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Posts in Technology & Innovation

Howard Dean Supports Strong Protection for Biologics

Last week, on July 8, 2009, former Presidential Candidate, former Vermont Governor and former Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean stepped into the health reform debate, discussing in an Op-ed piece published by TheHill.com. It is not surprising that Dean, who is a Medical Doctor and politician, would attempt to let his positions on health reform be known.…

Bill Gates Seeks Patent on Hurricane Prevention

William H. Gates, III, of Redmond, Washington (US) is known to most throughout the world as Bill Gates, the genius behind Microsoft Corporation.  Gates is presently the Chairman of Microsoft, having transitioned out of the day-to-day leadership role on June 27, 2008, a role that allows him an opportunity to spend more time on health and education work sponsored by…

On the Road: Bilski Examiner Interview and CNN

I spent the better part of last week in Washington, DC conducting Examiner interviews for some of my clients that have pending software patent applications. The great news is that I believe we now have a handle on the ever changing Bilski ruling. I know it sounds like a misstatement to say that the Bilski ruling is ever-changing, but apparently,…

Software is the New Engine and Must be Patentable

Without software a computer is nothing more than a box of miscellaneous pieces that can’t do much of anything. They do make nice sticky-note holders, and they collect dust extremely well, but a computer without software is about as useless as a door without a knob, a clock without hands or a car without an engine. In other words, a computer without software is completely and totally useless. It is the software that directs a computer to do unique and often wonderful things, and it is the software that provides the innovative spark, not the machine. We do nothing but an injustice to ourselves to ignore this reality.

Cake and Eat it Too: Patents Do Not Prevent Research

Perhaps the single most beneficial piece of legislation that the United States Congress has enacted during my lifetime is the Bayh-Dole Act, codified in Chapter 18 of Title 35 of the United States Code, enacted in 1980 and named after co-sponsored Senators Birch Bayh of Indiana and Robert Dole of Kansas. Everyone who knows anything about patent law, technology transfer…

How to Patent Software in a Post Bilski Era

While it is true that the Federal Circuit has largely made “software” unpatentable, they did not prevent the patenting of a computer that accomplishes a certain defined task. Given that a computer is for all intents and purposes completely useless without software, you can still protect software in an indirect manner by protecting the computer itself, and by protecting a computer implemented process.

Obama Administration Wants Short Biologic Exclusivity

Until recently the Obama Administration had not taken any particularly strong or controversial stances with respect to intellectual property protection.  Sure, President Obama appointed a former RIAA attorney to a top spot in the Department of Justice, asked for study of open source initiatives for the federal government and has complained about counterfeiting and copyright infringement abroad.  On patent matters…

American Ingenuity Will Lead US to Prosperity

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has been out in front on patent and intellectual property issues for years, and he is at it once again.  Senator Hatch has recently been very active with respect to writing op-ed articles explaining what all of us in the patent community have known for a very long time.  My hope is that his profile will…

Setting the Record Straight on Gene Patents

On Wednesday, June 17, 2009, while I was on the road in Boston teaching the PLI Patent Bar Review Course I was invited to chat with David Gleason, the host of State of the Nation, which is a radio talk show that airs in South Africa.  It seems that Mr. Gleason and his staff were devoting a significant portion of…

The History of Gene Patents Part I

First, let me say that it is really a complete misnomer to refer to “gene patents” because despite what the popular press may write, and perhaps believe, genes are not patented.  Nevertheless, I will cave into the masses and concede (at least for now) the linguistic high ground and refer to gene-related innovations that are examined by patent authorities and…

Falling Prey to Invention Promotion Scams

About a week ago I received a fairly typical e-mail from an individual who was inquiring about whether I could help provide certain services.  As you can probably imagine, I get inquiries from people looking for all different kinds of legal services, and I also get a lot of e-mails from those who have great ideas and want to sell…

Is Software Patentable?

My position is that software must be patentable, or 500 years of patent laws make no sense. The reason that software must be patentable is that software can be an inseparable part of both manufacturing processes and electronic devices. A patent for such items must crucially include the software components of the invention, or the patent would be incomplete.

500 Million Patent Applications a Year?

The Wall Street Journal Online just published an article titled Why Technologists Want Fewer Patents, which will apparently appear in the June 15, 2009, edition of the paper on page A13, under the heading “Opinion.”  The article discusses the US Supreme Court agreeing to hear Bilski v. Doll, which will decide the fate of at least some business method patents,…

Innovation Held Hostage by the Patent Office

The June 15, 2009, edition of Business Week has an interesting article about innovation by Michael Mandel, which concludes that during the last decade US innovation has failed to deliver on the hyped promises, and this failure of innovation may have contributed to the economic woes we are now experiencing. Indeed, this article is interesting for many reasons. First, how…

An Interview with Mike Drummond of Inventors Digest

Mike Drummond is the Editor of Inventors Digest, perhaps the most popular and widely read magazine in the innovation space.  While I like to consider myself a commentator who can type, Mike is a bona fide journalist with credentials that most only dream about.  He was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a war correspondent in Iraq and the acclaimed author of…