Recently, ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer), an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot program developed by OpenAI, has become a popular topic, attracting much attention and discussion. Its applications in the fields of natural language processing and text analysis have been well documented and have aroused great interest. It can be used to generate various language models, such as natural language texts, dialogues, and question-answering. It is currently one of the most advanced and efficient technologies in the language field. ChatGPT has a wide range of applications. In fields like medical, financial, legal, and media, ChatGPT can also be used to generate and analyze text data, thereby improving work efficiency and accuracy. Recently, the technology has even been used in the realm of intellectual property, with some having used it to draft patent applications.
Lenovo has been ordered to pay InterDigital a lump sum of $138.7 million for a global FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) license covering sales of cellular devices from 2007 to December 31, 2023, in the second full FRAND trial to be decided by the UK courts, following the landmark Unwired Planet case. (Interdigital Technology Corporation & Ors v Lenovo Group Ltd (FRAND Judgment – Public Version)  EWHC 539 (Pat).) In his redacted judgment published on March 15, Mr. Justice Mellor found that neither InterDigital’s August 2021 license offer (which amounted to $337 million) nor Lenovo’s counter offer (which comprised a lump sum of $80 million +/-15% for all sales in the six-year term to the end of 2023 with a full release for all past sales for no additional consideration) were FRAND or within the FRAND range.
Wi-Fi 6 shares new technologies with LTE and 5G that are subject to heavy patenting. The firms and institutions that currently monetize their standard essential patents (SEPs) against LTE and 5G will likely be looking to increase their royalty income from Wi-Fi 6 and 6e. This could mean that the recent disputes over LTE and 5G standardization participants’ fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) SEP licensing commitments will spill over into Wi-Fi. Current Wi-Fi litigation trends suggest that this is already afoot, and the recent licensor-friendly changes in the IEEE IPR rules are feared to only fuel this trend.
This week in Other Barks & Bites: The UK High Court delivers a key ruling on standard essential patents (SEPs) in a FRAND battle between InterDigital and Lenovo; the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office updates Patent Term Extension listings to add Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture information following collaboration initiatives; the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO) launches a new plan to tackle AI’s impact on copyright law and policy; a Miami nightclub attempts to block LIV Golf’s trademark applications; and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) rules in favor of Apple in its ongoing dispute with the USPTO.
Just over the mountain of Patent Eligibility Reform awaits The Thiefdom of Efficient Infringers. No other intellectual property criminal enjoys the legal immunities and protections that the patent thief enjoys. Other intellectual property criminals – the copyright infringers, the trademark infringers, and the trade secret thieves – all are subject to both civil and criminal liability, just like every other common criminal. But not the patent thieves. This one type of intellectual property criminal gets favored treatment and special protections under the law. Why is this?
Whether or not the law recognizes a machine as the inventor-at-law, the facts are indispensable to determination of the true inventor-in-fact. In the case of Stephen Thaler’s attempt to obtain patent protection for a food container and light stick he says were independently invented by his AI machine, DABUS, the inventor-in-fact will be either Thaler or his machine. The procedural posture of Thaler v. Vidal caused the discourse to jump over the facts of how the food container and the light stick were invented by DABUS. These overlooked facts may reveal the true inventor, regardless of whether or not the type of inventor is recognized by the current law.
On March 9, e-commerce company Ingenio Inc. filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to take up an appeal of a decision last August by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in favor of patent owner Click-to-Call Technologies. Ingenio’s petition asks the Supreme Court to overturn the Federal Circuit’s ruling that Ingenio was estopped from challenging the validity of patent claims that were denied institution during inter partes review (IPR) validity proceedings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is providing enormous productivity and increased value in many applications. But AI is no panacea and is not yet sufficiently well developed to be precise or dependable everywhere. For example, much better AI training data is required to reliably estimate patent essentiality to standards such as 4G and 5G, where AI is being advocated by various experts and has already been adopted by one patent pool. There is also a lot of room for improvement in inferencing.
The U.S. Copyright Office (USCO) has announced a new statement of policy on “Works Containing Material Generated by Artificial Intelligence” that will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, March 16. The statement comes following several recent cases that have tested the bounds of copyright protection for works generated solely or in part by AI authors. Most recently, the USCO held in a case involving a graphic novel, Zarya of the Dawn, featuring AI-generated images that the copyright registration would be limited to the text of the novel, which was the product of human authorship. The Office there explained that the “the text of the graphic novel ‘as well as the selection, coordination, and arrangement of the Work’s written and visual elements’ are protectable under copyright law” but that the images themselves were not.
Several carefully watched copyright developments are combining to have a significant impact on the invention as well as the content landscape. A judgment from the Supreme Court of the United States is expected any day that will address the potentially shape-shifting Warhol Foundation “fair-use” suit against rock photographer, Lynn Goldsmith. This decision is also of concern to inventors and patent holders, few of whom see the writing on the IP wall: weaker intellectual property rights are gaining momentum, and lawmakers and the public don’t know enough to care.
There was a slight uptick in district court filings last week after a slow January and February, with 43 new patent filings, including a design patent battle involving tumblers and multiple filings indicating an association with high-volume plaintiffs such as Jeffrey Gross and Leigh Rothschild. It was a busy week at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), with over 32 new challenges last week, with only one procedural denial on an institution decision—but that was not based on discretionary denial, which remains often briefed but rarely successful for the time being. Of course, the big news this week was that the Federal Circuit has revived an Administrative Procedure Act (APA) challenge to the Fintiv decision on discretionary denial itself as arbitrary agency action that skirted proper procedure and had an outsized impact on a broad swath of cases.
On March 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued a precedential decision in Intel Corp. v. PACT XPP Schweiz AG reversing a final written decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that found Intel had failed to show that PACT’s patent claims were invalid for obviousness. In reversing, the Federal Circuit ruled that the PTAB improperly rejected Intel’s “known technique” rationale supporting a motivation to combine prior art references under the flexible analysis set out by the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2007 obviousness ruling in KSR v. Teleflex.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued a precedential ruling Monday that vacated and remanded a district court ruling on patent infringement in a case between Amazon and AlterWAN. The circuit judges vacated the ruling, which found Amazon did not infringe on two AlterWAN patents for internet network technology. Based on two of the district court’s claim constructions, the parties entered into a stipulation of non-infringement; however, AlterWAN appealed the case and contested the district court’s construction of two terms relevant to the patent claims. The CAFC found the stipulation to be vague and lacking detail, and thus vacated the ruling and sent it back to the district court.
The USPTO was actively working behind the scenes to revise sections of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure pertaining to the subject of its recent Request for Comments, including policies and procedures relating to restriction, continuation, divisional, double patenting and terminal disclaimer practice. Three days after the RFC response period ended, the USPTO announced publication of a revised version of the MPEP in the Federal Register. The revised MPEP (Ninth edition, revision 07.2022) was made retroactive to July 2022…. An analysis of the revised MPEP reveals that it contains multiple changes that not only fail to address the President’s and Senators’ concerns [patent thickets], but instead actively facilitate more “restriction thickets”.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Monday said that Apple has standing to pursue its claim that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director’s instructions to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) regarding discretionary denial practice under Apple Inc. v. Fintiv, Inc. were made without proper notice-and-comment rulemaking. The CAFC affirmed the district court’s ruling on two other challenges brought by Apple, Cisco, Intel and Edwards Lifesciences, but said that at least Apple had standing to present the challenge that the discretionary denial instructions were improperly issued and reversed on that ground. The appeal relates to Apple’s and the other companies’ challenge of the Fintiv instructions governing the PTAB’s discretion to deny institution of inter partes review (IPR) proceedings based on their contention that they will result in too many denials.