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Court Slams Frivolous & Vexatious Litigation with $4.7 MM in Fees

Posted: Thursday, Jan 5, 2012 @ 7:23 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 6 comments

In what seems to be a continuing trend, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is continuing to show increasingly little tolerance for abusive patent litigation tactics. In the most recent pronouncement along these lines the Federal Circuit, per Judge O’Malley (with Judges Newman and Prost joining), ruled the district court appropriately awarded the defendant $3,873,865.01 in attorney fees and expenses under § 285, as well as $809,788.02 in expert fees.  See MarcTec, LLC v. Johnson & Johnson (Jan. 3, 2012).

MarcTec originally filed suit in the Southern District of Illinois against Cordis Corporation and Johnson & Johnson, who is the parent company of Cordis Corporation, but not otherwise involved in making or selling the accused product. MarcTec alleged Cordis infringed U.S. Patent Nos. 7,128,753 and 7,217,290. After claim construction, the district court granted Cordis’s motion for summary judgment of noninfringement. On a prior appeal the Federal Circuit then affirmed the district court’s construction and the judgment of noninfringement based on that construction.  See the non-precedential opinion in MarcTec v. Johnson & Johnson 2009-1457.

Patent Strategy: Discovering Crucial Patent Examiner Data

Posted: Wednesday, Jan 4, 2012 @ 7:25 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 36 comments

The patent backlog has been well documented over the years. We don’t need to rehash the reasons for the backlog, but everyone in the industry knows that it takes far too long for the overwhelming majority of patents applications to mature into issued patents.  Sure, pharmaceutical companies, biotech start-ups and Universities may want to delay issuance of a patent, or even delay USPTO consideration of an application, but how many clients of yours really want and even need a patent as quickly as possible?  If you represent independent inventors, small businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups the answer is almost universally that patents are needed with all due speed.

Over the past several years the Patent Office has attempted to offer a variety of procedures to speed up patent applications, such as project exchange where you drop one application to advance another out of turn and the Green Technology Pilot where certain green technologies are advanced out of turn.  Most famously, perhaps because it was a part of the America Invents Act, is Track 1, where you pay an additional $4,800 fee to obtain a patent decision within 12 months.  With all of these efforts some wonder why more haven’t taken advantage of the various acceleration options.  There are two reasons: (1) patent attorneys are very conservative and don’t like change (with good reason); and (2) $4,800 is no small amount of money.

Acacia Research by the Numbers: Inside the Belly of the Beast

Posted: Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012 @ 7:15 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 2 comments

Just say the name Acacia Research Corporation (NASDAQ:ACTG) to patent attorneys and those in the high-tech community and you are likely to observe an uncomfortable reaction.  Acacia has long been considered by many to be the mother of all patent trolls.  But are they really a patent troll?  The term “patent troll” is one that is nearly impossible to define given the reality that one man’s patent troll is another man’s innovator who just chooses to license.  Increasingly, however, the true bad actors in the non-practicing entity community are engaging in what the Federal Circuit has called extortion-like behavior.  Is Acacia Research one of those patent trolls that engages in mafioso tactics, or are they a godsend to inventors and small businesses who otherwise couldn’t monetize their patent portfolios?

Hardly a week goes by without Acacia Research issuing at least one press release.  These press releases hardly give any useful information and seem more aimed at what I will call “the Borg strategy.”  Star Trek fans among us will recall that resistance is futile when dealing with the Borg.  Likewise, resistance is probably futile when dealing with Acacia Research.  They send this message not so subtly in their near constant press releases, which tout the acquisition of one or another unnamed patent portfolios from an unnamed “major technology company,”  or the entering into a license with unspecified terms.

Industry Insiders Make Patent Wishes for 2012

Posted: Monday, Jan 2, 2012 @ 7:15 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 5 comments

It is that time of the year where we all start to look ahead to the new year, perhaps making some New Year resolutions that are sure to last for at least a few days. Over the past several years I write an article titled “Patent Wishes,” and two years ago I contacted a number of my industry contacts to ask them what they wish for moving into the New Year. See Industry Insiders Make Patent Wishes for 2010.

With that in mind I once again contacted some of my friends to get them to go on the record with their patent and innovation related wishes for 2012. I was lucky enough to get a number of very thoughtful responses from individuals with a variety of experiences.

So without further ado, here are the wishes of some industry insiders for 2012.  Please feel free to add your own wishes to the comments, and stay tuned for my annual Patent Wishes article where I write about my own wishes for the year ahead.

An IPWatchdog Year in Review: Looking Back at 2011

Posted: Sunday, Jan 1, 2012 @ 8:30 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 7 comments

It was another exciting year for us here at IPWatchdog, and before anything else we want to thank all of our readers for continuing to make us one of the top intellectual property blogs.

If the vote tally on the ABA Journal mobile website is correct, it looks as if congratulations are in order for PatentlyO and Professor Dennis Crouch.  We were in the lead going into the last day of voting, but a strong surge by the PatentlyO faithful couldn’t be match by our own late surge.  Nevertheless, it is a great honor to be recognized by the American Bar Association as one of the top 100 legal blogs.  For three years now we have been in the top 100, which really continues to fuel the drive to excel.  Sometimes you go long stretches not knowing whether what you are doing matters, and then someone will send a note, you will hear that a particular article has stirred debate in the industry or that folks at the ABA are noticing and know who you are.  The intellectual property community and the patent community specifically, are lucky to have a bunch of excellent citizen journalists and commentators, and it is humbling to be considered one of the best.

The Top 20 Articles of 2011

Posted: Saturday, Dec 31, 2011 @ 4:13 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | Comments Off

It is New Years Eve, which means it is time to take stock by looking back at the past year, remembering, learning and becoming energized with ideas, thoughts and plans for the next year.

At we had a splendid 2011.  Our number of readers has again grown year to year.  During 2011 we averaged over 71,000 unique visitors a month, compared with 67,640 unique visitors a month during 2010. During 2011 we also published 447 articles, including 98 guest contributions, 34 articles by Renee QuinnThe Social Media Diva and 292 articles (or interviews) by me.  The remaining posts were largely press releases from the USPTO or AIPLA.

What follows is a look at the top 20 articles (in terms of traffic) published by during 2011.  Thank you for reading!  We look forward to another great year in 2012!

Top 10 Social Networking Resolutions for Business in 2012

Posted: Friday, Dec 30, 2011 @ 4:48 pm | Written by Renee C. Quinn | 2 comments

When it comes to social media and business these days it seems that, “Everyone is doing it.”  In fact, you may have already dabbled in social media a bit yourself.  The question is are you really doing all you can do to make the most out of your social media strategy?  Are you taking advantage of the various available platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites? Are you ready to take control and tap into the power of social media?

One of the best things about social media is that you don’t need to have a big marketing budget to benefit from the different ways that social media can propel your business.  But you do need to be committed and have a strategy. If you are not going to hire a consultant to assist you, then you will need to invest the time to do things yourself, which is fine so long as you actually do it!

Since we are nearing the end of 2011, in order to get you motivated moving into 2012, I thought I would share with you a list of “Social Media Resolutions” that you should consider implementing in your 2012 marketing and brand building social media campaigns.

Recent Patent Related Federal Register Notices

Posted: Thursday, Dec 29, 2011 @ 2:21 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 1 Comment »

At this time of the year many attorneys and agents are not paying all that much attention to the rules and requests for comments coming out of the Patent Office. Truthfully, with the number of changes that have taken place under the Kappos run Patent Office and the enormity of the America Invents Act many patent attorneys, including myself, are worn out!  Add to that the typical end of the year matters for clients and our own businesses and it is easy to miss announcements in November and December.

With that in mind I thought I would take this opportunity to try and bring everyone up to speed on the various patent related announcements and notices in the Federal Register that were published in November 2011 and December 2011.  I am told that more are on the way in January 2012.  I can’t wait!

Facial Recognition Technology Raising Privacy Concerns

Posted: Wednesday, Dec 28, 2011 @ 6:27 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 10 comments

The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comments on the issues raised at a recent FTC workshop exploring facial recognition technology and the privacy and security implications raised by its increasing use. The December 8, 2011, public workshop, “Face Facts: A Forum on Facial Recognition Technology,” focused on the current and future commercial applications of facial detection and recognition technologies, and discussed current uses of these technologies, possible future uses and benefits. Now the focus shifts to the potential harms, namely the numerous potential privacy and security concerns.

Facial detection and recognition technologies have been adopted in a variety of new contexts, ranging from  online social networks to automobiles to Automatic Teller Machines and must more. Indeed, there are a variety of facial recognition innovations already patented and many with patent pending status.  A search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office database for the term “facial recognition” within the Abstract of an issued patent or published patent application returns 181 results.

14 Ways to Exploit the Power of Social Media for Business

Posted: Tuesday, Dec 27, 2011 @ 6:47 pm | Written by Renee C. Quinn | 5 comments

Having a brand is not just for big corporations and well-known products. Big businesses, small businesses, law firms, entrepreneurs and anyone else wanting to make a name for themselves can do so by building a brand. The way you portray your business, your products and yourself; in other words your image, is your brand.

Thanks to social media everyone has the ability to connect with like-minded individuals all over the world. But if you want to exploit social media you need to have an effective strategy. It does not take an enormous amount of time each day. In fact with only 15 minutes per day, you can really make quite an impact.  Like everything you hope to succeed with in life, it does take planning and forethought.

Here are suggestions on how you might be able to use social media to develop your brand, monitor quality, engage customers, expand upon ideas and connect with others within your industry.