PLI Hosts Briefing on Green Technology Patent Litigation

I hardly keep it a secret that the Practising Law Institute is a sponsor of IPWatchdog.com, although not necessarily the views expressed herein, which are mine alone.  Occasionally I engage in some outright promotion activities, and stealing a good idea from the National Public Radio duo — Click & Clack — I sometimes refer to it as coming from the shameless commerce division.  Call it what you will, but on Wednesday, September 16, 2009, PLI is sponsoring a lunch briefing titled Green Technology Patent Litigation: The Future is Here.  I can honestly say that no one asked me to promote this program, so this edition of shameless commerce comes directly from me because this is a topic I am quite interested in, having done some work with green innovations.  Perhaps I am always chasing something interested to write about, or perhaps I am an environmentalist at heart in a true Teddy Roosevelt sense.  Whatever the case may be, I am looking forward to this briefing and I will be in attendance myself.  I suspect it is going to be quite interesting, and like all PLI programs anyone who attends will learn something.  The 1 hour of CLE credit is certainly a nice bonus as well.  So what do you have to lose?  Nothing really, and you might just gain some competitive insights into what is likely going to be the next big craze in both patenting and patent litigation.

Steven J. Glassman, a partner in the Kaye Scholer’s Litigation and Environmental Sustainability Practice Groups, will conduct the 1 hour briefing which qualifies for CLE credit.  Glassman has a unique background having been a federal prosecutor, a private practice trial lawyer, a patent examiner and an appellate attorney, and his presentation should be compelling. He will discuss legal issues in this emerging area of patent litigation including:

  • Emerging scope and diversity of Green technology patents
  • Emissions trading method patents
  • Validity and enforceability of Green technology business method patents in light of recent patent cases on scope of protection for methods
  • Green remanufacturing and refurbishment patent issues
  • Past and anticipated litigation involving Green technology
  • Cost and budgeting for Green technology patent litigation

This is truly an ambitious agenda for only a 1 hour briefing, so it promises to be stacked with information.

I suspect the green revolution will impact many areas of law and develop largely into what Internet has become for lawyers; namely a full employment technology that touches a disparate array of substantive areas.  For patent lawyers though the green movement seems disproportionately likely to impact our day to day existence as lawyers, whether our practice focuses on obtaining patents, licensing technology or litigating disputes.  The core of what makes what we do unique is the science and business opportunities created by the intangible asset, so it is hard to imagine an area of practice that will be more impacted by the greening of the US and the world, save perhaps environmental law, and even that is hardly a given.

In any event, I thought I would do some Google searching to see what I could find as examples of green technology, and it seems that “green technology” is just a meaningless catch phrase for many on the web who are trying to capture traffic with the search keyword de jour.  One of the websites that came up in my search was Scientific American, and surely they have true green technology and not just a webpage purporting to provide green information with little substance, right?  Well, you might be surprised.  The articles in order, at least when I did the search were as follows:

Now the first article, regarding a rooftop garden, is certainly a green topic, but I am not sure I would characterize this as a “green technology” issue.  I suppose that it could be a green technology article if it dealt with how to retrofit an existing rooftop to hold the additional weight from the soil, water it would collect and which would be necessary for the vegetation to grow, but that does not seem to be the type of article this is.  The article talks mostly about green politics, global warming and then refers you to another website for information – Greenroofs.com, which according to Scientific American has “a treasure trove of information on how to create and install a green roof.”  The other three top articles seem to have little or nothing to do with green technology, although I do plan on reading the computer mouse article with keen interest.  I feel somehow cheated and lead on by “green” bait and switch.

When I think of green technology I think of solar stuff, battery technologies, energy saving anything, high efficiency whatever – except for high efficiency washing machines!  From what I can tell a high efficiency, water saving washing machine is roughly about as useless as the ornament on the hood of an automobile.  Sure, the hood ornament looks nice and all, but what purpose does it serve?  None that I can tell, which is about the same usefulness as a water saving, purportedly high efficiency washing machine.  You see, what makes them green is that they use minimal water, but that also means you get minimal cleaning of your clothes as well, which requires you to wash heavily soiled items many times to even get them close to clean and have any chance of getting the odor out.  So in the long run you wind up using more water and more electricity than if you have a washing machine that actually worked! I can state this with great authority!  Oh well, I guess not all new machines are really advances after all.

Websites and marketing folks liberally use the phrase “green technology” to simply lure in the unsuspecting, and some of you are no doubt wondering if that is the case here.  If you ask me, PLI has the best treatises, the best programs and the top patent bar review course in the country.  In fact, we now teach over half of everyone who takes the exam each year.  The truth is that PLI patent programs and offerings are top notch, so no need to worry about bait and switch or marketing hype.  This program will address real issues, that real lawyers will face trying to help real clients.  That is why I am going to be attending the seminar via webcast, and that is why you won’t go wrong by attending yourself.  Now if they could just fix my washing machine I would be all set, but that is probably pushing my luck.

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