July 31, 2006
Non-Profit Patent Profit
The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 allowed universities and other non-profit institutions to retain ownership of patents from federally-funded research. It turned universities, hospitals, and research institutions into invention hothouses, and patent monetizers.
July 28, 2006
Rambus took the bird in the hand, accepting a lowered damages award in its infringement case against Hynix Semiconductor for infringing computer memory patents.
July 27, 2006
July 26, 2006
Wireless & Witless
Wireless Agents appealed a district court denial of preliminary injunction in its suit against Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, pressing 6,665,173. The spat was over preliminary claim construction, with the district judge hinting heavy that Wireless' case was groundless, and the appeals court [CAFC 06-1054] rubbing it in.
There is a surging wave of research in nanotechnology - a catch-all for tiny structures with broad applicability in other technologies. In other words, nanotech is a catalytic technology, possibly seminal in this country maintaining its competitive edge internationally. In that regard, one big problem is the USPTO.
July 24, 2006
East Texas Prospecting
Dusty from riding down to Marshall to file against some patent rustler in the Eastern District of Texas, you'll want a place to take off your boots and sleep, a livery for your horse, and a saloon to ease the tension. Oh, and maybe some temporary office space.
July 23, 2006
DirecTV To Appeal
What a difference a settlement makes. Freedom Wireless has a patented system for tracking pre-paid wireless phone usage (5,722,067), for which Boston Communications et al were sued for infringement. Futilely, to the sound of tiny, inaudible violins, Boston had cried prior art invalidity, and spat "patent troll" at Freedom. A jury tagged Boston Communications $128 million for infringement, including Boston-indemnified co-defendants. Boston appealed, but Friday wisely gave up that ghost.
July 22, 2006
In a rare homage to patent protection, the Wall Street Journal in its weekend edition spotlights towns where individual inventors seemingly cluster and bloom: "The Most Inventive Towns in America."
July 21, 2006
Backyard Prior Art
Jumpsport sued Jumpking, and other defendants, for infringing trampoline patents 6,053,845 and its continuation 6,261,207. Mixed verdict; the item of interest is the continuation of broad latitude in what constitutes prior art; in this case, public use.
July 20, 2006
USPTO Management Lambasted
July 19, 2006
Rambus Damages Axed
Rambus successfully sued Hynix Semiconductor for patent infringement, and was awarded $307 million in damages by a jury. Calling that sum "exaggerated," presiding judge Ronald Whyte reduced the award (court order) on Monday to $133.6 million.
July 18, 2006
Stem Cell Brouhaha
Research using stem cells hold the promise of ultimately treating numerous diseases. But, in this country, federal funding for that research has been thwarted by religious fanatics with highly placed political connections. And now, even as the Senate passed a bill increasing federal funding for stem-cell research, to which a presidential veto is threatened, yet another roadblock to stem-cell research apparently looms.
July 15, 2006
Young Punk Wanderlust
Examiners harp that employee turnover at the patent office results from the regime and conditions imposed upon them; the common story when any organization suffers high attrition. But, according to office management, newly hired Millennial-generation examiners leave, not for better pay or less stress, but owing to professional wanderlust, itself a hallmark of their generation. Agency employees in their 20s were amused to read of their presumed mores.
Tax Patent Hearing
At the House Ways & Means Select Revenue Subcommittee hearings Thursday over tax patents, USPTO mouthpiece, General Counsel James "The Mouse That Roared" Toupin said, in essence, "not our problem."
July 14, 2006
Aussie Wi-Fi Strong-arm
Australia's national science agency, CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), fumbled all over in trying to license 5,487,069, which claims IEEE standards 802.11a & 802.11g, Wi-Fi, for wireless LAN (local area networks). When its U.S. corporate targets Dell, Intel, HP, Microsoft and Netgear sought declaratory judgment, CSIRO tried to evade court action by declaring itself immune from suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). [CAFC 06-1032]
July 13, 2006
July 12, 2006
PTO Web Chat Snafu
Today's intra-patent office news: "Because of technical difficulties with our software program, today's web chat on telecommuting programs with Under Secretary Dudas was suspended." Over 300 people had logged in for today's chat.
July 11, 2006
The House Ways & Means Select Revenue Subcommittee is holding hearings Thursday into patents claiming tax processes. The worry is whether such patents contribute to tax avoidance (as in: duh), and whether it could make the IRS's job of blocking tax shelters more difficult.
July 10, 2006
The patent office, singing the John Doll theme song to applicants of "do some work for us," is proposing changes to information disclosure statement (IDS) requirements, according the Monday's Federal Register.
Vonage's Patent Woes & Weapon
Klausner Technologies slapped Vonage with its third patent infringement suit in less than a year, filing in the Eastern District of Texas for $180 million in damages, for 5,572,576, on Internet voicemail services technology. Separately, Vonage acquired counterclaim capability in its infringement suits from Verizon and Sprint, its other patent nemeses.
Acacia's CEO Interviewed
July 9, 2006
Another Acacia Sweep
As of Friday, ace patent holding company Acacia settled with all six defendants against which it had asserted 4,937,743, which claims resource scheduling software, specifically oriented towards health care providers.
July 8, 2006
The First Patent Office Building
The July issue of the Smithsonian magazine has an interesting article titled Back To The Future on the history and recent renovation of the original patent office building.
July 7, 2006
In June, DirecTV got beamed $78.9 million for infringing 5,404,505, a Finisar patent on digital transmission. Now DirecTV has been found to have willfully infringed, adding $25 million to the tab, plus 6% interest since April 4, 1999 ($12m), and an ongoing royalty of $1.60 per set-top box until the patent expires in 2012.
LGE sued several OEMs for patent infringement in selling computer systems. The OEMs had bought Intel microprocessors, which where under LGE license, but then combined them with non-licensed components. The license excluded such combination, thus opening the door for infringement assertion. But an 1873 ruling states that "[A]n unconditional sale of a patented device exhausts the patentee's right to control the purchaser's use of the device thereafter," providing the basis for the district court to grant summary judgment of noninfringement on system claims. There were also claim construction disputes. The appeals court differed from the district court in instances, particularly in regard to patent exhaustion.