Posts in IP News

Federal Circuit Continues Transfer Trend, Orders Gilstrap to Send Google and Samsung Cases to Northern California

On May 23, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued an order in In re: Google, LLC granting petitions by Google, Waze and Samsung seeking writs of mandamus to direct the Eastern District of Texas to transfer a trio of patent infringement suits brought by patent owner AGIS Software Development to the Northern District of California. Although the Federal Circuit’s order is non-precedential, it continues the appellate court’s recent penchant for exercising mandamus relief in venue issues that some commentators have found questionable, at best.

Solicitor General Tells SCOTUS CAFC Got it Wrong in American Axle, Recommends Granting

The United States Solicitor General has recommended granting review in American Axle & Manufacturing v. Neapco Holdings, a case many in the patent community hope will provide clarity on U.S. patent eligibility law. The Supreme Court asked for the views of the Solicitor General in May of 2021 and the response has been highly anticipated. The SG’s brief says that inventions like the one at issue in American Axle have “[h]istorically…long been viewed as paradigmatic examples of the ‘arts’ or ‘processes’ that may receive patent protection if other statutory criteria are satisfied” and that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit “erred in reading this Court’s precedents to dictate a contrary conclusion.”

Tips From a Former Examiner: Pre-Appeal Brief Review

After two or more U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) office actions on the merits, a patent applicant has the option to appeal the patent examiner’s decision rejecting one or more claims to a higher forum, i.e., the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Since 2005, the USPTO has provided an ongoing pilot program in which an appellant, upon the filing of a notice of appeal, may also request a pre-appeal brief review. Why make this request? What are the pros and cons? What are the risks? In this article, I will explore these issues from my perspective as a former USPTO patent examiner.

Federal Circuit Rules Against Microsoft Claim Construction Arguments, Reverses Denial of Prejudgment Interest for Inventor

On May 20, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Kaufman v. Microsoft Corp. affirming a jury verdict of $7 million in reasonable royalty damages against Microsoft’s Dynamic Data for generating web applications. The Federal Circuit denied various claim construction arguments advanced by Microsoft on appeal, including several raised on the proper meaning of “automatically generating” within the preamble to asserted claim 1, and reversed the Southern District of New York’s denial of prejudgment interest to Kaufman.

Day One of Patent Litigation Masters: We Must Become Ambassadors for the U.S. Patent System Again

Speakers on day one of IPWatchdog’s Patent Litigation Masters program acknowledged that it’s easy for patent owners to become frustrated and disconsolate about how far the pendulum has swung away from encouraging effective patent protection but urged attendees to continue speaking up. As program sponsor and co-chair David Henry of Gray Reed put it, “I think we all have to become ambassadors for the patent system.” Henry spoke Monday on a panel about the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s recent habit of granting petitions for writ of mandamus to order Judge Alan Albright of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to transfer cases out of his court, largely to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Panelists speculated about the motivation for this focus on both the Eastern and Western Districts of Texas, with several agreeing that at least part of the trend is rooted in anti-patent sentiment. “Every time there’s a favorable forum for patentees, it gets harder to get into,” Wendy Verlander of Verlander LLP said.

SCOTUS IP Update: Status of the Top Patent Cases Before the High Court This Term

With about one month left in the U.S. Supreme Court’s current term, several petitions for writ of certiorari in patent cases being appealed from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit remain pending in front of the nation’s highest court. Several of these petitions raise important questions on Section 101 patent eligibility jurisprudence in the wake of Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, a subject which the Supreme Court has punted on dozens of times after handing out that landmark decision on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions back in 2014. With several petitions on other areas of patent law that have grown more uncertain in recent years, including Section 112 enablement issues and patent-specific preclusion doctrines, the last few weeks of the Supreme Court’s term could presage coming changes to U.S. patent law, while recent cert denials indicate other areas of patent law that are of no concern to the nation’s highest court.

This Week in Washington IP: Risks and Benefits of a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency, Supporting the Technology Modernization Fund, and Reviewing the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey

This week in Washington IP news, the House Financial Services Committee explores the risks and benefits of any central bank digital currency that could potentially be adopted by the Federal Reserve, the House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee reviews the most recent Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey and its recommendation to send a robotic mission to the planet Uranus, and the House Government Operations Subcommittee looks at ways to support the Technology Modernization Fund for upgrading IT systems at federal agencies. Elsewhere, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation debates the potential impacts of a regulatory framework for AI technologies being drafted by the European Commission, while the Heritage Foundation looks at how the characteristics of Bitcoin intersect with American values.

USTR Needs to Step Up Trade Enforcement

As a former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and co-author of major patent legislation, I have a special interest in supporting and protecting U.S. intellectual property rights. So, I took note last month when the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released its latest Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement.

Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner is Seeking a Patent Attorney

Schwegman is seeking qualified patent attorneys having strong technical skills in computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, or advanced degrees in chemistry/biotech. We are particularly interested in candidates with 5+ years of experience in drafting and prosecuting patent applications. Industry experience in a technical field and advanced technical degrees are also of particular interest. Attorneys at Schwegman may be exposed to technical information that may be subject to U.S. Export Control laws. Therefore, proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency (“Green Card”) status may be required before consideration for a position.  This is a full-time, permanent position in both cloud and physical offices.

Other Barks & Bites for Friday, May 20: CAFC Remands No Case or Controversy Determination to Eastern Texas, Ninth Circuit Rules 2018 Farm Act Legalized Delta-8 THC Trademarks, and EU Commission Directs Member States to Codify Copyright Rules

This week in Other Barks & Bites: the European Commission sent notice to several EU member states directing them to codify recent rule changes to EU copyright law; a WIPO report shows that China has a significant lead in global patent application filings for hydrogen fuel cell vehicle technologies; Judge O’Grady is removed from the criminal copyright case against Kim Dotcom over reported ties to Disney; the Federal Circuit remands a dismissal of a suit seeking declaratory judgment of noninfringement for a finer analysis of the case or controversy presented; the Ninth Circuit rules that the 2018 Farm Act’s changes to the Controlled Substances Act legalized delta-8 THC products such that trademarks for those products are valid; and members of the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee introduce a bill designed to prevent Google and other Big Tech firms from operating at multiple steps along the digital advertising business.

Harrity & Harrity is Seeking Remote Patent Drafting Professionals

Harrity & Harrity, LLP is looking for a superstar patent professional to draft patent applications for leading global technology companies, including numerous Patent 300® companies within the software space. This position is 100% remote within the U.S., flexible hours, and full-time (1600+ hours; you set your own goal).

CAFC Gives Google Second Shot at PTAB in Challenge of Communications Patents

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today vacated and remanded three decisions of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that had found Google failed to prove the relevant claims of IPA Technologies, Inc.’s patents to be unpatentable. The CAFC found that the PTAB “failed to resolve fundamental testimonial conflicts in concluding that the relied-upon reference was not prior art.” The patents in question are U.S. Patent Nos. 6,851,115 (“the ’115 patent”) and 7,069,560 (“the ’560 patent”). They cover “a software-based architecture . . . for supporting cooperative task completion by flexible, dynamic configurations of autonomous electronic agents.” Specifically, the patents disclose that “[c]ommunications and cooperation between agents are brokered by one or more facilitators” and that “[t]he facilitators employ strategic reasoning for generating a goal satisfaction plan to fulfill arbitrarily complex goals by users and service requesting agents.” The patents list David L. Martin and Adam J. Cheyer as inventors.

Patent Filings Roundup: Petitions on Key Dupe Patents Denied Under Fintiv; Taxidermy Patent Filings Stuffed

It was a slow week at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and a fast one in the district court, with 82 new patent complaints and 85 terminations, but just 18 patent filings at the PTAB. Those few filings were mostly a battery company challenging Maxell patents, a few bigger NPE cases, and Apple and Samsung filing against assertor Smart Mobile Technologies from the middle of last year. Askeladden had a petition denied on the merits, Microchip Technology had a petition denied on General Plastics, and The Hillman Group got four inter partes reviews (IPRs) denied under Fintiv, guaranteeing they will head to trial in the Eastern District of Texas; more below.

Policy Shift Against SEP Rights Poses Risks for U.S. Innovation and Undermines Mandate of the ITC

resident Biden took an important step toward safeguarding the U.S. economy with last year’s Executive Order No. 14,036, “Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” aimed at promoting competition at home in the face of unfair competitive pressure from state-owned or sponsored firms overseas, particularly in China. That Executive Order includes regulatory and policy reviews across the spectrum of American commerce, noting “a fair, open, and competitive marketplace has long been a cornerstone of the American economy. It also emphasized the importance of achieving this goal through promoting competition and innovation by firms small and large at home and worldwide.” Yet, the proposal directed to one facet of the order — for patents covering inventions that are essential to a technology standard such as Wi-Fi or 5G wireless communication — risks not only undermining American innovation and competitiveness but also upending the notion of fairness and the very policy the Executive Order seeks to advance.

Nike’s Trademark Fight Against StockX Moves Offline

StockX, which describes its e-commerce resale platform as “[t]he current culture marketplace,” is primarily used by consumers to resell and buy sneakers, among other items. In January 2022, StockX announced its plans to launch The Vault, which uses non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to allow buyers to track ownership of physical products resold on its e-market and warrant their authenticity, including Nike shoes. Swiftly thereafter, Nike sued StockX in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), alleging that StockX’s use of Nike’s famous marks in connection with its NFTs constitutes trademark infringement. Nike, Inc. v. StockX LLC, 1:22-cv-00983-VEC. In its original February 3, 2022, complaint, Nike alleged that StockX mints NFTs using Nike’s trademarks without authorization and sells them to consumers, who either believe or are likely to believe that StockX’s NFTs are connected with Nike when they are not.