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5th Anniversary: Supreme Lab Corp. Non-Decision Revisited

Posted: Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 @ 12:50 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 5 comments
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Posted in: Gene Quinn, IP News, Articles, Patentability, Patents, US Supreme Court

Justice Stephen Breyer wanted to decide the case, thankfully enough others didn't.

Court Watchers know that there are approximately 8,000 peti­tions filed with the Supreme Court each year and an additional 1,200 applications of various kinds are filed per year that can be acted upon by a single Justice.  There is simply not enough time to consider each case where Supreme Court review is sought, so the Court has historically been very selective in choosing cases, normally only issuing full opinions in roughly 85 cases each year. Notwithstanding, this Supreme Court has shown great interest in patent matters, particularly questions of fundamental importance such as what is patent eligible subject matter (See Bilski v. Kappos and Mayo v. Prometheus), what is considered obvious (See KSR v. Teleflex) and the appropriate level for the presumption of validity of an issued patent (See Microsoft v. i4i).  The Roberts Court is no doubt placing its stamp on patent law, and it does not appear as if that will cease any time soon.

Notwithstanding, tomorrow is an anniversary of a peculiar Supreme Court event.  Five years ago the United States Supreme Court decided not to issue a ruling in the case of Laboratory Corporation of America v. Metabolite Laboratories. This may not seem like an appropriate event to revisit, or even a noteworthy decision at all, but the issue in the case — what is patent eligible subject matter — has continued to be a question of great concern to the courts, including the Supreme Court.  Indeed, with the Supreme Court recently granting cert. in Mayo v. Prometheus, it seems that it is only a matter of time before the issues in Lab Corp. make their way to a decision on the merits by the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Accepts Appeal on Patented Medical Diagnostics

Posted: Monday, Jun 20, 2011 @ 1:08 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 5 comments
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Posted in: Bilski, Gene Quinn, IP News, Articles, Medical Devices & Methods, Patents, US Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C.

Earlier today the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., which sets up another foray into the patent eligible subject matter waters for the Supreme Court in the October 2011 term.  This appeal by Mayo will challenge the December 17, 2010 decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, one of the first patentable subject matter cases for the Federal Circuit in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Bilski v. Kappos.  In fact, this case was returned from the Supreme Court to the Federal Circuit for further consideration in light of the Supreme Court ruling in Bilski v. Kappos.

USPTO Announces Three Patent Prosecution Highway Pilots

Posted: Monday, Jun 20, 2011 @ 11:53 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Gene Quinn, International, IP News, Patent Cooperation Treaty, Patents, USPTO

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has just announced the expansion of the PCT-PPH pilot program with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), as well as two new PPH pilot programs; a new pilot project for the Patent Prosecution Highway with the Nordic Patent Institute (NPI) based on NPI’s Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) work products and a new pilot project for the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) with the Israel Patent Office (ILPO).

First U.S. Patent Laws Were First to File, Not First to Invent

Posted: Sunday, Jun 19, 2011 @ 3:05 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 47 comments
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Posted in: Congress, Gene Quinn, IP News, Articles, Patent Reform, Patents

Thomas Jefferson, author of the Patent Act of 1793

The United States Constitution is a relatively short document, but one that has provided guiding principles for over 220 years.  At a time when the nation was struggling to exist under the Articles of Confederation our Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia beginning on May 14, 1787.  The outcome of this convention was the U.S. Constitution, which was signed by 38 of the 41 delegates present on September 17, 1787. New Hampshire was the ninth State to ratify the Constitution, and did so on June 21, 1788, causing the Constitution to become the supreme law of the land.

Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution granted Congress the power to grant patents and copyrights for limited times in order to promote the progress of science and the useful arts.  As James Madison stated in Federalist Paper No. 43, the usefulness of the Congresses power to award both patents and copyrights “will scarcely be questioned.”  Madison, Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, at 512-13 (Hunt and Scott ed. 1920). Indeed, the new Congress wasted little time in exercising this power to promote the progress.  Clearly demonstrating just how important the Founding Fathers perceived a patent system to be, the third Act of Congress was the Nation’s first Patent Act; the Patent Act of 1790.

Apple Patent App Seeks to Disable iPhone Video Recorder

Posted: Friday, Jun 17, 2011 @ 9:12 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 11 comments
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Posted in: Apple, Companies We Follow, Gene Quinn, IP News, Articles, Patents, Technology & Innovation

Earlier this month an Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) patent application published. This in and of itself isn’t news, but the contents of the innovation disclosed is indeed noteworthy. This particular Apple patent application, US Patent Application No. 20110128384, covers a method of disabling video capture in a cell phone or similar device; namely in the Apple iPhone.

Such an innovation would make it impossible to capture video or pictures at live events where cameras and video recorders are prohibited, such as at live entertainment venues.  Such an innovation would no doubt be to the liking of those who engage in live performances and don’t prefer to have videos taken and ultimately posted to the Internet.  It wouldn’t, however, be an innovation that would be particularly interesting to the consuming public though, so whether Apple would ever implement these features remains an open question.

The State of the Judiciary: Federal Court Fiscal Problems

Posted: Thursday, Jun 16, 2011 @ 5:51 pm | Written by Judge Norma Shapiro | No Comments »
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Posted in: IP News, Articles

Judge Shapiro at UNH on 5/26/2011

EDITORIAL NOTE: What follows is the testimony of Judge Norma Shapiro, Senior District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, given to the ABA Task Force on Preserving Justice, which was held at the University of New Hampshire School of Law on May 26, 2011.  It is republished here with the permission of Judge Shapiro.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Good afternoon Lady Olson and panel members. Thank you for allowing me, as Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Federal Judicial Improvements, to testify about federal court fiscal problems. Our problems pale in comparison with the threats to the state judiciaries. But the Task Force mission statement includes the federal courts as an object of concern so I am honored to express my personal views with the hope they will help you in your extremely timely and important task.

Great Again: Revitalizing America’s Entrepreneurial Leadership

Posted: Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011 @ 6:05 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 6 comments
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Posted in: Books & Book Reviews, Gene Quinn, IP News, Articles, Patents, Technology & Innovation, US Economy

Pat Choate and Hank Nothhaft, at the Met Club, June 14, 2011.

I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of Great Again several months before it became available. I have also had the pleasure of getting to know Hank Nothhaft and his co-author David Kline over the past year or so, frequently exchanging e-mails discussing a variety of innovation and patent related issues. It has been exceptionally difficult to keep quiet knowing what Hank and David were writing about, and then reading the nearly finished manuscript. Simply put, everyone in the innovation industry and patent community needs to read Great Again. Every Staffer on Capitol Hill and everyone working in the White House needs to read Great Again. While Members of Congress are no doubt busy with a great many things, they too should read Great Again, but at the very least Members of Congress and those in the Executive Branch, including President Obama, should at a minimum read the Introduction, which is just 12 pages long.

It’s More Important Than Ever To Use Protection

Posted: Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011 @ 1:55 pm | Written by Jeanne Albrecht | 4 comments
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Posted in: Business, Guest Contributors, IP News, Articles, Patents, Technology & Innovation

You hear a lot these days about the need to protect Intellectual Property and capture innovation, but you don’t hear much about the traditional expense involved. There’s a reason for that: given the constantly evolving, “wild west” nature of today’s technical frontier, it is often prohibitively expensive for the little guy to cover all the bases and keep up with all the changes. Small businesses have had few options for affordable, comprehensive preparedness on the IP front, and in the wake of the recession, you’re likely to hear a lot more about the need to cut legal spending than you are about performing more audits and hiring more lawyers.

Companies are beginning to tackle this paradox by practicing the word on the lips of everyone from David Kappos (Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO) to Robert L. Stoll (Commissioner for Patents, USPTO), to business leaders, to even President Obama – innovation.  But what good is innovation in and of itself?  The innovation our leaders want demands adequate protections in place to turn those promising innovations into business assets.