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All Posts by Steve Brachmann

is a freelance journalist located in Buffalo, New York. He has worked professionally as a freelancer for more than a decade. He writes about technology and innovation. His work has been published by The Buffalo News, The Hamburg Sun, USAToday.com, Chron.com, Motley Fool and OpenLettersMonthly.com. Steve also provides website copy and documents for various business clients and is available for research projects and freelance work.
Apple/ Ericsson Dueling FRAND Suits Highlight Issues With Recent Proposed Changes in DOJ’s SEP Policies

On January 19, consumer tech giant Apple filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) asking the agency to institute a Section 337 investigation against Swedish telecom firm Ericsson, asserting a trio of patents related to millimeter wave technology used by electronic devices communicating on mobile 5G networks. The Section 337 complaint is the latest salvo in a legal battle that highlights the mounting tension surrounding standard-essential patents (SEPs) and where infringement litigation fits into the fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) obligations that standards-setting organizations (SSOs) impose upon SEP owners.

SCOTUS Denials of Apple and Mylan Petitions Unlikely to End Challenges to PTAB NHK/Fintiv Framework

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order list indicating it had denied petitions for writs of certiorari in two cases challenging the NHK/Fintiv framework developed by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) for discretionary denials of validity trials under the America Invents Act (AIA). In denying petitions from consumer tech giant Apple and generic pharmaceutical firm Mylan Laboratories, SCOTUS has ended the latest challenge to the PTAB’s NHK/Fintiv rule, which has raised the ire of many entities who have found the PTAB to be a very valuable backdoor towards patent invalidation outside of U.S. district court. Both petitions essentially asked the Court whether the PTAB’s application of its NHK/Fintiv rule passes muster under precepts of U.S. administrative or due process law.

Property Rights Groups Urge Garland and Kanter to Withdraw ‘Misguided’ Policy Statement on SEPs Subject to FRAND

On January 12, a coalition of 28 property rights groups signed a letter addressed to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Jonathan Kanter asking those officials to reconsider and withdraw a draft policy statement issued in early December regarding licensing negotiations and remedies for standard-essential patents (SEPs) subject to voluntary fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) commitments. According to the coalition, the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) statement will only serve to bolster the fortunes of China, the major economic rival to the United States, by allowing Chinese tech implementers to infringe SEPs without respect to the rights of U.S. innovators.

IFI CLAIMS Rankings Show Increasing Role of Chinese Entities in U.S., Global Patent Ownership

Today, patent data analytics firm IFI CLAIMS released its annual report of the top U.S. patent recipients and active patent family owners, providing the IP world with a look at the patent ownership landscape that developed throughout the course of 2021. For yet another year, information technology R&D giant International Business Machines (IBM) earned the top spot among entities obtaining patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), while South Korean tech conglomerate Samsung Electronics enjoys the largest portfolio of global active patent families.

Amici for Apple Tell SCOTUS Federal Circuit’s Article III Standing Ruling Violates Precedent, Upsets Congressional Intent in Enacting AIA Trials

In mid-November, consumer tech giant Apple filed a petition for writ of certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Federal Circuit’s decision to dismiss Apple’s appeal of unsuccessful inter partes review (IPR) challenges to the validity of several patents owned by Qualcomm. In that ruling, the Federal Circuit found that Apple’s choice to enter a patent licensing agreement with Qualcomm covering the patents-at-issue extinguished Article III standing as to Apple’s appeals from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The question presented by Apple’s petition is: “Whether a licensee has Article III standing to challenge the validity of a patent covered by a license agreement that covers multiple patents.”

New Vision Gaming’s Motion for Reconsideration Highlights Issues with Arthrex USPTO Director Review Mandate

In the last few weeks of 2021, patent owner New Vision Gaming & Development filed a motion for reconsideration  of a remand order issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. That ruling, entered in early December, remanded New Vision Gaming’s appeal of covered business method (CBM) review proceedings back to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) “for the limited purpose” of requesting Director review of the CBM review decisions under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Arthrex standard. New Vision Gaming’s recent motion for reconsideration raises several issues regarding the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) implementation of Director reviews under Arthrex, making this particular case an important one to follow through at least early 2022.

Federal Circuit Says Intel Can Appeal Qualcomm IPRs Despite Lack of Infringement Suit

On December 28, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued a pair of precedential decisions in appeals raised by chipmaker Intel. These appeals came from final written decisions in several inter partes review (IPR) proceedings challenging the validity of patent claims owned by rival firm Qualcomm. In both decisions, the Federal Circuit found that Intel satisfied Article III standing requirements for appealing from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Standing has become a thorny issue that has plagued the Federal Circuit and PTAB.

The Top 10 Patents of 2021: Improved Eye Contact in Video Calls, Targeted Ads Based on Conversation Samples, and Analyzing Toxicity in Social Media Content

With the close of another year upon us, IPWatchdog is returning to an annual feature with its Top 10 list of issued U.S. patents during 2021. While it’s impossible to produce a definitive list of the ten most important patents in terms of future commercialization, the following list reflects a series of innovations that either represent important advances in burgeoning areas of technology, or practical innovations that address many of the recurring problems that our world has been facing during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. From reducing the awkward nature of Zoom calls, during which it’s impossible to maintain genuine eye contact, to vehicle technologies using Bayesian inference models to predict the lane change behavior of nearby drivers, these patents offer an expansive view of the exciting state of invention during this early stage of the 2020s.

Congress focuses on chip supply chains to promote competitiveness, national security

The United States’ share of global semiconductor manufacturing capacity has dropped from 37 percent in 1990 down to 12 percent in 2021. Congress now seeks to secure chip supply chains to promote both economic competitiveness as well as U.S. national security.

Christmas Gifts for Patent Attorneys in 2021: From Tools for Psychic Clarity to Fun Ways to Celebrate Science

The year 2021 has been a relatively good one for proponents of improving scientific innovation by way of protections for patent rights. Several breakthrough COVID-19 vaccines have been developed by major R&D firms in the pharmaceutical sector, and despite some myopic posturing by several global leaders, a waiver of international IP obligations under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) has not materialized, ensuring that R&D leaders are properly incentivized to continue pursuing advanced treatments and vaccines for new variants like omicron. Although leading scientists certainly deserve more celebrity status for their advances, patent attorneys are often the unsung heroes of innovation who ensure that protectable property rights arising from those inventions are registered and can be licensed for society’s greater benefit. You can indulge the patent attorney in your life this Christmas with several of the following items that are designed to help attorneys during their daily practice, commemorate early career successes, or provide a fun outlet when an attorney needs to get away from work.

Cellspin Soft Challenges Denials of USPTO Director Review Under Arthrex and APA

Last week, patent owner Cellspin Soft filed a citation of supplemental authorities  with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) asking the appellate court to either vacate or reverse an order from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) denying Director review following a pair of inter partes review (IPR) proceedings conducted at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Cellspin Soft is challenging the USPTO’s denial as invalid both under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), as well as under the U.S. Supreme Court’s precedent in United States v. Arthrex (2021). Cellspin had filed requests seeking Director review of a pair of final written decisions invalidating all challenged claims of U.S. Patent No. 9258698, Automatic Media Upload for Publishing Data and Multimedia Content. It claims a machine-implemented method of media transfer utilizing a digital data capture device and a Bluetooth-enabled mobile device for publishing multimedia content automatically onto a website with minimal user intervention. Issued to Cellspin Soft in February 2016, the ‘698 patent has been asserted in infringement suits filed in U.S. district courts against several defendants including Panasonic, GoPro, Garmin, Nikon, Canon and Eastman Kodak.

Tillis and Other Senate Republicans Bristle at Biden’s Nomination of Gigi Sohn to the FCC

On November 30, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) wrote a letter  addressed to President Joe Biden asking Biden to withdraw the nomination of Gigi Sohn, a co-founder of the open Internet advocacy group Public Knowledge, to serve as a commissioner with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Tillis is one of a growing number of Republican lawmakers who are speaking out strongly against Biden’s nomination of Sohn, who previously served as a senior staffer to former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler during the Obama Administration. Tillis’ letter to President Biden certainly pulls no punches in assessing the likely impact of Sohn’s nomination on copyright owners especially. “[Sohn] is a radical open-content activist with no respect for intellectual property rights,” Tillis wrote. “As an activist, Ms. Sohn has consistently worked against commonsense measures that would crack down on illegal piracy. She has even testified before Congress that ‘piracy has absolutely no effect on [music] prices whatsoever.’”

Photographer’s SCOTUS Petition Argues State School Liable Under Takings Clause for Copyright Infringement

On November 15, Houston-area aerial photographer Jim Olive Photography filed a petition for writ of certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up an appeal from the Texas Supreme Court, which had denied Olive’s copyright claims against the University of Houston System on sovereign immunity grounds. In the petition, Olive requests that the Supreme Court simply grant certiorari, vacate the lower decision and remand for reconsideration of the issues in light of the Court’s decision this summer in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid, which was issued just a few days after the Texas Supreme Court ruled against Olive.

WIPO Report Shows Economic Resilience During Pandemic, Buoyed by Massive Numbers of Chinese Patent, Trademark Filings

On November 8, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) released its World Intellectual Property Indicators 2021 report, the latest WIPO annual report to detail global IP filings across patents, trademarks and other forms of IP. As the key findings from the World IP Indicators report show, intellectual property filing activities, especially those related to trademarks, grew during 2020, showcasing a resilient global economy during the COVID-19 pandemic relative to other economic downturns in recent world history. Much of that activity is driven by domestic IP filings within China, which continues to dominate the world in sheer filing numbers across most forms of intellectual property.

Federal Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Celgene’s Hatch-Waxman Suit Against Mylan, Clarifying Venue and Pleading Requirements

On November 5, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued a precedential decision in Celgene Corp. v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. affirming a ruling of the District of Delaware, which dismissed a Hatch-Waxman lawsuit against related Mylan entities for either improper venue or failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. In issuing the decision, the Federal Circuit found that Mylan’s submission of a notice letter to Celgene regarding Mylan’s paragraph IV certification to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stating that Mylan’s generic version of the multiple myeloma treatment Pomalyst would not infringe Celgene’s patents was not itself an act of infringement for purposes of the patent venue statute.