Posts Tagged: "innovation"

This Week in Washington IP: Honoring World Intellectual Property Day, Ensuring FDA User Fees Advance Innovation, and IP’s Role in Combating the COVID-19 Pandemic

This week in Washington IP news, the Senate Health Committee will host a hearing on Tuesday to address ways that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s user fee program can better advance innovation in medical products. In the House of Representatives, the Financial Services Committee will explore data privacy and consumer protection concerns that are related to the increasing available of digital wallets on mobile devices. Elsewhere, the Center for Strategic & International Studies partners with the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation to discuss the role of intellectual property in driving forward the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, while the U.S. Copyright Office, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and others celebrate World Intellectual Property Day on Tuesday with a focus on this year’s theme, IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future.

Actions of USPTO Officials Performing the Director’s Functions and Duties During Director Vacancy are Void

Under the U.S. Constitution’s Appointments Clause, “Officers of the United States” generally are required to be nominated by the President “by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate.”  This rule applies equally to the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), who has an important executive role with political accountability and therefore, by statute, must be Presidentially-Appointed and Senate-Confirmed (PAS). The Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (VRA) provides that the President (and only the President) may direct an “acting” official to temporarily perform the functions and duties of the vacant PAS office. The VRA states that its mechanisms are “exclusive” of all other mechanisms for temporarily filling a vacant PAS office. On several occasions since 2013, including most recently with Commissioner Andrew Hirshfeld, the USPTO has adopted a modality for filling a vacancy in the office of the Director, not with an Acting Director as the VRA requires, but with a non-PAS official “designated” to “perform the functions and duties” of the Director.

German Decision Could Provide an Answer to AI Inventorship

Germany’s Federal Patent Court has set aside a decision by the country’s Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) that refused a patent application naming an artificial intelligence (AI) as the inventor. The decision was first rendered in November 2021 following oral argument, but the fully written opinion was only delivered March 31, and was published in German on the court’s homepage on April 19, 2022. The application was filed on October 17, 2019, and is titled “Food Container”. It named the applicant as Stephen L. Thaler and the inventor as “DABUS – The invention was autonomously generated by an artificial intelligence.”

Obviousness and Inherency in Solid Forms

Claimed inventions in issued patents must, of course, pass the statutorily required hurdles of novelty and non-obviousness. In the context of solid forms, there are particular nuances the practitioner should consider when formulating a strategy for obtaining such claims in the United States. This article touches upon novelty and obviousness matters which have arisen with solid-form patents and provides some food for thought on how to plan in advance to tackle these issues.

New York Times Editorial Board Lobs Unfounded Criticism at Patent System, Iancu

The New York Times Editorial Board over the weekend penned an op-ed charging that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has “devolved into a backwater office that large corporations game, politicians ignore and average citizens are wholly excluded from.” The piece calls for an overhaul of the U.S. patent system and for new USPTO Director Kathi Vidal and Congress to “seize the opportunity…to modernize and fortify the patent system.” It includes input from Priti Krishtel of the Initiative for Medicines, Access and Knowledge (I-MAK)—which recently has been the subject of scrutiny by pro-patent lawmakers like Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC)—and Charles Duan, who has testified to Congress that patents deter genetic research and “bully and suppress true innovators.”

This Week in Washington IP: Understanding the Controversy Behind the DOJ’s SEP Statement, Financial Privacy in Electronic Currencies, and Encouraging Mobility Data Sharing for Social Good

This week in Washington IP news, while both houses of Congress remain quiet during regularly scheduled work periods, the Hudson Institute takes a deeper look at the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division’s recent draft policy statement on SEPs from the view of those who feel that the statement doesn’t include enough support for SEP owners. Elsewhere, the American Enterprise Institute looks at privacy concerns prevalent during the adoption of central bank digital currencies, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation explores ways that private companies could work with public governmental entities to anonymize and share mobile phone data to aid humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, while the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hosts its 15th annual Design Day taking a deeper look at the benefits of design patent protection and case law and legislative developments in that sector.

DABUS Sent Back to Drawing Board Following Reversal of Inventorship Decision by Australia Court

On April 13, 2022, the Federal Court of Australia, on appeal, reversed its 2021 decision that DABUS, an artificial intelligence (AI) machine, qualified as an inventor for a patent application under Australian law. DABUS is a computer built, programmed and owned by Dr. Stephen Thaler. Thaler has filed patent applications in several countries around the world for inventions created by DABUS. Each application names DABUS as the sole inventor. Patent offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia determined that the applications were incomplete, since a human inventor was not identified. Thaler appealed each application in the patent offices, all of which continued to rule that an AI machine was not an inventor. On further appeals, courts in the United States and the United Kingdom have agreed with the patent offices and ruled against Thaler. However, in 2021, the Federal Court of Australia issued an opinion by a primary judge, who reversed the Australian Patent Office and held that Australia’s law did not require an inventor to be a natural person.

Money, Media, Votes, and Passing H.R. 5874

All things in Washington are driven by money, media and votes. If you can deliver one or more of those things, you will get the results you want. Engaging in politics with this in mind is key to fixing the broken patent system by passing HR 5874, the Restoring American Leadership in Innovation Act (RALIA). Since no mortal can compete with Big Tech’s big bucks and their control of social media, and the media in general, the only lever remaining is delivering votes back home, or more importantly, delivering those votes to candidates who commit to supporting HR 5874.

Robots and IP: Protecting Faces, Expressions and Vocalizations

Preventing others from copying your robot’s AI-driven face, expressions and vocalizations requires a comprehensive intellectual property strategy. That’s one of the takeaways from a pending dispute between robot makers as described in Digital Dream Labs, LLC v. Living Technology (Shenzhen) Co. (pending in the Western District of Pennsylvania). The case involves plaintiff DDL, which owns registered copyrights in desktop humanoid-vehicle hybrid robots called COZMO and VECTOR (see below left and middle), and defendant Living.AI, whose headphone-wearing, skateboard riding, humanoid robot called EMO (below right) is alleged by DDL to infringe its copyrights. Both companies reportedly deployed AI software on their robots that selects graphical animations and sounds to output based on the robot’s reactions with its environment and user.

Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Reiterates Why Companies Must Rethink Their China IP Strategies

Every night for the last six weeks, the world has seen images and videos of the Russian military laying waste to Ukraine in what can only fairly be characterized as a medieval campaign of destruction. The Russian military has annihilated entire cities, targeted civilians, murdered women and children, and is preventing the American Red Cross from delivering food and medical supplies to civilians trapped and unable to escape. Nearly the entire world has condemned the atrocities committed during this unprovoked Russian war of aggression against its sovereign neighbor. China, who has entered into a no-limits cooperative agreement with Russia, is a notable exception.

O’Malley, Kappos, Michel and Other Experts Debate How Anti-IP Narratives are Threatening U.S. National Security

The LeadershIP 2022 Conference, for which IPWatchdog was a partner, took place earlier this week in Washington, DC, and featured leaders in U.S. government and intellectual property (IP) discussing the way that IP policies interact with and impact national security issues. The overarching sentiment from panelists was that all three branches of U.S. government are failing to prioritize a strong IP system, which could result in the United States falling behind as an innovation leader, to the benefit of potential bad-faith competitors like China and Russia.

Priorities: The IP Community Has Its Say on What Should Top Vidal’s To Do List

With Kathi Vidal now confirmed as the next Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), IPWatchdog reached out to stakeholders for their take on what she should prioritize on her first days in office. As you might imagine, the responses varied widely, from taking quick action on policy-side issues to spending some time just listening to her staff. Vidal is only the second woman to serve as a Senate-confirmed Director of the USPTO and she has been a leader on diversity initiatives. Many are looking forward to her unique perspective, particularly at a time when Congress has been calling on the USPTO to improve its representation for women and minorities in patenting.

New Dawn: Confirmation of Undersecretary Vidal Presents Opportunities to Expand Diversity Initiatives

My congratulations to Kathi Vidal of Winston & Strawn on her confirmation as the new Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and her new role as advisor to the President and the administration on intellectual property matters. Undersecretary Vidal’s credentials are beyond merely impressive. Her capabilities and her new position afford her an opportunity to influence intellectual property policy at a magnitude few ever experience, including a profound opportunity to enhance diversity. It is well established that diversity unlocks innovation and that innovation is critical to American competitiveness, jobs, national security, and quality of life. One of the tenets of promoting diversity is providing leaders, role models, and mentors from all reaches of the community to encourage participation from others of similar backgrounds.

IP Stakeholders Cheer as Senate Finally Confirms Vidal to Head USPTO

The U.S. Senate confirmed Kathi Vidal as the next U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Tuesday night in a voice vote. Vidal’s confirmation comes after more than one year with no Senate-confirmed Director or Acting Director at the agency. Drew Hirshfeld has been operating under the title of “Performing the Duties and Functions of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO” since January 2021.

European Patent Filings Reached Record Number in 2021; Huawei Largest Applicant

There were 188,600 European patent applications filed last year, an annual increase of 4.5%, according to figures published by the European Patent Office (EPO) on April 5. Despite the impact of the pandemic, applications increased to a record level following a slight decline in 2020. The United States was once again the top country for applicants, accounting for a total of 46,533 applications in 2021 (an increase of 5.2%) or 25% of all filings. It was followed by Germany and Japan, with China ranking fourth. Applications from China increased by 24% to 16,665 in 2021; they have quadrupled in the past decade. Other notable increases were from Sweden (up 12% to 4,954), Canada (up 18.4% to 2,083) and India (up 16.5% to 817).