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Posts Tagged ‘ patents ’

Department of Energy Pumps Money into Offshore Wind Energy

Posted: Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014 @ 11:30 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Energy, Green Technology, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

From U.S. Patent No. 8,729,723, entitled “Removable Offshore Wind Turbines with Pre-Installed Mooring System.”

Alternative forms of energy which can create electricity in much cleaner processes than fossil fuels have been an area of intense development in recent years. Here at IPWatchdog, we’ve covered recent developments in solar and hydrogen energy generation technologies in the past, and alternative energy is a frequent topic, particularly during our Earth Day coverage each year. We dive into this topic given that reports from the U.S. Department of Energy have led to a lot of optimism in recent days about the future of wind energy, specifically wind energy collected from offshore sources.

A developed network of offshore wind turbines could power the entire United States of America. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, there is a potential 4.15 gigawatts of energy which can be collected from offshore wind collection around the country’s waters. The total electric generating capacity of the entire nation was 1.01 gigawatts as of 2008. All of this energy can be collected from waters within 50 nautical miles of America’s shorelines.

There are many obstacles in the way of increasing the scale of these technologies. Currently, offshore wind projects in America have capital costs of about $6,000 per kilowatt during installation, compared with about $1,940 per installed kilowatt for land-based wind projects. This is according to the recent Offshore Wind Market and Economic Analysis report released by the U.S. DoE, mentioned above.



Are Republicans Abandoning Patent Reform?

Posted: Tuesday, Sep 16, 2014 @ 9:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 5 comments
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Posted in: Congress, Gene Quinn, Government, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patent Reform, Patent Trolls, Patents

Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

On August 8, 2014, Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the newly minted Majority Leader in the United States House of Representatives, explained that the 44 “jobs bills” passed by the House and dead in the Senate would be voted out once again by the House as part of one big jobs bill. See McCarthy Sets up Votes on Messaging Bills Ahead of Midterms. According to Speaker.gov, one of the bills that is a “jobs bill” that was dead in the Senate was the Innovation Act, sometimes referred to in the industry as the Goodlatte Bill, which would have among other things enacted fee shifting legislation and expanded post grant review of patents. See House Passes Innovation Act and also IPWatchdog coverage of the Innovation Act.

Of course, the Innovation Act has absolutely nothing to do with jobs, job creation, job retention or spurring the economy in any way, but save that issue for another day.



Patent Drafting: Employing Claim Differentiation to Ensure Broad Construction

Posted: Tuesday, Sep 16, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Joseph Root | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Joseph Root, Patent Drafting, Patents

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is an excerpt from Rules of Patent Drafting: Guidance from Federal Circuit Cases, 2014 Edition, which is now available at Amazon.com. This is the fifth installment of the series. To read other installments please see Joseph Root on Patent Claim Drafting.

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The most significant obstacle to achieving patent breadth in contemporary patent law lies in the Federal Circuit’s proclivity to import imitations from the specification into the claims. The Court justifies its actions as merely discerning the inventor’s intent to limit the invention. The most effective counter to that activity is claim differentiation—the concept that claims are presumed to have different meanings, so a limitation expressly present in one claim should not be read into another claim, particularly where the narrower claim is dependent upon the broader. The Federal Circuit’s formulation of that rule was well stated in SRI Int’l v. Matsushita Elec. Corp.: “It is settled law that when a patent claim does not contain a certain limitation and another claim does, that limitation cannot be read into the former claim in determining either validity or infringement.”

Courts often express this principle in terms of avoiding claim redundancy. The Phillips court faced that question in dealing with steel-shell panels that can be welded together to form vandalism-resistant walls. The broadest claim included a limitation “internal steel baffles extending inwardly from the steel shell walls.” The court was required to determine exactly what characteristics were implicit in the term “baffles,” and one technique employed for that purpose was an examination of the other claims. For example, dependent Claim 6 recited, “the internal baffles of both outer panel sections overlap and interlock at angles providing deflector panels extending from one end of the module to the other.” “If the baffles recited in claim 1 were inherently placed at specific angles,” the court reasoned, “claim 6 would be redundant.” Thus, a construction of Claim 1 that included a specific angle would be improper, based on the doctrine of claim differentiation.



Merck Patents Drugs for Metabolic Disorders & Alzheimer’s

Posted: Monday, Sep 15, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Merck, Patents, Pharmaceutical, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Merck & Co., Inc., also known as Merck Sharp & Dohme, MSD, is one of the world’s largest developers of pharmaceutical drugs and it is currently headquartered in Whitehouse Station, NJ. Currently, the corporation has nine major drugs in different stages of development which are attracting a lot of investor attention, leading some analysts to believe that Merck’s share prices will rise in the coming months. Merck was recently successful in petitioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve sales of Belsomra, the first insomnia drug designed to regulate the sleep-wake cycle by modulating the activity of orexin in the brain. The U.S. FDA also gave a fast-track designation in early September to move along development of a Merck antibiotic for hospital-acquired pneumonia.

As readers have probably noticed, we have recently surveyed patents and patent applications of pharmaceutical manufacturers as part of our Companies We Follow series. See Pfizer Focuses Recent Patent Activity on Antibacterial Agents and Eli Lilly Patents Treatments for HIV and Ebola. We’ll be wrapping up this segment focus with a look at Merck’s recent medical innovations, although we will certainly return to pharma and biotech again in the future.



Pfizer Focuses Recent Patent Activity on Antibacterial Agents

Posted: Friday, Sep 12, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Biotechnology, Cancer Research, Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Pfizer, Pharmaceutical, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Pfizer, Inc., is a major American developer of pharmaceutical medications and vaccines for a wide spectrum of medical disciplines. The majority of Pfizer’s business is operated in the northeastern United States, where the company has its corporate headquarters in New York City and its research headquarters in Groton, CT. A Pfizer vaccine that helps to protect against clostridium difficile, a potentially life-threatening bowel infection, received a fast-track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late August of this year. The company also recently announced that it has struck a partnership with fellow American pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. to conduct and evaluate a study on a treatment for lung cancer. Although Pfizer’s efforts to acquire British drug manufacturer AstraZeneca were squashed in May, speculation regarding stock movement in recent weeks has led some to believe that Pfizer may try to revisit the negotiations soon.

The Companies We Follow series  is visiting this major manufacturer of medications as we continue our survey of recent innovations in pharmaceutical fields. Patent applications recently published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office show that Pfizer’s recent development goals have focused on a broad spectrum of diseases and disorders. We discuss a trio of patent applications related to treatments involving the nervous system, including a couple of medications treating Alzheimer’s disease along with a host of other ailments. A couple of patent applications are also related to novel treatments for cancer, especially in the area of preventing cancerous growth.



Data Security Systems and the Prevention of Identy Theft

Posted: Thursday, Sep 11, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Security & Identity Theft, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

In the world of data security, 2014 will likely go down as one of the rockiest years in history. We have previously covered recent cyber attacks and data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus, among others, as well as ways businesses can tighten up data security to prevent against breaches. The problem has continued to spread, however, and the past few weeks have been eye-opening in terms of the helplessness of corporation against data thieves when using conventional financial technology.

Currently, Home Depot is embroiled in a data breach that may end up affecting even more accounts than the total number of compromised Target customers announced earlier this year. Home Depot confirmed that U.S. and Canadian locations for the home improvement retailer were targets of a cyber attack that may have started as far back as April of this year. Those close to the investigation reportedly have indicated that the number of affected customers could exceed 60 million, 20 million more than were affected in the Target breach.

Home Depot may be the latest and largest breach to become news, but it’s certainly not the only one and hacking activity seems to be ramping up in the past few months. Malicious software known as Backoff, responsible for the Target breach, has also been identified as a potential culprit in recent breaches at Dairy Queen, Supervalu and United Parcel Service. Law enforcement officials have theorized that an Eastern European group may be responsible for a majority of these breaches because of links to Ukraine in the malware’s code.



Game of Patent Thrones

Posted: Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Sue D. Nym | 14 comments
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Posted in: Government, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, USPTO

Just as in the land of Westeros, there is turmoil and intrigue in our government as to who is to lead the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO).  Indeed, the top position of Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO has been vacant since the resignation of David Kappos on February 1, 2013.  His deputy, Teresa Stanek Rea, became Acting Director, but she was not elevated to his post.  She resigned on November 21, 2013, which left both positions unfilled.

On January 13, 2014, Michelle Lee, former head of Patent and Patent Strategy at Google, was appointed Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO, and in the ongoing absence of a Director, she holds the fort as Deputy Director, but with her position in administrative law limbo.  Despite the clear need for leadership at the USPTO, the search for the next Iron Throne holder is mired in ideology and lobbying.



Hitachi Patents: Big Data, Identity Authentication and Tsunami Protection

Posted: Tuesday, Sep 9, 2014 @ 10:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Automotive, Companies We Follow, Electronics, Energy, Guest Contributors, Hitachi, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, Security & Identity Theft, Steve Brachmann, Storage Systems & Devices, Technology & Innovation

Hitachi, Ltd., based in Tokyo, Japan, is an electronics and engineering conglomerate and the parent company of the Hitachi Group. Hitachi is involved in an incredibly diverse collection of business segments, including social infrastructure, power systems and digital media. Hitachi’s subsidiaries have been very active in recent days, including Hitachi Data Systems, which recently acquired the data protection firm Sepaton, Inc., a company from Marlborough, MA, which holds a patent portfolio related to data management. Hitachi Metals Ltd. just spent $1.3 billion on acquiring the Wisconsin-based Waupaca Foundry, Inc., the largest purchase completed by that subsidiary. The parent Hitachi company also entered into an agreement with three American universities to develop uses of radioactive waste material from nuclear power plants as fuel.

Many of the patent applications published recently by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and assigned to Hitachi involve various aspects of data storage and systems for data management, including a method for energy-efficient cooling of data center equipment. Hitachi is also involved in the development of automotive services, and we’ve included one patent application describing a vehicle information system that can improve pedestrian and bicyclist crossings. Other patent applications that intrigued us today include one waterproof panel for protecting a building against a tsunami influx and an identification system that can authenticate a person based on the blood vessel pattern in their finger.



USPTO Launches Redesigned KIDS! Web Pages

Posted: Tuesday, Sep 9, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by U.S.P.T.O. | No Comments »
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Posted in: Government, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Kid Tech, Technology & Innovation, USPTO

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced the launch of its newly redesigned KIDS! Web pages aimed to encourage students of all ages to learn about the importance of intellectual property (IP) creation and protection. In addition to featuring young inventor profiles, activities, and videos, the pages also offer curricula that link Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education to IP and innovation through downloadable lesson plans, hands-on instructions for building inventions, USPTO career information and other useful resources.

“The USPTO looks to our children—the doers, makers, and tinkerers of the future—to reimagine the world and, as the Constitution calls for, ‘to promote the progress of Science and the useful Arts’ like never before,” said Michelle K. Lee, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO. “As schools across the country ramp up their STEM programming, we look forward to putting even more tools in teachers’ hands that will ensure our next generation is well-versed in concepts of making, inventing, and creating the high-value intellectual property that drives our economy.”



If Patent Reform Is Meant to Starve Patent Trolls, Why Is It Feeding Them Instead?

Posted: Monday, Sep 8, 2014 @ 10:00 am | Written by Michael Gulliford | 14 comments
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Posted in: America Invents Act, Guest Contributors, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Legislation, Patent Reform, Patent Trolls, Patents

Not a week passes without commentators extolling the need to remedy a “broken” patent system — a system where patent trolls (also referred to an “non practicing entities” or “NPEs”) that don’t manufacture anything can garner extensive licensing fees from companies, both big and small, which do. And as the debates surrounding NPEs rage on, so too do the calls for patent reform. But if the reform to date has had the unintended effect of creating more opportunity for NPEs, while making it substantially more difficult for innovators without millions of dollars in the bank to protect their intellectual property, shouldn’t we be wary of the harm future reform may cause?

Already, Congress has passed sweeping patent reform known as the American Invents Act (“AIA”). Implemented over a multi-year period, the AIA contains several provisions designed to disrupt NPE advantages and to make it easier for defendants in patent litigation to gain the upper hand. Whereas, for instance, NPEs could previously sue as many defendants as they liked, in one case and with one filing fee, the AIA changed that, requiring the filing of multiple cases and as many filing fees. But much more significantly, the AIA created a slew of game changing, “post grant” proceedings, run very much like mini-trials, which defendants facing NPE district court litigation can file in the patent office and yield to their significant advantage.