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August 31, 2005

Don't Fear Software Patents

Above is the title of an editorial in the August 30, 2005 Wall Street Journal by Bruce Lehman, former Commissioner of the Patent Office.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:26 PM | The Patent System

Much Ado About iPod

The press has been having a field day with patents granted to Microsoft and Creative Technology that may apply to Apple Computer's runaway success, the iPod portable music player. Creative Technology has even been putting out its own tosh about how iPod copied Creative's patented user interface.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:00 AM | Patents In Business

August 30, 2005

On A Treadmill

This case is so typical: an inventor presents an idea to a company, who, after a while, says it's not interested. The inventor applies for and gets a patent. Meanwhile, the company puts the invention into its product. Then, when faced with patent infringement, shrug and claim that the company invented it.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:07 AM | Litigation

August 29, 2005

Trolls on the Hill

Webster's defines a troll from its origin in 1616 as "a dwarf or giant in Scandinavian folklore inhabiting caves or hills". Take a gander at Rep. Chris Cannon, a legislator on Capitol Hill.

The press is the fourth estate, one of the essential pillars of democracy in keeping the public informed. Let's check in on how the fourth estate is being tended in Salt Lake City.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:01 AM | The Patent System | Comments (1)

August 26, 2005

Euro-Patent Soul Searching

The European Commission (EuroCom) is seeking to find the true meaning of patents. Out for tender to contractors is an RFQ for a study on the "strategic use of patents".

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 6:37 PM | International

August 25, 2005

Patents Offshore

The Treasury Department and IRS are proposing tighter rules to prevent U.S. companies from undervaluing patents in offshore transfers as a means to minimize U.S. tax liability.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:49 PM | Patents In Business

August 24, 2005

What Patent Crisis?

At Progress & Freedom Foundation's (PFF) annual conference yesterday, Nathan Myhrvold, formerly chief technologist at Microsoft, now leading the charge at Intellectual Ventures, called off the dogs of patent reform.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:09 PM | The Patent System

August 22, 2005

Wafer Thin

MEMC Electronic Materials (MEMC) sued Sumitomo Mitsubishi Silicon Corporation (SUMCO) for infringement and inducing infringement of 5,919,302, related to silicon wafer manufacture. The District Court found the plaintiff's case wafer thin, and dismissed it. MEMC appealed (CAFC 04-1396, August 22, 2005).

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:57 PM | Litigation

August 20, 2005

Filler Thriller

In Aquatex v Techniche Solutions (CAFC 05-1088), the Court of Appeals drove a curvy path of infringement analysis in light of claim construction and applying the doctrine of equivalents.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:47 AM | Claim Construction

August 18, 2005

Claim Construction Replay

Evidence is mounting of Phillips v AWH being a landmark ruling on claim construction - adding to the pile is the CAFC affirmation of a district court ruling in Pause v. TiVo (04-1263).

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:00 AM | Claim Construction

August 17, 2005

NDA - follow up

Thanks for the comments regarding NDAs. To further our discussion here is a sample clause designed to express which party maintains ownership of co-developed IP:

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Posted by Peter Haas at 7:35 AM | Prosecution

Being Clear

Terlep v. Brinkmann hinged on claim construction, specifically the definition of the word 'clear', in reference to an LED. The district court ruled that 'clear' meant more clear than less clear (as in, translucent). On appeal by Terlep, wishing things were a little less clear, the Court of Appeals (04-1337, August 16, 2005) reviewed the stack of claim construction evidence in the priority set forth in Phillips v AWH, and agreed with the district court. Ditto applying the doctrine of equivalence during infringement analysis, particularly in light of the precedent of Festo.

Continue reading "Being Clear"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:02 AM | Claim Construction

August 16, 2005

Non-disclosure agreements

Non-disclosure agreements, typically used early in a potential business relationship to preserve valuable IP, are an excellent tool to explicitly define which party maintains any blossoming patent applications and patented inventions.

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Posted by Peter Haas at 8:56 AM | Patents In Business

Prior-Art-O-Matic

This won't make me hang up my prior art search spurs, but it's a smile: Prior-Art-O-Matic.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:09 AM | Prior Art

August 15, 2005

Patent Board Inequity [& Tidbits on §103]

Sujeet Kumar and some buddies got together and finely ground some aluminum oxide. Then they filed a patent for it.

With product claims rejected, and appealed before the Patent Office Board, the Board ruled on new evidence, without affording appellant reply. What up with that?

Continue reading "Patent Board Inequity [& Tidbits on §103]"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:22 PM | Prosecution

August 14, 2005

Chimeric Interference

Another first-to-invent catfight, but with some interesting insights into the written description requirement (§112 ¶1). The CAFC (03-1480) ruled in a patent interference appeal among Capon (appellant) v. Eshhar (cross-appellant) v. Dudas (PTO Director).

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:14 PM | § 112

First to Invent In Play

Microsoft scooped Apple by five months in a patent application for music playlists related to Apple's current cash cow, iPOD. Here's the Washington Post on it.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:36 PM | Interference

August 12, 2005

Have A Seat

5,492,389, owned by Freedman Seating Company, covers bus seats. Freedman sued American Seating Company over it. (CAFC 04-1216, August 11, 2005). This trip, the doctrine of equivalence took a ride.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:02 PM | Claim Construction

August 11, 2005

Patent Plumbing

A friend emailed a patent-related web page, Plumbing the Patent Files, from the CourtTV show, Smoking Gun. If you're in the mood for silly patent entertainment, this will kill a few minutes.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:40 AM | Patents In Business

August 10, 2005

Trying To Tie With a Terminal Disclaimer

Par Pharmaceutical filed an application with the FDA to market a generic version of Xalatan, for treating glaucoma, a drug patented by Pharmacia (5,422,368 & 5,296,504). So Pharmacia sued for patent infringement. [ Pharmacia v. Par Pharmaceutical, Fed. Cir. 04-1478, August 10, 2005 ]

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:12 PM | Case Law | Comments (1)

August 9, 2005

Ross Perot, Patent Troll

Billionaire and two-time presidential contender Ross Perot has thrown his hat in the ring as a patent troll.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:36 AM | Patents In Business

August 6, 2005

Waiver & Estoppel

Two concepts affected appeal of claim construction in Harris v. Ericsson (CAFC 03-1625, decided Aug. 5, 2005): waiver & estoppel.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:02 AM | Claim Construction

August 5, 2005

Patent Backlog

Acting Commissioner for Patents and Trademarks, John Doll, reported on 19 July 2005 the status of the USPTO with regard to patent application filings.

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Posted by Peter Haas at 12:18 PM | Prosecution

Indefinite Claiming

In Datamize LLC v. Plumtree Software Inc. (Fed. Cir. 05 August 2005; 04-1564), the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment of invalidity of all claims of Patent No. 6,014,137 pursuant to 35 USC U.S.C. § 112, ¶ 2 as indefinite due to the claim term “Aesthetically pleasing” as found in the only independent claim.

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Posted by Peter Haas at 12:04 PM | § 112

August 3, 2005

Inequitable Depth of Field

James Frazier, a photographer and film maker, was awarded 5,727,236 for a camera lens offering extreme depth of field: in-focus images of subject matter both close-up and far away. Then he tried enforcing the patent, creating his own horror movie.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:01 AM | Inequitable Conduct

August 2, 2005

Squealing

AnimalConcerns.org is squealing about a Monsanto patent application (WO 2005/015989) which claims "methods for producing improved swine genetics." AnimalConcerns oinked: "Monsanto Corporation is out to own the world's food supply, the dangers of genetic engineering and reduced biodiversity notwithstanding, as they pig-headedly set about hog-tying farmers with their monopoly plans. We've discovered chilling new evidence of this in recent patents that seek to establish ownership rights over pigs and their offspring."

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 6:31 PM | Patents In Business

August 1, 2005

Another Dodo?

The Patent Reform Act of 2005 may die a quiet death. Here's a well-written news update by Shawn Bullard of The Professional Inventors Alliance USA, published in the U.S. Newswire (reprinted with permission).

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:58 PM | The Patent System