Gene Quinn (left) is a widely read commentator, a law professor and a patent attorney. In 1999 Gene launched IPWatchdog.com. Today IPWatchdog has over 110,000 monthly readers and has been recognized as the top IP Law blog for 2 of the last 3 years by the American Bar Association.
In addition to Gene's articles we publish a variety of articles from Guest Contributors who offer their unique expertise and commentary on a variety of issues. We also have several freelance journalists who write for us now as well.
No Quanta of Solace for Farmer Bowman (May 20, 2013) - Eric Guttag explains that to understand the ruling in Bowman you must first understand Monsanto’s patented Roundup Ready® soybean technology.
Alice in Wonderland: CLS Bank v. Alice Corp. (May 14, 2013) - John Kong writes that after the CAFC issued its en banc decision on May 10, 2013 in CLS Bank v. Alice Corp, the patent owner Alice Corp must be feeling like Alice in Alice in Wonderland, bewildered and frightened by the fantastical situation in which they find themselves.
A Patent-Centric Look at Gene Patents (May 9, 2013) - Ben Jackson, Senior Director of Legal Affairs at Myriad Genetics, explains just how much Myriad invested to come up with a test to determine susceptibility to breast cancer.
Below are links to companies that we regularly watch for patent and IP related news.
With only 11 patent applications published last week by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, this marks a meager week for Apple Inc. Of the patent applications published by the USPTO, three are interrelated applications for managing access to rights-protected digital media. Other patent applications pertain to improvements to internal computer systems, including temperature control and serial bus connectivity.
Digital rights management, or DRM, has long been a major concern among computer systems manufacturers. The pervasiveness of digital media content, and the ease with which media files can be shared among computers, has made it difficult to adequately compensate media creators for their digital products. In some cases, computer developers have created DRM software that restricts access to a single user.
Northern Exposure focuses on Canada and Canadian intellectual property laws, cases and procedures. From time to time we will also publish a Canadian perspective on important issues relating to US and Global intellectual property. For more articles please visit Northern Exposure – Canadian IP.
After receiving Royal Assent on June 29, 2012, the provisions of Bill C-11 came into force on November 7, 2012. Titled the Copyright Modernization Act, it has garnered the nickname “Canada’s SOPA” by some media outlets , referring to the highly contentious Stop Online Piracy Act bill introduced in the US House of Representatives that led to both physical and digital protests. Yet despite such bold claims, the Canadian amendment to the copyright act is a largely innocuous piece of legislation that falls in line with its stated objectives.
Before delving into the major points of the bill and of its critics, it is important to note that an amendment has been a long time coming. The last one was in 1997. To put it into perspective: that was the year IBM’s Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov, and a good five years before any viable form of digital music became available for consumers. This means that for the better part of fifteen years, Canadians have been acting beyond the limitations of 20th century technological terminology. Instead, in the void of proper legislation, the Supreme Court of Canada has set the precedents, with five of the most recent rulings made in July 2012.
Judge Richard Linn, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Feb. 8, 2013.
On Friday, February 8, 2013, I had the honor to interview Judge Richard Linn of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Those in the industry know that Judge Linn is one of a small group of Judges who are patent attorneys. He is one of us in so many ways. He is a very real and genuine person, he is a great believer in the patent system, and he has long been a friend to patent groups and a mentor to many. Judge Linn started his a career as so many patent professionals have — as the newest patent examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. We learn in the interview that his interest in patent law started well earlier, thanks to his Uncle who was a patent illustrator.
After leaving the Patent Office Judge Linn rose through the ranks to become a prominent patent attorney in Washington, DC. Ultimately, he was in the right place at the right time, and he was fortunate enough to be recognized by the right people. He was appointed to the Federal Circuit to replace the legendary Giles Sutherland Rich. Big shoes to fill no doubt, but in terms of influence on the Court and impact on the profession few can compare to Judge Linn. He has, and continues, to carve out his own legacy as one of the preeminent patent leaders in the United States.
We spent approximately 60 minutes on the record with my iPhone recorder on, meeting in his chambers at the Federal Circuit, which overlooks Lafayette Park. Judge Linn recently took senior status, and lives full-time in Florida. He returns approximately every other month, sometimes more frequent, to hear cases. He will soon be giving up this office once the President’s appointments to the Court are confirmed. Judge Linn assures me he will remain active with the Federal Circuit.
When I sit down to interview someone I sometimes have a sense where things may lead, but inevitably interesting topics arise, sometimes based off a seemingly innocuous question. In Part I, which is below, I asked a familiar question: Do you find that the harder you worked the luckier you got? Judge Linn used this to discuss the importance of practicing law with integrity while managing to be a zealous advocate and without sacrificing civility. This theme carriers over into Part II of the interview and should, in my opinion, be mandatory reading for law students and associates. In fact, it is a good reminder for more senior attorneys who sometimes might lose sight of the forest for the trees.
Copyright 2012 – Renee C. Quinn. Taken April 10, 2012.
Not long after it was reported that a Chinese military unit might be responsible for a number of cyber attacks that have taken place on US infrastructure and businesses, the Obama Administration unveiled its strategy to put an end to the theft of US trade secrets by foreign governments and foreign competitors. More specifically, US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Victoria Espinel, who spoke during a recent White House meeting, said that “the Administration will continue to act vigorously to combat the theft of American trade secrets that could be used by foreign companies or foreign governments to gain an unfair commercial advantage over U.S. companies.”
A Five-Step Approach
There were five action items discussed in the strategy document. The first one suggests that more focus should be placed on diplomatic efforts to protect overseas trade secrets. The second item calls for private industry to promote voluntary best practices in order to protect trade secrets. The third action item suggests that domestic law enforcement operations should be enhanced. The fourth item calls for the improvement of domestic legislation. And the final action item seeks to provide more public awareness, as well as stakeholder outreach.
In December of 2012 Article One Partners announced that they would be launching an educational contest series geared towards military veterans with an interest in research, science and technology. The program, known as the Article One Partners Veterans Program or AOP-Vets for short will consist of three main pillars; an educational curriculum on patent research, a series of career guidance sessions from intellectual property executives, and an “exciting Grand Challenge” with the opportunity to win rewards for success on the research platform. In fact, at the end of the program, which is set to begin on April 8, 2013 and will run through May 17, of 2013, the best-performing participant of the program will receive a $5,000 reward.
Given that I come from a family of military men, and came so close to signing up for the military myself, I hold the topic of veterans near and dear to my heart. In fact when I heard about this program I was thrilled because I know that many veterans have been affected by this recession are out of work themselves. I know a few veterans in particular who could benefit from a program such as this and feel that programs like this are the very least we should give veterans in return for the sacrifices they and their families make for our country. But the best part about this program is that it affords veterans who wish to participate the opportunity to become trained in the area of intellectual property that should ultimately lead to additional career opportunities that otherwise they would not have qualified for.
Did you know that there is clothing available to assist jails, mental hospitals and others with the prevention of suicide? Special protective wear has been issued to inmates and patients with suicidal tendencies for years. As a matter of fact, you can go online and see a variety of items that are available for facilities that might need them — much of which is made out of a very uncomfortable, yet strong nylon shell that is held together with nylon thread. However, that type of material can be quite rough on the skin and quite irritating to the wearer in the long run.
For example, isolation/safety smocks are often used in prisons and/or mental health settings, and these smocks (which are sleeveless and one piece) are typically made from a tear-resistant nylon or polyester so that it can’t be used to make a noose. The material chosen for the smocks is generally selected because of its strength and durability — not for its comfort, and when these items are worn over an extended period of time, the discomfort to the wearer can be such that it causes the already fragile-minded individual a great deal of irritation and aggravation, further compromising that person’s mental stability.
So what can be done to make anti-suicide clothing more comfortable for wearers, yet remain just as effective in preventing suicides? Inventors Robert Schilling and Ayla Tasezen, the inventors listed on U.S. Patent No. 8,375,466, believe that they have come up with the perfect solution.
Once again, 38 patents have been issued to the giant electronics manufacturer Apple Inc. of California. After a few slight weeks, Apple has enjoyed at least three weeks where they’ve been issued about 40 patents or so from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
This week’s patents include a design patent awarded for a flat-screen monitor display, improvements to voicemail retrieval systems and digital image processing improvements that help retain image detail. Apple also has a very intriguing collaborative media playback patent that would allow multiple people to affect the music choices in a room directly from their electronic device.
The only design patent issued this week to Apple protects the shape of a flat-screen computer monitor for Apple’s iMac computer series. These computers function as desktops that include all of the hard drive and processing components within the monitor; only the mouse and keyboard components are external.
This top tier international firm is seeking an experienced and seasoned patent litigator for its Los Angeles office. The ideal candidate will have 2-6 years of Patent Litigation experience in ITC and District Court patent litigation. Preferred background will include an undergraduate degree in engineering, math, computer science or physics, and an advanced degree is a plus. Membership in the Patent Bar is preferred but not required. This firm requires stellar credentials and large firm experience.
The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on affiliate marketers that allegedly bombarded consumers with hundreds of millions of unwanted spam text messages in an effort to steer them towards deceptive websites falsely promising “free” gift cards.
In eight different complaints filed in courts around the United States, the FTC charged 29 defendants with collectively sending more than 180 million unwanted text messages to consumers, many of whom had to pay for receiving the texts. The messages promised consumers free gifts or prizes, including gift cards worth $1,000 to major retailers such as Best Buy, Walmart and Target. Consumers who clicked on the links in the messages found themselves caught in a confusing and elaborate process that required them to provide sensitive personal information, apply for credit or pay to subscribe to services to get the supposedly “free” cards.
“Today’s announcement says ‘game over’ to the major league scam artists behind millions of spam texts,” said Charles A. Harwood, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC is committed to rooting out this deception and stopping it. For consumers who find spam texts on their phones, delete them, immediately. The offers are, in a word, garbage.”
On February 19, 24 members of the 27 European Union signed a unified patent court agreement in Brussels, Belgium. Bulgaria is expected to sign once it completes internal administrative procedures, but because the single patent will only need to be in English, German or French, only the countries of Poland and Spain have so far refused to join in the effort.
What does this all mean?
Efficient patent protection in Europe is a cost-intensive procedure. Overall, the acquisition of patent protection in all 27 European Union (EU) member states, including the costs of litigation, costs around 36,000.00 EUR (approx. US $48,000) today to book. This compares to an average price of a U.S. patent of 1850.00 EUR (US $2,500).
In light of these high costs, efforts have been made over the last 30 years to make patents uniformly applicable. Although the agreement for a European patent was signed in 1975, it hasn’t been close to reality until recently.
This prominent national firm seeks a highly qualified patent attorney with a Ph.D. in Biology or relevant technical field to join the Washington, D.C. office. The candidate will represent clients and provide legal advice in all aspects of patent law, including acquisition, prosecution, licensing and defense of intellectual property rights. The candidate would be responsible for providing legal advice on patent prosecution, including invention capture, strategic patent portfolio management, and life cycle planning for commercializing technologies; performing due diligence related to evaluating patent portfolios for acquisition, merger, and licensing opportunities; and advising and representing clients in patent licensing opportunities and in legal proceedings regarding patent infringement. The candidate must be a member of or capable of waiving into the D.C. Bar and be registered with the USPTO. Minimum 2 years of technical experience in Biology required.
I am in New York City this week taping the new patent bar review course, which is a part of our effort to bring the course current with the latest changes in the law and rules that will begin to be tested starting April 2, 2013. After a long day of lecturing and preparing materials and writing questions, I had dinner and found myself sipping a drink at Randolph’s, which is the bar attached to the Warwick Hotel, where I stay when in New York City. Unwinding from the day I decided to catch up on news – for me that means reading Politico or The Hill typically. I learned that Rand Paul engaged in a filibuster over drone strikes and Jeb Bush is on a book tour and folks are speculating about whether he will run for President in 2016. But I also learned that the self-appointed anti-patent billionaire idiot – Mark Cuban – was at it again. I quietly asked for the check and excused myself from an otherwise enjoyable evening of relaxation. Mark Cuban is an idiot!
Mark Cuban, the flamboyant owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has said some truly ridiculous things about patents. Recently, he complained to Tech Crunch about patent lawyers that “make too much money,” which is something that only a truly out of touch billionaire could rationalize. Really? A capitalist billionaire complaining about anyone making too much money ought to be a bridge too far for anyone. But Cuban doesn’t stop there, he talks about “dumbass patents,” and how patents on things that others later figure out ought to be invalidated. As if hindsight doesn’t make everything obvious in retrospect. Seriously, if he really holds these thoughts it has to be a complete accident that he managed to become a billionaire.
But this time it wasn’t that Mark Cuban made this idiotic and completely indefensible statement about the patent system that got me started. Nevertheless, he is still to blame. You see, Julie Samuels is the “Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents” at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. What a title! The Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents? And folks are actually supposed to take this seriously?
One year ago, the USPTO Museum packed away 30 man-sized, glowing iPhones. It was the last day of an exhibit commemorating the life and inventions of Steve Jobs, and the oversized mock-smartphones were displaying trademarks and patents in his name. But is it as easy to view those patents on your ordinary, pocket-sized iPhone? Or file a patent application from an iPad?
The USPTO is one of many federal agencies struggling to comply with the mandates of the White House Digital Government Strategy for 2013 – namely, that digital information and services must be available “anywhere, anytime, on any device”. Meeting the government standard will entail not just polishing USPTO.gov for use on smartphones and tablets, but also a substantial overhaul of the way the agency exposes data to patent practitioners and the public.
Job #7 – Mid-level Patent Prosecution Associate
Location: Silicon Valley
Reference Code: IPW007
This Silicon Valley stalwart is expanding its operation and is seeking patent prosecution associates to join their industry leading team. Ideal candidate will have two to four years of patent prosecution experience. Candidates should have an electrical engineering, computer science, or physics background or equivalent experience. Patent Bar eligible. Superior academic credentials, excellent oral, written and interpersonal skills a must.
Free trade is the most efficient and effective way to promote global economic growth and enhance global health. Investment in medical innovation and breakthrough therapies is more essential than ever. Each year more than 18 million human lives end in death from poverty-related causes, fully one-third of all human deaths globally. This amounts to fifty thousand deaths per day from causes such as respiratory infections, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, measles and tropical diseases. The numbers are overwhelming and mandate an examination of the barriers to access medicines in developing countries where the majority of these deaths occur. Admittedly this is an immense and complicated issue and the economics behind pharmaceutical innovation and access is but one facet of a complete understanding of the problem.
Fundamentally, without the protection provided by the patent system, innovators would have little incentive to invest in new technologies that are easily replicated by their competitors. Such free riding on the initial investment constitutes a market failure that would stymie most innovation. Patents correct this market failure, providing the innovative firms with a limited period of market exclusivity to both incentivize the investment required for innovation and to make public the knowledge gained in the process. In essence, in exchange for granting the innovator a limited period of monopoly power, a temporary static loss, society gains complete knowledge of the innovation, a permanent dynamic gain. Through this tradeoff, the existing patent system corrects the market failure. The TPP can ensure that although innovation is difficult, risky and expensive, firms continue to invest. International trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership must ensure that innovation is protected, that breakthrough therapies are incentivized and that intellectual property protection is strong and enforced.
How to Write a Patent Application is a must own for patent attorneys, patent agents and law students alike. A crucial hands-on resource that walks you through every aspect of preparing and filing a patent application, from working with an inventor to patent searches, preparing the patent application, drafting claims and more. The treatise is continuously updated to address relevant Federal Circuit and Supreme Court decision impacting patent drafting.
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