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November 30, 2005

RIM Down

Research in Motion (RIM) was dealt a double blow today in its attempts to settle its infringement fiasco with patent holder NTP. U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer "finds the parties do not have a valid and enforceable settlement". RIM had hoped that a half-page term sheet signed by both parties in March, allegedly settling the dispute for $450 million, was legally binding. That supposed deal fell apart in June. Neither RIM nor NTP have disclosed details of that tentative settlement agreement or why it broke down.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:30 AM | Litigation | Comments (6)

November 29, 2005

Pfizer Trumps PUBPAT

Pfizer patent 5,969,156, related to its blockbuster cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor, survives a re-examination prompted by the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT). PUBPAT claimed victory in narrowing the patent's scope.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:32 PM | Patents In Business

Patent Visibility

Frank Hayes of Computerworld and Peter Zura of 271 patent blog have caught patent visibility fever. The concept is creating a public database of software prior art. Frank went so far as to suggest that Microsoft waste money on it. Hey guys, get a clue.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:53 PM | Litigation | Comments (5)

Claim Breadth

IP Innovation sued eight companies for patent infringement of 4,877,404. Five settled, but three fought on. The Appeals Court (CAFC 04-1571), in affirming the district court's summary judgment of non-infringement, vindicated the defendants' fighting spirit.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:59 AM | Claim Construction

November 28, 2005

PBAI Claim Mixup

In a non-precedent case before the Patent Board of Appeals (PBAI 2005-0970), Xerox got a copy of the IPXL v. Amazon ruling: mixing claim types traverses 35 U.S.C. § 101 & § 112 ¶ 2.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:34 PM | Prosecution

Supreme Injunction

eBay has been granted a hearing before the Supreme Court in its effort to avert a permanent injunction for infringing patents belonging to MercExchange. At issue is the general use of injunctions for patent infringement; the Appeals Court thought it appropriate in its March ruling (03-1600).

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:10 AM | Injunction

November 27, 2005

The Power of the Dark Side

Last week, organizations allied with Linux ballyhooed their bequeathed acquisitions of patents. Purists against patents railed at the futility and wrong-headedness of this approach. This commentator was assailed as insane for suggesting that Linux programmers raise their sights to patenting their inventions.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:54 PM | Patents In Business | Comments (1)

November 25, 2005

The Perfect Crumb

Ms. Ruth M. Siems, 74, first-named inventor on U.S. patent 3,870,803, one of the creators of Stove Top stuffing, introduced in 1972, died Nov. 13 of a heart attack at her home in Newburgh, Indiana.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:10 PM | Patents In Business

November 22, 2005

Sugared Preliminary Injunction

The district court granted a preliminary injunction in Pfizer & Warner-Lambert v. Teva & Ranbaxy for infringement of 4,743,450, which Teva Pharmaceuticals & Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals appealed. And lost. CAFC 05-1331.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:53 AM | Claim Construction

November 21, 2005

Don't Mix Claim Types

IPXL Holdings assertion of patent infringement against Amazon.com for its one-click checkout didn't click with the courts. What especially missed the click track was tacking a method onto a system claim. MPEP § 2173.05(p)(II): "A single claim which claims both an apparatus and the method steps of using the apparatus is indefinite under 35 U.S.C. 112, second paragraph."

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:17 PM | § 112

November 20, 2005

Dirty RIM

Presiding over the current phase of the NTP v. RIM patent infringement imbroglio, fed-up U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer may rule this week whether the $450 million unconsummated settlement between NTP & RIM was, in fact, consummated, and if not, within a short time thereafter, whether to proceed with an injunction against RIM to halt its Blackberry wireless email service to lesser mortals, excluding, of course, U.S. government workers, who rely on their Blackberries for "essential government services", as if those exist in the form of wireless email.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:37 PM | Litigation

November 19, 2005

Patent Penguin Exposed

Some of those who care about open source are decrying the charade of touting patent protection for Linux via measly cast-off patent pledges from corporations like IBM. As Florian Mueller, founder of the NoSoftwarePatents campaign that successfully opposed a European patent bill earlier this year, ineloquently put it, "those announcements by the OIN and the OSDL grossly overstate the effectiveness of those partially ill-conceived approaches. By misleading people they don't put us any closer to a real solution, but even further away from one."

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:59 PM | Patents In Business | Comments (3)

November 18, 2005

Clonetech Gets Clobbered

Invitrogen v. Clonetech Labs is a patent law ecosystem unto itself: conception, enablement, written description, and infringement. The factual bases are extensive, resulting in a CAFC 47-page opinion (04-1039), but teasing out the legal reasoning in evaluating the facts is the focus here.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:35 PM | Litigation

De Novo Mongrel

Smarting from its en banc loss in Phillips v. AWH after winning earlier, AWH has petitioned the Supreme Court to address whether the appeals court has the right to de novo review of claim construction.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:26 AM | Claim Construction

November 17, 2005

Device-Specific Style

MicroStrategy sued Business Objects for infringement of its 6,260,050 patent, to which the district court granted summary judgment of non-infringement, hinging on claim construction. Interestingly, MicroStrategy won its claim construction argument, but lost the interpretation of it with regard to infringement (CAFC 04-1572).

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:27 PM | Claim Construction

Smug RIM

Research In Motion (RIM) is claiming satisfaction with its workaround to patent infringement of NTP patents, claiming that an injunction would not affect its Blackberry customers from receiving their wireless emails.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:02 AM | Litigation

November 16, 2005

Brain Compression

Something's amiss. Daniel Ravicher of the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) today took a re-examination shotgun and pointed it Forgent Networks JPEG patent cash cow: 4,698,672, claiming invalidity in light of other, similar patents generated by Compression Labs, specifically 5,451,012, and inequitable conduct for not citing those other patents. Two possibilities: Danny's off base, or attorneys representing more than 80 companies & law firms didn't do their homework.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:46 AM | Patents In Business | Comments (12)

November 15, 2005

Open Source Fig Leaf

In a gesture to generate warm and fuzzy feelings that Linux has a pretense of intellectual property protection, the "global consortium" Open Source Development Labs has opened its Patent Commons. The Patent Commons is a set of searchable databases listing the "more than 500 patents pledged to date".

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:03 AM | Patents In Business

Getting A Grip

Surprisingly, the district court couldn't get a grip on the claim term "hand-grip size case" for claim 1 in 6,043,663, owned by Joseph Kapusta, who sued Gale Corporation for infringement of a TV cable test instrument. The appeals court (CAFC) made it look easy (05-1091).

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:40 AM | Claim Construction

November 14, 2005

The Patented Internet

Causing quite a stir, e-commerce pioneer Amazon has recently scooped three patents, two for consumer reviews (6,963,848; 6,963,850), and one for categorizing query results (6,963,867). That's just a tiny tip of the reality iceberg that the Internet is heavily patented.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:19 AM | Patents In Business

Business Methods Patents

The United States Patent and Trademark Office released a set of interim examination guidelines for assessing the patentability of business method patents.

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Posted by Peter Haas at 9:20 AM | § 101

November 11, 2005

U.S. Crybaby

Supreme Crackberry Uncle Sam cried to the district judge in the NTP v. RIM case today: "please Daddy, don't take my Blackberry." The U.S. government claimed that "essential government services" could be impaired if wireless services for Blackberries were cut off because of a patent infringement injunction.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:44 PM | Litigation

Patent Law Seminars

Law Seminars International is sponsoring two upcoming CLE workshops on patent law. The presenters are veteran prosecutors, litigators and corporate counsel.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:15 AM | Patents In Business

First-to-File Unconstitutional

The Patent Reform Act of 2005 proposes provisions that would change the granting of patents from the so-called first-to-invent system to a first-to-file system. The first-to-file provisions of the Act violate Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution, which limits Congress to granting patents only to "Inventors". A system enacted by Congress for granting patents to anyone other than a good faith inventor would be unconstitutional.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:08 AM | The Patent System | Comments (1)

Linux Patent Momentum

Tarmac is being laid for a new Linux patent runway: IBM, Sony and Philips have joined forces with Linux distributors Red Hat and Novell to create Open Invention Network (OIN), a company for sharing Linux patents, royalty-free. This could be a harbinger of a huge shift in the software business, as the press is playing it up, or it could just be this year's software buzz.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:03 AM | Patents In Business

November 10, 2005

Space Oddity

You can only wonder what Boris Volfson has got parked in his garage. What he has in his file cabinet is USPN 6,960,975 (pdf). If you want to sell your anti-gravity powered spaceship with hollow superconductive shield, you better first take a patent license from Boris. Either that, or go intergalactic to evade infringement. As to the patent office granting this, it's a spacetime anomaly indeed.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:06 AM | Prosecution | Comments (1)

November 9, 2005

RIM's Silver Lining

Yes, it looks grim for RIM. U.S. District Court Judge James Spencer began this morning the process of deciding whether to enforce an injunction against Research in Motion Ltd. for its Blackberry handheld devices. "I intend to move swiftly in this," Spencer said. "I've spent enough of my life and time on NTP and RIM." But ultimately, it's most likely that RIM will pay NTP and settle the matter.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:13 AM | Litigation

November 7, 2005

Removably Attached

Child's play over a child's car seat goes awry. The Court of Appeals made a rather bizarre ruling in Dorel v. Graco (05-1026), agreeing with the district court in crucial claim construction, but then overruling non-infringement on summary judgment.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:15 PM | Litigation

November 6, 2005

Patent Notification Smart Response

Receiving a patent notification letter offers options: 1] no response; 2] delayed response, including requesting time for investigation; 3] initiate negotiations; 4] avert further infringement by discontinuing sale of infringing products; 5] initiate a declaratory judgment suit. As to the most appropriate response, consider the source. But always validate.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:26 AM | Patents In Business

November 4, 2005

Definitely Swinging

Fisher-Price sued Graco Children's Products, and its parent, Newell Rubbermaid, for patent infringement regarding a collapsible infant swing (6,520,862). The district court threw the case out in summary judgment owing to the asserted claims being indefinite. The appeals court (CAFC 05-1258) had a different swing, giving the patent holder the benefit of the doubt in readily understood technology.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:12 PM | § 112

November 3, 2005

Coffee Beer

Nestec, a subsidiary of Swiss-based Nestlé, has filed patents (WIPO application) in every major market worldwide for "coffee beer". Nestec's non-alcoholic coffee beer smells like strong coffee, has a caffeine kick like a mule, and foams like beer when poured.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:47 PM | Patents In Business | Comments (1)

November 2, 2005

Chief Oops

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts recused himself from further proceedings in the appeal of the Laboratory Corp. of America v. Metabolite Laboratories patent suit, after taking part in the early stages. Big John acknowledged he shouldn't have touched the case to begin with.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:32 PM | Litigation

November 1, 2005

R&D leading to IP Strategy at Corning

As reported by MIT Technology Review, over the last four years Corning focused a significant percentage of its R&D on a new way of cleaning up Diesel exhaust. While dirty, this is does not appear to be a sexy business. Regardless, it does provide an interesting example of a firm willing to dump the status quo, give up a lucrative market, invest heavily, and establish a proprietary position through IP in a growing market.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:54 AM | Patents In Business