Posts Tagged: "Guest Contributor"

Patent Filings Roundup: All Nokia Phones Banned in Germany over Fortress Claims; IPR Proceeds over Arigna’s ITC Fintiv Arguments; Hashicorp Unloads on IP Edge Sub Invincible; PacSec Throws Up a Hail Mary

It was a typical week in terms of overall patent filing numbers, with 31 Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) filings, 56 district court complaints, and some 50-odd terminations; continued filings of inter partes reviews (IPRs) against Ericsson by Apple in their sprawling 5G fight; a Raymond Anthony Joao sub brought a 33-patent complaint (mostly expired) on shipping tracking; Fortress entities were on the receiving end of a few IPRs; and in Europe, a Fortress entity secured an injunction against Nokia over all Nokia-branded smartphones in the country, a huge blow for Nokia there. Unrelatedly, there was a hastily-filed errata filed in the Cal Tech opinion at the Federal Circuit with major estoppel implications (that Dennis Crouch has already well-covered).  Let’s get to it. 

The SECRETS Act Adds a Critical New Defense Against IP Theft Threatening U.S. Tech Leadership

Intellectual property (IP) theft, especially of trade secrets, remains a significant threat to advanced U.S. industries, global competitiveness, and national security. It is foundational to the U.S. trade dispute with China, given state-sponsored efforts to steal as much American know-how as possible. Yet, instead of new laws and regulations, the United States has relied mainly on tariffs in an indirect effort to convince China to curb these illegal practices. That is, until now. As Congress and the Biden administration prepare to finalize competitiveness bills and set the country’s annual defense budget, they have an opportunity to advance another bill that will benefit American businesses and workers by combatting the Chinese threat to U.S. industries—the SECRETS Act, introduced last summer by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Todd Young (R-IN).

Learning to Live with ‘Zero Trust’: It’s Not as Depressing as it Sounds

Trust is getting a lot of attention these days. Of course, it’s always been important in the United States. We declare trust in God on our currency, Scouts have to be trustworthy, and we even seem to trust the algorithm behind cryptocurrencies. On the other hand, we worry about what feels like a decline, if not complete rupture, in social trust. For businesses that depend on controlling the confidentiality of data shared with employees and outsiders, these are perilous times. Our most important assets are stored and transmitted through digital systems that are imperfect; and that’s without accounting for the frailties of the people with access to those assets. Information security has come a long way since I started my career in the 1970s. There were no networks to worry about then, no powerful computers in the pockets of employees. Data was transmitted on paper. You just needed to watch the front door and photocopier. Employees with their badges as markers of trust could go pretty much anywhere they wanted within the facility.

Thaler Loses AI-Authorship Fight at U.S. Copyright Office

In an opinion letter dated February 14, 2022, the Review Board of the United States Copyright Office (Review Board) affirmed a decision of the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO) denying registration of a two-dimensional artwork generated by Creativity Machine, an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm created by Dr. Stephen Thaler. Established by regulation in 1995, the Review Board is responsible for hearing final administrative appeals following two opportunities for a claimant to appeal copyright registration refusals. Thaler filed an application to register the computer-generated work, “A Recent Entrance to Paradise,” on November 3, 2018. On the application, Thaler listed Creativity Machine as the author of the work and indicated himself to be the claimant, with a transfer statement explaining he acquired ownership of the work because of his “ownership of the machine.”

Talkin’ Trade: When Administrative Agencies Collide—Litigating in Parallel at the ITC and the PTAB

Over the past decade, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has emerged as a critical and much-relied-upon tool for those facing patent infringement allegations. Some say that’s exactly what Congress intended with the America Invents Act—a defendant can file a validity challenge at the PTAB and get an expedited ruling on invalidity in a forum with specialized technical expertise and before judges with relevant technical backgrounds, at a lower cost than litigating validity issues in district court. And in fact, district courts will often stay infringement actions pending PTAB review of a patent at issue in a particular case.But the district courts and the PTAB are not the only fora in which patent issues are adjudicated. The United States International Trade Commission (ITC)—an independent, quasi-judicial federal agency based in Washington, DC—has become a forum of choice for patent owners seeking fast and effective relief for patent infringement.

How ‘Public’ is the Public Domain? Winnie-the-Pooh Illustrates Copyright Limitations of Public Domain Works

You may have heard that on January 1, 2022, Winnie-the-Pooh and the other characters from the Hundred Acre Wood are now in the public domain. But did you know that not all of Christopher Robin’s friends are treated the same in the eyes of copyright law? The characters have multiple authors, including A.A. Milne who first published Winnie-the-Pooh in 1926, and The Walt Disney Company, which brought the stories to the screen. Milne’s characters from his 1926 books entered the public domain at the beginning of this year, but Disney’s iteration remains copyright protected for now.

Sorry, Your NFT Is Worthless: The Copyright and Generative Art Problem for NFT Collections

If you follow Reese Witherspoon on Twitter, you may notice she has been tweeting about non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, a lot. She currently features an NFT as her Twitter profile picture (abbreviated “pfp” for those in the know). In October 2021, Witherspoon became a partner in an NFT art collection called World of Women, or WoW, which was created and illustrated by the artist Yam Karkai. Through an auction-style bidding process, the WoW collection is currently available on OpenSea, one of the largest NFT marketplaces. As of publication, an individual WoW NFT auction starts at around 7 Ethereum (ETH), the cryptocurrency used to purchase on OpenSea, which currently equates to approximately USD 20,000.

Patent vs. Trade Secret Strategy: A Four Factor Decision Framework

Patents and trade secrets are both valuable assets that companies can utilize to protect their innovations and establish competitive advantages in the market. Strategic IP portfolio development and management leverages both patents and trade secrets where they are most effective with the goal of maximizing protection while minimizing costs.

Patent Filings Roundup: Qualcomm Dragged into Waco by Magentar on IoT Chips; Board Skips Merits in Denial

Happy belated Valentine’s Day; there were 74 district court terminations last week (mostly file-and-settle flotsam); 36 Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) filings (bolsted by Qualcomm indemnification filings and some medical device action); and 56 district court patent filings this week, in a mid-month lull before certain entities have to hit their end-of-month quota; let’s get to it.

Biden Administration Should Recommend Clarifying Patent Eligibility Law in American Axle

Nine months in, and we are still awaiting the Biden administration’s decision as to whether the law of patent eligibility should be clarified. This area of patent law has in recent years become increasingly unpredictable, and the consequences of that unpredictability have largely fallen on startups, whose primary assets are often inventions. On May 3, 2021, the Supreme Court invited the Solicitor General to recommend whether certiorari should be granted in American Axle v. Neapco Holdings, LLC—a case in which a method for manufacturing vehicle driveshafts was deemed ineligible under 35 USC § 101 as being directed to a law of nature.

Clause 8 Podcast: Professor Dan Brown and Dan Jr.’s Patent Battle Against a Retail Giant

Prof. Dan Brown and his son, Dan Brown Jr., are straight out of central casting.  Prof. Brown, the father, grew up in a working-class Irish family on Chicago’s South Side before eventually becoming a professor of engineering at Northwestern University. Dan Jr. is a moppy-haired marketing genius who is now President of LoggerHead Tools.

Thank You, Senator Tillis, for Recognizing the Need for Evidence-Based Policymaking in Patent Law

Earlier this month, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) sent a letter to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), expressing concern about policymaking on drug patents and drug prices being driven by a narrative rooted more in policy goals than in actual data. He sent another letter to a policy organization, Initiative for Medicines, Access, and Knowledge (I-MAK), which has held itself out as go-to source for data on the number of patents covering drugs. I-MAK has become very popular; its drug patent numbers are invoked as fact by congresspersons, academics, congressional witnesses, and policy activists. Senator Tillis is to be commended for expressing serious concerns about the unreliability of drug patent numbers repeatedly invoked in the policy debates over drug prices in Washington, D.C. His letter to the USPTO and FDA requests that the agencies engage in an “independent assessment and analysis of the sources and data that are being relied upon by those advocating for patent-based solutions to drug pricing.”

The Anti-suit Injunction Conundrum: How We Got Here and How to Avoid It

An anti-suit injunction is an interim order issued by a court in one jurisdiction that prohibits a litigant from initiating or continuing parallel litigation in another jurisdiction. The practice of the anti-suit injunction is traced back to fifteenth century England, where royal courts issued writs of prohibition to stay parallel proceedings in the ecclesiastical courts or common law courts. Initially, the use of anti-suit injunctions was limited in England. By the nineteenth century, however, their use expanded to prevent litigation in other British colonies and eventually foreign countries.

‘Understanding IP Matters’: Tiffany Norwood on the Importance of Storytelling to Startup Success

A curiosity of the intellectual property field is the lack of emphasis on commercialization. While there are numerous resources that describe how to patent an invention, there are hardly any that offer processes and frameworks for transforming ideas into products and services. This is a disservice to creative people, because they are motivated to share their creativity with the world — not merely protect what they invent. In a new episode of the podcast “Understanding IP Matters,” the fascinating serial entrepreneur Tiffany Norwood laments that while “so much of our world is driven by imagination, only a few of us take our imagination seriously.

Mr. President: Don’t Undermine Innovation Under the Guise of Boosting Domestic Manufacturing

You might think the last thing the President needs as his poll numbers are plunging is pressure to make an unforced blunder crippling U.S. innovation. Under the pretext of expanding U.S. manufacturing capability, some are pushing a provision to a pending Executive Order on manufacturing allowing the bureaucracy to micromanage our technology transfer system. That’s already happened at the Department of Energy (DOE), and the disastrous consequences are just becoming apparent. This is being sold as a way of increasing domestic manufacturing capacity, which is rightly a priority of President Biden. But extending a flawed idea across all R&D agencies undermines the public/private R&D partnerships which restored our technological leadership—without doing a thing to broaden our manufacturing base.