On March 25, 2013, I spoke on the record with Eric Gould Bear (left) about all things software, from designing software, to drafting patent applications to litigating. Bear is a successful inventor with over 100 patents and patent applications to his name and a testifying expert witness. He has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies and has a unique perspective of expert, creator and fan of those who innovate in the software space.
In Part I of our interview, titled Designing Into the Path of Disruptive Technology, we discussed the journey from ideas to designs that establish a technology platform. In Part II, titled Software Patents: Drafting for Litigation and a Global Economy, we discussed (among other things) the unfortunate reality that the top technology innovators simply won’t listen to licensing overtures unless they are first sued. In the final segment, Part III, which appears below, we conclude our discussion of litigation, discuss working with patent examiners and then end with a discussion relating to the reality that an engineering mentality is very different from an experience design mentality, at least relative to development of software.
On March 25, 2013, I spoke on the record with Eric Gould Bear (left) about software innovations, software patents and the trials and tribulations of litigating software patents long after they were first written. Bear, among other things, is a leading authority on the creation of new user experiences, an accomplished inventor with over 100 patents and patent applications to his name and a testifying expert witness.
In Part I of our interview, titled Designing Into the Path of Disruptive Technology, we discussed the journey from ideas to designs that establish a technology platform that could realistically be useful 5, 10 or more years down the road. In Part II of our interview, which appears below, we discuss drafting software patent applications with an eye toward litigation and the unfortunate reality that the top technology innovators simply won’t listen to licensing overtures unless they are first sued.
QUINN: What separates having an interesting product from one that is worth really going forward and trying to get a patent on – to be able to parlay that product into something greater than just the sum of the immediately available market?
On March 25, 2013, I spoke on the record with Eric Gould Bear (left) about software innovations, software patents and the trials and tribulations of litigating software patents long after they were first written.
Bear is an inventor on over 100 patents and patent applications in the software space. He has spent over 25 years working with numerous Fortune 500 corporations with respect to assisting them in the creation of new user experiences. He is also a founder of the design studio MONKEYmedia, which recently launched a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple that we will discuss in Part II of the interview. MONKEYmedia also has litigation pending against Sony, Disney and others. And on top of all of this, Bear is a testifying expert witness for patent infringement cases. Simply, there is little in the software/patent space that Bear hasn’t seen or been a part of over his career.
In Part I of our conversation, which appears below, we discuss the journey from ideas to designs that sit in the path of disruptive technology and could realistically be useful 5, 10 or more years down the road.
Without further ado, my conversation with software expert and prolific inventor Eric Gould Bear.
During a recent trip organized by AIPLA’s Special Committee on Intellectual Property Practice in Israel, I had the pleasure of meeting the enthusiastic and tireless Asa Kling, who is the Director of the Israel Patent Office and Commissioner of Patents, Trademarks & Designs. Since stepping into the role in 2011, he has focused on ensuring that Israel’s patent office matches Israel’s status as one of the world’s foremost technological innovators.
In 2012, the Israel Patent Office examined nearly 7,000 (6,800) new applications and reduced the time to first examination to less than 3 years (32.5 months). Leading American companies, such as Raytheon, Qualcomm, and Genentech, have signaled their faith in the importance of the Office by filing hundreds of patent applications in Israel within the last year. Additionally, since June 2012, the Israel Patent Office has become one of only sixteen active offices to operate as an International Searching Authority (ISA)/ International Searching and Preliminary Examination Authority (IPEA) for international Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications.
After the trip, I had the honor of asking Commissioner Kling a few questions over the phone. The transcript of our conversation is below, and is edited for length and clarity.
Judge Richard Linn, in chambers at the CAFC Feb. 8, 2012.
This final installment of my interview with Judge Linn of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In part I of the interviewwe discussed a number of general background issues, including how the Judge got into the field of patent law and became a Judge on the Federal Circuit. In part II of the interview we discussed the Inns of Court and the Richard Linn Inn Alliance, as well as civility (or lack thereof) in litigation.
In this final segment of the interview, which appears below, we move into the issues of the day: the changing patent laws and Supreme Court interest in patents. We also discuss Judge Linn’s decision to take senior status, the fact that he won’t be able to sit en banc unless he was on the original panel, and the Judge’s idea that only few cases really should be designated as precedential opinions.
Judge Richard Linn of the Federal Circuit, in chambers on Feb. 8, 2013.
On Friday, February 8, 2013, I had the honor to interview Judge Richard Linn of the Federal Circuit. We met in his chambers with the recording going for approximately 60 minutes. In Part I of the interview we discussed Judge Linn’s early interest in patent law and how he found himself appointed to replace the recently deceased Judge Giles Sutherland Rich. We then discussed engaging as a lawyer with civility while still zealously representing clients. That brought us to a topic near and dear to the Judge’s heart — the Inns of Court and the many patent focused Inns across the country that together make up the Richard Linn Inn Alliance.
In Part II of the interview, which appears below, we pick up with the discussion of the Inns of Court and further discuss civility and “Rambo style lawyering,” which Judge Linn explains was really the genesis behind the forming of the Inns of Court.
QUINN: I’m a member of the Pauline Newman Inn that meets at the Patent Office, and we’re members of the Linn Inn Alliance. I mean, first off how does that feel? How did it come about, I guess, maybe, first off. Second is how does that feel that the entire industries, the lawyers, are lining up in droves to join the Linn Inn Alliance? I would think that that is great evidence of what the industry does think of you and that this is really promulgated out of one Inn.
LINN: Well, I’ve been actively involved in the Inns of Court since I came onto the Court. The American Inns of Court is a unique organization. It plays a unique and important role in promoting ethics, civility and professionalism, and that’s what appeals to me. In 2000, I started attending meetings of the Giles Rich Inn, which meets here at the Federal Circuit every month. I’m lucky enough to fill the seat once occupied by Judge Rich. We’re sitting here in my chambers, which once were Judge Rich’s chambers. And when I first came on to the Court I felt a special responsibility to conduct myself in a way that would have made him proud, because he was always an icon in my eyes.
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.
On January 21, 2013, I interviewed Manny Schecter, Chief Patent Counsel for IBM. In Part I of the interview we discussed IBM’s commitment to remaining the top patenting company in the United States, their commitment to research and development and the process by which decisions are made on what patents to keep and which to let fall into the public domain.
In Part II of the interview, which is the final segment, we discuss how IBM keeps a watchful eye on the industry to learn from the mistakes of others, what the conversion to first to file will mean for IBM patents, how Watson is being deployed and David Kappos leaving the USPTO.
QUINN: Let me pick up on that for a minute. As you know we talk about this with some frequency, and I’ve always been interested in the IBM model because it’s successful. And I always try to tell small business, why would you ever try and pick a company that has not been successful and imitate them? And one of the things I keep thinking about more and more lately — I wonder whether one of the tricks in life and in business is to create systems of infrastructure that in some way save you from yourself. Realizing what you just said that even Babe Ruth is going to strike out. So even IBM no matter how careful you guys are are going to make some mistakes. But if you have the infrastructure in place and the processes and procedures in place to guard against that and to give you a longer horizon to let things develop, as the result of process you’re going to minimize those mistakes.
Kappos at the USPTO hosting a public meeting on Patents End2End (12/14/2012).
On January 15, 2013, I had the privilege to interview David Kappos one last time in his role as Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. What follows is my exit interview with Director Kappos, where we reflect on his time at the USPTO, all that he has accomplished and the legacy that he will leave behind.
When conducting interviews I sometimes get a sense for whether the interview will be a good one once transcribed. Those who have helped me transcribe the interview and review it prior to publication (as we do with all interviews) tell me that this is a good interview. You will have to be the judge of that. I confess to being incapable of being objective.
Although I do write what I believe to be objective news articles from time to time, I am an opinion columnist. I am also an ardent believer in the patent system. The Kappos era at the USPTO also largely coincides with the time frame where I started to write daily (sometimes more). I attend public events at the USPTO and have interviewed Director Kappos several times and most of his top lieutenants. I have gotten to know Director Kappos and have seen first hand what his leadership has meant to not only the USPTO, but to the larger patent system in general. He has been a friend to the patent system and in my opinion is leaving the Patent Office far better than he found it. He will be sorely missed when he leaves at the end of the month, although he will leave with an excellent management team in place to carry forward the work for which he has laid the foundation.
Manny Schecter is Chief Patent Counsel for IBM, and someone who is always willing to take a pro-patent, pro-innovation position. For example, on Saturday, January 26, 2013, Schecter tweeted: “Mechanical logic = patent, electric circuit logic = patent, but no patent for software logic? Makes no sense – would be going backward!” Indeed, I agree with Schecter wholeheartedly. The patentability of software is one of the things I spoke with him about when I interviewed in on January 21, 2013.
The point of the interview was not to discuss software specifically, but when the conversation turned to how IBM is deploying Watson, the genius computer that dominated Jeopardy, the topic of software patents came up. What provoked my request for an interview, however, was news that for the twentieth straight year IBM has been the top patenting entity in the United States.
Whenever there is interesting IBM news of a patent variety Schecter has been gracious enough to make time to chat. The news of IBM’s patent supremacy wasn’t just any run-of-the-mill news, at least not in my opinion. The commitment to innovation and belief in the patent system has served IBM well for many decades, and twenty years as #1 at anything is astounding in a world dominated by parity and antitrust regulators that don’t want any single company to succeed too much.
What you think of Ryan and Acacia is almost entirely dependent upon the side of the aisle on which you sit; namely whether you are an innovator or a practicing entity. Even more specifically, those who are innovators but don’t have a voice loud enough to be heard by practicing entities are likely to believe that Ryan and Acacia are the answer to their prayers. Those practicing companies that simply want to make a product and sell it without regard to the underlying patents that might be in place are likely to believe Ryan and Acacia are the poster children for everything wrong with the patent system.
My own opinion is this: independent inventors and small businesses that innovate get trampled. They are ignored by larger entities. Acacia Research is a publicly traded company and opens it books to the full extent required by the Securities and Exchange Commission. There is no mystery about their business model, and there is no doubt that when they partner with a patent owner that patent owner will have a voice that will be heard loud and clear by all those who might be infringing.
But you can decide for yourself. Without further ado, here is the culmination of the interview with Paul Ryan.
Paul Ryan is a more common name than you might think. In the world of politics when one speaks of “Paul Ryan” they are talking about the Republican Congressman from Wisconsin who was Mitt Romney’s running-mate and would-have-been Vice President. But in the intellectual property world, particularly the patent litigation world, the name “Paul Ryan” refers to the CEO of Acacia Research Corporation. It is the later Paul Ryan that went on the record with me to discuss Acacia, patent enforcement, how large companies who are infringers disregard innovative independent inventors and much more.
This two-part interview took place on December 20, 2012. With the holidays looming and various articles already in the pipeline for the end of the year and start of 2013 publication slid a bit.
Sometimes when I’m doing an interview I have a good feeling about it and know it will turn out very good in print. This was one of those times. I enjoyed my conversation with Ryan and think you will find it quite informative and interesting as well. Without further ado, here is my interview with Paul Ryan.
Patent Trial and Appeals Board: Chief Judge James Smith (left) and Vice-Chief Judge James Moore (right). November 28, 2012.
Happy New Year and welcome to 2013!
I want to start 2013 with a bang! Thus, I decided to make our first article of the year my interview with the top two Administrative Patent Judges at the United States Patent and Trademark Office — Chief Judge James Moore and Vice-Chief Judge James Smith.
On November 28, 2012, I interviewed Judges Smith and Moore on the Alexandria Campus of the USPTO in the Madison Building. We sat around a modest conference table in the office of Chief Judge Smith. We chatted for approximately 60 minutes with the tape recorder app on my iPhone running. By the time the interview was transcribed, verified and fact-checked we were up against the holiday, so I decided to lead off 2013 with this inside look at the The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).
The PTAB was newly created on September 16, 2012, to replace the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences. The name has changed to take into account the new workload on so-called post-grant procedures ushered in by Phase II of the America Invents Act, which went into effect on September 16, 2012. The Board, however, is still the Board, and Smith and Moore have been at the helm in charge of unprecedented growth in the number of Judges. In part the growth of the Board has been to push the appeals backlog down, but perhaps primarily to be ready to handle the new responsibilities thrust on the Board by Congress under the AIA.
For those who are looking for insight into how the board operates this interview series is mandatory reading. As a patent attorney I know about the Board, and I suspect you do as well. But only very few cases are ever appealed, although that number is unfortunately growing for a variety of reasons, so how well can any of us really know the Board? Smith and Moore give us a rare glimpse into the Board and the day-to-day inner workings of the two top Administrators who themselves also work hard to seek opportunities to stay engaged and join panels whenever possible. In Part I we talk about their daily roles, USPTO leadership, the battle to get funded to expand the Board and much more.
On October 11, 2012, I had the opportunity to speak with Bill Barber and Jeff Lewis, who are respectively the soon to be outgoing and soon to be incoming Presidents of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA). The interview was done in connection with my fall series profiling the AIPLA, AIPLA Executive Director Todd Dickinson and the AIPLA Annual Meeting. For all of the related articles please see AIPLA on IPWatchdog.
In Part I of the interview I spoke with Barber and Lewis about the AIPLA generally and how it manages to specifically accomplish its mission, which seems to be to voice an opinion of the membership on virtually every intellectual property issue both domestic and foreign. In Part II, which is the finale, we start off talking about the assault on intellectual property rights, particularly the erosion of patent rights.
QUINN: Well, let me ask you guys this since you guys are in the thick of these things and see what’s crossing over the AIPLA desk so to speak. It seems that what is going on across the board is an assault on intellectual property rights over and over and over again in multiple different forms, with respect to multiple different technologies, whether it be copyrights online, or whether it be with respect to patents. With patents I characterize it as the eroding value of a patent, particularly given that you’re not entitled to a permanent injunction and they’re getting harder and harder to get thanks to obviousness being tightened up. Do you see any movement at all in a pro IP owner area?
The American Intellectual Property Law Association is run day-to-day by Q. Todd Dickinson, the former USPTO Director who if you listen to rumors is on this short list or that short list for an appointment to the USPTO or the CAFC. But the AIPLA is not just Todd Dickinson and his extremely capable Executive Team and Staff. So much of the heavy lifting is done by dedicated attorney volunteers who serve on Committees, each with a different focus. The AIPLA is also made up of a Board of Directors that is very hands on, informed about virtually everything and provides what seems to be nearly constant guidance to the organization on issues ranging from positions to take in amicus briefs, to the organization stance on patent reform and PTO rules, to any number of international issues. The amount of work the AIPLA does boggles the mind.
The AIPLA, like State Bar Associations, also has a President. You will read that the AIPLA has 25 full-time employees, but truthfully that number seems like it should be 26. The AIPLA President, as far as I can tell, works every bit as hard and long as anyone else, but simply isn’t paid. The President also attempts to the greatest extent possible to also find time to do real legal work for clients in between rushing to this meeting, taking that call, dealing with whatever issue or flying off to some exotic land to represent the AIPLA abroad.
The AIPLA President serves what appears to be a 1 year term, but that is just the year as President. There is really a 5 year commitment, over which time more and more responsibility is placed on the person who will eventually wear the mantle of President for that year. Then upon leaving the Presidency that person becomes immediate Past President, which means the obligation to the organization agreed to long ago is not yet complete.
Just ahead of the 2012 AIPLA Annual Meeting I had an opportunity to go on the record with Bill Barber(of Pirkey Barber PLLC) then President and now Immediate Past President of AIPLA. Also joining the discussion was Jeff Lewis (of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP), who was then President-elect and is now President of AIPLA. In part 1 of this 2 part interview we talk about the organization and how it operates, as well as the time commitment they invest. We also discuss getting “buy-in” from their law partners and their families.
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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