September 30, 2005
AMD Folds To Acacia
AMD took licenses from Acacia Technologies subsidiaries, one for computer cache memory throughput for peripherals, and one for multi-dimensional bar codes.
September 29, 2005
$1/2 Billion ReExam
5,838,906 was the lucky lotto number for Eolas to cash in a one-half billion dollar prize from Microsoft. It was seriously questioned whether the ticket was genuine. The Patent Office in re-exam affirmed it was. On what basis?
September 25, 2005
Stacey Higginbotham wrote an interesting article on software companies' patent strategies as they have evolved through time.
September 23, 2005
As a grant of monopoly power, patents have long been legally associated with antitrust. Using patents in an anticompetitive manner is patent misuse, and provides a defense to infringers. But is a patent pool, which may combine patents of related technology under a single license, ipso facto anticompetitive? In the case of Phillips v. The International Trade Commission, the CAFC (04-1361) didn't think so.
What can you do?
Every now and then I get a call from an independent inventor with a valid, issued utility patent who feels that his patent is being infringed. Upon review of the patent, file history and scrutiny of unlicensed products for sale in retail settings, a prima facia case of infringement can be made.
What can be done? I'd like to open a discussion.
Of course, cease and desist, followed by infringment lawsuit. But the economic realities often preclude an all out confrontation. Typically, all the client wants is a fair royalty payment....
September 21, 2005
Cytologic v. Ventana Medical Systems (CAFC 04-1446) presented a typical appeal over claim construction, except for having skirted a Markman hearing during district court trial.
September 19, 2005
5,110,046 claims a railroad track fastening system. "Specifically, the patent claims a rail seat assembly that resists erosion of the concrete rail tie by interposing an abrasion-resistant plate and a layer of adhering material between the rail pad and the rail."
Pandrol, having purchased '046, sued Airboss for infringement. In a case involving two issues: § 112 and assignor estoppel, the CAFC (04-1069) affirmed the district court's summary judgment.
September 17, 2005
Free Motion Claim Construction
September 16, 2005
Patent Reform Under Attack
The Patent Reform Act of 2005 took flak in Congressional hearings on Thursday.
September 15, 2005
The Wall Street Journal has a picturesque story of the patent business in action, under the understatedly quaint heading: "Aggressive Patent Litigants Pose Growing Threat to Big Business". In making that headline statement, one can only surmise that the Wall Street Journal hasn't been paying attention to the patent game for the past 200 years or so.
September 14, 2005
The CAFC (03-1092) decked the District Court for a ruling about floor boards.
September 13, 2005
Festo in Fertilizer
Biagro sued Grow More over 5,830,255, for a fertilizer. Nothing grew from it.
September 11, 2005
Silicon Valley Patents
According to Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, ten percent of all U.S. patents awarded in 2003 went to individuals or companies in Silicon Valley, up from four percent in 1993. Other valleys take note.
September 10, 2005
September 9, 2005
Network Commerce sued Microsoft for infringing 6,073,124. The critical claim construction issue was definition of the term "download component". Both plaintiff and defendant got it wrong, but the CAFC (04-1445) said that the District Court got it right. As in Phillips v. AWH, intrinsic evidence trumped extrinsic.
September 8, 2005
§101 Wilted Flower
Dana Fisher et al had a single claim relating to corn synthetic genetic material during anthesis: "A substantially purified nucleic acid molecule that encodes a maize protein or fragment thereof comprising a nucleic acid sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NO: 1 through SEQ ID NO: 5."
So, what is that good for? The Patent Board of Appeals and CAFC (04-1465) said "not enough".
September 7, 2005
5,286,129, owned by Crater Corp., claimed a conduit coupler for various uses, including electrical conduits and fluid flow systems. Lucent Technologies approached Crater to share trade secret information about the Crater coupler. The two companies coupled on the coupler, until the relationship came uncoupled.
Breaching the agreement with Crater, Lucent produced an infringing coupler, which it sold to the U.S. Navy. Protecting Lucent, the Navy had the whole business declared a state secret.
September 6, 2005
George Greve, president of the Free Software Foundation Europe, today blew chunks, spewing that the upcoming version of the General Public License (GPL), which covers free software distribution, may include a clause targeting companies that assert a patent against a free software product.
Courts are forced to interpret a law only because a law requires interpretation. In effect, the judiciary necessarily acts as a legislature when the legislature abdicates. Case in point: 35 U.S.C. §271(a).
September 2, 2005
Patents As Residuals
What difference can patents make to a company in a fast-moving technology business? As a final Hail Mary, all the difference in the world.