On April 21, 2022, LG Electronics Inc. filed suit against Chinese television manufacturer, TCL, through several of its affiliates and related entities, in the Eastern District of Texas for patent infringement. See LG Electronics, Inc. v. TCL Electronics Holding Ltd. et al, Case: 2:22-cv-00122 (EDTX). The patents relate to display hardware, wireless transmission technology, and user interface controls. Several of TCL’s 4-Series, 5-Series, and 6-Series TVs are accused of infringement. The patents asserted by LG are U.S. Patent Nos. 7,982,803, 9,080,740, 9,788,346, 10,334,311 and 10,499,431. LG requests a jury trial, seeks a permanent injunction, and a finding that the infringement is willful (for enhancement purposes) and exceptional (for the awarding of attorneys’ fees).
This week in Washington IP news, several subcommittees in the House of Representatives take a closer look at President Joe Biden’s budgetary request for the 2023 fiscal year, which was released in late March. On Friday, the House Research and Technology Subcommittee explores ways that the federal government can support the workforce needs of the growing electric vehicle industry. Elsewhere, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation discusses the findings of its most recent annual report on federal funding for clean energy RD&D, while the American Enterprise Institute hosts a conversation with Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) on the prospects of the U.S. federal government adopting a centralized cryptocurrency despite the recent crypto crash.
The chaotic state of the world today makes it increasingly difficult for American companies to compete. Russian hostility has the democratic world on edge, U.S. inflation is at a 40-year high and hitting consumers hard, and China continues its aggressive push for economic and technological dominance. To stay on top, the United States must out-innovate our competitors. America needs to lead the world in cutting-edge products and new technologies, and those are made possible by policies that support the innovation economy. The Ukraine crisis makes it clear that energy and cyber policy is crucial. Recently, the U.S. Trade Representative told Congress that supporting and protecting the full range of our innovators from China’s distortive practices is critical to our nation’s future.
On April 28, Google published a blog by their general counsel, Halimah DeLaine Prado, about the crisis condition of the U.S. patent system. Prado portrays Google as a strong supporter of the patent system, citing their history in initiatives to spur new inventions and technologies. For example, Google was a key player in 2013 in starting the Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge (to not sue on open-source software). Google was also instrumental in the beginnings of the License On Transfer network (which helps members who have been sued by “patent trolls”). Google has provided technical support for the Prior Art Archive. Prado notes that Google has 42,000 patents, which she says they license at “fair value,” and sell to grow the portfolios of other companies, all in the interest of small businesses.
Charles Bertini, owner of the trademark APPLE JAZZ, has filed a Request for Reconsideration of a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) Order suspending his Petition to Cancel Apple’s registration of the mark APPLE for entertainment services. Bertini also filed a motion in October of last year with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) requesting that he be allowed to present evidence not of record to demonstrate that bias at the TTAB may have had a negative impact on his opposition against Apple, Inc.’s federal registration for “Apple Music”.
Prof. Dan Brown and his son, Dan Brown Jr., are straight out of central casting. Prof. Brown, the father, grew up in a working-class Irish family on Chicago’s South Side before eventually becoming a professor of engineering at Northwestern University. Dan Jr. is a moppy-haired marketing genius who is now President of LoggerHead Tools.
The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been a lightning rod since it was established on September 16, 2012. In recent years, it is undeniable that the PTAB has become fairer, although there are still obvious improvements that can and should be made. Unfortunately, the fact that the tribunal has become more even handed and offers more meaningful process and procedural protections to patent owners does not mean that the overall PTAB process is in any way fair to patent owners, as recently evidenced by an astonishing offer to throw a case, including tanking efforts of third parties seeking to join, if the patent owner paid up.
Generally, artificial intelligence (AI) is an automation of a thing that a human being can do, or the simulation of intelligent human behavior by a machine. In other words, AI performs what a human can but with vastly more data and processing of incoming information. Unfortunately, claiming AI in adherence to its typical definition is akin to asking for a Section 101 subject matter eligibility rejection in the United States. Europe and China have already updated their patent examination procedures for AI. If the United States sustains its current examination procedure of machine intelligence in accordance with the abstract idea doctrine under the Alice and Mayo framework established by the Supreme Court, will we be leaving this industry behind?
This week in Other Barks & Bites: Senator Josh Hawley introduces a bill that would retroactively limit copyright terms to a single 28-year term with the possibility of one 28-year extension; the Federal Circuit reverses a Northern California summary judgment ruling of noninfringement after finding that the district court improperly defined the claim term “buffer”; SoftBank’s Vision Fund posts a $20 billion loss for the 2021 fiscal year; Senators Thom Tillis and Patrick Leahy introduce a bill to create music-related cultural exchange programs to improve international relations; USPTO Director Kathi Vidal announces developments on a patent examiner training program and plans to issue a request for comments for the Director review process under Arthrex;
On May 11, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the claim construction and decision of the United States District Court for the Central District of California to exclude evidence relating to damages but vacated its infringement determination and remanded a case alleging that Hulu, Inc. infringed Sound View Innovations, Inc.’s patent for data streaming technology. Sound View is the owner of expired U.S. Patent No. 6,708,213 (the ‘213 patent), which discloses “methods which improve the caching and streaming of multimedia data (e.g., audio and video data) from a content provider over a network to a client’s computer.” In June 2017, Sound View sued Hulu, alleging that its “Hulu Streaming Video on Demand products” infringed six Sound View patents, though only claim 16 of the ‘213 patent remained at issue on appeal.
If listing artificial intelligence (AI) machines as inventors on patents sounds like science-fiction to you, Professor Ryan Abbott is ready to make the case that it’s a very real issue. Abbott became interested in patents after becoming a medical doctor and obtaining a law degree from Yale Law School. He then noticed that scientists were starting to use AI to identify problems and solutions — and wondered about the legal ramifications from a patent perspective. Shouldn’t the AI be identified as an inventor, the same way a human would be? Abbott clearly believed that was the case. However, there was no precedent for any patent system allowing for an AI machine to be listed as an inventor. In fact, he discovered that companies had to forego obtaining patent protection because they were unable to do that.
This week in Washington IP events, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary kicks off the week by returning to debate over Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, as well as another nominee selected for the Southern District of New York and its IP-heavy docket. Over in the House of Representatives, the Space Subcommittee discusses ways to work with private commercial firms to develop space situational awareness tools, while the House Task Force on Artificial Intelligence explores the pros and cons of the use of AI systems on RegTech operations within the financial industry. Elsewhere, the Center for the Study of the Presidency & the Congress hosts an event focused on the relationship between IP policy and U.S. innovation leadership; the Hudson Institute takes a look at new challenges to copyright law posed by the digital publishing industry; and the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation looks to correct misconceptions in the advocacy for exercising march-in rights under Bayh-Dole as a price control mechanism for pharmaceuticals.
The golden age for patent brokers has come and gone, but that doesn’t stop Louis Carbonneau. “There are very, very few patent brokers nowadays,” Carbonneau says. “We’re just one of a handful left. And frankly, we get about four or five portfolios every single day that people want us to broker. We only say yes 1% or 2% of the time.” As one of the world’s leading patent brokers, the CEO and Founder of Tangible IP has brokered over 4,500 patents and boasts close to 30 years in the intellectual property industry. With experience as Microsoft’s former General Manager of International IP & Licensing, Carbonneau has sat on many sides of the intellectual property table. He shares his adventures in the industry and lessons learned with Eli, host of the Clause 8 podcast, including behind-the-scenes stories from his time at Microsoft, the common pitfalls of patent licensing, and why price isn’t always an essential part of the conversation when buying and selling intellectual property.
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