Posts Tagged: "interviews"

A patent reform conversation with Senator Coons and Congressman Massie

Yesterday I moderated a Google Hangout on the topic of patent reform, which was sponsored by the Innovation Alliance’s save the inventor campaign. Joining me for the conversation was United States Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the driving force behind the STRONG Patents Act, and Congressman Thomas Massie, an inventor and patent owner who is a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. Our wide ranging conversation addressed whether patents promote or inhibit innovation, the most problematic provisions in the pending patent reform bills, whether patent reform is even necessary, and the inevitable reality that a push for patent reform will remain on the agenda for the foreseeable future.

Tim Kopra, Expedition crew getting set for December launch to International Space Station

For this story Steve Brachmann interviewed Tim Kopra, who will be Commander of Expedition 47 aboard the International Space Station… Noting that ISS astronauts were more like lab technicians than scientists, Kopra separated ISS experiments into three main categories. “For some experiments we are the subjects,” Kopra said, especially for those experiments leading to a better understanding of how spending an elongated amount of time in zero-gravity environments affects the human body. Other experiments only require some setup from astronauts after which they run fairly autonomously while still more experiments are installed on the exterior of the ISS and require no astronaut intervention at all.

It makes no sense for an algorithm to be unpatentable simply because it is implemented in software

KAPPOS: “Back when I was an engineer we saw it in mainframe computers where you’d make an invention and frequently initially the software wasn’t fast enough to be able to run the algorithm. So the algorithm would first be built in silicon, really expensive, but you’d wind up then fabbing up chips to be special purpose chips to run the algorithm. And then later as the software got faster the underlying computer systems got faster you’d reimplement the same algorithm in software, same algorithm, same invention but just reimplement it in software and then even later after that when the ASIC density got good enough you’d reimplement yet again in an application-specific integrated circuit, an ASIC. And so you’d have a little bit of a hybrid, if you will, but more on the hardware side, it’s an IC. It’s again putting the algorithm in a chip. And so what you’d see by looking at that is that it made no sense to say that an algorithm was patentable if it was implemented in a hardware chip. But the same algorithm implemented in software was unpatentable. Just didn’t make sense to say that.”

Patent Commissioner Drew Hirshfeld on Patent Quality and Patent Eligibility

Drew HIRSHFELD: ”One thing that really can move the ball toward a higher quality patent is again the clarity of the record, and the amount of information that’s in there so that third parties can really tell what the patent was about. So quality has, as you’ve identified before, many ways to look at it. But when I leave this position, whenever that time is, certainly if I can have a more clear record, more full explanations on the record, I think the system would be in a better place and that is one of my goals.”

An Exclusive Interview with Drew Hirshfeld, the new Commissioner for Patents at the USPTO

HIRSHFELD: “[Y]ou caught my attention with quality means we issue a few patents. So let me address that first. We’ve always focused on quality as far as I’ve been here. What we have been asked to do in recent years is ask how can we take a more “out of the box” approach to quality, right? Is there anything that we could be doing with the goal of continuous improvement? And so to me that’s an absolutely wonderful position to be in for anybody asking how can you do your job better. And so I don’t look at quality as saying we want to issue more patents or less patents, we want to do a better job, a good job in the process as we’re moving forward. Things like clarity of the record. That does not mean we’re going to issue more or less, it means that we’re going to take extra steps to make sure we’re on the same page as the applicant. Or make sure we’re creating a good record so that a third party down the road can evaluate the application history, the prosecution history and tell exactly what took place. Certainly there is not a sentiment to try to reject more or less. Our goal is to do what the courts are asking us to do but we want to make sure that we’re thinking about all the ways we can do that in the most effective, efficient and clear way.”

Ariosa v. Sequenom: Petitioning the Federal Circuit to Reverse Course on Patent Eligibility

This is a really important question both with respect to biologics and other interventions and also as the Federal Circuit does work with the Supreme Court’s body of precedents. We have basically two principle points. One is that in our view the Federal Circuit has to do a better job rationalizing and reconciling two different sets of precedent. One is the set of modern cases and the second is an older case that the modern cases embrace, Diamond vs. Diehr, which as we understand it adopts exactly the opposite rule from the Federal Circuit in this case, which is that the combination is what has to be new not the individual processes. And then second we believe that we have a case that fits squarely within what the Supreme Court intended to remain patent eligible after those more modern cases. So we filed an en banc petition and we thought that there would be amicus support for sure. But what we didn’t expect, to be honest, was the outpouring of interest and support that we received.

The End of an Era – Commissioner for Patents Peggy Focarino Retires

Since she first joined the USPTO as the newest examiner in 1977, Focarino has worked tirelessly in a variety of different roles, always as a public servant. Not only has she worked in the public sector doing whatever job has been asked of her on behalf of the patent system, but she has also worked to be accepted as an employee of the USPTO, and not merely a female employee of the USPTO. Today it almost sounds sexist to even refer to someone as “a female employee,” but that wasn’t always the case. There is no doubt that Focarino has been a trailblazer. As the first woman to become Acting Commissioner for Patents, the first woman to become Commissioner for Patents, and a member of the first all female leadership team in the history of the USPTO, Focarino has seen the agency change dramatically over the past four decades.

Patent Quality Summit Preview: A Conversation with Valencia Martin-Wallace

According to Martin-Wallace, the goal of the Patent Quality Summit is to establish a dialogue between the USPTO and stakeholders so that both sides can obtain a better understanding of where everyone is coming from when we talk about patent quality, and to set expectations going both directions. “Quality is two-fold – both internal and external,” Martin-Wallace explained. “We want to make sure we are delivering quality to stakeholders… patents that can stand up in the courts.”

Inventors are NOT patent trolls and they are NOT the problem

Large companies can steal your patented technology, make a great deal of money, ignore you all together, and then have the resources, the vast resources in most cases, to delay your enforcement actions or actually destroy your patents by any means necessary. So the only recourse left for me and others like me is to bring suite to protect my invention – my intellectual property rights. However, the loser pay clause in HR 9 would be a showstopper for me. Bringing a suit against a patent infringer would be too much of a risk for me and my family now and I’ve already used my life savings and family inheritance and hard work for over 15 years plus the untold impact on my family just to develop and maintain my patents. I just do not believe the independent inventor is the problem.

The European technical standard as a guide for drafting software patents

”A few years ago we ramped up our foreign filings and recognized that we’re writing this one document, this one patent application for so many different audiences. We started settling in on the European technical standard as a guide for how to draft, how to cover the innovation from that vantage point, in order to try to write this document that would satisfy the USPTO as well as the EPO, Chinese Patent Office, the Japanese Patent Office, and so on. So for me, what this environment means as a practitioner has more to do with how the patent is drafted and how we capture the innovation, and not really a huge difference about what the underlying innovation is or how it’s implemented.”

Congress Seeks to Fix Unfair, Outdated Royalties for Songwriters and Composers

According to Congressman Collins, who I spoke with via telephone on Friday, March 6, 2015, there was a great deal of treatment of the SEA at the subcommittee level during the 113th Congress, but now during the 114th Congress consideration will move to the full Committee level, which suggests a seriousness about getting something done. ”Music licensing will be an area where something bubbles up this Congress,” Collins explained. ”I’m hoping the industry will come together.”

Litigation abuse driving negative sentiment around patents

”[L]itigation abuse is driving so many of the issues and so much of the negative sentiment around patents generally. Certainly it’s important to ensure that quality patents are issued, with quality examinations, and quality patents are filed from a disclosure standpoint. The problem is largely addressed with the patent owners and how they’re asserting and using and abusing their rights versus how those rights may or may not come out of the Patent Office.”

America Must be the Leader in Patenting Innovations, Including Software

I do feel that the whole notion of trying to find an “inventive concept” is really challenged. While the Supreme Court went out of its way to say we are really not putting Sections 102 or 103 in here, I think what’s happening is the Courts are basically trying to do that. And they’re looking deeply into prior art in some cases to knock out patents under Section 101 and whittle away the invention, and trying to find the abstract idea by doing a prior art analysis, and I think that’s troubling.

Provisional patents are like chicken soup, good for everybody

”Even a startup with strained resources can afford to file provisional applications. As a result of the American Invents Act and the fact that the United States is now a first inventor to file country, it is advisable for any company to file provisional applications as soon as they have a meaningful invention and have the ability to put it down in an application and file it. So, that would be the most important advice I can give.”

Congress expected to take up federal trade secret legislation in 2015

There was a lot of action on this in the last Congress. There is a group of law professors that have expressed some opposition to the proposal to add a civil remedy, in spite of widespread support among industry stakeholders. There was some controversy around some seizure provisions that were suggested in one version of the legislation. And I think those discussions will usefully inform what will be done in this Congress. But I believe there is a great deal of support for making that basic change to allow companies to have another—not a displacement, not preemptive of state law but an additional place to go to get the benefit of nationwide service of process and other special advantages of being in federal court.