35 U.S.C. § 101 to have an exception called an “abstract idea” caused a significant public policy change and that change destroyed countless startups, especially those in tech. Senator Tillis’ Patent Eligibility Restoration Act of 2022, S.4734, wrongly puts the courts in charge of defining public policy because it leaves key words completely undefined.

CAFC ‘Unambiguously’ Backs USPTO in AI as Inventor Fight

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ruled today in Thaler v. Vidal that an artificial intelligence (AI) machine does not qualify as an inventor under the Patent Act. The decision is the latest in a series of rulings around the world considering the topic, most of which have found similarly. Judge Stark authored the opinion.

USPTO to Expand Initiatives for Under-Resourced Inventors and First-Time Filers

United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Kathi Vidal penned a blog post today announcing several new programs aimed at expanding the U.S. innovation ecosystem, which she said “could quadruple the number of American inventors, and increase the GDP per capita by as much as 4%, or by about $1 trillion.” The initiatives are being spearheaded by the USPTO’s Council for Inclusive Innovation (CI2), for which Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo serves as Chair and Vidal as Co-Chair.

Protecting AI-Generated Inventions as Trade Secrets Requires Protecting the Generative AI as Well

Editor’s Note: Dean A. Pelletier of Pelletier Law, LLC co-authored this article with Erik Weibust.

Legal, technology, business, and academic professionals currently are debating whether an invention autonomously generated by artificial intelligence (AI) should be patentable in the United States and elsewhere. Some proponents of patentability argue that if AI, by itself, is not recognized as an inventor, then AI owners will lack protection for AI-generated inventions and AI innovation, commercialization, and investment (collectively, AI innovation) will be inhibited as a result. Some of those proponents further argue that, without patent protection as an option, AI owners increasingly will opt for trade secret protection, which by design reduces public disclosure of corresponding inventions and, as such, still will inhibit AI innovation. Some opponents of patentability, on the other hand, argue that patenting AI-generated inventions will promote those inventions and discourage human-generated inventions, thereby reducing human innovation and ultimately competition, because patent ownership will become concentrated, or more concentrated, in fewer entities—in particular, large, well-funded entities.

Inventor Diversity Advocacy Group Launches ‘Patent Academy’ in Latest Effort to Reach Underrepresented Inventors

Earlier this month, IP diversity advocacy group Invent Together announced that it had launched an online learning platform known as The Inventor’s Patent Academy (TIPA), an e-learning course designed in collaboration with Qualcomm to educate inventors from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds about the benefits of engaging with the U.S. patent system. This online academy is the latest of several efforts by Congress and patent system stakeholders in recent years to unlock the innovative potential of women, people of color, LGBTQIA, and low-income inventors to benefit the U.S. economy.

The Case for Patenting AI: U.S. Patent Laws Better Get Smart or Get Left Behind

The idea of patented inventions brings to mind machines fully realized – flying contraptions and engines with gears and pistons operating in coherent symphony. When it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), there are no contraptions, no gears, no pistons, and in a lot of cases, no machines. AI inventors sound much more like philosophers theorizing about machines, rather than mechanics describing a machine. They use phrases like “predictive model” and “complexity module” that evoke little to no imagery or association with practical life whatsoever. The AI inventor’s ways are antithetical to the principles of patent writing, where inventions are described in terms of what does what, why, how, and how often.