Earlier this week House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (VA-6) announced the House Judiciary Committee’s Republican subcommittee assignments for the 113th Congress. The subcommittee from the House of Representatives that has jurisdiction over matters relating to intellectual property is the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet. This subcommittee has jurisdiction over copyright, patent, trademark law, information technology, antitrust matters, as well as other appropriate matters as referred by the Chairman. It is this House Subcommittee on IP that will be one of the primary focal points for any new legislation that deals with intellectual property over the next two years.
Representative Coble was born in Greensboro, NC, March 18, 1931. He served in the United States Coast Guard for over 5 years and later in the Coast Guard Reserves for 22 years. He served in the North Carolina House of Representatives prior to being elected to Congress in November 1984. In addition to being named the chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, Representative Coble has received his other subcommittee assignments on both of his full committees. Congressman Coble will serve on a total of five subcommittees on the Judiciary and Transportation and Infrastructure panels.
Congressman Issa, sponsor of the bill that would gut design patent rights in the automotive industry.
The U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet held a hearing August 1, 2012, on H.R. 3889, the “Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade, and Sales Act” or PARTS Act, legislation introduced by Representatives Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). During the hearing, subcommittee members listened to testimony from Rockingham Group President and CEO W. Neal Menefee and Consumer Federation of America Public Affairs Director Jack Gillis, who emphasized the benefits of the PARTS Act to consumers and stressed the balance it strikes. And if you believe that I have a bridge to sell you!
Rockingham Group of insurance companies is a member of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, both of which are members of the Quality Parts Coalition (QPC), which is another industry group with what appears to be a horribly misleading name. The QPC has stated its goal as being none other than securing a permanent legislative change to U.S. design patent law to (in their words) “protect the consumer’s rights to lower-cost alternative replacement parts.” In other words, they don’t like design patents and would rather see them go away.
Simply stated, the OPEN Act would be completely and totally ineffectual and, therefore, it must be opposed. There is simply no point in enacting more pointless legislation, we have enough pointless legislation already.
Anyone who is at all familiar with intellectual property knows that thanks to the digitization of content and the advent of the Internet infringement is rampant. With great frequency articles posted to IPWatchdog are cut and pasted and posted to various websites. On a daily basis companies and even government agencies are copying IPWatchdog articles verbatim and circulating them internally, presumably believing that the internal copying and distribution is not copyright infringement. Being a content creator, whether large or small, is exceptionally difficult because most people either don’t care or they don’t stop to think about what they are doing.
Laguna Beach, CA, or anywhere in Orange County CA, gets my vote!
Just the other day the United States Patent and Trademark Office announced that they were seeking public input regarding where they should open 2 more satellite offices in addition to the one being opened in Detroit, Michigan sometime during 2012. The America Invents Act requires the Patent Office to open satellite locations provided funds are available. The Office sees the establishment of these satellite offices as an important factor in continuing efforts to recruit and retain a highly skilled workforce, reduce patent application pendency and enhance communication between the USPTO and the patent applicant community. But where should they be located?
In evaluating where to locate any new satellite offices the USPTO has set forth certain criteria that those submitting comments should keep in mind. The factors specifically identified in the Federal Register Notice are: (1) Will the location increase outreach activities to better connect patent filers and innovators with the USPTO? (2) Will the location enhance patent examiner retention and provide a strong quality of life; (3) Will the location improve recruitment of patent examiners; (4) Will the location decrease the number of patent applications; (5) Will the location improve quality of patent examination; (6) Does the location have available office space; (7) Are there universities with strong engineering programs nearby? (8) Are there research facilities nearby? (9) Will there be a positive economic impact to the region?
In part 1 of my interview with Don Dunner we talked about how he managed to become the the dean of CAFC appellate advocates, arguing more than 150 cases before the court. We also discussed many of his most high profile cases and his approach to handling multiple simultaneous appeals. In this second installment of my interview with Dunner we talk about which judges on the Federal Circuit ask the most difficult questions, who he thinks are capable candidates for future federal circuit vacancies, why the Federal Circuit was created as a specialty court, continued hostility toward a purely specialty court and Congressman Issa’s attempt to create a pseudo-specialty trial court for patent issues. We also touch upon the familiar fun questions and learn that one of Dunner’s favorite movies is a well known courtroom comedy.
Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) grills Kappos on Capitol Hill
On Wednesday, May 5, 2010, David Kappos, Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, testified in front of the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. See Hearing Page and Kappos Prepared Remarks. Many issues were covered during the hearing, but there were a couple matters that jump out as quite important. Most significantly, it seems that once again the Senate patent reform bill may be running into some difficulty in the House of Representatives. Some in the House of Representatives seem interested in slowing down regarding the substantive changes embodied in the Senate bill, but seem willing to consider legislation less grandiose and focused solely on giving the Patent Office fee setting authority and perhaps the ability to retain its fees. This, however, lead to a heated exchange that has been misreported in some outlets, so lets set the record straight.
This year as we wind down and look back we not only need to look back at the previous year, but the first decade of the new century and new millennium will be ending. So at this reflective time of year it seems appropriate to take a look back at the biggest patent related news stories of the decade. As with any Top 10 list, or any ranking, there will undoubtedly be disagreements, arguments and some things that people believe should have been on the list. What follows is Part 1 of my personal Top 10 patent news related stories for the decade. Once I get all 10 out, by later in the week, I will provide a survey that allows you to rank them, and I hope you will. We can then take a look back at my Top 10 vs. the Top 10 of IPWatchdog.com readers next year. Please also feel free (and I am sure you will) to point out things that I missed or clearly got wrong, at least in your opinion.
Without further ado, in descending order, here is Part 1 of my Top 10 Patent Related Stories of the Decade:
Admittedly, the selection of an Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, a post that also carries the title of Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, is not as important in the greater scheme of things as many of the other posts President Obama has had to fill. Having said that, given the unique and real challenges facing the U.S. patent system, it would be nice to eventually have a leader in place. While those within the Patent Office are starting initiatives that will likely help in the long run, the major issues facing the USPTO are not likely to be resolved until there is new leadership. My hope is that a new leader will be able to explain to Congress that more funding is needed, and maybe even explain that patent reform should take actually attempt to help the patent system, and the Patent Office in particular. But with the announcement of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, does anyone think it is realistic to anticipate a nominee for PTO Director to happen before Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings? Add to this the fact that North Korea announced that the Korean War is back on, Vice President Cheney and President Obama are jousting over how to handle terrorists, no one wanting Gitmo prisoners in the U.S., Cap and Trade working its way through Congress and Iran perpetually wanting to erase Israel from the map. With all these issues occupying the President and Congress is there any real expectation that a PTO Director will be named anytime soon?