At the roundtable, topics for discussion will include: (1) how the USPTO can utilize crowdsourcing tools to obtain relevant prior art in order to enhance the quality of examination and issued patents; and (2) ways the USPTO can leverage existing private sector solutions for the electronic receipt and hosting of crowdsourced materials as a means to provide prior art to examiners further to the USPTO’s request for information (RFI). See Crowdsourced Non-Patent Literature Hosting (Solicitation Number: PTOHMB201501). In addition, feedback received responsive to the USPTO’s March 19, 2014 crowdsourcing notice and April 10, 2014 crowdsourcing roundtable will be discussed.
IPWatchdog.com founder Gene Quinn has recently spoken at several events. On Tuesday, November 11, 2014, he gave the ethics lecture at the PLI Patent Litigation 2014 program in New York City. On Monday, November 17, 2014, he gave a presentation titled Dark Days Ahead: The Patent Pendulum at the Orange County Bar Association in Newport Beach, California. These powerpoint presentations are available below. If you would like Gene to speak to your group or at your event let us know by using this contact form.
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Speaking without notes, Walker was in rare form. This is the presentation that all Congressional Staffers and every Member of Congress needs to hear. Walker spoke about everything from job creation to the need to allow innovators to benefit from the fruits of their labors. The common thread throughout his speech was simple— attracting more customers leads to job creation, the way you attract more customers is to solve problems in innovative ways, and then you patent those solutions, thereby creating a competitive advantage.
“If you are good at solving problems you can have a lot of customers,” Walker explained as he started his address. You can have a billion customers if you solve a problem in the modern world that a lot of people have, her told a packed audience of nearly 200 attendees, with more in the overflow room where his address was being broadcast internally. He then succinctly explained: “How do we solve problems: Inventors.”
In the earliest parts of the 20th Century, an Alabama woman makes a trip to New York City; the cold and stormy weather, and the way it affected her travels, led to the invention of a technology that the vast majority of car owners take for granted today. Without the work of Hall of Fame inventor Mary Anderson, who invented the windshield wiper more than one hundred years ago, driver visibility while it rains or snows would be greatly diminished, leading to great risks in driver and passenger safety.
Every so often, we return to our Evolution of Technology series here at IPWatchdog to chronicle the progression of a technology that truly permeated our daily lives. We all take windshield wipers for granted, even if we may be grateful for them when an intense storm hits suddenly during our commutes. The interesting story of Mary Anderson’s development of the windshield wiper involves an ingenious solution to a common problem and the creation of a technology that was ahead of its time.
If you have a provisional patent application pending on your invention, you have one year to assess the production / distribution / marketing costs versus the potential profitability of your idea, before filing a nonprovisional patent application. If that sounds like a pretty big to-do list to complete in a year, it definitely is.
Holding a provisional patent application pending, but failing to file a nonprovisional patent application by the one year deadline, means you lose the right to that filing date, and could potentially lose ownership rights to the invention. This outcome is fine if you have done your research and determined that the invention cannot support a viable business. It’s not fine if you haven’t completed all of your research prior to the deadline. Unfortunately extensions are not possible.
As you conduct research to determine the commercial viability of your invention, you will want to spend a lot of time qualifying the professionals you will be hiring to complete their role during this information-gathering phase. You want to utilize trusted resources, but don’t assume that everyone you meet is the right fit to assess your invention.
This weekend, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, in collaboration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, hosted an Innovation Festival. The Festival, which is part of a five-year collaboration between the Smithsonian and USPTO to develop programs and exhibitions showcasing American ingenuity and innovation. This year’s Festival celebrated the spirit of innovation with displays, talks, performances, and craft projects for children and adults while highlighting the accomplishments of several American inventors.
The settlement with MPHJ is the first time the FTC has taken action using its consumer protection authority against a patent assertion entity (PAE). PAEs are companies that obtain patent rights and try to generate revenue by licensing to or litigating against those who are or may be using patented technology.
“Patents can promote innovation, but a patent is not a license to engage in deception,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Small businesses and other consumers have the right to expect truthful communications from those who market patent rights.”
The first panel of the day, titled View of the IP Market and Investment Landscape, discussed the IP markets generally, trends in investments, recent deal activity, evolving business needs and other asset classes and emerging markets, including IP financing in Asia.
David Morland, a partner with 3LP Advisors, moderated the first panel. He lead off the segment by pointing out that in the United States patents are being both applied for and issued in record numbers year after year. He also started the substance of the program today by pointing out that the people who own patents in the United States do not seem to believe that the asset class has been devalued. “Maintenance fee payment rates have raised, particularly with respect to the twelve-year payment, which suggests that those who own the assets do not think they are diminishing in value,” Morland explained.
On the morning of Friday, November 7, the FTC will officially recognize the occasion with a 100th Anniversary Symposium at the Constitution Center in Washington, D.C. The event will feature a day-long schedule of panel discussions involving current commissioners, current FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez and a long list of experts in business and law.
It’s easy to conflate the protection of consumer rights in America with the idea of snake oil salesmen and quack cures from the 1800s. Although that makes for a good story, it would be wrong to think that there aren’t a myriad of concerns that still affect consumer and business markets. For example, the FTC recently investigated allegations that AT&T “crammed” customers with costly add-on services; by the middle of October, AT&T had agreed to pay a $105 million settlement, $80 million of which will be refunded to customers.
DuPont is a company responsible for many impressive industrial and commercial innovations, and our latest survey of patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office bears this fact out. We explored a couple of patent applications that discuss novel methods of creating fuel from biomass materials, especially those materials that don’t draw from the food supply. Transparent conductive materials, ink-jet inks with better pigment stability and a whipping agent for frozen sorbet are other technological advances which are discussed below.
This corporation benefits from a strong patent portfolio and we’ve chronicled the addition of several important patents to DuPont’s intellectual property portfolio today. More food production innovations are reflected here, including a patent protect a better method for obtaining betaine from sugar beets for the production of molasses. Plastics production, including dielectric films for capacitors, are explored in more detail below. We also profile inventions involving relief printing methods for corrugated cardboard as well as another innovation for producing ethanol from biomass.
The passage of the America Invents Act (AIA) in 2011 was touted as an important moment for modernizing patent laws and making it easier for innovators to innovate. Of course, nothing could have been further from the truth. The AIA further weakened patent rights, which is exactly what the large tech companies wanted. Far more is prior art under the AIA than under the previous regime, the grace period that remains is so infinitesimally narrow that it would be malpractice to suggest the AIA ushered in anything other than an absolute novelty system, there are a trio of new post grant procedures aimed at making it easier to strip patent rights away from owners, and several categories of invention were explicitly made unpatentable. The AIA was hardly the panacea that it was sold to be.
But legislative changes to the patent system are not the most significant blows suffered by the innovators who require strong patents in order to obtain financing and have any kind of chance against the large corporations that would love nothing more than to take their inventions without remuneration. The Courts are where the most dramatic changes to patent law have come, starting back at least as early as 2005 when the Supreme Court rendered its decision in eBay v. MercExchange. That ill-considered decision turned a patent, which had been an exclusive right, into some kind of a ghostly remnant of its former self. Thanks the eBay it has been extremely difficult, if not impossible, to obtain an injunction even after proving infringement and withstanding all invalidity challenges. The irony is that strong patents that have been infringed are really no longer capable of supporting exclusive rights. See The Impact of eBay v. MercExchange. What good is a patent without an injunction against an infringer?