Manny Schecter is Chief Patent Counsel and Associate General Counsel at IBM. His accomplishments have helped IBM generate over $20B of income from IP while maintaining its position as the top annual US patentee for the last 23 consecutive years. Mr. Schecter is active in intellectual property policy matters including legislative, judicial, and patent office reform and he specializes in the application of technology to improving patent quality. He has worked his entire career, first as an engineer and then as an attorney, in various business units of IBM, achieving his current position in 2009.
Mr. Schecter serves on the Board of Directors of the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), and the IPO Education Foundation. In 2015 he was named to the list of the 50 most influential people in intellectual property by Managing Intellectual Property magazine.
Mr. Schecter is a graduate of Cornell University and the George Washington University Law School.
Over the years Mr. Schecter has authored or co-authored several articles for IPWatchdog.com, and has been interviewed on the record several times as well.
My congratulations to Kathi Vidal of Winston & Strawn on her confirmation as the new Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and her new role as advisor to the President and the administration on intellectual property matters. Undersecretary Vidal’s credentials are beyond merely impressive. Her capabilities and her new position afford her an opportunity to influence intellectual property policy at a magnitude few ever experience, including a profound opportunity to enhance diversity. It is well established that diversity unlocks innovation and that innovation is critical to American competitiveness, jobs, national security, and quality of life. One of the tenets of promoting diversity is providing leaders, role models, and mentors from all reaches of the community to encourage participation from others of similar backgrounds.
Intellectual property (IP) promotes innovation. The limited right to exclude others from copying patented inventions, copyrighted original works of authorship, and trademarked brands and logos encourages innovators to invest their time and money. IP appeals to our sense of fairness by discouraging or preventing counterfeiting, passing off, and other harmful takings of the fruits of investments in research, development, creativity and innovation, and is leveraged by entrepreneurs seeking start-up capital. Unfortunately, the general public lacks a true understanding of how IP fuels our innovation economy. Today, IP practitioners are bombarded with so many free newsletters about IP that we simply cannot read them all—it is no longer a function of getting access to information, but which sources of information are the best use of one’s time. The same is true for the general public, which is increasingly exposed to references about IP in social and news media, advertising, and other public channels. Unfortunately, those references to IP are not always accurate and often require explanation.
The patents discussed below are all landmark inventions and were conceived by inventors inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF). Would these ground-breaking inventions, that helped set the course of humanity, be patentable today? … The point is that at first blush it’s not readily clear whether these patents would be found subject matter eligible, demonstrating that the uncertainty created by the Supreme Court with respect to patent subject matter eligibility has few bounds – even impacting the most celebrated inventions of our most honored inventors… If we cannot determine with reasonable certainty how all of these inventions would fare if judged under recent Supreme Court case law, then no one can truly teach Patent Subject Matter Eligibility 101.
As the challenge proceedings and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board mark their fifth anniversary, we should reflect on whether they have achieved their intended purpose. About a year ago I explained how inter partes review proceedings are no more a true alternative for litigation than the inter partes reexamination proceeding which they replaced and supposedly improved upon – nothing has happened since to change that view. Furthermore, a buffet of other meaty issues remains with respect to the post-grant challenge proceedings… I continue to support the original goals of the challenge proceedings and while changes in some areas are required, a wholesale restructuring of the procedures is not necessarily required. But I do look forward to changes that improve the balance between patentees and challengers.