It has become the fashion these days to bemoan the poor quality of American public school education (occasionally correct), American popular music (mostly correct), and American political leadership (presently correct). Now, one percipient voice is addressing the poor quality of American patents (frequently correct).
As the reader undoubtedly knows – or should know – applicants for patents and their attorneys owe a duty of candor to the patent office. As part of this duty, they are obligated to disclose to the patent examiner all material prior art of which they are aware. That sounds fine, but exactly how far does that duty extend? If a patent examiner has been directed to consider a certain apparently pertinent prior art reference, but inexplicably fails to do so, is it the duty of the applicant’s attorney to bring this failure to the examiner’s attention?
July 27, 2009 - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. announced on Friday that it had settled its patent infringement lawsuit with Johnson & Johnson. Teva, the world's largest manufacturer of generic drugs, will pay J&J a royalty based on the sales of the generic Ortho Tri-Cyclen that it shipped.
July 23, 2009 - Research in Motion (RIM), the maker of the hugely popular BlackBerry smartphone, has entered into a patent infringement settlement agreement with Visto Corp., a mobile email developer, after three years of litigation.
Suffern, NY - July 22, 2009 - General Patent Corporation (GPC), a leading US patent licensing and enforcement firm, announced today on behalf of its client, Advanced Video Technologies LLC (AVT), that AVT granted a non-exclusive license for AVT's "Full Duplex Single Chip Video Codec" Patent to Electro Flip LLC of Henderson, NV.
Back in the dark ages, when I was in high school, my English literature class studied The Catcher in the Rye. Since at that time I planned to be an engineer, I made a point of showing no interest in literature. As the semester ended before we finished studying the book, I never did find out how it ended.
July 21, 2009 - Tsera, LLC filed its patent infringement lawsuit against Apple and many other defendants, claiming that their products infringe its patent, "Methods and apparatus for controlling a portable electronic device using a touchpad." The "click wheels" on the iPod classic and iPod nano, as well as the controls of the Microsoft Zune, LG Chocolate, and several other devices, are alleged to infringe the patent.
Suffern, NY, July 20, 2009 − General Patent Corporation (GPC), a leading patent licensing and patent enforcement firm, announced today on behalf of its client, Digital Technology Licensing LLC (DTL), that it has licensed DTL's patent to SRT Communications, Inc. of Minot, ND, and IT&E Overseas, Inc. of Tamuning, Guam.
We have frequently decried the actions of patent infringers (slimeballs). Now, it seems that even when they take a license, the actions of some companies may remain questionable. Discovision Associates v. Toshiba Corporation. Discovision granted a patent license to Toshiba and its subsidiaries.
July 17, 2009 - Google is being sued for patent infringement by a company called Personalized User Model (PUM), which has patents issued in 2005 and 2008 which cover search personalization. The 2005 patent, "Automatic, personalized online information and product services," was expanded in the 2008 patent.
July 16, 2009 - Tune Hunter, a Texas-based company, has filed an amended patent suit against Apple, Motorola, AT&T, and several other major vendors in the US District Court of Texas, accusing the companies of infringing its music identification technology that enables listeners to use mobile phones and other devices to identify songs.
A previous blog post discussed the eBay decision, about which we will not comment further, except to note that it effectively removed one weapon from the arsenal of the NPE – the dreaded “non-practicing entity” (also, pejoratively known as a “troll”). No longer could the NPE threaten a patent infringer with the legal equivalent of a neutron bomb – a permanent injunction.
If a patent claim is indefinite, it is invalid. The key question, of course, is what constitutes indefiniteness. Well, patent draftspersons, rejoice. In a rare, precedential opinion, Ex parte Kenichi Miyazaki, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (USPTO BPAI) has decided that if a claim term is not used or defined in the specification, and the meaning of the term is not discernable, the claim is indefinite. Moreover, any inconsistency between a claim term and the patent specification may make the claim indefinite.
July 15, 2009 - MagSil Corporation announced yesterday that it and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had settled their patent infringement suit against Seagate Technology and Maxtor Corporation.
Under the common law, intellectual property, created by an employee in the course of his employment and pertaining to the business of his employer, belongs to the employer. Nevertheless, in order to leave no question as to this, most employers require employees to sign an agreement to this effect (the well known Employee Invention Assignment Agreement).
Suffern, NY - July 7, 2009 - Hon. Bruce A. Lehman, U.S. Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks under the Clinton administration, has joined the Advisory Board of Directors of General Patent Corporation (GPC), a leading intellectual property (IP) firm focusing on patent licensing and enforcement, IP strategy and valuation.
Patent licenses typically allow the licensee to “make, use and sell” the patented product. Often, they are silent as to the right of the licensee to have the licensed product made by a third party. In such a circumstance, does the license also include the right to “have made,” i.e. the right of the licensee to use third-party contractors to manufacture licensed products for its own use?
July 2, 2009 - In the most expensive verdict in US history, Johnson & Johnson announced on June 29 that its patent infringement lawsuit against Abbott Labs was successful and that Abbott had been ordered to pay $1.67 billion ($1.17 billion in lost profits and $504 million in royalties) for infringing the patent on J&J's drug Remicade with its own drug Humira.