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Around and Around We Go: The Drug Development Debate

Posted: Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 @ 7:45 am | Written by Joseph Allen | 4 comments

Every once and a while we get a clear example of the gulf between those battling over important public policy issues and can understand why the public and policy makers are confused by resulting charges and counter charges. Last week was a good illustration.

The Washington Post reviewed a study by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development in its story titled Does it really cost $2.6 billion to develop a new drug? As the title implies the claims of huge costs and risks undertaken by drug developers are summarily dismissed by their critics. The story fairly presents both sides of a debate with vastly different worldviews.

The Tuft’s study estimates that the costs of drug development have doubled from $802 million in their 2001 study to $2.6 billion today. The causes include:





Inventor Spotlight – Alexei Novitzky, Inventor of The Skatecase

Posted: Saturday, Nov 29, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Renee C. Quinn | No Comments »

Alexei Novitzky, Inventor of The Skatecase

On November 7, 2014, I attended the USPTO Smithsonian Innovation Festival at the National Air and Space Museum in DC. The innovation festival was created as a way to highlight and celebrate patent and trademark technology that has really inspired the innovative spirit within the United States. While there I made my way around to look at the many technologies that were on display. Companies such as Ford Motor Company, Qualcomm and Caterpiller had displays to showcase some of their current innovations.  As you know, IPWatchdog follows and regularly writes about the technologies that these larger companies come up with. But at the festival, what struck me most, were the individual inventors who were there to proudly display the inventions they came up with to solve their individual, everyday problems. For this reason, I have decided to shine the spotlight on independent inventors who have patented their products and brought them to the marketplace. Some of these inventors have created companies around their technologies and others simply offer their products for sale.

One of those inventor’s, avid skateboarder Alexei Novitzky, was at the festival to display his unique invention. As a graduate student in the Mechanical Engineering program at USF, Alexei wanted to solve his problem of needing to carry around a backpack in addition to his skateboard.  For many students bicycles or scooters are an effective and efficient way to travel from class to class, especially when one is short on time or running late.  But Alexei, like many others, chose to ride a skateboard.  He didn’t like the idea of having to wear a backpack or having to carry items in his pockets, so he decided to combine the two items he needed, a skate board and backpack, into one item and his invention, the Skatecase, was born.





Whirlpool Seeks Legal Counsel In Patent Operations

Posted: Friday, Nov 28, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Renee C. Quinn | No Comments »

Whirlpool Corporation is seeking qualified candidates for a Legal Counsel opening in their Patent Operations group within the Law Department. The Whirlpool Patent Operations team of eleven includes attorneys, patent agents, legal specialists and an administrative assistant. The group enjoys working together in a collegial environment.

This position will be responsible for providing legal counsel and services on matters involving patents, copyrights, trade secrets and other proprietary information. This position supports Whirlpool’s global product organization, including its advanced development and product engineering groups.





How Thanksgiving Leftovers Lead to the Invention of LASIK

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014 @ 11:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn & Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »

IBM Scientists James J. Wynne and Rangaswamy Srinivasan receive the National Medal of Technology from President Obama in 2013.

The world of optical care was revolutionized during the 1990s through the expanded use of laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, or LASIK eye surgery. The incredibly high precision surgery offers remarkably low instances of negative side effects when compared with other optical surgeries because of the fine precision of the lasers used in these procedures. Since the use of lasers to etch and otherwise modify living tissue was first discovered in IBM research facilities in the early 1980s, a range of laser-assisted surgical procedures for vision correction have been developed, such as photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK). Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released the findings from its most comprehensive study to date on LASIK eye surgeries in the U.S., which showed that about 95 percent of survey respondents receiving LASIK surgery achieved 20/20 vision or better. The report also showed that ghosting, halos and other visual aura decreased in LASIK patients after their procedures as well.

November 15 of this year was the 26th anniversary of the issue of one of the seminal patents in the field of laser-assisted vision correction surgeries. However, it wouldn’t be until after the filing of the patent application that anyone would think to use this laser technology as a surgical procedure for the eyes. Here at IPWatchdog, we return to our Evolution of Technology series on with a profile of the intriguing progression of the use of LASIK procedures in vision care. The use of excimer lasers in vision correction procedures has revolutionized that field from the humble beginnings of corneal surgery in the 1940s towards today, a time when more than 16 million LASIK operations have been performed in the United States. The story of this technology involves a trio of researchers who were simply trying to find new uses for lasers, and perhaps the most practical use of Thanksgiving leftovers that the world has ever seen.





A Brief History of Google’s Android Operating System

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014 @ 9:30 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 2 comments

In October 2003, a group of young computing experts came together to establish a software development company that would go on to revolutionize the cellular mobile phone as we knew it. The product they would create would establish incredible dominance in the field of mobile computing. In the third quarter of 2014, global shipments of Android-based mobile devices reached 268 million, greatly outpacing the rate of sales for iPhones, Android’s closest competitor. By the end of 2014, sales of Android devices this year alone could exceed one billion. During the second quarter of 2014, Android controlled an incredible 84.7 percent market share of the global smartphone industry, well ahead of iPhone, Windows Phone and the BlackBerry. Android has even been dominating in the sphere of tablet computers; about 62 percent of the nearly 195 million tablet computers sold during 2013 were Android devices.

In our ongoing coverage of popular consumer electronics leading up to Black Friday, we’re taking some time today to profile a brief history of Google’s Android operating software for mobile devices. Android was not the first entrant into the market and while there are those who might argue that Android hasn’t perfected the mobile platform, especially in the eyes of devout iPhone fans, it is tough to argue its popularity as evidenced by the incredible sales statistics listed above.

Interestingly, the Android operating system was not initially designed to be used on mobile phones. If the original plans of the inventors worked out, we would be talking about smart cameras and not smartphones. Compared to operating systems for other mobile devices, the Android operating system has been updated an incredible number of times, resulting in a web-based service which is remarkably different than the original version of this mobile operating system.





Collateral Estoppel Applies to Reexam Claim

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | No Comments »

On November 19, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in e.Digital Corporation v. Futurewei Technologies, Inc. e.Digital appealed from a judgment of non-infringement made by the U.S. Federal District Court for the Southern District of California. The district court based its determination of non-infringement on the fact that e.Digital was collaterally estopped from seeking a construction of a claim limitation in e.Digital’s U.S. Patent Nos. 5,491,774 and 5,839,108 different from another court’s previous construction of the same limitation in the ’774 patent.

The Federal Circuit, with Judge Moore writing and joined by Judges O’Malley and Reyna, held that the district court correctly applied collateral estoppel to the ’774 patent, but improperly applied the doctrine to the unrelated ’108 patent.

To understand the ruling in this case one must first look at the prior case that construed the critical claim. Previously, in a litigation in the United States Federal District Court for the District of Colorado, e.Digital asserted claims 1 and 19 of the ’774 patent. The ’774 patent discloses a device with a microphone and a removable, interchangeable flash memory recording medium that allows for audio recording and playback. Asserted claims 1 and 19 recited “a flash memory module which operates as sole memory of the received processed sound electrical signals.” The district court construed the sole memory limitation to require “that the device use only flash memory, not RAM or any other memory system” to store the “received processed sound electrical signals.” The district court based its construction on the written description of the ’774 patent and its determination that the use of RAM had been disclaimed during prosecution. With this claim construction decided, the parties stipulated to a dismissal of the case with prejudice.





Sony Settles FTC Charges Over Misleading Ads For PlayStation Vita Gaming Console

Posted: Tuesday, Nov 25, 2014 @ 4:04 pm | Written by Federal Trade Commission | No Comments »

Sony Computer Entertainment America (“Sony”) has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers with false advertising claims about the “game changing” technological features of its PlayStation Vita handheld gaming console during its U.S. launch campaign in late 2011 and early 2012.

As part of its settlement with the FTC, Sony is barred from making similarly misleading advertising claims in the future, and will provide consumers who bought a PS Vita gaming console before June 1, 2012, either a $25 cash or credit refund, or a $50 merchandise voucher for select video games, and/or services. Sony will provide notice via email to consumers who are eligible for redress after the settlement is finalized by the Commission.





Edward Reines Disciplined by CAFC for Rader E-mail

Posted: Tuesday, Nov 25, 2014 @ 9:30 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 4 comments

Chief Judge Rader (CAFC, ret.)

On May 23, 2014, then-Chief Judge Randall R. Rader announced that he would step down as Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit effective May 30, 2014. At that time it was also announced that Judge Rader would stay on the Court. Shortly thereafter, in a stunning development, Judge Randall Rader announced that he is retiring effective June 30, 2014. This announcement came only weeks after he stepped down as Chief Judge.

Many news outlets immediately started speculating that Rader’s decision to step down as Chief Judge had to do with a letter endorsing attorney Edward Reines, a patent lawyer at Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP and president of the Federal Circuit Advisory Council. This speculation was no doubt fostered by the fact that the announcement of Rader stepping down as Chief Judge came on the same day that he sent a letter to all of the other Judges on the Federal Circuit apologizing for his lapse in judgment and for the recent need to recuse himself. Given the timing his announcement he would step down as Chief Judge and his apology letter it is easy to understand why many speculated that the two are connected.

Fast forward to November 5, 2014, the date on which the Federal Circuit issued a Per Curiam decision publicly reprimanding Reines for his conduct relating to the dissemination of an e-mail sent to him by then-Chief Judge Rader. Unfortunately, for Reines this public reprimand will not likely end the inquiry into his relationship with Judge Rader. Allegations of the exchange of items of value was brought to the attention of the Federal Circuit. Although the Federal Circuit did not rely on these charges to support discipline, the Federal Circuit forwarded the matter of the exchange of items of value to the California bar authorities.





iPod, iPhone and iPad – A Brief History of Apple iProducts

Posted: Tuesday, Nov 25, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »

Early on in his career with Apple, Steve Jobs conceived the idea of a personal computing device that a person could keep with them and use to connect wirelessly to other computer services. Almost 25 years later, Apple and Jobs would upend the world of personal computing by launching the iPhone smartphone, and a few years later a tablet computer counterpart, the iPad. According to the most recent sales figures available from Apple corporate analysis website AAPLinvestors.net, the iPhone has achieved lifetime sales of 590.5 million units; Apple has also sold 237.2 million iPads in just over three years since the release of that product. The iPhone has retained mass appeal despite the presence of the iPad and Apple has even reverted to soft launches for new iPad products, evidence of the incredible hold that the iPhone still maintains over Apple’s core consumer base. In the near future, both the iPhone and iPad may exhibit bendable or rollable displays using plastic OLED screen technologies developed by LG Electronics, one of the suppliers of electronic components for the iPhone and iPad.

We’re inching closer to the holiday season and in today’s coverage of popular gadgets ahead of Black Friday, we’re taking an in-depth look at the development of Apple’s line of mobile computing devices from concept to reality. This story involves one of the most storied characters in the world of technology development and his long struggle to bring about his vision of a personal computing device.

It’s impossible for many people to go through their day without either interacting with their own mobile computing device or seeing someone else use theirs. Although the iPhone is certainly not the only smartphone on the market, its influence on the market cannot be denied. The electronics products developed by Apple and released during the 2000s restored the company to its earlier greatness in personal computing, perhaps even surpassing its heydey in the 1980s. Our readers may be interested to find out that Apple’s first mobile computing device came out many years before the iPod, the company’s first major commercial gadget success of the 2000s. It wouldn’t be until the end of the first decade of the 21st century, however, when Apple would finally launch the product that Jobs first imagined while taking a stroll through the research facilities of Xerox in the late 1970s.





Nonprecedential Federal Circuit Decision Generates a Dissent

Posted: Monday, Nov 24, 2014 @ 8:31 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 2 comments

The Federal Circuit recently issued a non-precedential opinion in Vehicle IP, LLC v. AT&T Mobility, LLC. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this decision was that it was a non-precedential opinion with a dissent, which to some extent seems a bit contradictory.

According to Federal Circuit Rule 32.1(b), “[a]n opinion or order which is designated as nonprecedential is one determined by the panel issuing it as not adding significantly to the body of law.” Still, a non-precedential decision with a dissent strikes me as odd. Perhaps this was a decision largely left to the staff attorneys. I suppose on some level it really doesn’t matter because Federal Circuit Rule 32.1(c) does not prohibit citation to nonprecedential dispositions issued after January 1, 2007.

I would have to think that this decision, which required the Federal Circuit to construe claim terms, would have to be precedential in at least some ways, unless the outcome in this case will not have any implication for the claims themselves or the patent. I guess I just don’t understand the concept of a nonprecedential claim construction. I cannot fathom a nonprecedential order in a real property boundary dispute. The whole point of suing over real property is to get a decision that is binding. Patents are property and it strikes me that the definition of the metes and bounds of what is covered in the claim really has to be precedential. If it isn’t precedential what is the point? This type of disposition is what leads to patent claims being construed to mean one thing in one case and another thing in another case. It is frustrating.





The Sony Playstation, A Story of Video Game Dominance

Posted: Monday, Nov 24, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 2 comments

A very public corporate betrayal in the early 1990s led to an upheaval in the video gaming world that would result in the toppling of an industry giant one short decade later. In the first decade of the 21st century, Sony Corporation (NYSE: SNE) would ascend to dominance in video gaming, at least for a few years, on the strength of its PlayStation system. 2014 has been a kind year thus far to Sony; one year after the release of both consoles, Sony’s PlayStation 4 could be outselling Microsoft’s Xbox One by as much as 2-to-1. No stranger to breaking sales records in video gaming circles, Sony has captured the Australian market with the PS4, which has sold more in that country than any other video game console ever. Sony has been extending the PlayStation console format to more than just home video gaming systems and though the PlayStation TV hasn’t been enjoying incredible sales, the streaming television services offered by this small device may make it an important part of the eighth generation of video gaming consoles.

In our continuing coverage of major players in the 2014 Black Friday sales season, we’re taking time today to profile the brief yet intriguing history of the PlayStation. The multiple generations of this video game console which Sony has brought to consumer markets have been very successful for the company and came during a time when video gaming became much more mainstream, capturing a wider portion of the global consumer base than ever before.





Xbox 360, the Kinect and the Future of Microsoft Gaming

Posted: Sunday, Nov 23, 2014 @ 1:36 pm | Written by Gene Quinn & Steve Brachmann | 11 comments

The Xbox video gaming console developed and sold by Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is perhaps one of the world’s most successful and least profitable products created in recent memory. Millions of Xbox consoles have been sold, from the original through Microsoft’s latest release, the Xbox One, although the past year has proven to be somewhat trying for this product. Some industry commentators see the inability of the Xbox to outsell Sony’s PlayStation 4 in March and April of this year, despite a reduced Xbox One price tag and bundling the console purchase with popular game titles, as a sign that Microsoft is quickly ceding ground to Sony in video gaming. The company only recently was able to address issues with Xbox Live, the Xbox’s incredibly popular online content service, that Xbox One users had been experiencing. A new update to the console coming in November will enable users to upload images for custom backgrounds as well as share gameplay clips with others through Twitter.

As we approach the 2014 holiday season and Black Friday, we thought that it would be a good time to take a look at some of the most popular consumer technologies around right now. In 2009, the video game industry generated $9.9 billion in revenue. About two-thirds of all American households play video games and gamers averaged about 8 hours of video gameplay each week, according to the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). Interestingly, debates over violence in video games will likely be influenced by recent findings that an increase in violent video games may actually be responsible for a decrease in real-life violence among youths; these findings have been published by researchers from Villanova University, Rutgers University and Stetson University.