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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
August 25, 2005
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.
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.
August 22, 2005
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).
August 20, 2005
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.
August 18, 2005
Claim Construction Replay
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:
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.
August 16, 2005
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.
This won't make me hang up my prior art search spurs, but it's a smile: Prior-Art-O-Matic.
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?
August 14, 2005
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).
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.
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.
August 11, 2005
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 ]
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.
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.
August 5, 2005
Acting Commissioner for Patents and Trademarks, John Doll, reported on 19 July 2005 the status of the USPTO with regard to patent application filings.
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.
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.
August 2, 2005
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."
August 1, 2005
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).