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Posts Tagged: "Michelle Lee"

Patent Owner Sues Former USPTO Officials for ‘Improperly Stacking the Deck’ Against Him

A patent owner has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee against former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Michelle Lee, and a number of other former USPTO officials, for allegedly depriving the plaintiffs “of their valuable property rights in quasi-judicial administrative proceedings before the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (‘PTAB’).” The complaint further claims that PTAB proceedings have been “tainted by various improprieties and underhanded tactics, designed to stack the deck against [plaintiffs] and in favor of their far more powerful opponents. In short, the system had been rigged all along, due to the unconstitutional actions of the Defendants named herein.”

The Honeymoon is Over: Time for Iancu to Take Action on PTAB Harassment of Patent Owners

Just over 18 months ago, Andrei Iancu assumed control of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). As the Director of the USPTO, Iancu has changed the tone of the conversation over patents in America. During President Obama’s second term the USPTO became aggressively anti-patent and anti-innovator. The speeches, policies and inaction of Director Michelle Lee led innovators and observers to correctly claim that the Obama Administration had come to champion the viewpoints of infringers, not the technology innovators. Director Iancu changed that almost overnight. Where Director Iancu has failed, however, is with respect to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). With great fanfare, Director Iancu created a Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) that we were told would result in more decisions of the PTAB being declared precedential on the entire PTAB. There was hope that the POP would address the most important issues, such as serial challenges to the same patent over and over again, the use of the same prior art over and over again, and once and for all require the PTAB to apply the Federal Circuit view of what it means to be a real party and interest. Unfortunately, real reform of the PTAB has not happened despite tinkering with the Trial Guide. In important ways the PTAB is worse, and the efforts that have been undertaken incorrectly form the appearance of reform.

First House IP Subcommittee Hearing of 116th Congress Addresses Ways to Increase Female Inventorship

Today, April 3, the Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property held a hearing titled Trailblazers and Lost Einsteins: Women Inventors and the Future of American Innovation—a topic that also was considered last Wednesday by the House Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet in their first hearing of the term. The House hearing was titled, Lost Einsteins: Lack of Diversity in Patent Inventorship and the Impact on America’s Innovation Economy and, like today’s Senate hearing, focused on a recent report on female inventorship released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and featured testimony on how to improve rates of female inventorship from a collection of women in fields having strong ties to the U.S. patent system. Susie Armstrong, Senior Vice President of Engineering for Qualcomm, Inc., said that, for companies like hers that were trying to take the lead in 5G mobile networks and other areas of innovation, more great tech minds from underrepresented communities were needed. An inventor herself who helped create single packet data communications that allowed cell phones to access the Internet for the first time, Armstrong said that Qualcomm had produced educational initiatives like the Thinkabit Lab, which partners with school districts and libraries to encourage students to innovate in the Internet of Things (IoT) sector.

Still No Answer From PTAB on Apple Sanctions Request Against VoIP-Pal After Six Months

And yet, despite this apparent vindication of VoIP-Pal’s patents against the strongest of odds in an executive branch tribunal where APJ panels are stacked in the interest of achieving policy objectives, VoIP-Pal and its current CEO Emil Malak still find themselves to be stuck in patent purgatory over a sanctions motion which the PTAB hasn’t decided for more than half a year… The fact that ex parte communications have caused such a stir in Apple’s IPRs against VoIP-Pal is very interesting given how the PTAB has reacted to allegations of such communications in the past. Anyone who followed the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s case at the PTAB will likely remember that the agency revoked the tribe’s ability to file motions in response to a request for discovery on the potential of political pressure caused by ex parte communications between APJs assigned to the case and their superiors at the PTAB. The PTAB denied that motion and restricted the St. Regis tribe’s ability to file motions within a month of St. Regis’ discovery request. That the PTAB has dragged its feet for more than six months on Apple’s request for sanctions on ex parte communications without the same level of punitive response is very telling.

Google Changes Its Code of Conduct After Years of Being Evil Towards Patent Owners

However, in intellectual property circles, it would be easy question whether Google has lived up to the goal of not doing, or being, evil… Google’s efforts to devalue patent rights is foundational to the company given its long-running penchant for copying the technologies of others for its own business success. Google’s entire targeted advertising operation, which provides upwards of 90 percent of the companies revenues, relies on technologies invented by B.E. Technology in the early 2000s. After B.E. Tech filed a patent infringement suit against Google in 2012, Google filed for inter partes review (IPR) proceedings at the PTAB to challenge those patents.

Zuber Lawler & Del Duca Announce Addition of 6 New Attorneys

Zuber Lawler & Del Duca announces new attorneys, scientists and engineers. Chizuko Ueno (Partner, NY). Dr. Jayashree Mitra (Partner, NY). Christopher Muessel (Of Counsel, Silicon Valley). Amanda-Jane Thomas (Associate, Los Angeles). Giselle Safazadeh (Associate, Chicago). Michelle Lee (Associate, Los Angeles).

The Year in Patents: The Top 10 Patent Stories from 2017

It is that time once again when we look back on the previous year in preparation to close the final chapter of 2017 in order move fresh into the year ahead. 2017 was a busy year in the patent world, although change was not as cataclysmic as it had been in past years, such as 2012 when the PTAB and post grant challenges began, in 2013 when AIA first to file rules went into effect, or in 2014 when the Supreme Court decided Alice v. CLS Bank. It was, nevertheless, still an interesting year… To come up with the list below I’ve reviewed all of our patent articles, and have come up with these top 10 patent stories for 2017. They appear in chronological order as they happened throughout the year.

PTAB invalidates targeted advertising patents, preserving billions in Google ad revenue

It is no secret that the fortunes of Mountain View, CA-based tech conglomerate Alphabet Inc. are largely based upon the advertising revenues accrued through its subsidiary Google and its incredibly popular search engine. The company’s most recent earnings report for the third quarter of 2017 shows that, of the company’s $22.5 billion in revenues for the quarter, $19.8 billion came from Google advertising revenues. That’s nearly 90 percent of Google’s entire revenues for the third quarter; the rest comes from Google’s other revenues ($2.4 billion) and Alphabet’s Other Bets ($197 million). The name of the corporation may be Alphabet but that entity is nothing without Google and its advertising revenues.

CAFC affirms invalidity of geographic map visualization patent asserted against Google Earth

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit entered a non-precedential decision in Art+Com Innovation Pool GmbH v. Google LLC, which affirmed a lower court’s invalidation of a patent covering methods of displaying geographic information to a user. The patent, issued in 2013 to Berlin-based Art+Com Innovationpool and claiming a priority date of December 1995, had been asserted in a patent case decided in the District of Delaware in which the German-based patent owner was seeking more than $100 million from Google for infringement committed by its Google Earth service.

USPTO admits to stacking PTAB panels to achieve desired outcomes

The USPTO admits that the Director does not have statutory authority to adjudicate an issue after a panel has been chosen, but argues that the Director can assert administrative authority to intentionally select Judges that will rule diametrically opposite to those Judges originally assigned to the case, thereby stacking any panel the Director chooses to achieve the result the Director wants in any case… This admission by the USPTO is both stunning and scandalous for at least two reasons. First, the Administrative Procedure Act, which applies to the PTAB, demands decisional independence, which obviously is not happening when the Director of the USPTO can stack a panel to achieve a particular desired outcome.

Industry Reaction to the Resignation of USPTO Director Michelle Lee

The legacy of Michelle Lee will be extremely complicated. She has been loved by those in the tech community most associated with using patented technologies (i.e., infringers) and reviled by innovators who need strong patent protections. Her speeches have always been full of rhetoric that leads many observers to believe she is not in favor of strong patent rights, so her departure will undoubtedly be welcome in many corners of the industry and could signal a new pro-patent approach on the horizon for the Trump Administration.

Associate Solicitor Joe Matal named Acting Director of the USPTO

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has named U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Associate Solicitor Joseph Matal to perform the functions and duties of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. The position is effective June 7, 2017 and follows the resignation of Michelle K. Lee. Matal will serve in this role during the nomination and confirmation process for a new Director.

USPTO Director Michelle Lee Resigns

Michelle Lee sent an e-mail to employees of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) notifying recipients that she had submitted a letter of resignation. There is no word at this hour about who will replace Lee, or whether her resignation will take place effective immediately, although the e-mail sent to USPTO employees does seem to suggest that Lee’s time at the USPTO is over.

Is Trump being bamboozled by Obama holdovers on patent policy?

The USPTO’s Obama holdovers Michelle Lee and Tony Scardino are simply co-opting the exact language used in Obama’s budgets for fiscal years 2015 to 2017 into Trump’s 2018 budget and then directly attributing Obama’s policies and statements to President Trump even though Trump has never taken a position on anti-patent legislation… Are these failed Obama era policies now carried over into the Trump Administration by Obama holdovers simply mistakes? Some sort of scrivener’s error? Or is it a direct attempt to carry over failed Obama policies in the name of President Trump? You be the judge. Perhaps you can tell me: Is Trump being googled by Obama holdovers? Or is Trump himself the swamp?

SCOTUS to hear SAS Institute v. Lee, could impact estoppel effect of IPR proceedings

The nation’s highest court will once again address issues surrounding the controversial Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The case it will decide is SAS Institute, Inc. v. Lee, which will be argued during the October 2017 term, and which will force the Court to again look at how the USPTO, and more specifically the PTAB, is implementing the post-grant patent validity trials created when Congressional passed of the America Invents Act (AIA) of 2011… As SAS Institute’s petition notes, the track record of the PTAB is clear. The PTAB believes that final written decisions need only to address certain challenged claims, not every challenged claim.