Gene Quinn is a patent attorney and a leading commentator on patent law and innovation policy. Mr. Quinn has twice been named one of the top 50 most influential people in IP by Managing IP Magazine, in both 2014 and 2019. From 2017-2020, Mr. Quinn has also been recognized by IAM Magazine as one of the top 300 IP strategists in the world, and in 2021 he was recognized by IAM in their inaugural Strategy 300 Global Leaders list.
Mr. Quinn founded IPWatchdog.com in 1999, and he is currently President & CEO of IPWatchdog, Inc. According to IAM Magazine, Mr. Quinn “has reshaped the IP debate in the United States in a way that has forced policy makers to carefully consider the macroeconomic effects of IP law and its potential to drive innovation and economic activity.”
Regarded as an expert on software patentability and U.S. patent procedure, Mr. Quinn has advised inventors, entrepreneurs and start-up businesses throughout the U.S. and around the world. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and has represented patent practitioners before the Office of Enrollment & Discipline.
Mr. Quinn began his career as a litigator handling a variety of civil litigation matters, and he has been a patent attorney for nearly two decades. He has previously taught a variety of intellectual property courses at the law school level, teaching courses such as patent law, patent claim drafting, patent prosecution, copyright law, trademark law and introduction to intellectual property at Syracuse University College of Law, Temple University School of Law, The University of Toledo College of Law, the University of New Hampshire School of Law, the John Marshall Law School (Chicago) and Whittier Law School. Since 2000 Mr. Quinn has also taught the leading patent bar review course in the nation.
Mr. Quinn is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney licensed to practice before the United States Patent Office and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Last week, the Supreme Court refused certiorari in yet another patent eligibility appeal. I’ve lost count as to how many times the Court has refused to provide clarity to the fundamental question of patent eligibility since it last muddied the waters in Alice back in 2014. I stopped counting several years ago, when the number of petitions—pleas begging for help really—crossed over 50. But the petition in American Axle was supposed to be different. Yes, the Federal Circuit has been hopelessly, and helplessly, split for years—a division and impotence of their own making. In American Axle the self-castrated Federal Circuit seemed to believe the Supreme Court modern quartet of patent eligibility cases renders nothing of importance or value patent eligible. In fact, the Federal Circuit actually ruled that a drive shaft is not patent eligible because the operation of the drive shaft fundamentally relies on Hooke’s law.
Today, many companies make the business decision to infringe patented technology instead of paying a royalty to license it—so called efficient infringement. The calculation is that it will ultimately be less expensive to ignore the patent rights of innovations than to take a license in an arm’s length negotiation. Over the last 15 years, that calculus has largely proven correct, with changes to numerous laws and the introduction of additional administrative processes all conspiring to make it easier to challenge issued patents. This means that litigation is often the only way for an innovator to protect valuable intellectual property and to stop infringement. Unfortunately, lacking leverage and financial resources, many patent owners cannot stop infringement—in some instances, even after a jury trial.
As we reported yesterday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Kathi Vidal issued a memorandum on the “Interim Procedure for Discretionary Denials in AIA Post-Grant Proceedings with Parallel District Court Litigation” clarifying current Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) practice on discretionary denials of inter partes review (IPR) and post grant review (PGR) proceeding institutions. The memo and corresponding press release explain that the PTAB “will not deny institution of an IPR or PGR under Fintiv (i) when a petition presents compelling evidence of unpatentability; (ii) when a request for denial under Fintiv is based on a parallel ITC proceeding; or (iii) where a petitioner stipulates not to pursue in a parallel district court proceeding the same grounds as in the petition or any grounds that could have reasonably been raised in the petition.”
On June 8, the Biden Administration announced a detente on the issue of standard essential patents (SEPs) through coordinated statements made by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Department of Justice Antitrust Division, and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The casual reader, or reader who only quickly glanced at the headlines, might be mistaken into believing the Biden Administration had declared war on SEP owners due to the Administration rescinding the 2019 Joint Policy Statement between the USPTO, DOJ and NIST that was biased in favor of the possibility of SEPs being like any other patent, with remedies for infringement possibly including injunctive relief. Those familiar with Administration’s efforts on SEPs will recall that a 2021 draft policy statement had been published, which swung heavily against patent owners and resurrected the debunked myth that patent owners engage in hold-up activities.