Microsoft’s Xbox One has already sold over 18 million units since its debut on Friday, November 22, 2013.
The holiday season is fast approaching, and we would like to spend time profiling some of the hottest developers of consumer technologies. Video gaming consoles are a major focus each year, but the impending battle between the latest generation, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, promises to be massive.
This week, we start our holiday focus by profiling Xbox developer Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, WA, for our Companies We Follow series. This multinational electronics and software developer is offering many consumer devices this Christmas, and even offers customers large discounts on its various tablets, computers and video games through its 12 Days of Deals sales. To get an idea of what kind of interesting new devices and technologies may be available to consumers these holidays, we’ve gone through the published patent applications and issued patents released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and have explored a couple of them in detail.
Microsoft already has a massive patent portfolio, but it has continued to increase in recent weeks. We’ve pulled up a trio of patents related to online gaming through Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE network, including methods of using gamer profiles on multiple consoles as well as validating untrusted games for inclusion on the LIVE network. Another Microsoft patent also shows the technology developer’s interest in improving means of advertising within multiplayer games online.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced the appointment of Michelle K. Lee as the next Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Lee currently serves as the Director of the USPTO’s Silicon Valley satellite office and will begin her new role at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, VA, on January 13, 2014.
While Director of the USPTO’s Silicon Valley satellite office, Lee has served as the agency’s primary liaison with the innovation community in the Silicon Valley and West Coast, leading the establishment of a temporary office in Menlo Park and working creatively with California’s Congressional, state, and local leadership to successfully secure a permanent office location in San Jose. In that role, she has also been actively engaged in education and outreach initiatives, empowering the USPTO to more effectively develop programs, policies, and procedures to meet the needs of the West Coast innovation community. Beyond the Silicon Valley office, Lee has also played a broader role in helping shape key policy matters impacting the nation’s intellectual property (IP) system, focusing closely on efforts to continually strengthen patent quality, as well as curbing abusive patent litigation. Prior to becoming Director of the Silicon Valley USPTO, Lee served two terms on the USPTO’s Patent Public Advisory Committee, whose members are appointed by the U.S. Commerce Secretary and serve to advise the USPTO on its policies, goals, performance, budget and user fees.
If you’ve decided that a PGC is right for you, there are a few other related strategic considerations that you may want to evaluate before proceeding: preliminary response, joinder, stay, and amendment.
You may want to consider keeping your cards in your pocket by not filing a preliminary response. If you file a preliminary response, it may provide the petitioner a road map to cure their deficiencies via a second petition or reveal the defects of your position to them. So if the petition is sloppy in some respects it may be in your best interests to not file. On the other hand, not filing a preliminary response may work against you. For every petition the PTAB goes through the preliminary claim construction based upon the evidence given. So if you put in your preliminary response, that will give the APJs additional information to consider when doing claim construction. “I might [initially] be guided by the petitioner’s insights if there’s no patent owner response. If you don’t file a response some times you read between the lines, and assume petitioner[‘s argument] is better,” says Judge Michael P. Tierney, Lead Administrative Patent Judge of the PTAB at the PTO. Then again, APJs thoroughness will likely and generally trump any bias. Just to give you perspective on what other people are doing, eighty-one percent filed a preliminary response with IPR and CBM in 2013, and as of November 21st of this year 77 percent filed a preliminary response, according to a recent AIA Progress Statistics report.
What is lacking from the debate over “patent trolls” is the “other side” of the story. In other words- who is benefiting from large multinational high tech companies being forced to deal with claims of infringement against them?
The major beneficiaries are not the patent trolls- but the thousands of single patent owners and small high tech start ups who for the first time ever-are able to monetize the enormous investments in time, money and ingenuity that they have made in their inventions.
The fact is- today, small patent owner and small tech start ups have real options to liquidate their intellectual property assets that they didn’t have before Intellectual Ventures and Acacia Research Group entered the market in the mid-2000s. If patent trolls sue big companies- then the owners of these patents were able to liquidate their investments. When the multinationals have to worry about these entities suing them it is good for the owners of the patents.
Patent trolls are not bad for them. That’s for sure.
About a year after the introduction of the post grant challenge (PGC) options, you probably have some idea about PGCs and how to deal with the unique rules of this forum. (If you need a refresher on that, read here.) What a lot of us are left wondering is how exactly to decide whether to use one of these options. I’ll elaborate on one approach that may provide some guidance: 1) Weigh the pros and cons; 2) Think about the timing of filing; and 3) Evaluate the nature of your argument.
Assuming there’s enough at stake for your client to go this route, you’ll first want to weigh the pros and cons of filing a petition.
Advantages of PGCs
“From an in-house perspective there’s no question that the various new post grant challenge options under the America invents Act are really a major shift in strategy; it’s a major step in the right direction,” says Samir Pandya, Senior IP Counsel of the Global Litigation Group at SAP, at the 2013 AIPLA Annual meeting.
A goal of nearly every defendant is to lower the total cost of resolution of any legal issue. As counsel for the defendant, you have to weigh the settlement and licensing costs of a patent dispute against the total defense cost and how long it takes to resolve the dispute with certainty. Today, CBM, IPR, and PGR are the lowest possible cost options.
On Thursday, December 5, 2013, the United States House of Representatives passed the Innovation Act by a vote of 325-91.
Surprisingly, the Innovation Act (HR 3309) had only been introduced on October 23, 2013, and was marked-up on November 20, 2013. So what was the rush? This break-neck pace, which took place in a Congress that has been noted for its extraordinary inaction, is curious to say the least. Indeed, one Member of Congress went much further than raising a curious eyebrow. “This schedule suggests the fix was in,” said Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) on December 3, 2013, “The clear message to little inventors: give thanks for your intellectual property rights, because you may not have them by this time next year.”
There is no doubt that Congressman Rohrabacher is correct, even if his criticism seems at first glance to be a bit over the top. There can be no serious disagreement over the undeniable truth that over the last 7 or 8 years there has been a steady erosion of patent rights both in the Courts and thanks to laws passed by Congress. There can also be little serious disagreement that the speedy process afforded the Innovation Act prevented those who favor strong patent rights from mounting a credible opposition to the bill. Unfortunately, the forces that seek to weaken patent rights are well funded and fight the battle each and every day. Even before the America Invents Act (AIA) was passed in 2011 there were efforts underway to plant the seeds of what will be the next “industry ask” of Congress, which is stripping the ITC of its patent jurisdiction or at the least preventing the ITC from issuing exclusion orders. See Follow the Moneyand Weakening the ITC Will Harm the US Economyand Are Some Patent Holders More Equal Than Others?
The Truth is that while innovators spend their time inventing and doing business, not focusing on what has been taken for granted in the United States since the days of Thomas Edison, which is a strong patent system. Indeed, in this round of patent reform Universities, small businesses, technology based start-ups and independent inventors were given no meaningful opportunity to express their views. At the one hearing on the bill David Kappos, former Director of the USPTO and now a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, cautioned Congress about going to fast and pointed out that no independent inventors were even invited to testify. But there is no rest for those who seek patent reforms that make patents less valuable, they are hard at work on whatever the current attempt is to chip away at patent rights, but also working to lay the foundation for further erosion of patent rights.
WASHINGTON – Dean Kamen, founder of DEKA Research & Development, joined a group of fellow American inventors for a press conference call this week to highlight the negative impacts of H.R. 3309, The Innovation Act, and urge members of the U.S. House to vote ‘NO’ on the legislation when it comes up for a vote in the chamber today.
In addition to Mr. Kamen, participants in the call included: Dr. Greg Raleigh, Ph.D, CEO & Chairman of ItsOn Inc.; Dr. Gary Michelson, M.D., Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Hall of Fame Inventor; and Louis Foreman, Product Development & Innovation Expert, Producer of Everyday Edisons.
“These are real inventors – in the trenches, every day, trying to come up with the next best thing and the only way they are able to protect their rights to what they invent is through strong patent rights. We wanted to hear from them and what they think HR 3309 will do to their ability to enforce those rights,” said Brian Pomper, Executive Director of Innovation Alliance, who moderated the call.
Below are quotes from the inventors during the call:
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