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November 30, 2006

Unwired

Maurice Mitchell Innovations LP sued Intel in December 2004 in the Eastern District of Texas for infringing 4,875,154, which claims bus switching for a CPU. The problem was that the disclosure wasn't fully wired for the claims.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:05 PM | Claim Construction

Pay Up

USPTO management secured a 7% across-the-board pay raise for examiners effective the last pay period of the year.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:00 AM | The Patent Office

November 29, 2006

Implicit Pressure

Even before the Supreme Court further mucks up the § 103(a) obviousness standard via its Teleflex v. KSR ruling, fear by the appeals court of the Supreme Court mucking up the obviousness standard has already warped interpretation of the law.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 6:44 PM | Prior Art

November 28, 2006

Supreme Court Obviousness Motivation

Excerpts from the oral arguments before the Supreme Court in KSR v. Teleflex, KSR seeking to upend the § 103(a) obviousness standard; the following excerpts giving a flavor of the proceedings.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:31 PM | Prior Art

Lost In Translation

Last Friday the Supreme Court of Korea affirmed patent infringement by Microsoft of Korean patents for automatic Korean to English translation, used in the local version of Microsoft Office.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:07 PM | International

November 21, 2006

Alcatel

French monopolist Alcatel, sucking in $18 billion in annual revenues, is unabashedly aggressive. Alcatel has an ongoing patent battle with Foundry Networks, and has now added Microsoft as a mark for some of the same patents. This is in addition to the patent suit over video-decoding technology that Lucent Technologies, an Alcatel acquisition, has asserted against Microsoft for its Xbox video game machine.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:36 PM | Litigation

November 20, 2006

Anticipation Needn't Be Effective

Generic drug-maker Impax filed an ANDA to make riluzole tablets, which are used to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In doing so, it was heading for a confrontation with patent holder Aventis Pharmaceuticals. So Impax preemptively slammed Aventis patent 5,527,814 for a declaratory judgment of noninfringement, invalidity, and unenforceability. Impax got nowhere crying noninfringement or inequitable conduct, but, on appeal, its prior art argument got traction with the CAFC (05-1313), after having failed with the district court. The CAFC ruled that, to anticipate, a prior art reference only has to enable creation of a drug for treatment, but need not go so far as to indicate that treatment using the drug would be effective.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:13 PM | Prior Art

November 19, 2006

The Lash

USPTO management insists on cracking the whip, destroying morale among examiners in the name of productivity.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:01 AM | The Patent Office

November 18, 2006

Function Over Form

PHG has two design patents for medical labels: D496,405 and D503,197. PHG sued St. John, a competitor, for its medical label sheets, and got a preliminary injunction from the district court. St. John had argued that the design patents weren't valid, because they had a functional aspect. The appeals court took a look (CAFC 06-1169), and decided St. John might have gotten short sheeted.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:53 AM | Design Patents

November 16, 2006

Death Rays

Optivus Technology and Loma Linda University Medical Center sued Ion Beam Applications (IBA) for violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, violation of the California unfair competition law, violation of the Lanham Act, and for intentional interference with prospective economic advantage. Oh, yeah, and patent infringement: 4,870,287 and 5,260,581. A slightly mixed ruling by the CAFC (05-1518), but the patents were hit with prior art death rays.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:58 PM | Prior Art

Tackling Chinese Infringement

China's State Intellectual Property Organization (SIPO) offers low cost patent enforcement: though limited in power, it's fast and cheap. And it's underused by American and European companies, who more regularly go with costly lawsuits.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:00 AM | International

November 15, 2006

Knocked Out

Abrasix/AstraZeneca successfully sued Mayne Pharma for infringing 5,714,520, 5,731,355, & 5,731,356, covering the intravenous anesthetic Dirprivan®, getting literal and doctrine of equivalents (DOE) judgments in district court. Mayne appealed, and got a crucial claim construction reversed, but that did not overturn the DOE infringement. (CAFC 06-1118)

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:34 AM | Claim Construction

November 13, 2006

Detachably Secured

Akeva sued Adidas for two athletic shoe patents: 6,662,471 & 6,604,300, specifically improved heels. In a non-precedential ruling, the CAFC (06-1090) affirmed a district court claim construction restricting the meaning of the term "secured" to its specific usage in the specification.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:54 AM | Claim Construction

November 12, 2006

Overcoming Obviousness

§103(a) has become a scourge of prosecution (some would say it has been for years). With the CAFC pretzel preening in anticipation of the Supreme Court going bananas with KSR v. Teleflex, examiners feel even more emboldened to sling obviousness rejections with aplomb.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:48 PM | Prosecution

November 11, 2006

Patent Death in Japan

Streamlining patent litigation in Japan has spelled its demise. After creating a specialized IP court system, the net effect has been to snuff patent enforcement.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:13 AM | International

November 10, 2006

Raw Deal

USPTO management continues to display astounding disregard for both patent quality and retaining patent examiners. Agency management's current proposal to slam examiners is flat-goal production quotas.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:06 AM | The Patent Office

November 9, 2006

Apparatus versus Process Use

The appeals court ruled today in Abbott Labs v. Baxter Pharmaceuticals. This was the second round of appeals of Abbott's assertion of 5,990,176 (CAFC 06-1021). In the first round, the CAFC remanded with a different claim construction. In this episode, Abbott appealed noninfringement, and Baxter cross-appealed validity. What the appeals court found was old news: new uses for known processes may be patented, but a prior art device cannot be patented, even if new uses of it are found.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:22 PM | Prior Art

November 8, 2006

Dumb Luck

SRI sued Symantec and Internet Security Systems for infringing four patents related to real-time network surveillance. The defendants found some damning prior art by the inventors in what SRI termed "dumb luck." Dumb indeed.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:03 PM | Prior Art

November 7, 2006

Atta Boy

One of the 6,000 patent examiners is selling on eBay the commemorative keyring that was provided as an end-of-fiscal-year gift to PTO employees. The keyring was only half of the gift; the other half was a chicken kabob pita sandwich. No word on the whether there was pity for the pita.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:59 PM | The Patent Office

Political Creatures

That USPTO top management are Republican troglodytes should come as no surprise; their "the floggings will continue until morale improves" management style gives them away. A Democratic Congress could lame some of the agencies "reforms," such as limiting continuations.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:51 AM | The Patent Office

November 6, 2006

Proofreading

This claim has been making the rounds. A wily prosecutor snuck one in to see if the inventor bothered to read the claims. Apparently not.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:55 PM | Prosecution

NTP Pops Palm

NTP, who successfully squeezed $612.5 million from Blackberry-maker Research in Motion in the patent drama of the year, has slapped Palm with an infringement suit for email delivery to its Treo handheld. The quick odds assessment by the market left Palm shares down 8%.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:07 PM | Litigation

November 5, 2006

Rightfully Burned

Furnace Brook owns 5,721,832, and is slinging it to see what it will stick on. After getting tossed in summary judgment for its overreaching assertion against Overstock.com, Furnace is on fire, sending out lowball solicitations to license. These clowns are going to give patent trolls a bad name.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:42 PM | Litigation

November 3, 2006

The Media Trap

Paul McDougall of Information Week gets the Bad Patent Article of the Week award. Congratulations Paul! Paul titled his little ditty, "How To Avoid The Patent Trap," but of course the article isn't about that; it's a hodgepodge of Paul's confusion, carping, misinformation, and miscellaneous tidbits, with, admittedly, a couple worthy paragraphs. Let's get bitchy...

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:30 PM | The Patent System

Windows Kisses Linux

Microsoft played a radically different card in its dealing with Linux Thursday. Novell struck a deal with Microsoft to pay ongoing royalties to 2012 to avoid the risk of having the SUSE Linux ox gored by Microsoft's patent portfolio, particularly a mutual covenant not to harangue each others customers and developers with patent assertions; no mention of not suing each other.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:04 AM | Patents In Business

November 2, 2006

Accelerated Examination Hell

Having just attended the USPTO webinar on accelerated examination (AE), my impression is that the program is an admission of failure by the agency, poorly thought through, expensive, and fraught with risk for the applicant. AE use should be circumscribed to business necessity, such as to secure additional funding. And AE should only be employed where a backup continuation or divisional exists, but that only partly mitigates the risks.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:27 PM | Prosecution

November 1, 2006

Forget Cashes Out

Forgent Networks, who forged filthy lucre from 4,698,672, which covered the JPEG image compression standard, put out a terse press release today, announcing having settled all outstanding assertions. Enforcement being an increasingly bumpy ride, claim construction not going its way, and with a reexam dragon breathing down its neck, Forget declares victory and goes home.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:45 PM | Patents In Business

EFS Pendency

Patent pendency isn't just for examination any longer. The spirit of Soviet Union bureaucracy, already embraced by USPTO management, has infected their online web service, EFS. At least the agency is sending out emails acknowledging a problem.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:22 PM | Prosecution