Posts in IP News

Popeye Falls into Public Domain in Europe

Popeye the Sailor, one of the most recognizable of all comic book characters, has recently fallen into the public domain in Europe, which means that anyone can use the image of the popular cartoon character throughout the European Union without having to pay royalties.  Of course, as with virtually any intellectual property news story the popular press did not get…

Will Obama PTO Director Be Good Choice?

So far no one knows who President-Elect Barack Obama will appoint to be the Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, a position known in the industry as the Director of the United States Patent & Trademark Office.  Right about now the appointment of a new PTO Director is likely the farthest thing from Obama’s mind given that recent reports suggest…

NY Times Faces Frivolous Copyright Lawsuit

On Monday, December 22, 2008, Gatehouse Media, Inc. filed what can only be charaterized as a ridiculous and frivolous lawsuit against the New York Times alleging copyright infringement by the New York Times because one of the papers owned by the Time, namely the Boston Globe, was linking to original articles owned by Gatehouse Media.  The complaint filed by Gatehousealleges that the Boston Globe is…

Patent Wishes for the New Year

It is that time of the year when everyone makes their resolutions, most of which are sure to be broken almost immediately in most cases, particularly when the resolution deals with losing weight or exercising.  Not to be deterred, I have made both of those resolutions myself and I am cautiously optimistic about the likelihood that I will stay the course…

Why Patent Reform Didn’t Happen in 2008

The reason for what appears to be a strange assortment of collaborators is the fact that tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Apple and others are facing what they characterize as a huge patent troll problem, and this so-called patent troll problem comes disproportionately from business method patents and software patents. So it is easy to see why the banks and tech giants have formed an alliance to go after these types of patents that impact technology, communication and software.

Patent Troll Sues Google, Apple & Microsoft

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Google, Microsoft and Apple! On Monday, December 23, 2008, Cygnus Systems, Inc., sometimes referred to on the web as Troll Systems, sued three of the largest patent troll targets there are; namely the aforementioned Google, Apple and Microsoft. Perhaps you tech giants might want to move to the top of your 2009 resolutions the idea of getting a clue and developing a strategy to deal with patent trolls because whatever it is that you think you are doing is failing miserably and only wasting shareholder resources, which in these economic times ought to be practically treasonous.

Merry Christmas: Christmas Patents 2008

There were 21 US patents issued with the word “Christmas” in the title during 2008, with 7 being utility patents and 14 being design patents.  Without further ado, here are some of the better Christmas patents for 2008, and a few that just kinda made me scratch my head. Christmas tree Design Patent No. 578,034 Issued October 7, 2008 Modified…

The Santa Claus Detector and other Santa Patents

This Santa Claus Detector patent is one of my all-time favorites, and one of the more ingenious holiday patents that I have ever seen. In addition to some very cool patent art, the invention is explained as including a Christmas stocking having illumination means that light up upon the arrival of Santa Claus. According to the invention, the Christmas stocking has a light source on the exterior of the stocking and a power source with a switching mechanism, which is preferably contained in the stocking itself. The toe of the stocking has a hole that will allow for a slide pin. The stocking is hung by the chimney with care, and a decorative pull cord is tied to the ring at the toe of the stocking. The other end of the decorative pull cord is tied to either another stocking hung opposite or secured to a decoration on the other side of the fire place.

Happy Hanukkah, Hanukkah Patents

It is that time once again for us to remember family and friends as we are about to usher out the year of 2008 and bring in a new year.  With this in mind and looking for some fun, uplifting things to write about in the waning days of 2008 I thought it might be a good idea to take…

Google Notebook Scores Patent Victory

On Thursday, December 11, 2008, in iLOR v. Google, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit awarded Google a victory in the patent litigation brought against the Internet giant by iLOR, LLC. iLOR had sued Google in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky alleging that Google’s Google Notebook product was infringing upon…

Free Patents Online Launches CitePatents.com

BALTIMORE, Dec 17, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) – FreePatentsOnline.com (FPO) has launched an informational site, Cite Patents, to help bloggers, journalists and others easily reference patent information, and to provide a free patent search box for adding to websites with a single mouse click.  

Musings on Patent Trolls & Bad Patents

I do still believe that reexaminations are the way to go if companies are really interested in stopping patent trolls, and perhaps moving forward there will be a merger between the prior art found by Article One and attempts to get the Patent Office to review previously granted patents. In any event, according to USPTO statistics, 9.2% of requests for ex parte reexamination result in all claims being canceled and 59% of the time certificates issue with at least some claims being changed. Even more dramatic, 74% of requests for inter partes reexamination result in all claims being canceled and 14% of the time certificates issue with at least some claims being changed. The answer to dealing with patent trolls is to go after them with reexaminations, not to try and build a useless defensive patent portfolio.

Groklaw Response: Computer Software is Not Math

It is impossible to argue that software code does not employ mathematical influences, because it does. Having said this, the fact that mathematical techniques are employed does not as a matter of fact mean that software is mathematical. Under the US patent laws you cannot receive a patent that covers a mathematical equation or a law of nature. You can certainly use mathematical equations and laws of nature as the building blocks to create something that is new and nonobvious that is patentable. So even if software used mathematical equations there would be no prohibition against the patenting of software under a true and correct reading of the US patent laws.

Patent Reform Proposal: Codify USPTO Rule 56

Over the past several years I have been a harsh critic of the United States Patent & Trademark Office because there are substantial problems facing the US patent system and I do not believe any of the reforms urged by the USPTO are calculated in any meaningful way to address those problems.  According to the recently released 2008 USPTO Performance…

Sadly, Invention Promotion is Alive and Well

Those who regularly read IPWatchdog.com may remember that on August 25, 2008, I wrote that the United States Patent & Trademark Office had finally, once and for all put an end to invention scams thanks to the fact that they had adopted new rules that would significantly impact who can engage in the representation of clients before the USPTO on…