Posts Tagged: "Guest Contributor"

Infringement Under Doctrine of Equivalents Not Established by General Similarities

Advanced Steel sued X-Body Equipment for infringement of a method of loading shipping containers with bulk material. The “proximate end” of the claimed transfer base, for moving loaded material, was disputed by the parties. X-Body successfully argued on summary judgment that the piston-and-cylinder for its container packer was not connected to the proximate end of its transfer base, but instead was connected at a point on the bottom of the container packer. Under the district court’s construction of “proximate end” (which means “the extreme or last part lengthwise”), there was no literal infringement or infringement under the doctrine of equivalents.

NY v. Aleynikov: NY Penal Code, Federal Criminal Law Unprepared to Deal with Source Code Theft

Employers often assume that they have the same weapons in their arsenal to prevent theft of virtual trade secrets as they have against other types of loss. As the prosecution of Sergey Aleynikov in Federal and New York courts showed, however, that simply isn’t true. Even though juries in both courts found him guilty of downloading confidential computer code from his employer, judges ultimately found that the laws under which he was prosecuted did not cover the acts he committed. A careful employer should therefore make sure it puts precautions in place that prevent theft of computer code, rather than relying on the threat of criminal prosecution.

Aleynikov was a computer programmer employed by Goldman Sachs to write high-frequency trading code. In 2009, he accepted a job offer to join a potential competitor, where he would create a new high-frequency trading platform from the ground up. Before he left Goldman, however, he sent portions of Goldman’s high frequency trading code to a German server for his own future use. After Goldman found out, it went to the FBI; Aleynikov was then arrested on a flight home from a visit to Chicago. With that arrest began his circuitous journey through the U.S. legal system, governed by two different sovereigns and under two different legal regimes.

If patent reform goes wrong

A truism in politics is that issues are driven by stories. One of the most successful is the saga of the patent troll. That’s driving the current debate creating a sense of a malfunctioning patent system which is a danger to the public. If one side’s story frames the argument, those in opposition are at a real disadvantage and many times never recover. We have done a poor job as a community over the years presenting the importance of the patent system to the American public and our political leaders. That’s now come back to bite us.

USPTO makes changes to AIA post grant proceedings

The immediate modification to the page limits for motions to amend is more in line with reality given the high burdens placed on patent owners. Even when patent owners sought additional pages, the norm was a three to five page extension. So getting ten extra pages is a welcome change. Changing the page limits, alone, is unlikely to impact the calculus underlying the strategic choice to amend. But when the choice is made to amend, patent owners will be better able to meet their burden.

What makes a patent valuable; A patent broker’s perspective

In a recent article Toxic Asset, we explained in detail how much recent court decisions and new rules at the USPTO had negatively impacted the value of US patents. This is not to say that all patents are worthless, far from it. Actually, based on the fact that we have recently received strong offers on several of the portfolio we…

Summer Fun Patent Style: Patentable Fun at the Beach

A number of these documents describe active games for many participants that involve a lot of physical activity. One issued patent protects a safe game for young children who rush out to plant a flag in the coast while avoiding incoming waves. Another issued patent describes a portable tennis court for beach use. Three other patent applications featured here encourage more passive forms of play and recreation. A first application would protect a style of beach golf where players can easily build a small course. Another patent application describes a portable beach toy kit that builds a more complete play environment, including a castle and a moat. Finally, we take a look at a patent application that would protect a board for a seashell collection game.

Declining IP Rights in India Lead to Growing Bi-Partisan Congressional Concern

Newly implemented policies, compulsory licensing practices, and recent court decisions have heightened concern about IPR in India. Congressmen Erik Paulsen and John Larson expressed their worries with India’s intellectual property violations in a letter written to President Obama. Over 170 members of Congress, consisting of a bi-partisan support, signed the letter. During their speeches at the GIPC, the Congressmen emphasized that this bi-partisan support demonstrates the grave concern of IPR in India and the importance of persuading India to comply with global practices. The Congressmen sent the letter just prior to a visit to India by Secretary of State, John Kerry.

Patent Troll Epilogue – A Fractured Fairy Tale Part 5

How we deal with the problems uncovered herein is something for deliberate consideration, not the activity of an automaton. For example, this paper demonstrates that patents asserted by inventors and inventor based companies generally do not fare as well as patents of other entities. However, in the United States none of us would want to stop all such entities from trying to market and license their ideas. Most of us would agree that the independent inventor has been the heart of innovation in the United States for a very long time. We have too many memories of the stories of the Wright Brothers, Chester Carlton of Xerox fame, of Eli Whitney and the cotton gin, of Edison, and of Farnsworth — the farmer boy who invented the television.

A Factured Fairytale Part 4: More Patent Troll Myths

As can be seen from Fig. 12, 25% of the cases brought against the retailer were actually brought by Producer companies. The other 75% of cases could indeed be classified as NPE suits. However, of these suits, 30% were by independent inventor or independent inventor related companies, and the other 45% of cases were brought by other NPEs. Interestingly of the “other NPEs”, we found all of the patents asserted against this retailer were patents originally obtained from Producers. Of these patents, one-third came from big corporate America and the remaining two-thirds from smaller Producing companies. That means nearly 65% of this retailers troubles, which it directly attributes to “trolls” asserting bad patents, are actually related to patents that derived from Producing companies. Of its cases that was resolved, pacer suggests none were tried and each was mutually dismissed within 4 months to 13 months.

A Factured Fairytale Part 3: More Patent Troll Myths

Myth 4: Patents of NPEs fare much more poorly in reexamination proceedings brought during litigation than those of Producers. Truth: When one includes independent inventors and independent inventors in the mix of NPEs, the patents being asserted by NPEs may be said to fare slightly more poorly in reexamination proceedings than those patents asserted by Producers. However, if one removes these independent inventor entities from the mix of NPEs, the patents held by non-independent inventor based NPEs were seen to do at least as well, if not better, than the average asserted patent of the Producers which was likewise thrown into reexamination during litigation.

Probing 10 Patent Troll Myths – A Factured Fairytale Part 2

There are many myths that are attached to the fable of the so-called “patent troll.” Acting like the MythBusters, we probed some of them. For example, the success rate of NPEs overall across 267 random cases indicates that the litigation outcome for NPE suits looks very similar to litigation outcome for Producer suits. However, when individual inventor suits and individual inventor company suits were removed from the mix of overall NPEs, we found that non-independent inventor NPEs had an outcome profile that looked significantly better than the Producers, both in very likely favorable and likely unfavorable outcomes in litigation.

A Fractured Fairy Tale: Separating Fact & Fiction on Patent Trolls

Our first move was to understand who was being identified as “Trolls” by the authorities who have been writing articles so long on the topic. We were surprised to find upon extensive searching on the Internet that we could not find a single research paper which provided any exhaustive list of the huge numbers of “Trolls” which were said to be stalking corporate America. Instead we found many papers making their analyses based upon proprietary databases that were not available to the public, and thus the veracity of the designation “Troll” was not subject to any validation. We decided to do some investigative reporting, contacting a number of the authors of the so-called troll stories. We were surprised over and over again to be given the same explanation – the lists of trolls they were referencing in the articles were considered “trade secrets”.

Fun in the Sun Patent Style: Lifeguard Patents

Today in IPWatchdog’s 2013 Summer Fun series, we’re taking a look at patents that recognize the importance of safety at the pool or beach. A number of patent applications and issued patents published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that we feature in today’s column describe systems and tools to aid lifeguards in their work. One patent application explains a buoy system that can wrangle multiple distressed swimmers and provide them with a flotation line. One issued patent protects a rescue tube with a recessed extension strap for safer use. A second issued patent protects a system of detecting rip tides through computer analysis of video. Two other documents we’re discussing here create safety systems for swimmers when there are no lifeguards present, or if a lifeguard can’t detect a problem. One issued patent is for an alarm system that sounds if it detects that a swimmer is in danger. Finally, one last issued patent discusses an emergency contact system for putting poolside rescuers who aren’t trained to react to emergencies in touch with emergency personnel.

Pharma Update July 2013: FDA, Preemption & SCOTUS

The FDA is following through on plans to issue a proposed rule to revise regulations to allow generic drugmakers to update labeling. The rule would update current regulations that prevent generic drugmakers from doing so, even if they become aware of a potential risk not mentioned in labeling. By contrast, brand-name drugamkers can update warnings and precautions on labeling before obtaining FDA approval. Additionally, Merck won an important court ruling for the entire pharmaceutical industry. A federal court decided that, under certain circumstances, drugmakers may defend themselves against product liability lawsuits by citing preemption.

Sunburn Safety: Innovating Ways to Protect from UV Rays

Today in IPWatchdog’s Summer Fun series, we’re looking at a series of patent applications and issued patents protecting systems of improving protections from UV radiation. A number of these documents regard new systems of determining unsafe levels of radiation. One patent application has been filed to protect an apparatus that detects the level of sunburn developing on a person’s skin. Another application protects a reactive dye that changes color to indicate UV radiation levels. An issued patent protects a test strip kit that can also indicate unsafe UV levels prior to going outside. Treatments for sunburn are another major focus for developers of UV radiation protections. One issued patent protects an orally administered treatment that helps prevent against sunburns. A final patent application featured here has been filed to protect a topical ointment that can either prevent or treat sunburns while improving on prior chemical compositions for sunblock lotion.