On October 10, 1999, IPWatchdog.com 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.
In recent months, IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series has opened its focus to include the research and development activities of this electronics manufacturer. Although much of the company’s work is contracted from other companies, recent patent applications filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office show that Hon Hai Precision invents a surprising amount of its own technologies. Improvements to cleaning robots and smart television sets are discussed in a couple of patents we explore below. A couple of patent applications also discuss hardware improvements to notebook computer screens that allow them to rotate or be positioned in other ways.
Foxconn enjoys a very diverse patent portfolio as well, to judge by the patents recently issued to the Taiwanese corporation by the USPTO. A few patents protect intriguing improvements to audio/video telecommunication systems, including an image capture device for video telephones with an adjustable field of view. Unmanned technologies, including robotic arms and unmanned aerial vehicles, are the focal point of a few other patents that we shared today. Other patents assigned to Hon Hai Precision also show development in the fields of fiber optics transmissions and printing devices.
Posted: Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 @ 10:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 23 comments
One of the real problems with the debate over patent litigation abuse is that it hasn’t focused on litigation abuse at all. Instead, the debate has focused on attempts to characterize patent owners with pejorative labels, such as calling anyone who has the audacity to seek to enforce their rights a “patent troll.” Unfortunately, the term “patent troll” has evolved to mean “anyone who sues me alleging patent infringement.” This has lead the media, the public and Members of Congress to incorrectly believe that there is a “patent troll problem,” which has influenced decision-makers all the way from Capitol Hill to the United States Supreme Court, who increasingly seems to be deciding patent cases with one eye firmly on what is a completely non-existent problem.
You have probably heard the narrative start something like this: there is an explosion of patent litigation. The objective reality, however, is that there has not been an explosion of patent litigation. The Government Accountability Office, after an exhaustive review of patent litigation, concluded that there was no patent litigation crisis. The same GAO report also found that 80% of the patent lawsuits filed are brought by operating companies suing other operating companies. Thus, those who profess there to be rampant problems associated with patent trolls and non-practicing entities suing for patent infringement are simply telling a tale that the factual data doesn’t support.
More recently Lex Machina has come forward with some eye opening statistics as well. A recent report from Lex Machina concludes: “Plaintiffs filed 329 new federal patent cases in September 2014, a 40% decrease from the 549 cases filed in September 2013.” Indeed, if you dive deeper into the 2013 and 2014 statistics you see that through the first nine months of 2013 there were 4,548 patent infringement lawsuits filed, but during the first nine months of 2014 there were only 3,887 patent infringement lawsuits filed, which represents a 15% reduction in patent litigation in 2014 compared with 2013. Furthermore, in 7 of the 9 months during 2014 there have been fewer patent infringement lawsuits filed during 2014 than during 2013. The statistics and independent GAO report just do not support a narrative that proclaims there to be a run away problem with patent litigation run amok.
Posted: Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by JobOrtunities™ Help Wanted | No Comments »
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP seeks a patent agent with a degree in electrical engineering, computer science or physics to join our thriving Intellectual Property Group in our Denver office. Faegre Baker Daniels is an Am Law 100 firm with offices located throughout the U.S., Europe, and China. Our IP practice includes all areas of intellectual property law for a national and international client base.
Successful candidates will have 2+ years patent drafting and prosecution experience and be a member of the patent bar. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are essential. This position offers competitive compensation and unlimited potential for professional growth. All candidates should have excellent academic credentials, strong writing skills and professional recommendations.
Posted: Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Mark Nowotarski | 4 comments
Perhaps you have an idea for a new product simmering in the back of your mind. You’ve done a few Google searches, but haven’t found anything similar. This makes you confident that you have stumbled upon the NEXT BIG THING.
Every day inventors tell me they “haven’t found anything like it,” and while that’s a good start, chances are that they haven’t been looking in the right places.
Before investing additional money and resources, it’s the right time to find out definitively if the invention is unique, determine if there is a market for it, and explore how to make it better.
Inventors should do a search online with a goal of finding two or three competitive products. If they’re scared to do the search, that’s a good thing, because in my experience, it usually means they’re on the right track.
Posted: Friday, Oct 10, 2014 @ 11:28 am | Written by U.S.P.T.O. | 1 Comment »
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO) today launched a new free service that will allow the two offices to electronically exchange patent application priority documents directly. This new service will help streamline the patent application process and reduce costs for businesses which are increasingly pursuing patent rights globally.
The new service will allow the USPTO and the SIPO, with appropriate permissions, to obtain electronic copies of priority documents filed with the other office from its electronic records management system at no cost to the applicant. With this new service, applicants will no longer need to obtain and file paper copies of the priority documents; however, they are still responsible for ensuring that priority documents are provided in a timely manner.
Posted: Friday, Oct 10, 2014 @ 9:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 2 comments
On September 4, 2014, I had the opportunity to do a webinar conversation with Bob Stoll, former Commissioner for Patents at the United States Patent and Trademark Office and current partner at Drinker Biddle in Washington, D.C. Our wide ranging discussion lasted for just over one hour. This conversation, the first of many, was made possible with support from Innography, which is one of our sponsors on IPWatchdog.com. You can access the entire recording, which is free, by visiting Patent Eligibility in a Time of Patent Turmoil.
What follows is a bit of our conversation to wet your appetite. We discuss the Supreme Court generally, the lack of technical expertise at the Supreme Court, the realities of creating software, amicus briefs, the ramifications for watering down patent rights, the need for bright line rules and whether Congress needs to get involved.
STOLL: As someone very interested in the patent arena and getting the standards correct, I’ve been really worrying about things. I think we are in a very confusing state at the moment. I think that the courts are actually undermining patent eligibility in many different areas. And the irony seems to be, Gene, that the Supreme Court and now this Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit seem to be not considering the fact that the United States is leading in many of these emerging technologies and specifically thinking about software and diagnostic methods and personalized medicine and gene sequences. I mean we are actually leading the world in this subject matter. We’ve developed these emerging technologies. We’re quite good at building upon a base of patents in these areas and I don’t think anybody’s taking into consideration the job creation and economic growth that these industries bring to the United States before mucking around in the standards.
Posted: Friday, Oct 10, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 12 comments
On October 10, 1999, I remember sitting at my desk in my apartment in Winter Park, Florida. I had just starting teaching as a full time law school professor several months earlier. So many things have changed since then. I’ve moved all over the country, I’ve traveled all over the country, I’ve gotten married, we navigated the near collapse of the U.S. economy and like so many, the near collapse of our personal economy. My mother passed in 2012, which was undoubtedly the lowest moment in my entire life. A year later my father-in-law also passed. While there have no doubt been trying times, we have shared many great moments personally, and with those in our community who have become our friends. But since October 10, 1999, the one constant for me has been IPWatchdog.com, which went live for the first time 15 years ago today.
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 with respect to how critically important patents are to businesses and the U.S. economy. Of course, without readers none of this would be possible. So thank you so very much for continuing to come back day after day, week after week, month after month!
Today’s Companies We Follow column focuses on Toshiba innovations which have been filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. We found a wide assortment of novel technologies expressed in recent patent applications filed by the company. A couple of patent applications would protect technologies for identifying people captured within video feeds. We share a trio of patent applications discussing improvements to memory devices, especially flash memory devices. A number of intriguing technologies which we share below are also related to brick and mortar retail environments, including one patent application discussing a method of providing entertainment content to retail workers to keep them more productive.
Posted: Wednesday, Oct 8, 2014 @ 4:12 pm | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
Several days ago we profiled recent IBM patent applications. For this follow-up article we’ve gone through scores of patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to find you the latest and greatest in recently patented computing innovations.
Today’s column focuses solely on the inventions recently added to IBM’s patent portfolio; everything you see below represents a technology for which IBM has been issued a U.S. patent grant from late August and into September 2014. Telecommunications innovations are included among this, specifically systems for e-mail organization and telephone call filtering. We share a trio of patents protecting computer languages and networking technologies. Social networking analysis technologies and a couple of inventions related to accessibility programs for computer users with impairments are also featured. Television viewers may be intrigued as well to learn about the novel technique for blocking unwanted commercial content protected by another IBM patent that we explored today.
Posted: Wednesday, Oct 8, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Michelle Fisher | 5 comments
Michelle Fisher, founder/CEO of Blaze Mobil.
A famous song entitled When You Believe by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston is about believing in yourself and not losing hope. When you are working on a new idea and blazing a new trail, your self-belief and your passion drive you forward, and inspire you and others around you.
Passion is required, but passion alone is not enough. True passion will make you get up early in the morning, stay up late at night, or work for free. However, in addition to pursuing the ideas that you are passionate about, it’s equally important to take steps to protect your ideas. In a recent post, Doesn’t #NFC Stand for National Football Conference?, I wrote about our early entry into mobile payments. In that article I shared that, “In addition to taking action, risks and being customer focused, we also invested heavily in IP.”
Investing in IP is especially valuable when you are early in a market. It’s a mixed blessing though. On the one hand, it gives one an opportunity to file patents with broad claims, which is great for those who recognize the value in that strategy. For example, one of our early investors and board members was Chuck Russell who was one of the first CEO’s of Visa and reminded me of John Wayne. He was a great guy – very smart, charismatic, and honest. When I gave him a presentation on my company, which included one slide on the patents that we had filed, he asked, “Young lady have you ever heard of VHS and BETA?” I replied of course. He then went on to tell me that while VHS won the video tape war, because BETA had a patent on the technology, they were able to close their office and set up a PO box to collect monthly royalty checks. Chuck explained that I could do the same if I wanted. Based on the fact that I had filed patens in mobile payments, he made a significant investment in my company and joined our Board Of Directors.