Posts in IP News

The History of Software Patents

Since the United States Supreme Court first addressed the patentability of computer software in Gottschalk v. Benson the law surrounding the patentability of software has changed considerably, leaving many to wonder whether software is patentable at all. Originally in Benson, the Supreme Court decided that software was not patentable, but then later retracted the blanket prohibition against patenting software.

Battle Between Software Patents and Open Source

President Obama is interested in moving the United States federal government away from proprietary software to open source solutions. I am not sure this ought to a top priority that is so important that it is on his mind during his first 48 hours in Office, but it is apparently ahead of a lot of things.

Obama Wants Open Source IT Solutions for US

Open source advocates are going to love the fact that Obama wants to transition the US government away from proprietary solutions. I don’t have any dislike for open source advocates, and I wish them well. I do have a different view of the economics though, and of the patent system. I hear all the time that software patents prohibit innovation, but then when you talk to those who say they cannot create because of patents it is clear that they don’t understand patent law and are saying that not because it is true, but because that is what they belief.

RIAA Challenges Copyright Hearing Broadcast

While it seems on one hand that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is standing down its enforcement efforts, there are several reasons to wonder whether this is really the plan or if there is more under-handed and insidious behavior yet to come. As was discussed on Monday, an RIAA favorite attorney will become the Deputy Attorney Generalof the…

Does the Federal Circuit Give Enough Deference?

The attorneys for 800 Adapt, Inc. have recently filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari review of 800 Adapt, Inc. v. Murex Sec. Ltd., 539 F.3d 1354 (Fed. Cir. 2008) claiming that the Federal Circuit does not provide enough deference to district courts on claim construction and they should. According to Stephen Milbrath and David Magana of Orlando based Allen…

E.D. Texas No Longer Patent Troll Friendly

For those who own or purchase patents and then seek out litigators more interested in using the judicial process to harass plaintiffs, this should mean significant problems lie ahead. No longer is the Eastern District of Texas going to be the warm and friendly place where patent trolls get favorable rulings and force major corporations to litigate in a hostile environment. To be sure, the patent troll problem has not been solved, and cases will continue to be brought, but they will need to be brought in places where the dispute really ought to be litigated.

USPTO National Medal of Technology Nominations

The United States Patent and Trademark Office is now accepting nominations for its National Medal of Technology and Innovation (NMTI) program. Since establishment by Congress in 1980, the President of the United States has awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation (formerly known as the National Medal of Technology) annually to our Nation’s leading innovators. If you know of a…

The John Doll Era Begins at USPTO

There have been many rumors about the impending resignation about Jon Dudas, the Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property appointed by President Bush in 2004.  Patently-O announced on January 6, 2009, that Dudas would be stepping down by mid-January, which does not appear to have happened.  What is clear, however, is that President Obama has not yet chosen a new…

Machine Might Not be Patentable Subject Matter

Last week I was in Arlington, Virginia, teaching the PLI Patent Bar Review Course, so I was a bit out of touch with what was happening in the patent world as I tried to help a number of would-be patent attorneys and agents get through the PLI immersion course. Like clockwork, during this time out of the office the United…

RIAA Attorney Appointed to Top DOJ Position

What is going on with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)?  After many years of waging a war against anyone and everyone that they thought illegally copied music, capturing many innocent people up with their Gustapo-like actions, and fighting with Internet Service Providers at every turn to get private information about users, the RIAA seems to have become a…

Oregon State University Settles Copyright Dispute

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation announced that it has resolved its copyright infringement lawsuit against Dr. Edward Ray, on behalf of Oregon State University, and Stephen Garets, operators of the Team Oregon Motorcycle Safety Program. The Settlement Agreement was finalized by all parties on December 19, 2008.

Mea Culpa, Patent Reform and Other Issues

I confess, it was me who fed Gene Quinn the erroneous info about Steve Kunin heading back the US PTO. I made an erroneous assumption when, in casual conversation with Steve at a Vail, Colorado CLE event, I asked Steve whether he was in touch with the Obama transition team and whether this might lead to his certain appointment as…

Correction: Steve Kunin Staying at Oblon

On Tuesday, January 13, 2009, I wrote an article Nominating Gary Griswold for PTO Director.  In this article it was incorrectly stated that Steve Kunin was leaving private practice and was returning to the USPTO.  While my source was correct with respect to Kunin heading up a Reexamination/Reissue division, it is the Oblon Spivak Reexamination/Reissue Practice Group that Kunin will…

American Idol Sues Stripper Idol Over Trademark

The owners of the trademarks on the popular American Idol TV program, FremantleMedia North America, Inc., have filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division.  This lawsuit came to my attention as I was watching Bill O’Reilly’s show on FOX, and his legal panel was discussing the merits of the lawsuit…

Nominating Gary Griswold for PTO Director

Over the past several months I have been nominating individuals who I think would make a good choice for the next Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, also known as the Director of the USPTO.  It is my belief that the patent crisis that faces us requires that President-elect Obama nominate someone who is not only familiar with innovation and…