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February 29, 2008

Crippling

Using the San Jose Mercury News for a soapbox, Daniel Leckrone, head of the patent prospecting TPL Group, ripped into proposed legislation currently withering on the vine in the Senate.

If passed in its existing form, the bill masquerading under the euphemism "Patent Reform Act" will stifle growth and prosperity for the average U.S. citizen. It will slow down investment, reduce jobs and threaten economic recovery at a time we need it most. This misguided special-interest legislation still pending in the portals of the Senate must be stopped.

Continue reading "Crippling"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:35 PM | The Patent System

Money Changes Everything

MercExchange's patent assertion against eBay's "Buy It Now" feature resulted in a Supreme Court ruling that, using a four-factor test, essentially denied injunctive relief unless the patent holder was a direct competitor to an infringer. Thursday, eBay announced that it bought three patents from Merchange for an undisclosed amount, including 5,845,265, the centerpiece of the matter.

Continue reading "Money Changes Everything"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:08 PM | Patents In Business

U Turn

Micron sought declaratory judgment in Northern California against memory-chip competitor MOSAID, the day before MOSAID filed in East Texas. Northern California district court pitched the DJ matter. Micron appealed. The appeal ruling is a textbook of current case law for declaratory judgment jurisdiction and district court discretion.

Continue reading "U Turn"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:41 PM | Declaratory Judgment

February 28, 2008

Screening

The University of California and Abbott went after Dako for infringing DNA screening patents 5,447,841 and 6,596,479. After a district court priority blunder, and turning aside a preliminary injunction motion, claim construction gave Dako a noninfringement out; until appeal.

Continue reading "Screening"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:28 PM | Claim Construction

Checking Out

The "upgrade" to Movable Type (MT) 4 was a bilious bumble. Basically, it blew chunks, and it was no self-revelation that I make a cantankerous janitor. MT seemingly gave no consideration to backward compatibility. Among other tedious wankings, subscription notification went to hell in a bucket without leaving a "thank you" note. So now it's a Kenny Rogers moment: know when to hold 'em, and know when to fold 'em.

Continue reading "Checking Out"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:05 AM | | Comments (3)

February 27, 2008

Shorted Out

Tessera, semiconductor miniaturization maven, took a half-dozen companies to task before the International Trade Commission (ITC), including Motorola, Qualcomm, Freescale Semiconductor, and ATI, a unit of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). Monday morning, just before the ITC trial was scheduled to begin, Administrative Law Judge Theodore Essex brought the tent poles down, pending reexamination outcome of the asserted Tessera patents.

Continue reading "Shorted Out"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:56 PM | ITC

Fish Tank

Myth tells us that fish grow to the size of their tank. Reason suggests, related to a USPTO examiner, this myth may prove out.

Continue reading "Fish Tank"

Posted by Mr. Platinum at 12:44 PM | The Patent Office | Comments (3)

February 26, 2008

Down Boy

Medtronic's lawyers were hammered for malpractice in patent suit against BrainLAB last week. Now a different legal crew barking for Medtronic has been slapped a $10 million fine for similar malfeasance.

Continue reading "Down Boy"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:38 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

Relief

Carlos Amado owns 5,293,615, which claims an interface method between spreadsheet and database programs. Amado sued Microsoft for its Office product infringing, and won 4¢ per copy royalty, and an injunction. The injunction was stayed pending post-trial motions, during which Amado got 12¢ per copy royalty. In wake of the SCOTUS eBay decision, the injunction was dissolved by the district court. On second appeal, the CAFC affirmed the district court handling of injunction, while a spat about spare-change royalty rate was remanded.

Continue reading "Relief"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:19 AM | Damages | Comments (1)

On-Line Chat for Independent Inventors

Every couple of months the USPTO hosts an on-line chat, allowing independent inventors to ask questions regarding the patent process. The next chat: Thursday, February 28th, from 2 to 3 PM (EST).

Continue reading "On-Line Chat for Independent Inventors"

Posted by Mr. Platinum at 10:02 AM | Prosecution | Comments (3)

Willful

Monday, the Supreme Court snubbed certiorari for the CAFC en banc Seagate decision that practically eviscerated willful patent infringement. Nor reason was given. To seek enhanced damages, the Seagate standard requires that a patent holder prove that an infringer was "objectively reckless" in knowingly infringing a patent. Damages deflation ahead.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:20 AM | Damages

February 25, 2008

Exuberance Rewarded

Last February, the appeals court found Medtronic's four-patent assertion against BrainLAB worthless, upholding Colorado district court Judge Richard Matsch overturning a duped jury verdict of infringement. Back before the district court, entertaining a post-trail motion by BrainLAB to recover all attorneys fees and costs, Judge Matsch raked Medtronic's attorneys over the coals, particularly Terrence McMahon and Vera Elson of McDermott Will & Emery.

Continue reading "Exuberance Rewarded"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:06 PM | Litigation | Comments (2)

February 24, 2008

Worldwide Patent Survey

Joff Wild of Intellectual Asset Magazine surveyed the 2007 international patent scene, and found some patent puppies with growing pains, while old dogs are up to tricks both old and new.

Continue reading "Worldwide Patent Survey"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:09 PM | International

No Surprise

Rick Frenkel's setup for blogging always seemed a bit queer - anonymously blogging voyeuristically, by supposedly peeking behind the curtain of non-practicing patent holders quietly enforcing their patents, as if anyone should care about that ipso facto. That the blog name was Patent Troll Tracker was a dead giveaway to the author being a serious case of IP arrested development. That he did so anonymously was the silly irony: wanting to unmask others while staying masked himself.

Continue reading "No Surprise"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:51 PM | Patents In Business | Comments (19)

Exam Plan

USPTO registration exam questions have remained very similar throughout the years, some word-for-word identical, but the overall focus of the 100-question exam has shifted drastically. Is this merely the necessary result of a shift in exam format, or is it an indication of a change in focus at the PTO? Regardless, for those currently preparing for the Patent Bar, modify your study plan accordingly.

Continue reading "Exam Plan"

Posted by Mr. Platinum at 1:27 PM | Prosecution | Comments (3)

February 23, 2008

Blackboarded

Blackboard suing competitor Desire2Learn for infringing 6,988,138 spurred academic outrage, but a hillbilly east Texas jury paid the pointy-heads no heed, awarding $3 million in damages.

Continue reading "Blackboarded"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:04 PM | Damages | Comments (1)

Follow the Money

If you wonder why, for the Patent Reform Act, Senator Leahy is so hot to trot, it's that he got paid and bought. Of the $2.4 million packed into Leahy's political piggy bank in the past five years, $3/4 million came from "lawyers and lobbyists;" not surprising, given that Leahy is Senate Judiciary Committee chairman. Second place in pork placement was the computer-related sector, approaching $1/2 million. Third place is under $200,000. Heavyweights in digital technologies, including communications companies, which are totally digital too, are the pushers for so-called "patent reform."

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:02 AM | The Patent System | Comments (4)

February 22, 2008

SPEcial Powers

With USPTO allowance rates at an all time low, there has been frequent analysis and speculation regarding cause and implication. There is a player in the shadows: the supervisory examiner.

Continue reading "SPEcial Powers"

Posted by Mr. Platinum at 3:19 PM | The Patent Office | Comments (2)

Factual Fiction

For now, the CAFC retains a polite fiction: "We review claim construction de novo on appeal. Cybor Corp. v. FAS Tech., Inc., 138 F.3d 1448, 1456 (Fed. Cir. 1998) (en banc);" de novo because claim construction is considered a matter of law, not a factual inquiry. In today's Aristocrat nonprecedential reversal and remand, summary judgment of indefiniteness in claim construction was ruled in error because "genuine issues of material fact remained pertinent."

Continue reading "Factual Fiction"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:38 PM | § 112

Retractable

6,733,328 has been treated like a commodity. It was originally assigned to Ultra Products, then transferred to Taiwan-based Transpower Technology. Transpower made Retractable Technologies LLC exclusive licensee, capable of enforcing the patent; although Dallas-based Data Drive claims to be exclusive licensee, but that Retractable could license the patent with permission. Retractable cracked the whip in Wyoming Tuesday, against Belkin, RadioShack, Fry's Electronics, Targus, and others.

Continue reading "Retractable"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:08 AM | Litigation

February 21, 2008

On-Sale Bar Ruffle

In reply to potential customer Sealy, a bed mattress maker, Atlanta Attachment developed a sewing machine for automatically creating gusset rufflers. There was a verbal understanding of confidentiality. Over time, Atlanta Attachment sent prototypes to Sealy, in September 2000 invoicing Sealy for the third of four prototypes ultimately delivered. The last prototype was but a minor jigger difference from the third.

Continue reading "On-Sale Bar Ruffle"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:05 PM | Prior Art

A View from Tel Aviv

Bernard Frieder is a consultant to technology companies in Israel, miffed at the U.S. Congress for threatening to wreck the U.S. patent system with its Patent Reform Act of 2007.

Because inventors, research organizations and startup ventures around the world rely on US patents to protect the output of their labor, changing the US patent system has global repercussions.

Continue reading "A View from Tel Aviv"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:37 AM | The Patent System | Comments (2)

Loaded Gun

George Margolin of the Professional Inventors Alliance had a graphic response to last week's editorial in the Washington Times by Senators Leahy, touting S. 1145, the Senate bill to deform the U.S. patent system. "All inventors strongly disagree with [Leahy], but he wouldn't know that because he has allowed few, if any, real inventors speak before his committee," Margolin conjectured.

Continue reading "Loaded Gun"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:09 AM | The Patent System | Comments (2)

Infringement Kimchee

Korea Aerospace University Professor Lee Keung-hae invented software for automatic linguistic switching between Korean and English. Lee lost his initial patent assertion against Microsoft for its Korean version of Word, in 2000. At the time, Lee claimed $42,000 in damages. Following trial, Microsoft countersued Lee in 2001 to invalidate the patent, but the Korean Supreme Court ruled that Lee was holder of a valid patent. As a result, a lower court recently ruled in Lee's favor. Lee is now totting up damages, expected to be at least an order of magnitude greater than those originally sought.

Continue reading "Infringement Kimchee"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:42 AM | International

Rocket Dockets

The Eastern District of Texas has become the most popular court for patent litigation. As a result, with stuffed docket, time to trial has stretched to about two years. Other districts are taking up the slack, notably the Western District of Wisconsin and the Eastern District of Virginia, but there is a potential drawback to the also-rans.

Continue reading "Rocket Dockets"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:57 AM | Litigation | Comments (2)

February 20, 2008

Wireless & Witless

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) and Moto Q maker Motorola sued each other Saturday for patent infringement. Illinois-based Motorola chose Delaware and the Eastern District of Texas, while Ontario-based RIM chose the Northern District of Texas. No venue shopping there.

Continue reading "Wireless & Witless"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:46 PM | Litigation

February 19, 2008

All Good

The U.S. Patent Reform Act of 2007 is a gift, a most welcome change, if you are an Indian generic drug maker. The view from Mumbai:

The immediate impact of the law change will be to ease challenges on drug patents and also lower legal costs in such challenges.

Continue reading "All Good"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:29 PM | The Patent System

Preliminary Injunction

A pair of preliminary injunctions vacated on appeal, putting claim construction and KSR as the cruxes of justification. In Erico v. Vutec & Doc's Marketing, though hotly contested, KSR Obzilla stomped in to quash a preliminary injunction. In Chamberlain Group v. Lear, a rather obvious inconsistency in claim construction resulted in preliminary injunction reversal.

Continue reading "Preliminary Injunction"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:04 PM | Injunction | Comments (3)

CAFC on Patent Reform

Chief Judge Michel of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit (CAFC), addressing the Association of Corporate Patent Counsel on January 28, 2008, backhandedly took Congress to task for being duped by asinine academics, essentially rumor mongers, jumping to conclusions, ignorant of facts. Noting selective Congressional committee reportage, Michel hints that the fix was in.

Continue reading "CAFC on Patent Reform"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:22 PM | The Patent System | Comments (1)

February 18, 2008

Frank Piasecki

Igor Sikorsky flew the first helicopter in 1941. In 1943, Frank Piasecki flew the second helicopter, the PV-2, built from junk auto parts in a Philadelphia garage. The PV-1 never made it past the drawing board.

The first PV-2 flight was rambunctious: Piasecki had only 14 hours flight experience in a small Piper Cub airplane. The PV-2 was tethered to a clothes line. The first flight was only supposed to be a couple of feet off the ground. The helicopter went up, the clothes line snapped, and Frank was winging it.

Continue reading "Frank Piasecki"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:34 PM | Patents In Business | Comments (1)

Patents as Intangible Asset Partitions


Everybody knows that corporations shield shareholders from liability for debts of the corporations. But corporations perform another function, which may be even more important for startups: corporations shield the corporate assets contributed by one shareholder from being raided by the creditors of other shareholders. To see how much this matters, imagine how difficult it would be to form a pool of capital for funding a startup if funding had to be renegotiated everytime one of the startup's investors died or declared bankruptcy. Were corporations not to perform this vital function for shareholders, the costs of negotiating with every potential future creditor of other shareholders would quickly outstrip the benefit of pooling capital in the first place.

In a pathbreaking article, Prof. Paul Heald explains how patents perform a similar transactions-cost-reducing function for intangible asset owners.

Continue reading "Patents as Intangible Asset Partitions"

Posted by Michael Martin at 9:42 AM | Patents In Business

February 17, 2008

Interest

As reported last week, Dr. Bruce Saffron nabbed Boston Scientific for patent infringement to the tune of $432 million. Friday, the presiding judge tacked on $69 million in pretrial interest. Saffron's lead attorney pipped: "$69 million is a nice amount." Prejudgment interest is common, but not a given.

Continue reading "Interest"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:29 PM | Damages

Bad Brew

Economist Robert Shapiro and health care policy maven Aparna Mathur rip into provisions of the Patent Reform Act currently swirling the bowl in the Senate. In a study published by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the authors project the repercussions of damages apportionment, post-grant opposition, and lowering the bar for inequitable conduct.

Continue reading "Bad Brew"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:51 PM | The Patent System

Technical Difficulties

Yes, The Patent Prospector has been off the air for a couple of days; but is once again pleased to broadcast a seamy stream of random competence in the patent world. As chronicled herein, senators, Supreme Court Justices, inventors, and run-of-the-mill patent attorneys parade as nincompoops on a tear. In other reportage, occasionally events make sense.

Continue reading "Technical Difficulties"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:34 PM |

February 15, 2008

Good Old Bozos

Senators Leahy and Hatch, in a Washington Times editorial, cry wolf about the need for patent reform, dishing out fallacious logic and rummy rumor posing as fact. "Meaningful patent reform is crucial to America's ability to maintain its competitive edge in the world," they toot, without evidentiary basis or rational reasoning matching perceived problem to proposed solution.

Continue reading "Good Old Bozos"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:02 AM | The Patent System | Comments (1)

February 14, 2008

Becalmed

Keith Perine in the Congressional Quarterly spied the stall in the Senate version of the Patent Reform Act.

The Senate is not expected to take up a measure to overhaul patent laws until April at the earliest, as agreement on the complex legislation remains elusive. Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, a Vermont Democrat who sponsored the legislation (S 1145), acknowledged Wednesday that it likely won't be on the floor until after a two-week March recess. So far .... there have not been substantive negotiations over complex provisions - particularly a section dealing with damages awards in patent infringement lawsuits - since the Judiciary panel approved the bill last July... Lobbyists have predicted that the committee-approved bill does not have a filibuster-proof majority of 60 votes.

Continue reading "Becalmed"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:05 PM | The Patent System

Shifting Liability

Money is a lubricant and a salve. Banks apply the salve to others to ease their own pain: potent wads in political lobbying and campaign contributions. With the housing market in deep kimchee, the banking industry is pushing proposals to shift the risk of mangled mortgages to the Federal Housing Administration; considered far-fetched a few months ago, now more a matter of when than whether. Then there's this pesky patent holder, DataTreasury, that practically patented "Check 21," the federal law for digitally archiving checks.

Continue reading "Shifting Liability"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:24 PM | Patents In Business | Comments (1)

February 13, 2008

Apportion This

The Innovation Alliance sports a study by Prof. Paul Janicke that concludes: "There is no pattern of runaway jury verdicts in patent cases." What's more: "Despite what some argue, under our system of justice, judges do not simply "rubber stamp" a jury's damage award."

Continue reading "Apportion This"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:14 PM | Damages

Wage Slave to Own

Back in 1991, the Barstow brothers, David and Daniel, patented a way to include computer events within a live broadcast. Being sports fans, the Barstow boys dreamt up the idea from wanting to watch baseball games simulated on a computer. They went after MLB Advanced Media, who got the matter tossed in district court over subject matter jurisdiction. Problem was that David worked, under employee contract, for Schlumberger when the patent was filed, leaving title under a cloud. The district court wouldn't hear the Barstows out, so the Barstows appealed.

Continue reading "Wage Slave to Own"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:20 PM | Litigation | Comments (4)

February 12, 2008

Money Matters

The Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform, whose motto is "patents matter," made no small matter of making money matter in lobbying for patent legislation: paying law firm Akin Gump $1.2 million in 2007 to grease the skids.

Continue reading "Money Matters"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:39 PM | The Patent System | Comments (2)

Stent for Rent

Over a decade ago, radiologist Dr. Bruce Saffran invented a drug-eluting porous sheet, and was granted 5,653,760. Boston Scientific liked the idea. Imitation resulted in flattery costing $431.9 million, an 8% royalty on U.S. sales, and 6% on foreign sales, from 2004 through last September. The award was reputedly the sixth largest in history. Hard-nosed BS will try to get presiding Eastern District of Texas Judge T. John Ward to overturn the jury verdict; barring that, appeal.

Continue reading "Stent for Rent"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 6:31 PM | Damages | Comments (10)

February 11, 2008

It's a Dud, Dude

Patent monger Alcatel-Lucent sued Dell in 2003 over 15 patents; Dell counterclaimed with 6,038,597 and 6,182,275, related to Internet computer product ordering. Jury trial found Dell's patents valid and non-infringed. Dell was ordered to pay costs.

Continue reading "It's a Dud, Dude"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:43 PM | Litigation

No Signal

Petition for CAFC en banc rehearing In re Nuijten shorted out 9-3. Nuijten had appealed encoded signal claims, disallowed by the BPAI as unpatentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101; a ruling upheld in CAFC panel. A cogent dissent signals the wire still live: the Nuijten ruling conflicted controlling precedent, and left unanswered questions about the relationship between § 101 & § 103. Resolution awaits a willing en banc, or certiorari before SCOTUS.

Continue reading "No Signal"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:47 PM | § 101 | Comments (1)

February 10, 2008

Black Hole of Enablement

Enablement was spun into a black hole of uncertainty by the CAFC in Sitrick v. Dreamworks, which expanded the enablement requirement at least to the degree that an accused product must be a disclosed embodiment for a claim to be enabled. Hal Wegner: "In essence, Sitrick voids any generic claim that is fully enabled as to a preferred embodiment, but includes other embodiments not yet enabled." Can a patent now be invalidated by showing any undisclosed embodiment within the scope of a claim?

Continue reading "Black Hole of Enablement"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:15 PM | § 112 | Comments (3)

February 9, 2008

Vision Correction

CIBA Vision, maker of extended-wear contact lenses, was short-sighted: its ophthalmologist, Rembrandt Vision Technologies, corrected CIBA's vision. The tab was $41 million. That's a 6+% royalty for past sales of contact lenses infringing 5,712,327, which claims contact lenses with superior water absorption. Rembrandt now has superior lucre absorption.

Continue reading "Vision Correction"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:17 PM | Damages

Drilled in Norway

Transocean, the world's largest offshore drilling company, has a patent portfolio for multiple-activity offshore drilling that has been a gusher, scoring licensing agreements from major competitors, including Nobel and Pride International. Now a Transocean drill has been bit: two Norwegian patents have been invalidated by a Norwegian court in Transocean's suit against Smedvig, acquired by Seadrill in 2006. Transocean was ordered to pay all litigation expenses. An appeal is being mulled.

Continue reading "Drilled in Norway"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:39 AM | International

February 8, 2008

Thwarting

In the Eastern District of Virginia today, savvy Judge James Cacheris heard oral arguments on whether the USPTO may implement its proposed examination rules changes. The crucial issue is whether the changes are substantive, which they are. Textbook interpretation is that the patent office is proscribed by law from promulgating substantive changes, and from applying them retroactively, as in this instance. The sanctimonious PTO argued that the changes were not substantive, but if even they were, the agency had authority. Judge Cacheris swore to render decision ASAP, but "there is a lot of paper to consider."

Continue reading "Thwarting"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:27 PM | The Patent Office | Comments (4)

Klingon Attack

WARF, the Klingon who once served on the Starship Enterprise, has resurfaced on earth as a patent troll, albeit oversized, as patent trolls are normally dwarfish. Whatever. WARF is bashing Intel for CPU patent infringement after negotiations understandably failed: Intel does not speak Klingon.

Continue reading "Klingon Attack"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:03 AM | Litigation | Comments (3)

February 7, 2008

Carnac The Magnificent

As prescient as he is scrupulous, Grand Patent Poobah Jon Dudas predicted patent reform passage: "I'm optimistic that we'll have patent reform because what we see is that there are very real answers. We're an innovation economy. We think that the model works, but can be improved [to arrive at] a positive bill that can benefit everyone."

Continue reading "Carnac The Magnificent"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:32 PM | The Patent System

Cover-Up

The organized crime syndicate known as the USPTO tried to thwart input in its fight to implement its illegal rule changes to examination practice. The attack is answered.

Despite representing to this Court several times that the administrative record was complete, the PTO itself demonstrated otherwise when it recently and belatedly supplemented the administrative record, not once but twice. These submissions establish a pattern of "deliberately or negligently" omitting adverse documents from the record.

Continue reading "Cover-Up"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:02 AM | The Patent Office | Comments (4)

Zen Valor

The Financial Times posted an opinion piece by Patti Waldmeir that surmised Congress just contemplating patents is just about right.

At such a time of uncertainty, inertia may be the better part of valour: Congress has wasted years not solving the patent problem; it is hard to see why lawmakers should rush things now, when the only problems left to resolve are the really hard ones.

Continue reading "Zen Valor"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:24 AM | The Patent System | Comments (1)

The Patent Union

An brotherhood of unions forge opposition to patent tomfoolery in the Senate -

[P]rovisions contained in S. 1145, the Patent Reform Act of 2007, that we believe could undermine the competitiveness of U.S. industry and put our members' jobs at risk.

Continue reading "The Patent Union"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:03 AM | The Patent System | Comments (2)

February 6, 2008

Batter Out

Wilson Sporting Goods owns baseball bat patent 5,415,398, but it can't get a hit to first base. In the patent's third appearance before the CAFC, Wilson strikes out as Miken Composites keeps its walk of non-infringement.

Continue reading "Batter Out"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:05 PM | Claim Construction

Why Litigate?

Patent litigation is tremendously expensive. And noisy. The ruckus has stirred quite a crowd: fat geezers with political heft to match are jostling to shuffle the seating arrangements in the patent spat ballroom. The stakes for infringers can stray to six to nine figures or more. Microsoft keeps a small army of patent litigators marching on the defense of 30 to 40 contemporaneous assertions. Though not as bad a barrage as Microsoft, quite a few large firms face regular patent battles. Why not take a more civilized path?

Continue reading "Why Litigate?"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:55 AM | Patents In Business | Comments (4)

February 5, 2008

Bad Seed

Dakota farmer Loren David tried to cheat Monsanto by saving and replanting patented soybean seeds, a breach of contract as well as patent infringement. Monsanto caught him, and it's going to cost David in the neighborhood of $700,000.

Continue reading "Bad Seed"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:03 PM | Litigation | Comments (7)

Patent Office on Patent Reform

USPTO management posted on its internal agency website a position statement concerning changes in pending patent law. The patent office strongly opposes damages apportionment, while supporting the new post-grant opposition regime.

Continue reading "Patent Office on Patent Reform"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:14 PM | The Patent System | Comments (2)

Lack of Consensus

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy recently released a Senate status summation on S. 1145, the Patent Reform Act of 2007. It shows a diversity of comprehension, misunderstanding, and uncertainty by various senators. Meanwhile, the White House chips in.

Continue reading "Lack of Consensus"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:19 AM | The Patent System | Comments (1)

February 4, 2008

Cold War

Linux godfather Linus Torvalds took potshots at patents in general and software patents in particular in a Linux Foundation podcast. Torvolds damns with faint praise Microsoft's restraint in patent assertion. From the remarks, one may conclude that casting from a pod makes one grumpy.

Continue reading "Cold War"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:12 PM | Patents In Business

800 Pound Gorilla

In a letter from U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur to the U.S. Attorney General, regarding Micrsoft's "market dominance," in context of its acquisition of Yahoo! -

As part of its effort to dominate the high technology sector, Microsoft is seeking to fundamentally transform the treatment for those entities that infringe on the intellectual property of other innovators by minimizing the damages the victim could receive and to ensure that the potential for harassment would extended dramatically by allowing for virtually endless attacks on patent validity.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:46 PM | The Patent System

February 3, 2008

Busted

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a self-appointed busybody for relieving owners of their intellectual property whenever possible. Their Patent Busting Project aims at "illegitimate" computer-related patents. EFF modus operandus is filing reexamination requests on "particularly egregious patents;" namely, those where the owner raises an enforcement stink, and EFF thinks it has dug some decent prior art.

Continue reading "Busted"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:21 PM | The Patent System

Obviousness Training

USPTO examiner training in obviousness rejections has been ongoing. In review, what shines as sunlit crystal is the legacy of KSR: how disparate technologies may be combined as basis for rejection, beyond what prior art disclosed.

Continue reading "Obviousness Training"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:59 PM | Prosecution | Comments (3)

February 2, 2008

Pass the Glue

In F&G Research v. Dynapoint (Taiwan), the CAFC ruled Allen D. Brufsky a scumbag: having "significantly misrepresented the facts," relying on "vague allegations without basis in the record," and showing "a willingness to mislead the court." It's a shame, because Brufsky has one gorgeous web site. You'd think a guy with taste would have class, but there you go.

Continue reading "Pass the Glue"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:26 PM | Inequitable Conduct | Comments (2)

In A Hurry

Two former patent office commissioners show themselves as shoddy analysts in their capacity as toads for the corporate special interest group Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform. But in doing so, they prove the hoary adage that every once in a while, even a blind pig finds an acorn.

Continue reading "In A Hurry"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:54 AM | The Patent System | Comments (7)

February 1, 2008

Voiceover

David Sitrick sued movie makers DreamWorks and Warner Brothers for infringing 5,553,864 and 6,425,825, which claim integrating a user's voice or imagery into a pre-existing video game or movie. The district court process was fitful, but the judge granted summary judgment: invalidity for lack of enablement for movies, though having no problem with enablement for video games. The CAFC affirmed.

Continue reading "Voiceover"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:34 PM | § 112