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Posts Tagged: "interview"

In Pursuit of the Hardest, Riskiest and Most Valuable Innovation

As IBM was preparing to announce yet another milestone achievement, this year receiving 9,100 U.S. patents in 2018, I had the opportunity to sit down for an on the record conversation with Mark Ringes, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for IBM, and Manny Schecter, Chief Patent Counsel for IBM. Our conversation was wide-ranging, but what appears below specifically relates to IBM’s innovation leadership and quest to patent as much of its technology and innovation as possible. We discuss how IBM’s commitment to innovation and how the company is unafraid of pursuing the hardest, riskiest innovations because those will be the most valuable innovations in the future. Of course, even IBM is constrained with a budget, and must report to shareholders, so the philosophy is to obtain patents in a variety of areas and allow the research, technology and market realities dictate where future resources, and company efforts, are placed.

Exclusive with Roberta Romano-Götsch, Chief Operating Officer of Mobility and Mechatronics at EPO

I recently had the opportunity to go on the record with Roberta Romano-Götsch, the chief operating officer of Mobility and Mechatronics at the European Patent Office (EPO). In a wide ranging, two-part interview we discussed the new technology areas at the EPO, autonomous driving, engineering education, examiner training, what quality means to the EPO and more.

Exclusive Interview: PTO Director Andrei Iancu and OED Director Will Covey on Practitioner Dues, CLE and Unauthorized Practice

The focus of this interview was OED generally, but more specifically why they Office felt it was necessary to begin charging annual dues to practitioners and what those funds would be used for. I indicated leading up to the interview that I would specifically like to discuss the issue of unauthorized practice of law, explaining that I personally was not philosophically opposed to dues but that as a registered patent practitioner myself I would like to see OED do more than just reciprocal discipline, which appears to be the overwhelming portion of their work, at least if you look at the OED Reading Room of published decisions. Director Covey came with statistics and followed up after the interview with the chart included below. While it may appear OED focuses overwhelmingly on reciprocal discipline, that is a tiny fraction of what they do.

12 Questions with Karin Seegert, COO Healthcare, Biotechnology and Chemistry, EPO

Karin Seegert studied pharmacy and received her PhD from the University of Munich in 1985. Following several years working in R&D in industry, she joined the EPO in 1991. During her time at the EPO, she has worked as Examiner and then beginning in 2002 as Director in the pharmaceutical area and as Director in Patent Administration. In 2010, Karin became Principal Director with responsibility for various technical fields, mainly in Electro Physics and Chemistry, before being appointed as Chief Operating Officer in 2017 she was leading the cluster Technical Chemistry (TeC).

Director Iancu worries current state of Section 101 ‘weakens the robustness of our IP system’

Director Iancu: “But for our purposes what I know for a fact is that in order to incentivize American innovation whether it’s artificial intelligence, DNA processing, or anything else we need to have a robust predictable reliable intellectual property system here at home. And I do worry that the current state of Section 101 in patentable subject matter weakens the robustness of our IP system in the affected areas. And if industry cannot predict in a relatively reliable way whether their investments will be protected from an intellectual property point of view I think that will result in less investment, less growth, fewer jobs created in the affected industries. So I do think it is critically important for our economy. And again whatever industry we’re talking about and whatever industry we want to grow it’s critically important to have a strong reliable and predictable intellectual property system.”

IPBC 2018 to Focus on Creating and Harnessing IP Value

How do you create – how do you harness that value and how do you turn it into something that is meaningful for the people that own the intellectual property? We have sessions looking at specific industries, so we’re looking at things like semiconductors and the rise of artificial intelligence. We’re looking at how big data can be used to harness IP value. We’ve got two really interesting sessions that I’m looking forward to where we’re putting different scenarios to panels of chief IP officers and asking them how they would react to those scenarios.

The Most Interesting Man in the Patent World Fights to Improve America’s Patent System

“I can tell you that my work in China and Japan and Korea tells me that the companies there are quite delighted to pick up the slack where American companies don’t have quite the protections that they do under their law,” Judge Vader said.  These concerns about American companies not being able to compete with Asian companies echoed the message that Donald Trump frequently expressed during the presidential campaign. During the interview, Judge Rader also mentioned “a really excellent paper from a Hoover scholar and it said they had never found an instance of a strong, growing economy that didn’t correlate with a strong protective patent system.”

EPO ready for the first Unitary Patent as soon as the ratification requirements are met

One of the great aspects of the Unitary Patent is that it follows the normal EPO procedure up to grant. And indeed, the search and the examination processes will be precisely the same as those you’ve been used to with the current EP and PCT procedures, and will be performed by the same examiners. One of the strengths of the EPO is that we allocate examiners to applications according to their technical expertise, regardless of the filing route through which applications arrive. It will only be at the end of the procedure, when the application proceeds to grant, that applicants will have to indicate if they want to have a single Unitary Patent instead of a bundle of patents for individual member states, as is the case for the European patent. So it’s extremely straightforward, cost effective, and much simpler to administer post grant than the current European patent. My impression is that many U.S. applicants already understand the logic and advantages of this very well, sometimes even a little better than European applicants, as the geographical size and the GDP of the market covered by the Unitary Patent is very similar to that of the U.S. patent.

Exclusive with Grant Philpott: Patenting Computer Implemented Inventions in Europe

We try to be precise and stick to CII because “software” in itself is a term which lacks precision. It can refer to a high level program, a machine level program, or it can be an executable program. But if we speak about a computer-implemented invention the core of the discussion is rather on the technology. We have a general purpose computer and we program it, and when it runs it executes the instructions and performs certain functions. So the essence of our approach is to ask what the software does. Software of course can do a variety of things, many of which can be totally out of the patentable area if they’re purely abstract or purely business oriented. But when software solves a technical problem you are definitely in the area where a patent is possible. That is the core element of our approach.

Thomas Massie: America’s Inventor Congressman

“I can tell you, every day Congress is in session there are lobbyists here trying to weaken the patent system,” Massie explained. In Massie’s words, those companies that come to Capitol Hill and lobby to weaken the patent system want to get into new fields, but the problem is they didn’t invent in those fields, so they face problems. Patent problems. A lot of those companies want to become automobile manufacturers, or cell phone manufacturers, or they want to write software for operating systems, but they didn’t invent in those areas and they don’t own the patents that have historically been the touchstone of innovation ownership. “They’d love to just come in and start playing in those fields and start using their size and scale as an advantage, and to them, patents look like a hindrance,” Massie explained. “They are here in Congress looking to weaken patents and they are not just interested in weakening patents issued in the future, they are looking to weaken all patents.”

Fixing America’s Patent System is the Best Strategy to Jump-Start our Stalled Economy

Fixing America’s patent system is necessary for meaningful economic growth for America’s workers and America’s global competiveness over countries like China. Not surprisingly, Judge Michel thinks that “[w]hile we’ve been weakening our patent system in many ways in recent years, China and other countries have been greatly upgrading their patent systems . . . investment is shrinking here and it’s growing elsewhere.” Judge Michel kept returning to the theme that the lack of new jobs “is the biggest single problem in America today,” and that “whether you talk about job creation or growth or revival of distressed cities . . . the innovation ecosystem is at the heart of the solution.”

Does innovation lead to patents, or patents lead to innovation?

We pick up our conversation with me suggesting that there is a problem with claims being found to be abstract when the decision maker has been able to do a complete 102 (novelty) and 103 (obviousness) analysis. We then move on to discuss the meaning of “innovation,” whether innovation leads to patents or patents lead to innovation, and briefly touch on a long-time disagreement about whether patents are property rights. … LEVY: “Uncertainty I agree makes businesses nervous. That’s obvious. But, and again, I’m speaking only for myself here, it seems to me that for many businesses there is a desire to have the benefits of taking the risk without the down side of taking the risk. And one of the downsides here is that the law can change. Patents are not — even if we didn’t change the law patents are no guarantee of anything. Once you get an issued patent that patent could be found invalid. It’s in the law that a patent can be challenged and that I can be found invalid. So no one should think that once I have this patent that’s it, it’s good for all time and I can take on all comers and they’re going to have to pay me regardless. I have heard too many time people thinking that this is some sort of guarantee and any sort of challenge is a violation of their Constitutional rights.”

Up close and personal with Russ Slifer

In this final segment we begin talking about something Slifer wanted specifically to address — Tony Scardino being named Acting Deputy Director. We then proceed to some of fun, “get to know you” questions that range from sports, to movies, to music, to what, if any advice Slifer would give himself if he could be transported back in time to meet himself as he was embarking upon a career in the law.

An Exclusive Interview with former USPTO Deputy Director Russ Slifer

As you will see from the transcript, nothing was out of bounds, although because of time we didn’t get into everything. Slifer did agree to come back for more in the coming months, specifically relating to a discussion about patent eligibility, and we will be following up on this specific ideas relating to inter partes review (which you will hear him mention in Part 1 of the interview and which we return to in Part 2). We did discuss the turmoil at the end of the Obama Administration and the fact that he did resign, as requested, effective January 20, 2017. We also discussed the mechanics of resignation, getting things done on a government timetable, how being Deputy Director was an extremely rewarding job, his view that a fee increase is absolutely essential and that Tony Scardino makes an excellent Acting Deputy Director. In the final segment, which will be part 3, we also spend some time getting to know Russ a little more, talking about movies, sports, music and more.

An Examiner’s Tips For Speedier Patent Prosecution

Interactions between patent examiners and patent practitioners are often tense. At worst, these interactions can be an exercise in restraint with both parties thinly veiling their disdain for one another. This adversarial approach can stall prosecution and run adverse to the practitioner’s purpose – i.e., to obtain the best patent claim scope possible for his or her client. Patent practitioners thus could benefit in many instances by having a better understanding of an examiner’s expectations and approaching prosecution with a mind toward working with the examiner instead of against the examiner. A conversation with an Examiner in a mechanical art unit provided the following tips for how practitioners may expedite the examination process by working (to the extent possible) within the examiner’s expectations.