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Posts Tagged: "amici briefs"

The U.S. Patent System is Still Worth Saving

Much deserved criticism has been leveled at the U.S. patent system in the last decade or so, from all sides. No one branch of the system seems to much appreciate what the other branches are doing. The Supreme Court and Federal Circuit are issuing decisions that seem innocuous at first, but then inevitably snowball into wrecking balls. Regulatory policies, guidelines and statutory prescriptions that are well intended when the ink dries turn lethal to patents—witness the creation of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). But, despite this situation, in the late summer/early fall of this year, in a brief burst of face-to-face patent events, I began to re-appreciate the value of the system and what it means to the country and our collective future.

Nantkwest Amici Urge SCOTUS Not to Shift Attorney’s Fees in Section 145 Appeals

This March, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a petition for writ of certiorarito take up Peter v. Nantkwest Inc., on appeal from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The case will ask the nation’s highest court to determine whether the phrase “[a]ll expenses of the proceeding” found in 35 U.S.C. § 145, which governs appeals to district court of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office decisions to deny the issue of a patent grant, encompasses personnel expenses incurred by the USPTO, including attorneys’ fees, when its employees defend the agency against Section 145 litigation. On July 22, a series of intellectual property and law associations filed amicusbriefs in the case by and large supporting the position of Nantkwest. This includes the American Bar Association, which argued that the USPTO’s interpretation of the statute would “hamper the equal access to justice and chill the assertion of meritorious claims.” Other Nantkwest amici argued that the government has had the statutory authority to collect ‘expenses of the proceeding’ in patent cases since 1839 but for the 174 years prior to the case against Nantkwest, the USPTO has declined to seek attorney’s fees.

Tech’s Ruling Class Files Amici Briefs with U.S. Supreme Court in Oil States Case

October 30th was a very busy day for amici filing briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court on how the highest court in the nation should decide in Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, a case in which oral arguments will be heard on November 27th. Many of the briefs filed on the 30th were submitted by some of the biggest names in the tech industry. Taking a look at briefs filed by this major companies, some of whom have been seeing great success in patent validity trials at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), it’s both revealing and unsurprising to find how the tech ruling class feels that the Supreme Court should decide in Oil States.

Law Professors File Briefs with the Supreme Court in Oil States

A review of amici briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC provides evidence of a stark split in how various stakeholders in the U.S. patent system view the patent validity challenge activities ongoing at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Whereas many of the world’s largest tech companies who have a dominant advantage in the consumer marketplace are in favor of the PTAB remaining active, many small entities and individual inventors are greatly opposed to the PTAB and its differing standards on patent validity leading to a higher rate of invalidation than in Article III district court proceedings. A look at amici briefs coming from law professors can shed some light on where the academic sector comes down on the subject of the PTAB’s constitutionality.

Solicitor General Tells SCOTUS that Patents are Public Rights in Oil States Brief

The government’s brief argues that IPR proceedings at the PTAB are consistent with Article III because, in its view, patents are public rights and not private ones and the right for an inventor to seek a patent is a public right. In the government’s eyes, it is constitutionally permissible for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to reassess previously issued patents for revoking in order to “correct its own errors.” If the PTAB errs, then patent owners have legal recourse in appealing those cases to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the government argues.

Independent Patent Owners File Briefs with Supreme Court in Oil States

A review of amicus briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in advance of oral arguments in Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC revealed that, by and large, the American tech ruling class wishes to see SCOTUS leave the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) intact in the face of the constitutional challenges facing the PTAB in the case. Today, we’ll review a series of briefs filed by amici representing many of the smaller players in the U.S. patent system who have by and large been railroaded at the PTAB, an agency which invalidates patents at an incredibly high rate, fails to follow Congressional statutes regulating its own activities and stacks administrative patent judge (APJ) panels to achieve policy objectives desired by the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

A Patents as Property Rights History Lesson

Several of the briefs address the absurdity currently being advanced, claiming patents are so-called “public rights.” This novel notion — more in line with Karl Marx than John Locke — is a direct assault upon the very essence of private property rights… The Cato-ACUF brief reasons “public rights” into a sniveling lump: “Ultimately, the implications of the argument that merely because a right to particular property flows from a statutory scheme, such rights are ‘public rights’ and that disputes over them can be withdrawn from Article III courts are staggering. Such a conclusion would mean that anyone who derives his land title from the Homestead Act can be forced to have any disputes over that property be resolved by a bureaucrat in the Bureau of Land Management. Under this view, Congress could require that a dispute between an individual and a private financial institution over a mortgage or a student loan be heard before an official in the Treasure Department on the theory that the relevant loans were made pursuant to a federal statutory scheme. The government enacts statutes affecting property rights all the time, but that does not convert the rights that trace their roots to such statutes into ‘public rights.’”

Supreme Court hears Oral Arguments in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods

Justices Kagan and Ginsburg seemed skeptical. Indeed, Congress has already passed a general venue statute that defined residency “for all venue places – all venue purposes,” as Justice Ginsburg put it. Justice Kagan chimed in, questioning the propriety of overturning the broader rule, which she called “the decision that the practice has conformed to” and the “practical backdrop” against which Congress was legislating. Next, Justice Breyer noted the many arguments and briefs discussing the Eastern District of Texas, but which he felt were not relevant.

Does the USPTO have authority to address patent eligibility in Covered Business Method review?

On November 5, 2015, patent owner Retirement Capital Access Management Company LLC filed the most important cert petition this term. This bold effort squarely presents a question circling around academic circles for years: whether the USPTO has the authority to address section 101 (subject matter eligibility) within Covered Business Method (CBM) reviews. To the untrained eye, this issue might sound wonky, jargony, technical and narrow. It is instead profound. If granted, the petition might help restore much needed certainty to the innovation ecosystem.

Federal Circuit Should Reconsider Ariosa v. Sequenom: The Panel Decision Threatens Modern Innovation

As the amici correctly argue, the panel’s decision striking down Sequenom’s noninvasive prenatal test strikes at the very heart of the patent system. Revolutionary diagnostic testing methods that cost tens of millions of dollars to produce should be the flagship of the modern patent system. But the panel’s misapplication of Mayo calls into doubt many meritorious inventions that benefit us all. Moreover, the panel’s reasoning simply cannot be squared with several innovations that the Supreme Court has historically upheld as proper statutory subject matter. Hopefully the entire Federal Circuit will agree to take up this important case so that vital innovations such as Sequenom’s patented method continue to be produced.

Infringement of Method Claim Shouldn’t Require a Single Entity

AIPLA believes that the so-called “single entity” rule for deciding method claim infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(a), where multiple actors perform the claim steps, as set out in recent Federal Circuit panel decisions as well as in the instant case, is based both on an incorrect construction of Section 271(a) and of the statutory structure of Section 271 as a whole. In concluding that only principles of agency law determine the ambit of such infringement liability, the Federal Circuit has mistakenly strayed from the traditional tort law basis of patent infringement and has created loopholes for method claim infringement that drastically reduce the exclusive rights conferred by validly issued patents – it has, in effect, reduced the scope of method patents until they have little relevancy… Direct infringement should not be limited only to an agency-type relationship between parties…

Prelude to SCOTUS Oral Arguments in Alice v. CLS Bank, Part 2

BEAR: ”[T]here’s an amusing little brief worth visiting. It’s by a number of companies including LinkedIn, Netflix, Twitter, Yelp and Rackspace – whom I respect and appreciate as innovators – and takes a fairly radical stance. I believe it’s important for anyone reading along to be studying briefs on all sides. Their main approach is to establish that software patents are not only not necessary, but hinder innovation. While positioning themselves to be seen as utopian, the politics strike me as appealing to the fearful, emotionally insecure side of people. Twitter represents that they are recruiting engineers based on a purported fact that they don’t want to engage in offensive patenting. It seems intentionally misleading and inviting reactionary public support. Let me read you a sentence. It says, “Both trade secret and copyright law already protect software and effectively prevent both wrongful use and explicit copying by others.” As if, somehow, that addresses the issues at hand.”

Alice at Court: Stepping Through the Looking Glass – Part II

There is a further gulf between those who view In re Alappat as sound logic and engineering (ABL, AIPLA, Alice, Mr. Ronald Benrey, BSA, CCIA, Mr. Dale Cook, Prof. of Computer Science Lee A. Hollaar, IEEE-USA, Microsoft) and those who it as mistaken (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Prof. Robin Feldman, Red Hat) and primarily responsible for an increase in such patents (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Google, “Law, Business and Economics Scholars”). The IEEE-USA provides an excellent analysis of the relationship between software and hardware, pointing out the incontrovertible principle of equivalency, that “special-purpose programming of general-purpose hardware” is “equivalent to special-purpose hardware,” though IEEE-USA fails to mention that this is a fundamental principle of computer science, as established by Alan Turing in the 1930s. To assert, as does the EFF, that the Federal Circuit “concocted” the equivalency of hardware and software goes beyond denying the foundational work of Turing and others. The equivalency of software and hardware is what makes it possible for Java to run on any type of computer using the Java Virtual Machine, as well the electronic design automation industry, which enables complex electronic circuits to be entirely designed in software before being implemented in hardware.

Prelude to SCOTUS Oral Arguments in Alice v. CLS Bank: A Software Conversation with Eric Gould Bear

Eric Gould Bear is an inventor on over 100 patents and patent applications and a testifying expert witness for patent infringement cases. He is an expert in the software/patent space, and has seen the industry from multiple different angles over the years. With the oral argument in Alice v. CLS Bank scheduled for Monday, March 31, 2014, Bear and I spoke on the record about the issues, using as our focal point several of the high profile amici briefs filed… In part 1 we discuss the false distinction between hardware and software, and Bear goes into deal with examples, saying at one point that most of the innovation today relates to software. He also takes issue with the ACLU amicus brief, calling it “embarrassing.”

Alice at Court: Stepping Through the Looking Glass of the Merits Briefs in Alice v. CLS Bank – Part I

The fractured views of the world begin with the question presented, and reflect how different parties frame the debate in very different terms. Alice’s merits brief presents the question before the Court as “whether claims to computer implemented inventions…are patent-eligible.” Putting the question this way allows Alice to place its inventions and claims in the larger context of all computer-implemented inventions, the subtext being that if the Supreme Court holds that computer-implemented inventions are patent eligible—which is a fair bet—then Alice’s patents should be valid. Further, phrasing it this way allows Alice to distance itself from pure business method claims from the invalid claims in Bilski v. Kappos.