Posts Tagged: "Guest Contributor"

The Supreme Court’s Actavis Decision, Or Why Pay-for-Delay Litigation Just Got More Active

In this case, the Supreme Court considered an arrangement by which brand firm Solvay paid generics Watson (now Actavis) and Paddock roughly $30 to $40 million to delay entering the market with generic versions of testosterone gel. The Eleventh Circuit upheld the activity, concluding that “absent sham litigation or fraud in obtaining the patent, a reverse payment settlement is immune from antitrust attack so long as its anticompetitive effects fall within the scope of the exclusionary potential of the patent.” The court explained that “[p]atent holders have a ‘lawful right to exclude others from the market’” and that a patent “conveys the right to cripple competition.”

The Supreme Court reversed the Eleventh Circuit, concluding that, while a valid patent allows a patentee to charge “higher-than-competitive” prices, “an invalidated patent carries with it no such right.” The Court recognized the policy encouraging settlements. But for five reasons, it found that that policy did not dictate immunity for pay-for-delay settlements.

Unintended Consequences of the New USPTO Micro Entity Fees

Ever since March 19, 2013, I have been feeling slightly uncomfortable asking one question to some of my new clients. What is that question you ask? It is: “What was your household income in the preceding calendar year?” So, why am I asking a question that makes this Registered Patent Attorney sound more like a Certified Public Accountant? Answer: The AIA.

IBM Seeks Patent on Filtering Online Reviews

One application assigned to IBM would protect a system of allocating software resources to a user’s network account once their presence is detected at a facility. An patent awarded by the USPTO protects an IBM invention involving a visual-based help tool for button icons within software applications. IBM is also involved in developing a number of systems to aid computer users on a personal basis. One application describes a system of ordering computer icons on a user interface based on contextual factors, like the time of the week. Two related applications would protect a system of analyzing web applications for possible malicious data, protecting millions of computer browsers. Lastly, we also look at a newly devised system of filtering online shopping reviews based on the characteristics of an individual shopper.

AMP v. Myriad: Getting Beyond the Hype and Hyperbole*

By holding that Myriad’s claimed cDNA was patent-eligible, Thomas’ opinion reaffirms the major holding in Diamond v. Chakrabarty that claimed subject matter which truly only the “hand of man” can make (not simply snipped out of “mother nature”) will make it to the patent-eligibility zone. (Whether that same cDNA makes it to patentability zone under 35 U.S.C. § 102 and especially under 35 U.S.C. § 103 is another and far more important story.) I would also be careful in reading too much into Thomas’ statement (which is also dicta) about “very short series of DNA which may have no intervening introns to remove in creating the cDNA” might be patent-ineligible. By definition, cDNA (i.e., complementary DNA) is a DNA molecule which is created from mRNA (i.e., messenger RNA) and therefore lacking the introns in the DNA of the genome. Thomas (or his clerks) may not have realized that what they were talking about isn’t what would be defined (at least by a molecular biologist) as cDNA. So the impact of that statement should have minimal, if any impact.

Patent Assertion and US Innovation

Obama’s action plan was heavily influenced by a report, “Patent Assertion and U.S. Innovation,” which was released by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, the National Economic Council, and the Office of Science & Technology Policy. The full text of the report can be read here. It is surprising that a report that was prepared by such an august and high-level set of entities could be so blatantly biased and one-sided. The body of the report slams PAEs and points to everything that’s bad about them. It creates an artificial distinction by referring to “good” patent middlemen as “patent intermediaries,” although there is no indication in the report of what are the characteristics of a good “patent intermediary” versus an evil PAE.

Trademarks and the Politics of Language

Trademarks are an important protection for any business, but nowhere in Canada is this as vital as in Québec, where failure to have a registered trade-mark may lead to notices and fines for business owners. These are precipitated, but not imposed, by the Office de la langue française (translated to: Office of the French Language), or OQLF, a public organization mandated to uphold the quality of the French language, and to ensure it become the “normal and everyday language of work, instruction, communication, commerce and business” in the province of Québec.[1] Since the 2012 provincial election that saw a return to power for Québec’s leading sovereigntist party, the Parti Québecois, the OQLF has been implicated in a few high profile cases that have muddied the waters for businesses operating in Québec.

Update on Post-Grant Design Patent Challenges

Interest in design patents is increasing, in part, because they can be obtained relatively inexpensively and quickly. Dennis Crouch recently reported that from 2010-2012 the majority of design patents issue within 12-months of their filing date (see “Design Patents Are Still Relatively Quick” by Dennis Crouch, Patently-O, January 21, 2012,. In addition, most design patents issue without amendment and with little or no file wrapper estoppel, potentially leading to a “cleaner” patent with potentially fewer issues to be raised in litigation that could negatively affect the scope of the patent. The number of design patent filings has increased approximately 20% since 2009 (Robert Olszewski, “State of the Technology Center,” USPTO Design Day 2013), and, with this increase it is reasonable to expect an increase in design patent enforcement

Microsoft to Patent a New Kind of DVR

As a constant developer of new technologies, Microsoft is seen often as an assignee on a great many U.S. Patent & Trademark Office patents and applications every week. This week on Companies We Follow, IPWatchdog is taking a look at this corporation’s more intriguing patents as of late, including many of those that will affect consumer media use.

A few of the patent applications profiled here detail specific improvements to consumer entertainment, especially where movies are concerned. One application would protect a system of rendering video elements as separate from browser elements for easier user customization. Another application describes a more intuitive system of digital recording for live events. A third application in this area improves movie recommendation systems by taking contextual factors into account.

Marketing and advertising interests for businesses are also showcased in a few official documents. One patent we’re including here protects a method of creating an individual consumer profile based on web events, like visiting a webpage. Microsoft has also filed a patent application for a system of monetizing video recommendation portals for business advertising.

Stricter COPPA Rules Go Into Effect July 2013

The 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which provides a number of rules and regulations with respect to children’s online privacy, recently got an overhaul. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) amended COPPA in December of 2012 and those amendments are scheduled to take effect starting July 1, 2013.

Apple Seeks Patent on Gaze Detection Capabilities

This week, we’re featuring a number of interesting new patents and published applications from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that have been assigned to Apple. A few of the applications we’ve chosen to profile include more efficient systems of detecting user inputs. One application describes a system allowing devices to enter a low-power mode based on user gaze detection, conserving battery power. Another application would protect a system for better facial recognition during photo processing of image files.

Other documents assigned to Apple showcase the corporation’s focus on aiding user communication and providing a more user-intuitive device experience. One application featured here was filed to protect a system of analyzing a user’s media preferences for gaming environments, while another improves a user’s ability to share a pinned location on a map with others.

An patent awarded to Apple this week protects a richer system for accessibility software, allowing users to enhance their reading experience rather than rely on continuous audio playback.

Boeing Patent Application to Help Detect Infectious Disease

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is often publishing applications and awarding patents to Boeing for their technological developments for aircraft. This week on IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, we take a look at some of Boeing’s most intriguing recent patents and applications. Two patent applications would protect safer on-board plane mechanisms for jam-proof mechanical wing assemblies and leak-proof cryogenic fuel tanks.

Other applications showcase Boeing’s focus on passenger safety. One application released recently describes Boeing’s development of an air filtering system that is responsive to the presence of airborne contagions. Another application describes a sensor system that can provide accurate readings of runway conditions, scanning for potholes or other surface degradation.

One patent awarded to Boeing, and featured here, protects a scanning system, likely for military purposes, which can provide more accurate detection of an object of interest within a geographic area.

How to Protect the Copyright of My Web Content

Copyright is important in all forms of media because it provides legal ownership over the work someone produces. This allows the author, artist, etc. control over how their work is used. Without copyright laws, content could be stolen from one creator and used by someone else; thus, a profit could be made by someone other than the creator from content that they put no effort into. Since it is the copyright holder’s responsibility to ensure that a copyright has not been infringed upon, it is vital to keep a close eye on your content and how it is used by others on the internet.

GE Patents New Tower Design for Wind Turbines

The company’s robust research and development is often the subject of patents and patent applications published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. This week, we profile some of General Electric’s most intriguing patent applications, especially those that pertain to smarter electrical and fuel systems.

One application describes a system of using devices to communicate fluctuating electricity costs in the case of a smart electrical grid. Another application would protect a system of monitoring travel conditions that affect fuel efficiency on trains. A third application we cover here describes improvements to wet gas compressors to reduce erosion within the compressor.

Energy generation and energy efficient systems are another major focus for GE. An official patent awarded recently to the company protects a new tower base design for wind turbines that are much easier to transport for installation. A final patent application covered here would offer General Electric the right to protect a system of separating carbon byproducts from gas streams within a carbon fuel system.

Kiwi Chameleon? New Zealand Proposes Patent Changes

The New Zealand Government recently announced a proposed change to patent law involving the patentability of computer programs. The Government is calling it a clarification of the law. One opposition party is calling it a humiliating backdown. Others see it as unequivocally ruling out software patents in New Zealand.

Google Seeks Patent on Music Libraries and Rating Playlists

As the developer of the Android mobile device software, Google is heavily involved with mobile device and digital media systems development. Two recent patent applications filed by Google would protect different innovations for Internet audio systems, including a user-responsive start page for a music library and a system of allowing multiple users to rate tracks on a playlist to adjust playback. Google is also focused on improving online search methods, as is evidenced by another patent application for a system of searching social media pages for individuals or groups. And another final patent application would protect a more secure system of offering digital media excerpts to potential customers which would prevent stealing.