Posted: Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 @ 8:30 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 28 comments
UPDATED @ 8:30pm
Patent law has always swung like a pendulum. The law swings between extremes, spending very little time in the middle. It is easy to get caught up with the shifting laws and even easier to start looking at the trees instead of the forrest, worrying where there is really no need to become so distressed. Lately, however, there has been an ever increasing and significant assaults on patent rights. It is not much of an exaggeration to wonder whether any commercially relevant innovation can be and remain patented. We seem to be back to the days when valid patent claims were those that had not been litigated. Today it is more fair to say valid patent claims are those that haven’t reached the Supreme Court or the Federal Circuit. Ubiquity is now the touchstone of ineligibility, or obviousness, rather than being celebrated for such wide spread adoption.
I am more concerned now than ever that the pendulum has swung so far and has gained so much momentum that it will fly clear from its support base point. I raised this with Ray Niro, the famous patent litigator who was originally called the first patent troll, back in July 2013. Then he told me: “looking at the bright side of things, I believe that the pendulum will swing. I believe it will come back.” I again asked him his thoughts on the matter in another interview approximately 11 months later, Niro said that he thought the pendulum would swing back, but he was far less optimistic.
Posted: Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 @ 2:51 pm | Written by Renee C. Quinn | No Comments »
Karsten Manufacturing Corporation (KMC), parent company of PING, Inc., maker of PING golf equipment, is seeking Patent Counsel to oversee a broad range of intellectual property-related work within the company. The successful candidate will work with the business to strategically build and prosecute the associated worldwide I.P. portfolio and strategy. The position reports to the Vice President/General Counsel and will have overall responsibility for identifying patentable inventions; securing high quality patents; providing technical and legal analysis; developing strategies; managing challenges; supporting transactions & licensing, and working closely with engineering and other internal business organizations to understand priorities and challenges. This position will also participate in tasks supporting due diligence, enforcement, standards, and litigation activities.
Posted: Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 @ 11:10 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) announced that it will host seven roadshows across the country between September 16 and October 9, 2014, to increase understanding of the First Inventor to File (FITF) provisions of the America Invents Act (AIA). The public meetings will serve as an opportunity for USPTO subject matter experts and stakeholders to discuss the FITF provisions and updates since its implementation in March 2013.
The USPTO specifically wants to broaden public knowledge of the FITF provisions and assist understanding of the provision’s administrative processes to aid inventors and their representatives in the filing and prosecuting of patent applications under the FITF system. At each roadshow, panelists will discuss FITF statistics to date, the applicability of the FITF provisions on patent applications filed today, the FITF statutory framework and its exceptions, and AIA evidentiary declaration practice useful to invoke these exceptions. The experts will present a variety of sample scenarios to illustrate both the applicability of the FITF provisions as well as tips for prosecuting applications filed under the FITF provisions.
Posted: Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 9 comments
Software expert Bob Zeidman
Bob Zeidman is the president and founder of Zeidman Consulting, and he is also the president and founder of Software Analysis and Forensic Engineering Corporation. Zeidman is a software expert that I have known for several years and in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v. CLS Bank we talked on the record about the decision, software in general and writing patent applications. What follows is part 3 of our 3 part conversation.
In this final installment we spend time talking about the problems associated with creating software that actually works. For something that Judges and mathematicians seem to say is so trivial software sure doesn’t work nearly as well as it should. Copied code cobbled together leads to broken systems, and programmers simply throw code up without proper vetting and let consumers find the bugs. Sure doesn’t sound like it is all that trivial to me, but then again, I’m not an ivy league educated Supreme Court Justice who is so computer illiterate that I don’t use e-mail.
Recent Federal Circuit reasoning should make a patent drafter decidedly averse to single-embodiment patent applications, with good reason. Unfortunately, real-world constraints, principally centering on budget and time issues, have resulted and probably will continue to result in the production of a large number of applications in which multiple embodiments either do not exist or do not justify the time and effort to include them in a patent application.
One need not completely panic at the thought, however. Although multiple embodiments certainly should be included whenever possible, techniques are available to provide breadth beyond the minimal terms of a single embodiment. Reading the cases discussed above, it should become clear that the patents involved there not only disclosed single embodiment, but they generally failed to suggest that the claims should cover more territory than the minimal features of the disclosed embodiment. In most instances, the addition of a few sentences would have completely cured the cited problems.
Posted: Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 @ 9:56 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
In the world of alternative energies, hydrogen fuel cells offer plenty of positive attributes which has attracted a great deal of research around the world in working towards greater development of these fuels. Hydrogen can be captured from energy generation processes involving fossil fuels or readily available biomass and can even be culled from the application of an electric current to water. Decomposing water into hydrogen and oxygen through this process creates none of the harmful pollutants caused by combusting fossil fuels. Hydrogen must be created from other sources, as it does not exist freely in nature by itself, but many see it as a potentially effective means for generating useful energy in a more sustainable manner than fossil fuels.
Posted: Monday, Aug 25, 2014 @ 3:49 pm | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
From U.S. Patent Application No. 20140226294, titled “Display Device.”
In our latest installment of the Companies We Follow series here at IPWatchdog, we want to take an in-depth look at an indisputable giant in the field of electronics development and manufacturing over the past few decades. The Panasonic Corporation of Osaka, Japan, is a brand well-known to consumers of electronics all over the world.
There can be no doubt that Panasonic has lately been an intellectual property giant; in 2013, the company was issued 2,601 U.S. patent grants from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the 6th-most among any global entity seeking U.S. patents that year. We want to be thorough in our investigation of a company’s recent research and development operations, so today we’ll be focusing strictly on patent applications published recently by the USPTO. Although these applications do not indicate that a company has earned the right to protect an invention, they have been filed more recently than issued patents and are therefore a better indication of a corporation’s recent developments.
Posted: Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 @ 9:16 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 23 comments
Software expert Bob Zeidman
Recently I had the opportunity to interview Bob Zeidman, the president and founder of Zeidman Consulting, who is also the president and founder of Software Analysis and Forensic Engineering Corporation, Zeidman is an software expert. In fact, in addition to consulting with lawyers and technology companies, he is an testifying and consulting expert witness. The premise of our conversation was the upheaval in the patent industry thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v. CLS Bank. In part 1 of our conversation we discussed the decision and ways that attorneys can build a specification to satisfy the Alice standard. In part 2 of our 3 part discussion, which appears below, we wrap up our discussion of the Alice decision and dive into a discussion about the fact that many in the computer science world don’t believe what they do to be particularly innovative or even special.
QUINN: And then there’s always the fear that if you put in code then you’re gonna be limiting yourself. I don’t think that’s really a justifiable fear as long as it’s put in properly as illustrative instead of limiting. You know, I mean the folks in the chemical world, they do this all the time. They have example after example after example after example, which is a great way to disclose what it is that you have, what it is that you’ve tried, what it is that you know that works.
ZEIDMAN: Exactly. It seems like if there is some ambiguity in the claims then you would go back to the specification to see if the code there could clarify the claims.
Posted: Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 @ 11:29 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
Karl Drais, circa 1820. Inventor of an early precursor to the modern bicycle.
For more than 100 years, the Tour de France has been the top competition in the bicycling world, and in recent years recognizable athletes such as Lance Armstrong have brought much more focus to the sport, albeit not always for positive reasons. The multiple-stage bicycle race that is a month long trek around France has lasted through multiple swells and declines in biking popularity. Currently, the bicycling world is seeing an uptick in interest, thanks to rising interests in personal transportation in urban environments as well as a growth in environmental responsibility in consumers from across the world. Many cities around the world have been embracing bicycle lanes on public roads as a means of supporting low-carbon emitting forms of transportation.
Here at IPWatchdog, we turn to our Evolution of Technology series whenever we want to profile the chronology of development for an intriguing invention which has revolutionized our world. With the storied Tour de France once more taking place across the picturesque regions of France, we thought that this week would be a good time to investigate the history of innovation which led to today’s bicycle.
On August 12, 2014, I had the opportunity to speak with Zeidman on the record. As the dust begins to settle from the Supreme Court’s Alice v. CLS Bank decision I thought it might be interesting to talk about the issues with a computer expert who regularly works with patent attorneys and technology clients, and who has been advising both attorneys and clients how to handle the Alice decision from a technical standpoint. In our three part interview we discuss the decision and various ways attorneys might be able to move forward to provide disclosure sufficient to satisfy even the Alice standard.