Posts Tagged: "Alice v. CLS Bank"

China extends drug patent exclusivity to 25 years

Among members of the news media, patents have been a popular whipping boy when contemplating why Americans pay higher drug prices relative to the rest of the world. Meanwhile, the Chinese national government extended the period of exclusivity on pharmaceutical patents from 20 years up to 25 years. While China makes moves to embrace further innovation in the pharmaceutical sector by extending exclusivity for drug developers, the United States has evidenced an incredible amount of skepticism regarding the activities of pharmaceutical patent owners trying to protect their property.

Surviving Alice: Counseling the Client

In accordance with the above discussion, particularly point (a), the client should be apprised of the necessity of fully fleshing out the inventive aspects of the technical implementation (i.e. the fuzzy logic). The client, however, may not know what the technical implementation is or what technical problems may need to be overcome. At this point, there may be no harm in filing a provisional patent application to capture the earliest priority date for the client. The next step under point (b) is to work with the client to develop a plan for implementation. Actual technical implementation can be expensive, but it is a very effective way to reveal technical problems that have to be solved. Technical implementation always (in our humble experience) reveals unforeseen technical problems. At some point, what is readily available may need to be modified or customized to serve the specific needs of the new business application, particularly as that application is scaled up. This is where patentable innovation occurs.

Federal Circuit rules Alice did not alter the law governing 101

How the Federal Circuit could rule that Alice did not change the law governing § 101 is a bit of a mystery. Applying the same two-step test seems a convenient way of dodging reality. At a time when there is real momentum gathering for a legislative solution to § 101 why did the Federal Circuit choose to perpetuate a myth that Alice did nothing to change the law? Outcomes are unquestionably different as the result of Alice, and if outcomes are different how exactly is it possible that the law did not change? If the law remained the same why was Alice a clear pivotal moment in software patent history? Saying Alice did not change the law shows just how out of touch and insulated from reality the Federal Circuit has become.

Portal Communications Alleges Apple’s Siri Willfully Infringes on Natural Language Processing Patents

Portal Communications filed a suit for patent infringement against Cupertino, CA-based consumer tech giant Apple Inc. At issue in the case, which was filed in the Eastern District of Texas, are a series of patents covering natural language voice query technologies which are allegedly in use by Apple’s Siri digital personal assistant.

Law Professors Urge CAFC to Uphold Cleveland Clinic Diagnostic Method Patents

A group of six patent law professors filed an amicus brief with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Cleveland Clinic v. True Health Diagnostics. The professors’ brief urges the Federal Circuit to reverse a finding by the lower court invalidating patents asserted by Cleveland Clinic covering diagnostic methods for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. According to the brief, the district court’s invalidation of Cleveland Clinic’s patents represents an improper application of 35 U.S.C. § 101, the basic threshold statute governing the patentability of inventions.

China Outpaces U.S. in AI Startup Funding, Aims for AI Dominance

In 2017, 48 percent of the world’s entire equity funding for AI startups was located in China. The U.S. was in second-place, lagging behind at 38 percent of global equity funding for AI startups. Although the U.S. still held the lead in total AI funding as well as the largest number of AI firms, this indicates that the Chinese will be a huge player in the AI sector in the coming years and could even surpass our nation’s research and development in the field.

Blackbird Technologies to Appeal Ineligibility Ruling in Cloudflare Patent Infringement Litigation

“One thing that I find curious is that Cloudflare claims to have 150 patent assets on the same type of technology,” Verlander said. Such assets include U.S. Patent No. 9342620, titled Loading of Web Resources, and U.S. Patent No. 9369437, entitled Internet-Based Proxy Method to Modify Internet Responses. “It seems to me that Cloudflare should be quite concerned. If the technology covered by the ‘335 patent isn’t patent-eligible, all of Cloudflare’s patent assets may be worthless and I imagine that their investors must be worried about that. They may have won the battle but they could lose the war because if they’re correct, competitors could jump right into the market and copy Cloudflare’s technology.”

Is there a Light at the End of the Alice Tunnel?

Maybe I’m being too optimistic. But in a pair of decisions issued within a week of each other, Berkheimer v. HP and Aatrix Software v. Green Shades, the Federal Circuit just vacated two patent ineligibility determinations… And if you think these declarations are too good to be true, take a look at the decisions, both drafted by Judge Moore. Both are in the software field… The Court held that the district court erred in granting summary judgment of ineligibility with respect to some of Berkheimer’s claims… In Aatrix Software v. Green Shades, the Court vacated a Rule 12 dismissal for lack of patent eligibility.

Federal Circuit Upholds Thales Motion Tracking Patent Asserted against U.S. Government for Second Time

The recent Federal Circuit decision in Elbit Systems of America, LLC v. Thales Visionix, Inc. affirmed a final written decision issued by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which upheld some claims in an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding challenging the validity of Thales’ U.S. Patent No. 6474159, titled Motion-Tracking and issued in November 2002. The patent claims a system for tracking the motion of an object relative to a moving reference frame using a first inertial sensor mounted on the tracked object, a second inertial sensor mounted on the moving reference frame and an element that receives signals from both inertial sensors to determine an orientation of the object relative to the moving reference frame. The resulting invention enables the use of inertial head-tracking systems for platforms including flight simulators and other vehicular applications.

Unlocking the Value in Software Patents

Alice has had an impact on software patents, but they still hold significant value. If your portfolio includes software patents, there will be times when you want to extract value from that portion of your portfolio. As with any patent, there are three key criteria that must be applied when determining value: is it being used, is its use economically significant, and can that use be proven. Join Gene Quinn for a discussion about how to unlock the value of software patents in light of Alice.

Apple Files Patent for Recognizing Whispered Voice Commands

One digital assistant technology developed by Apple allowing Siri to respond to whispered voice commands is disclosed by U.S. Patent Application 20170358301, titled Digital Assistant Providing Whispered Speech… In some places, such as libraries or board meetings, the use of voice-activated digital assistants is discouraged because of the intrusion of sound, so this patent application would protect a technology that recognizes a user’s command, even when the user is whispering. The device would then respond in a similar whispered tone so as to be less distracting in quiet settings.

Patent-Ineligibility of Medical Diagnostics, Life Sciences Discoveries Arrests U.S. Progress

In a research project funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), evidence emerged that a higher expression of the GIRK1 protein in malignant tissue samples was linked to higher relapse and mortality rates in breast cancer patients who have gone through surgery. The novel use of the GIRK1 protein as a biomarker could have a great impact on breast cancer diagnostics and treatments and further research could yield more discovery on the interdependence of GIRK1 with other important biological pathways critical to cancer management… Unfortunately, discovery of GIRK1 as a biomarker for breast cancer diagnostics would run into 35 U.S.C. § 101, the basic threshold statute for determining patentability of subject matter, under the Supreme Court’s March 2012 ruling in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. In that case, the Court held that processes involving correlations between blood test results and patient health is not patent-eligible subject matter because the process incorporates laws of nature. This would seemingly render any processes involving the application of GIRK1 as a biomarker for breast cancer prognoses unpatentable as well as the expression of GIRK1 occurs naturally.

Open Letter Exaggerates the Benefits of Recent Patent Reforms

HTIA’s letter argues that venture capital funding and startup activity have grown in recent years, further proof of their view that the federal government has properly pursued patent system reforms. Using data tools available through PwC MoneyTree, the HTIA cites data indicating that venture capital investments in the U.S. have increased from $32.8 billion in 2012 up to $61 billion in 2016, representing an 86 percent increase in that time. Of course, the letter easily lets go of the fact that the graph shows that venture capital funding actually dropped significantly by about $15 billion between 2015 and 2016 alone, a point the HTIA’s own data graphs prove. As for startup activity, the HTIA collected data from the Kauffman Index of Startup Activity to make its argument that startup activity has increased by 194 percent between 2012 and 2016. Again, there’s no acknowledgement of a concerning recent data point, here the absolute stagnation of new startup activity between 2015 and 2016.

Changes in Patent Language to Ensure Eligibility Under Alice

When a rule becomes a target, it ceases to be a good rule.  In the three years since the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Alice, there have been positive changes to patent applications, but there remains a long-term risk that patent practitioners will use tricks to beat the Alice test.  Here, we focus on the changes to patent applications by drafters, as well as changes to patent applications that have issued since Alice… Previous analyses have reported that patent specification length has been increasing since long before 2010. As shown in Figure 3, from 2010 to 2013, the average patent application length was approximately 12,417 words. However, from 2015 and 2017, the average patent application length increased to over 14,700 words… Alice appears to have resulted in positive developments, such as narrowing the scope of claims and increasing disclosure of technical benefits of inventions in the specification.

When all else fails, consult the statute!

Specifically, the petition presents the question: is patent ineligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101, which Congress did not codify in 35 U.S.C. § 282(b), not a cognizable defense in a patent litigation? The question presented parallels that of the one recently decided by the Supreme Court in SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC, 137 S. Ct. 954 (2017). In SCA Hygiene, the Supreme Court examined 35 U.S.C. § 282(b), which enumerates the defenses that may be raised in a patent litigation, and held that laches, which is not recited in § 282(b), is not a defense to patent damages within the statute of limitations set forth in 35 U.S.C. § 286. RPost’s petition asks the Court to again examine § 282(b) in order to determine whether patent ineligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101, which, like laches, is not recited in § 282(b), is similarly not a defense that may be raised in a patent litigation.