It has been an interesting year for us at IPWatchdog.com, from getting sued in January 2010, to exclusive interviews with the likes of Chief Judge Randall Rader, Chief Judge Paul Michel, Former U.S. Senator Birch Bayh, USPTO Director David Kappos and former USPTO Directors Todd Dickinson and Nick Godici and others, we have stayed busy. We have put more emphasis this year on reporting live from industry news events, such as from the BIO 2010 International Convention and the AIPLA Annual Meeting. Of course, the familiar opinion commentary that I so love to write has also been a mainstay.
The big news for us is just coming in as of today. I am pleased to announce that IPWatchdog.com was selected by the readers of the ABA Journal as their favorite IP Law blog for 2010. See ABA Journal Blawg 100 IP Law category for 2010. I am also pleased to announce that for 2010 we had over 2,000,000 visits, delivered nearly 11.8 million pages, our homepage was viewed 3.06 million times and we averaged over 67,000 unique monthly visitors! Thanks to all our readers for coming back day after day, and thanks to all of our Guest Contributors!
I am pleased to announce that the Editors of the ABA Journal yesterday announced they have selected IPWatchdog.com as one of the top 100 best law blogs by lawyers, for lawyers. Now readers are being asked to vote on their favorites in each of the 4th Annual Blawg 100’s 12 categories. IPWatchdog.com is in the “IP Law” category. To vote, please visit The 2010 ABA Journal Blawg 100. You do need to register to be able to vote, but registration is free (and they don’t seem to send any unsolicited e-mails, which is nice). If you are already registered all you have to do is sign in and vote. Voting ends at close of business on December 30, 2010.
Over the last several weeks “patent trolls” have been back in the news. The mother of all patent trolls, NTP, which won over $600 million from Research in Motion as the result of a successful patent infringement litigation over the popular BlackBerry phone, is back at it again. NTP is now suing Apple, Google, Microsoft and others alleging that smart phone e-mail systems infringe its patents. See, for example Bad News for Tech Heavies?and NTP sues Apple, Google, Microsoft and others.
Not long ago Attorney John M. Desmarais, who wasone of the attorneys who represented GlaxoSmithKline in their effort to stop the claims and continuations rules from becoming effective, left the practice of law. He acquired 4,500 patents and is going to throw his hat into the ring, presumably representing himself, going after those large companies that he believes are infringing his patents. See Billion Dollar Lawyer Desmarais Quits Firm to Troll for Patents.
Just this past week, Kelley Drye & Warren, the firm that represented Dr. Tafas in the claims and continuations challenge, filed an $11.4 billion lawsuit on behalf of XPRT Ventures, LLC. Many in the popular press and in the blogging community are, like lemmings heading off a cliff, referring to XPRT as a patent troll. But what evidence do that have of that? As far as I can tell little or none; mostly none. See eBay’s PayPal Sued for $11.4 Billion for Patent Infringement.
Over the last several weeks, the Docket Report, a daily e-mail newsletter, reported on several cases involving Motions to Stay Proceedings Pending Reexamination. Whether courts grant these motions or not is of significant interest since the grant of stay of a patent infringement case can significantly delay the underlying infringement case while the USPTO proceeding takes place. According to USPTO statistics, the overall cumulative reexamination pendency (from filing date to certificate issue date) averages 25.4 months in ex parte proceedings, and 36.2 months in inter partes proceedings. Additionally, those same statistics reveal that the number of inter partes reexamination filings rose from 168 in 2008 to 258 in 2009. (Ex parte filings declined from 680 in 2008 to 658 in 2009).
The recently issued orders came from district courts in the Northern and Southern Districts of California, Southern District of Indiana, Northern District of Ohio, and Northern District of Minnesota. An interesting order from the Southern District of California considered a Motion to Stay Proceedings Pending a Patent Reissue.
Just last week I wrote an article about district courts being increasingly reluctant to order a stay of a pending patent infringement litigation even when the United States Patent Office has granted reexamination. To quote the words of Lee Corso of ESPN College Football fame, “not so fast my friend!” Courtesy of the Docket Report daily patent litigation newsletter, I recently stumbled across the Order of the United States Federal District Court for the Southern District of Georgia in E-Z-Go v. Club Car, Inc. On January 12, 2010, the Southern District of Georgia issued a stay even though the United States Patent and Trademark Office has not yet granted the request for inter partes reexamination of the patent in suit. Holy psychosis Batman! Obviously there is a wide difference of opinion among district court judges with respect to whether to stay pending patent litigation pending reexamination.
Image taken from US Patent No. 6,655,077 titled “Trap for a mouse”
To paraphrase the famous quote of Ralph Waldo Emerson, if you build a better mouse-trap the world will make a path to your door. Inventors and entrepreneurs frequently take this quote all too literally, thinking that if they make a better product theirs will sell and make them rich beyond their wildest dreams.
There are, of course, many different reasons why building a better mouse-trap is only the first of many steps on the road to financial freedom. There is no guarantee of financial success given by any patent office in the world. This is true even if you have a strong patent that covers a great product that enjoys robust consumer demand. Unfortunately, many inventors operate under the misunderstanding that getting a patent is like owning Boardwalk and Park Place in the popular board game “Monopoly.” The truth is that turning an invention into cash is much more complicated than simply placing hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place. Yes, you must have a patent, but you need to treat inventing as a business.