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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.’”

Moderna Strikes Out at CAFC on Challenges to Arbutus Patents that May Pose a Risk to COVID Vaccines

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled yesterday in two precedential decisions that Moderna’s challenges to decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in favor of Arbutus both failed. The CAFC dismissed one ruling for lack of standing and in the other said Moderna’s arguments that the PTAB erred in its finding that Arbutus’ patent was not unpatentable as obvious were unpersuasive.

Tillis Pushes Tai Again on TRIPS IP Waiver Proposal, as South Africa Asks to Delay Delivery of Vaccines

Yesterday, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), the Ranking Member on the Senate IP Subcommittee, wrote to Ambassador Katherine Tai, the United States Trade Representative who is responsible for negotiating an IP Waiver to the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement with the World Trade Organization (WTO). This TRIPS IP Waiver is generated by proposals submitted by South Africa and India and seeks the waiver patent and trade secret protections relating to COVID-19 innovations. This is the fifth such letter Tillis has sent Tai. As noted by Senator Tillis and many commentators, including here on IPWatchdog, the proposed TRIPS IP Waiver is nothing more than an attempt to steal intellectual property rights covering important innovations that took nearly a generation to bring to fruition. And now we have definitive proof.

Now More Than Ever, IP Practitioners Need to Be Better Business Partners

If you’ve worked in-house, you’ve probably been told at some point to “do more with less.” Initially a response to the Great Recession, business scrutiny over legal budgets persists: according to a recent survey of general counsels performed by EY and Harvard Law, GCs expect 25% greater workloads in the next three years while 88% of them plan simultaneous budget cuts. At the same time, research also shows that legal productivity is stagnating. Eighty-one percent of GCs surveyed by Gartner reported legal cost as a percent of company revenue increased or stayed the same during the past two years. These trends obviously put practitioners in a tough spot: how do you deliver on your value proposition while workloads are increasing, resources are constrained, and productivity is stagnating?

Volpe Koenig is Seeking an IP Attorney in Telecommunications

Volpe Koenig is seeking an Intellectual Property Attorney experienced in telecommunications.  This full-time, permanent position is located in Philadelphia, PA, however, the option of working remotely is also available. You will help clients better understand the continually changing IP legal landscape and offer proactive intellectual property guidance for growing, protecting, and enforcing valuable IP portfolios. We will invest in your growing legal career as you invest in our clients by providing high-quality legal services with a strong focus on customer service. We offer a competitive compensation structure, business development support, and dedicated staff support to enhance your practice. For experienced practitioners, we offer the flexibility to customize your work/life balance.

Vidal Agrees Eligibility Needs More Clarity in Senate Judiciary Committee Questioning of Two IP Nominees

Today, the full Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to question two key IP nominees: Judge Leonard Stark of the of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, who was nominated to replace Judge Kathleen O’Malley on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC); and Katherine Vidal, the nominee for Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). IPWatchdog has previously reported on the qualifications of both candidates and what their appointments might mean for IP law and practice going forward. While neither nominee made any particularly earth shattering statements, as is often the case in such hearings, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), a vocal IP advocate, said he was heartened by Vidal’s acknowledgement that it has become “very difficult to understand the contours of [patent eligibility] law.” Vidal also stated that the current USPTO guidelines on eligibility, which were revised by former USPTO Director Andrei Iancu to provide more clarity, are consistent with the law right now.

Patent Filings Roundup: Board Reverses Own Fintiv Denial; Joao Entity’s Bad Bet; NPE Adopts Anticounterfeiting Tactics

With the Thanksgiving holiday, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) (18) filings were down, but district court patent filings held steady at 62, with (again) an astounding number of closed or terminated cases (almost 100), many voluntarily dismissed without prejudice. As reported last week, in Google LLC v. EcoFactor, Inc. IPR, IPR2021-00982, the Board originally denied the petition, citing Fintiv and the statutory timing of International Trade Commission (ITC) investigations. Subsequently, though, the Board was made aware that the patent had been dropped from the ITC case, and reversed its earlier discretionary denial, thus instituting the case. It’s the first time I’m aware of that the Board has reversed a denial of institution, not on request for rehearing, but sua sponte after the discretionary reasons for denial evaporated (as they often do).

Live, Work and Play in a Legal Metaverse: Preparing for a New Online Existence

Companies spend billions and invest heavily in technologies that offer greater telepresence and enable an individual’s digital life. Will humans interact with each other via avatars in a three-dimensional virtual space?  The “Metaverse” has ramifications for everything people do to live, work and play together digitally. The Metaverse is a digital shared space where everyone can seamlessly interact in a fully immersive, simulated experience. The Metaverse increases the permeability of the borders between various digital environments and the physical world. In the Metaverse, you can interact with virtual objects and real-time information. A place where people join together to create, work, and spend time together in an environment that mixes what is virtual and what is real.

Frost Brown Todd is Seeking a Patent Prosecution Associate

Frost Brown Todd is seeking a Patent Prosecution Associate Attorney with 2-4 years of experience in patent prosecution for the Cincinnati, OH, Dallas, TX, or Indianapolis, IN office. This is a full-time, permanent position.

Harrity & Harrity is Seeking a Remote Patent Prosecution Attorney/Agent

Harrity & Harrity is looking for superstar patent professionals to draft and/or prosecute patent applications for leading global technology companies, including numerous Patent 300® companies. This full-time, permanent position is 100% remote and offers a flexible schedule with steady work and amazing firm culture.  The option to work from the Fairfax, Va., office is also available.

O’Malley Dissents from ‘Concerning’ CAFC Ruling that Biogen’s MS Drug Patent is Invalid

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) earlier today affirmed a district court ruling that Biogen International’s patent for a method of treating multiple sclerosis (MS) was invalid for lack of written description. Judge O’Malley dissented, arguing that the district court clearly erred in its finding that Biogen was judicially estopped from drawing a distinction between clinical and therapeutic effect, and that the entire analysis “might well change” if the case was remanded “for reconsideration of the record with the understanding that the patent is not about clinical efficacy” but therapeutic effect.

Could Description Amendments Made During Prosecution at the European Patent Office Affect U.S. Litigation?

Earlier this year, the European Patent Office (EPO) updated some of its Guidelines for Examination in a way that potentially could affect U.S. patent litigation. These Guidelines instruct European patent examiners (and the public) on how the patent prosecution process works—much like the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) Manual of Patent Examining Procedure. For example, the Guidelines detail what form a patent application must be in, what happens during a prior art search, and perhaps most importantly, what should be included in an application. Guideline F-IV 4.3 particularly focuses on the form, contents, and clarity of the claims.

The DOCX Transition: The USPTO Explains Why It’s Delaying the Fee for Non-DOCX Filings

On Friday, November 19, the USPTO announced that it will be delaying the $400 fee for patent applications filed in non-DOCX formats until January 1, 2023. Previously, the fee was set to take effect on January 1, 2022, but the Federal Register notice, officially published on Novemebr 22, indicated that the Office will undertake enhanced testing of its information technology systems as more users file in DOCX, and that it wants to give applicants more time to adjust to filing patent applications in DOCX format. The goal, according to acting USPTO Director Drew Hirshfeld, is to alleviate concerns that have been raised by users about rendering problems that could result in applicants losing their filing dates due to incorrect information being filed.

WIPO is Seeking a Senior Director of the PCT Services Department

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is seeking to hire a Senior Director. The post is located in the PCT Services Department of the Patents and Technology Sector. This Department is responsible for the management and development of the PCT Services including receipt, formalities examination, translation and publication of applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) as well as development of the information systems supporting its own work. This contracted position is located in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a non-fixed-term appointment.  The new Senior Director will begin with a 2-year contract that is renewable based on performance over the initial 2 years.

Vidal Confirmation Hearing Should Provide a Hint at What’s Ahead for Patent Owners

IPWatchdog has been told that Kathi Vidal, who is President Biden’s nominee for Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), will have her confirmation hearing on Wednesday, December 1. As of the time of publication, the Senate Judiciary Committee, to which the Vidal nomination has been referred, lists a confirmation hearing for the full Committee at 10am on December 1, but provides no additional information. It is believed Vidal will share the hearing with several nominees for federal judicial positions.