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Celebrating 15 Years of IPWatchdog.com

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.


Most Recent Articles on IPWatchdog.com


Game of Patent Thrones

Posted: Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Sue D. Nym | 14 comments

Just as in the land of Westeros, there is turmoil and intrigue in our government as to who is to lead the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO).  Indeed, the top position of Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO has been vacant since the resignation of David Kappos on February 1, 2013.  His deputy, Teresa Stanek Rea, became Acting Director, but she was not elevated to his post.  She resigned on November 21, 2013, which left both positions unfilled.

On January 13, 2014, Michelle Lee, former head of Patent and Patent Strategy at Google, was appointed Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO, and in the ongoing absence of a Director, she holds the fort as Deputy Director, but with her position in administrative law limbo.  Despite the clear need for leadership at the USPTO, the search for the next Iron Throne holder is mired in ideology and lobbying.





Hitachi Patents: Big Data, Identity Authentication and Tsunami Protection

Posted: Tuesday, Sep 9, 2014 @ 10:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »

Hitachi, Ltd., based in Tokyo, Japan, is an electronics and engineering conglomerate and the parent company of the Hitachi Group. Hitachi is involved in an incredibly diverse collection of business segments, including social infrastructure, power systems and digital media. Hitachi’s subsidiaries have been very active in recent days, including Hitachi Data Systems, which recently acquired the data protection firm Sepaton, Inc., a company from Marlborough, MA, which holds a patent portfolio related to data management. Hitachi Metals Ltd. just spent $1.3 billion on acquiring the Wisconsin-based Waupaca Foundry, Inc., the largest purchase completed by that subsidiary. The parent Hitachi company also entered into an agreement with three American universities to develop uses of radioactive waste material from nuclear power plants as fuel.

Many of the patent applications published recently by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and assigned to Hitachi involve various aspects of data storage and systems for data management, including a method for energy-efficient cooling of data center equipment. Hitachi is also involved in the development of automotive services, and we’ve included one patent application describing a vehicle information system that can improve pedestrian and bicyclist crossings. Other patent applications that intrigued us today include one waterproof panel for protecting a building against a tsunami influx and an identification system that can authenticate a person based on the blood vessel pattern in their finger.





USPTO Launches Redesigned KIDS! Web Pages

Posted: Tuesday, Sep 9, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by U.S.P.T.O. | No Comments »

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced the launch of its newly redesigned KIDS! Web pages aimed to encourage students of all ages to learn about the importance of intellectual property (IP) creation and protection. In addition to featuring young inventor profiles, activities, and videos, the pages also offer curricula that link Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education to IP and innovation through downloadable lesson plans, hands-on instructions for building inventions, USPTO career information and other useful resources.

“The USPTO looks to our children—the doers, makers, and tinkerers of the future—to reimagine the world and, as the Constitution calls for, ‘to promote the progress of Science and the useful Arts’ like never before,” said Michelle K. Lee, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO. “As schools across the country ramp up their STEM programming, we look forward to putting even more tools in teachers’ hands that will ensure our next generation is well-versed in concepts of making, inventing, and creating the high-value intellectual property that drives our economy.”





FTC Sues to Stop Unlawful Blocking of Generic Androgel

Posted: Monday, Sep 8, 2014 @ 12:45 pm | Written by Federal Trade Commission | No Comments »

In its latest action to ensure competition in the nation’s healthcare markets, the Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint in federal district court charging several major pharmaceutical companies with illegally blocking American consumers’ access to lower-cost versions of the blockbuster drug AndroGel.

The FTC’s complaint alleges that AbbVie Inc. and its partner Besins Healthcare Inc. filed baseless patent infringement lawsuits against potential generic competitors to delay the introduction of lower-priced versions of the testosterone replacement drug AndroGel. While the lawsuits were pending, AbbVie then entered into an anticompetitive pay-for-delay settlement agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. to further delay generic drug competition.





If Patent Reform Is Meant to Starve Patent Trolls, Why Is It Feeding Them Instead?

Posted: Monday, Sep 8, 2014 @ 10:00 am | Written by Michael Gulliford | 14 comments

Not a week passes without commentators extolling the need to remedy a “broken” patent system — a system where patent trolls (also referred to an “non practicing entities” or “NPEs”) that don’t manufacture anything can garner extensive licensing fees from companies, both big and small, which do. And as the debates surrounding NPEs rage on, so too do the calls for patent reform. But if the reform to date has had the unintended effect of creating more opportunity for NPEs, while making it substantially more difficult for innovators without millions of dollars in the bank to protect their intellectual property, shouldn’t we be wary of the harm future reform may cause?

Already, Congress has passed sweeping patent reform known as the American Invents Act (“AIA”). Implemented over a multi-year period, the AIA contains several provisions designed to disrupt NPE advantages and to make it easier for defendants in patent litigation to gain the upper hand. Whereas, for instance, NPEs could previously sue as many defendants as they liked, in one case and with one filing fee, the AIA changed that, requiring the filing of multiple cases and as many filing fees. But much more significantly, the AIA created a slew of game changing, “post grant” proceedings, run very much like mini-trials, which defendants facing NPE district court litigation can file in the patent office and yield to their significant advantage.





Eli Lilly Patents Treatment for HIV and Ebola Virus

Posted: Monday, Sep 8, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »

Headquartered in Indianapolis, IN, Eli Lilly and Company is an American pharmaceutical developer and manufacturer which has existed since 1876. The corporation is heavily involved in creating medications for a wide spectrum of health conditions and it sells those treatments all over the world. Recently, a psoriasis treatment called ixekizumab created by Eli Lilly showed positive results in Phase 3 studies, leading company representatives to indicate that the drug would be submitted to regulatory authorities by the first half of 2015. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration lately granted tentative approval to an insulin injection developed in part by Eli Lilly. Other recent Eli Lilly operations have led many to speculate that the corporation will make major inroads into biotech and autoimmune disease treatments over the coming years.

Here at IPWatchdog, we wanted to take some time in our Companies We Follow schedule to take a closer look at the incredible world of innovation in pharmaceuticals. In our perusal of Eli Lilly patent applications recently published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, we got a close look at many of the medications created in recent months by this company. Leukemia, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease are all addressed by innovative compounds which we explore in detail below. We also feature a trio of patent application related to improvements to injector pens for self-administration of medications. But perhaps most exciting is the patent that covers antibodies that could be used to treat the Ebola virus.





The Software Patent Problem: Not Emphasizing the Technological Contribution of the Innovation

Posted: Sunday, Sep 7, 2014 @ 10:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 16 comments

Mark Lemley

On August 28, 2014, I had the opportunity to speak with Professor Mark Lemley on the record. Lemley and I share the opinion that Alice v. CLS Bank represents a significant change in the law relevant to software patents. To my surprise this truth is not understood or  appreciated by many in the patent community.

If you review the Alice form paragraph rejections from the USPTO, the reality that the USPTO is withdrawing Notices of Allowance and issuing Alice rejections, the latest decisions from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, and a handful of post-Alice Federal Circuit cases the landscape is extraordinarily adverse to software patent applicants. Still there are those who protest and say that little or nothing has changed despite the objective reality facing applicants and patent owners.

Against this backdrop of disbelief I thought it would be useful to walk through the analysis with Professor Lemley. What follows is the final segment of our interview. To start reading from the beginning please see The Ramifications of Alice: A Conversation with Professor Mark Lemley. For our continuing coverage of the Alice decision please see our Alice archive.





Call for Inventions for DRTV Product Summit Presented by InventionHome

Posted: Saturday, Sep 6, 2014 @ 11:11 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 2 comments

Calling all inventors! InventionHome is once again hosting what is becoming a yearly DRTV Product Summit. The one-day event will be held on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Inventors will be given the opportunity to pitch their products to representatives of the six (6) DRTV companies on one day in one location.

This will be the fourth such DRTV Product Summit hosted by InventionHome. Over the first three Summits some 66 inventors pitched their inventions in the format described above. 61 of the 66 have left the Summit with at least one of the company representatives expressing some interest in pursuing additional discussions. Ultimately, 18 of the 66 inventors have received either a term sheet, licensing deal or rep agreement.

Unfortunately, this event is not open to all inventors. Over the past few years the event has grown and there has been significant interest in the inventor community. In order to be considered inventors must submit their inventions to be reviewed by a panel of referees. Submissions are due no later than Tuesday, September 30, 2014. The submission and selection process insures that only the highest quality inventions are presented to the representatives of the DRTV companies that will be present. This maximizes the value for those DRTV companies, which means they keep coming back year after year. It also reserves pitch time for inventors with the most commercially ready products that have the greatest immediate chance for a deal.





Australia Court Says Isolated DNA Patent Eligible, Slams SCOTUS

Posted: Friday, Sep 5, 2014 @ 12:38 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 30 comments

Yesterday it was reported that the number of Americans submitting a claim for unemployment rose again this week. This morning news broke that the U.S. economy added only 142,000 jobs during the month of August, which was far less than the 225,000 jobs expected to be added during August. According to the Wall Street Journal, “around 60,000 people dropped out of the labor force in August, pulling the labor-force participation rate down to 62.8%.” Job creation at these levels are barely enough to keep up with the population growth, and a far cry from the 300,000+ jobs created that would signal a truly healthy and healing economy.

On the very same day that the U.S. jobs report shows unexpectedly weak growth, the Federal Court of Australia issued a ruling directly opposite to the ruling rendered by the United States Supreme Court relative to gene patents. In Yvonne D’Arcy v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., the Federal Court of Australia ruled that Myriad’s claims to isolated DNA are patentable under the laws of Australia. That is the correct ruling, and it is the ruling the U.S. Supreme Court should have reached in Association of Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics. As the patent eligibility laws of the U.S. become increasingly inhospitable to high-tech innovative businesses we can expect more job losses and worse news for the U.S. economy on the horizon.





Proposal to Allow Amendments to Identifications of Goods and Services Due to Technology Evolution

Posted: Friday, Sep 5, 2014 @ 10:55 am | Written by U.S.P.T.O. | No Comments »

The USPTO is seeking feedback from U.S. trademark owners, practitioners, and other interested parties about this proposal to allow amendments to identifications of goods and services due to technology evolution. Please send comments regarding the proposal to TMPolicy@uspto.gov, with the subject line “Technology Evolution.” Comments may be posted on the USPTO website. In order to ensure that your feedback may be considered, please submit it no later than November 3, 2014.

Based on user input, including at a recent roundtable, the USPTO proposes to amend its current practice to permit amendments in limited circumstances to identifications of goods/services based on changes in the manner or medium by which products and services are offered for sale and provided to consumers due to evolving technology if the underlying content or subject matter has not changed. This change in practice takes into account the goal of preserving trademark registrations and applications in situations where technology in an industry has evolved in such a way that amendment of the goods/services in question would not generate a public-notice problem.