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Celebrating 15 Years of

On October 10, 1999, first went live on the Internet. It has been an honor and privilege to get to know so many wonderful people in our industry over the last 15 years, to talk to many industry leaders on the record, and to in some small way continue to push the debate forward. Thanks to our readers and contributors we have been recognized as as one of the top 100 legal blogs by the American Bar Association for 5 years in a row. For 3 of the last 4 years (2010, 2012, 2013) we were recognized as the top intellectual property law blog according to the ABA. In January 2014 we were also honored to be inducted into the ABA Blawg Hall of Fame. CLICK HERE to read more.

Hot on Social Media

Over the past several months we have had a number of articles that have gotten quite a bit of attention on various social media outlets. If you haven’t read these articles yet take a look, they seem to be driving an interesting debate.

  1. Extortionist Demand Letters are Wrecking Public Confidence in the U.S. Patent System
  2. Patent Trolls are NOT the Biggest Barrier to Innovation
  3. 25 Years Since Galileo: A Recent Look at NASA Technologies
  4. Silicon Valley's Anti-Patent Propaganda: Success at What Cost?
  5. Patents are Important: Bursting the Twitter Patent Mythology
  6. Why Brands Need to Pay Attention to Unregulated Domains
  7. Post Patent Issuance Challenges and the Quest for Patent Quality
  8. If Patent Reform is Meant to Starve Patent Trolls, Why is it Feeding Them Instead?
  9. Eli Lilly Patents Treatments for HIV and Ebola Virus
  10. The Ramifications of Alice: A Conversation with Mark Lemley

Most Recent Articles on

Apple Patents Method of Dealing with “Sloppy Taps”

Posted: Wednesday, Apr 27, 2011 @ 10:26 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 3 comments

Did you ever think you would read a patent related article with “sloppy taps” in the title?  Probably not!  And dealing with “sloppy taps”?  Surely dealing with “sloppy taps” would seem more appropriate for a medical device company, pharmaceutical company or maybe a biotechnology firm, but Apple?

The term “sloppy taps” could make a great name for a race horse, particularly one that thrives on running in the mud, or more accurately on a track where there is standing water, which is the true definition of a “sloppy track.”  But what Apple refers to as a “sloppy tap” is a control finger motion used to produce a tapping motion on a touch screen that incorporates a sliding motion.  How are you to tell whether a tap was intended or a slide was intended?  Luckily, Apple has come up with a method of deciphering sloppy taps, and was awarded U.S. Patent No. 7,932,896 on April 26, 2011.

USPTO to Revise Reexam Practice, Is Patent Reform Dead?

Posted: Tuesday, Apr 26, 2011 @ 8:08 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 9 comments

USPTO Headquarters, Alexandria, Virginia

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking public comment on a proposal to streamline the procedures governing ex parte and inter partes patent reexamination proceedings. The timing of this announcement, which appeared in the Federal Register on April 25, 2011, seems curious to me. With patent reform circulating in the House of Representatives does this signal a belief that on the part of the Patent Office that patent reform is dead?  The patent reform passed by the Senate and that being considered by the House has revised post-grant review proceedings, so wouldn’t it be wise to wait to revamp reexamination until after patent reform passes, that is if it seems likely to pass?

Ranting on Congress: Not a Happy World IP Day in the US

Posted: Tuesday, Apr 26, 2011 @ 3:17 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 11 comments

UPDATED: 3:33pm Eastern Time

Happy World Intellectual Property Day! What, you didn’t buy a card or make dinner reservations? Did World Intellectual Property Day sneak up on you again this year? How could you let that happen? At a time when the United States Congress seems hell bent on destroying the patent system by inadequately funding the United States Patent and Trademark Office we really should celebrate something that seems to be functioning, so why not celebrate the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the innovation policies of nations who are stealing research and development away from the United States? What a tragedy that the World has better innovation policies than the United States.

Understanding NPEs: Patent Troll Myths Debunked

Posted: Tuesday, Apr 26, 2011 @ 2:05 pm | Written by Michael Risch | 17 comments

My study of non-practicing patent plaintiffs was sparked by a discussion with a colleague about where patent trolls come from. My theory was that patent trolls tended to enforce patents that startups obtained, but that lay fallow when the startups lost funding. Unfortunately, I had no data to back up my intuition, nor did anyone else. So, I thought I would gather that data.  Ultimately, I was surprised about how wrong my own intuition was, which is why I focus on the myths about patent trolls. Just about everything we thought we knew – good or bad – does not appear to be true.

Tech Transfer: University of New Mexico Honors Innovators

Posted: Monday, Apr 25, 2011 @ 5:52 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 2 comments

Dr. Larry Sklar, University of New Mexico

On Thursday, April 21, 2011, I spent the day at the University of New Mexico.  I toured the University with Lisa Kuuttila, who is the President & CEO of  STC.UNM, a nonprofit corporation owned by the University of New Mexico.   STC.UNM was founded in 1995 by the Regents of UNM to protect and transfer faculty inventions to the commercial marketplace.  I was in town to deliver the keynote speech at their annual awards ceremony, which recognizes researchers who obtained patents during the previous years, as well as those with copyrighted manuscripts. This year the 8th Annual STC.UNM Creative Awards Reception recognized Dr. Larry A. Sklar, who was recognized for his achievements as one of UNM’s top innovators.

Remembering Norman Latker: The Passing of a Friend

Posted: Monday, Apr 25, 2011 @ 12:03 pm | Written by Joseph Allen | Comments Off

If you’re in the profession of technology transfer, you just lost a close friend. Whether you knew him or not, you are a beneficiary of Norman J. Latker who passed away last weekend.

Norm was the patent counsel at the National Institutes of Health in the 1960s. He realized that the benefits of billions of dollars of federally funded research were going unused because the government took patent rights away from universities and others creating inventions with agency support. Norm envisioned a more effective system relying on the intended incentives of the patent system taking these discoveries off of the agency shelves, and transforming them into useful products benefiting the U.S. taxpayer. Working with the founders of what became AUTM, the program became the forerunner of the Bayh-Dole Act.

Who Will Be the Next Secretary of Commerce?

Posted: Sunday, Apr 24, 2011 @ 11:48 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 3 comments

Ambassador Ron Kirk, US Trade Representative

On March 7, 2011, I had the privilege of conducting an interview with the United States Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke.  Later in the day word began to leak that President Barack Obama was planning on announcing that he would appoint Locke to be the next United States Ambassador to China.  ABC News first broke the story that President Obama would nominate Secretary Locke to become Ambassador to China after the close of business on March 7, 2011, and President Obama followed suit and later that week did announce that Locke would become the next Ambassador to China. Little has been said since that time about Locke moving on to become Ambassador to China, and less even still has been said about who will replace Secretary Locke once he leaves the Department of Commerce.

Those who live inside the beltway know that rumors swirl left and right, and it is sometimes extremely difficult to cut through the rumor-mill, which sometimes seems more like a “wishful thinking mill” than a true rumor-mill. Notwithstanding, there is one name that I have heard from multiple sources as likely to become the next Secretary of Commerce — Ambassador Ron Kirk.

Common Marketing Mistakes Attorneys Make, Part Deux

Posted: Sunday, Apr 24, 2011 @ 3:35 pm | Written by Renee C. Quinn | 2 comments

Previously I discussed the 7 Most Common Marketing Mistakes Attorneys Make when building their marketing campaigns.  But 7 is just the tip of the iceberg.  Following are additional mistakes attorneys should look to avoid when building their marketing campaigns and building their brand and what steps you can take to avoid such mistakes.  Although this article is written with the attorney in mind, these concepts, when applied to any industry will ultimately lead to increased market share and profitability.  So without further ado…


One of the biggest complaints about attorneys is that they don’t listen. Just because you specialize in a particular area, does not mean that this is what the potential client is looking for. A very common mistake for attorneys is they misconstrue what a client’s needs are with what they do and what services they offer. The old saying about the world looking like a nail if you are a hammer holds true for attorneys as well as other professionals.

PTO Announces Austerity Measures in Face of Financial Crisis

Posted: Friday, Apr 22, 2011 @ 1:16 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 51 comments

Funding for Fiscal Year 2011 has been a thorny issue for quite a while now.  Congress did not pass a Fiscal Year 2011 budget in the Fall of 2010, as they are supposed to do.  It is widely believed Congress punted on this responsibility because of the 2010 elections and fear of the electoral response to budget negotiations in the election cycle.  That, however, lead to a series of Continuing Resolutions that funded the government on a limited basis. The last Continuing Resolution (or CR) ran out on April 8, 2011, with an 11th hour agreement, which was ultimately passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama the following week.  When the dust had settled the United States Patent and Trademark Office did not fare well at all, with $100 million be diverted from the Patent Office.  That lead to the Office today announcing severe austerity measures because they don’t have the funds available to operate as a going concern.

Interview Finale: Manny Schecter, IBM Chief Patent Counsel

Posted: Thursday, Apr 21, 2011 @ 9:35 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 4 comments

Manny W. Schecter, Chief Patent Counsel, IBM Corporation

On April 4, 2011, I interviewed Manny Schecter, the Chief Patent Counsel for IBM Corporation.  In part 1 of the interview we discussed patent reform, what affect prior user rights might have on IBM’s patenting decisions, working for David Kappos (who is an IBM veteran), the Supreme Court in general and the Microsoft v. i4i case in particular. We also talked a little about patent office reforms, and that is where we pick up part 2 of the interview, which is the final segment. More specifically, we talked about Peer to Patent, Watson on Jeopardy, where the Supreme Court is heading with patent law, the usual fun questions to get to know Schecter on a personal level and more.  As we moved into the “fun stuff” you will learn that one famous IBM invention was tested out in the early stages by the inventors on a Thanksgiving turkey one year, proving that innovation never takes a holiday!  We also learn that Schecter is something of a James Bond fan, and selected one recent Academy Award winning film as his favorite movie.

Without further ado, the final installment of my interview with Manny Schecter.