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.
Posted: Tuesday, Sep 2, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Joseph Allen | No Comments »
Entrepreneurship is hard anywhere. It’s especially difficult in government where all too often agency lawyers, committees and bureaucratic procedures smother promising new ideas under reams of red tape. This makes a partnership between the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Avon Foundation and the Center for Advancing Innovation boosting new treatments in the fight against breast cancer all the more remarkable. That this initiative was conceived and launched in a large federal agency in just a few months illustrates the difference that a few inspired people can make.
A critical factor not stressed enough in technology commercialization is the need for a passionate commitment to success. Taking early stage discoveries from the lab to the market is a long, arduous, daunting journey. Without an all-consuming passion to overcome all obstacles and keep getting back up after repeatedly being knocked down, the chances of success are remote. This is hard enough at best. Yet too many times entrepreneurs in large organizations face additional cultural barriers that doom their efforts before they ever get started. Effective leaders recognize this trap, insuring that internal processes and procedures support product development, not thwart it.
Posted: Monday, Sep 1, 2014 @ 11:35 am | Written by Dr. Kristina Lybecker | 30 comments
Patents encourage and protect innovation. That’s undeniable, but it’s naïve to believe that’s all we need to develop the new products that evolve into the industries that bolster the dynamic U.S. economy. Patents, and other forms of intellectual property protection, are a necessary prerequisite, but incentivizing innovation requires more. Just as plants require sunshine, water and nutrients to grow, innovation needs more than simply patent protection to thrive. To thrive innovation requires a climate that is conducive for business success.
Sadly, Capitol Hill is frequently the setting for both grandstanding and pandering, and given the prevailing political and public sentiment it is also frequently a place where businesses find an inhospitable welcome. A recent case in point: Three senior members of Congress (Henry Waxman, Frank Pallone Jr., and Diana DeGette) have started a joint investigation into the pricing of Sovaldi, a breakthrough drug for hepatitis C produced by Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD). Rather than applaud the health benefits that this drug will deliver, Congress is grilling the company on their pricing decision, striking fear in the investment community, and indirectly undermining the healthcare innovation that is so desperately needed.
The focus of this particular article is on the disclosure of the invention in the specification. While it is true that the claims will define the exclusive rights that are granted to the patentee, the specification provides the information through which the claims are read. The specification provides the detail that defines what the claims mean, and as the result of a variety of cases over the past few years the specification is becoming an increasingly important part of the patent application. It has always been required and very important, but Courts seem to be marching the United States toward a strict technological advancement standard, which means the technology, mechanics, structure, architecture and environment in which the invention is used really needs to be described with as much detail as possible in order to guarantee that the claims are viewed as covering an innovation and not something trivial or unimportant.
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 | 11 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.