December 31, 2005
China Patent Update
According to an official press report from China, patent applications in China for 2005 are expected to be around 110,000. This past year, 378,000 utility patents were filed in the U.S.
December 29, 2005
New China IP Weblog
IP Dragon is a new weblog focused on intellectual property activities in China. If they keep up with the sassy capitalist running dog pro-foreigner coverage, as in today's post, no doubt they'll be banned in China in no time. You go, dragon bloggers!
Japan To Up Patent Infringement Penalties
The Japan patent office has decided to seek legislation next year to update its maximum patent infringement penalties for companies, from ¥150m ($130 million) to ¥300m ($258m). The patent office is expected to request a maximum penalty for patent infringement by individuals of ¥5m ($4.3m) and up to five years in prison. The penalties exclude licensing fees. The changes sought would take effect in 2007.
Nokia Tab Confirmed
The US District Court for the Southern District of New York confirmed a June ruling by the International Court of Arbitration, ordering Nokia to pay $252 million in patent royalty fees to InterDigital for the years 2002 through 2006.
December 28, 2005
In The Body
Cannon Rubber sued The First Years (TFY) for infringing 5,749,850, which claimed a breast pump for pumping milk from the breast of a nursing mother. Under appeal review (CAFC 05-1063), the critical issue for infringement was claim construction of the phrase "in the body", referring to the location of a diaphragm used in the pump.
December 27, 2005
Shuffle Master sued VendingData for infringing 6,655,684 claim 20, for a card shuffling and dealing device. The two sides differed over a crucial claim construction term: what constitutes forming a "set of cards". VendingData was found by the district court of Nevada to be holding the wrong set of cards, and slapped it with a preliminary injunction. Not so fast, cried VendingData to the appeals court (CAFC 05-1203).
December 23, 2005
Japan Patent Office Update
Japan is working on improving and expediting its examination processes by increasing the number of examiners, outsourcing, and urging industry to be selective in filing applications.
December 22, 2005
NTP on the ReExam Ropes
The NY Times reported that the patent office, in a letter dated November 30, sent along with a rejection of extension of time for reply, has already told both NTP & RIM that a reexamination final rejection of NTP's patents is pending. "The patent owner's arguments are deemed nonpersuasive... The next office action is expected to be a final rejection of all current claims."
December 21, 2005
BeavisWeek seems dedicated to publishing absurd opinions about patents. This week's scatological blunder, "Cutting Through the Patent Thicket", is by Greg Blonder, who claims to have grown up with patents, but still doesn't seem to understand them.
December 20, 2005
Dr. Nicholas V. Perricone was granted 5,409,693 and 5,574,063 for a vitamin C lotion to prevent and treat sunburn. In suing Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation for infringement, the patents got singed.
December 19, 2005
RIM continues to grasp at straws to avoid paying NTP for patent infringement. Late last week RIM again appealed to the Supreme Court to save its bacon.
December 17, 2005
The NY Times today profiled Andreas Pavel, who invented the Walkman, claimed in 4,412,106 and 5,201,003. His story of patent enforcement is sad, and may be all too common. Oddly, even ironically, as Andreas obviously values the publicity given him for patenting, he says, "I don't want to be reduced to the label of being the inventor of the Walkman."
Patent Office Plays Politics
Defying its own regulations, the patent office is only giving NTP 30 days, instead of the customary 60 days, to reply to the non-final rejection of its patents in the re-examination initiated by infringer Research in Motion (RIM). In case you just dropped in from another planet, NTP sucessfully sued RIM for patent infringement, and RIM has been fighting that reality tooth and nail.
December 16, 2005
Ivory Tower Patent Reform
Three law professors have proposed a bifurcated quality patent examination system: vetted and niggardly.
December 15, 2005
After slapping a lawsuit against Microsoft for patent infringement Wednesday, wireless email provider Visto CEO Brian Bogosian, doing his best King Kong impersonation, thumped his chest and bellowed, "They're going to have to satisfy our requirements for playing in this market. Really, more important than money at this point, is receiving an injunction." Look at that little monkey go after the 800-pound gorilla!
Yahoo! Licenses JPEG Patent
Walking away from further litigation with a lighter wallet, Yahoo! is inking a patent licensing agreement with Forgent Networks over the notorious JPEG patent (4,698,672), which has raked in $105 million in licensing fees.
BIAX Rides Again
Riding into the popular showdown corral in the dusty Eastern District of Tejas, semiconductor maker BIAX draws against rival Phillips Semiconductor for infringing four of its patents for digital processing systems. The patent infringement bookie puts the odds heavily in favor of BIAX.
December 14, 2005
Visto Licenses NTP Patents
Wireless email provider Visto signed a licensing agreement with NTP, joining the licensee ranks of Research in Motion (RIM) rivals Good Technology and Nokia, as RIM's Blackberry withers on the vine of infringement.
Managing a Portfolio
Companies valuate their patent portfolio as an intangible asset, but that asset is worthless until it becomes tangible.
December 13, 2005
King of the Patent Trolls
Acacia Research is a juggernaut of a patent licensing company, gaining momentum as the leader in patent monetization for the worthy few. Acacia just announced acquisition of another portfolio, for monitoring and diagnosing computer information. The technology is already employed by numerous companies, and has already been licensed to some large corporations, so the enforcement pump is primed.
December 12, 2005
Just finished an assignment from a patent-aware company, looking for whitespace in the patent landscape of financial services, to get a sense of where new patents may be generated. How refreshing from the head-in-the-sand, see-no-evil approach of some companies towards patents.
December 11, 2005
Creative Feeling Infringed
Where better to throw the dice than Reno?! Yesterday in Reno, Creative Technology chief executive Sim Wong Hoo, in thinly veiled terms, said that Apple Computer's iPod infringed on Creative's so-called Zen patent (6,928,433) and that the company would be aggressively pursuing a patent infringement case.
December 9, 2005
NTP & RIM Chat For A Bit
NTP and RIM had been talking settlement with each other through a court-appointed mediator this week over RIM's infringement of NTP's patents. RIM shares surged on the news. But the talks seem to have short-circuited, at least for now. Snorted Dan Stout, NTP co-founder, "It's so far off, it's not negotiation."
December 8, 2005
2005 USPTO Annual Report
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has issued its annual report for 2005. Here's a look at some of the more interesting findings for patents.
December 7, 2005
Taking It To The ITC
December 6, 2005
1986 vintage 4,777,354 doesn't have much life left, but it's going out like a kicking mule. Inventor Barry Thomas is going for the gusto.
Down to "a"
Norian sued Styker for infringing 6,002,065, which is directed to kits “for preparing rapidly setting calcium phosphate compositions to be used as ‘bone cements’ in medical or dental procedures.” Continuing a losing streak, on second appeal (CAFC 05-1172), Norian got tossed in a narrowing claim construction, down to a single "a".
December 4, 2005
Patent Ignorance Pending
The L.A. Times had, as one of its unsigned Sunday editorials, "Patent Sanity Pending". Let's pick apart the foolish presumptions therein.
December 3, 2005
Microsoft Bows to Eolas
In perhaps the final of a series of about-faces for implementing a workaround to infringing the notorious Eolas patent (5,838,906), Microsoft notified multimedia content providers, OEM partners and ActiveX control vendors Friday that the way that ActiveX controls work is going to change, slightly.
The prospect of passage of the Patent Reform Act of 2005 will soon expire with the year-end congressional recess, but the impetus for patent reform won't. One driving force is the myth that the current patent system retards innovation by granting bad patents. The issue to address is not an imbalance between promoting innovation and protecting the rights of patent holders, it's in strengthening patent validity by reducing uncertainty.