Posts in IPWatchdog Articles

Why Voluntary Licensing is Best for Increasing Access to Medicines

When it comes to how to best increase access to medicines in l0w and middle-income countries (LMICs), compulsory licensing gets most of the attention. Academic articles, non-governmental organization (NGO) campaigns, conferences and United Nations (UN)-endorsed technical symposia assert it is the best approach. Certain World Trade Organization (WTO) members are pushing for COVID-19 treatments and diagnostics to be included in the waiver of intellectual property rights under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of IP Rights (TRIPs waiver), which revolves around compulsory licensing. Brazil has recently amended its IP laws to make compulsory licensing easier. Despite its high political profile, compulsory licensing has rarely been used (mainly by a handful African countries in the mid 2000s to address the HIV pandemic). Even then, IP-respecting treatments available from global procurement bodies have proven cheaper. No country has yet seen the need for a compulsory license for a COVID vaccine.

CAFC Says USPTO Arguments for Rejecting Google Patent Application Lack Support in Record

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in a precedential decision today vacated a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) finding that certain claims of Google, LLC’s U.S. Patent Application No. 14/628,093 were obvious. The CAFC opinion, authored by Chief Judge Moore, said the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) arguments on appeal “cannot sustain the Board’s decision below because they do not reflect the reasoning or findings the Board actually invoked.” Google’s patent application has to do with methods for filtering the results of an internet search query such that only age-appropriate results for a user are displayed. At issue were two prior art references: Parthasarathy, which “discloses methods of filtering search results by comparing a “search-query-intent score” to a predetermined safety threshold” and Rose, which is titled “System and Method for Improving the Ranking of Information Retrieval Results for Short Queries.”

USPTO Calls for Input on Draft 2022-2026 Strategic Plan

Last week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that it is seeking comments from the public on the draft of the organization’s 2022-2026 Strategic Plan. According to a press release, the plan sets five goals for the organization: Spur U.S. innovation and global competitiveness; promote IP rights; promote IP protection against new and persistent threats; bring innovation to positive impact; and maximize agency operations.

Blockish IP: The Top IP Events That Affected Emerging Technologies in 2022

“Non-fungible tokens (NFTs),” “blockchain,” “metaverse,” “web3,” and “artificial intelligence (AI)” are buzzwords that solicited significant discussion and development in the area of intellectual property (IP) law in 2022. This overview covers five key topics in IP law that affected the growth and mainstream adoption of these emerging technologies last year.

This Week in Washington IP: U.S.-China Competition, Microelectronic Supply Chains, and Creating a More Inclusive Workplace Culture

This week in Washington IP news, after a hectic week that saw the House take 15 rounds of voting to nominate new Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, both the House and Senate will not be holding any hearings this week. Events to look out for this week include the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hosting a discussion on how companies can create a more inclusive culture, the Hudson holding a panel discussion on microelectronics in the U.S., and a talk on technological innovation from a former Google CEO hosted by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

From Nonprofit to $29 Billion Valuation – The Promise and Danger of OpenAI

The research lab behind the viral ChatGPT chatbot, OpenAI, is in talks to sell existing shares in a tender offer that would value the company at around $29 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, reported the Wall Street Journal on January 5. This would make OpenAI, which started life as a nonprofit and generates virtually no revenue, one of the most valuable U.S. startups. Chatbots have captured the imagination of users and investors alike. They provide fast, succinct, and outwardly accurate responses to detailed questions well beyond the capabilities of Alexa, Siri and Google search. Those queries might include providing the foundation for writing an article, like the one you are currently reading, in the style of IPWatchdog.

This Year is Poised to Be a Landmark One for Tattoo Copyright Litigation

Tattoos have been around for millennia, but their popularity is increasing significantly. According to 2021 data, roughly 13% of Baby Boomers had at least one tattoo, compared to 32% of Generation X and 41% of Millennials. Other than disagreements about the appropriateness of visible tattoos in certain workplaces, tattoos generally cause few headaches for their owners, and certainly not legal headaches. That may no longer be the case, however, as tattoos become more common among celebrities and other high-profile individuals whose likenesses are commonly portrayed in digital media. While there has been relatively little litigation concerning tattoo copyrights, 2023 could be the year that changes.

PTAB Judge Who Owns Cisco Stock Withdraws from IPR Following Centripetal Claims of Bias

Following a Motion for Recusal and Vacatur filed on December 30 by Centripetal Networks, Inc., a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) judge has now withdrawn from an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding in a stated effort to “reduce the number of issues and simplify the briefing.” Centripetal filed the December 30 Motion in an IPR brought against it in November 2021 by Palo Alto Networks, which Cisco Systems, Inc. successfully petitioned to join. The Motion argued that Administrative Patent Judge (APJ) Brian McNamara created at least the appearance of actual bias in failing to provide “notice, divestiture, or any apparent attempt to recuse” himself from proceedings involving Cisco despite owning Cisco stock and being “paid a significant amount of money (apparently a share of the profits) from one of Cisco’s lobbyist law firms,” according to the Motion.

Other Barks & Bites for Friday, January 6: USPTO Seeks Comment on Draft Strategic Plan; FTC Proposes Eliminating Noncompete Clauses; and DOJ Sends Former GE Engineer to Prison in Trade Secrets Conviction

This week in Other Barks & Bites: the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) seeks public comment on its latest Strategic Plan and releases information on a pilot program that may help reduce gender disparities in patenting; a Texas-based technology files a lawsuit against Reebok alleging patent infringement; the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposes a new rule to eliminate non-compete clauses; and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announces the conviction of a former GE engineer on charges of conspiracy to steal trade secrets.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman is Seeking a Patent Agent with Expertise in Biotechnology

Pillsbury seeks a registered patent agent with expertise in biotechnology and with 3+ years of experience preparing and prosecuting patents. This is a full-time, permanent position located in the state of California (San Diego, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, San Francisco), Texas (Austin), or Virginia (Northern Virginia).

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman is Seeking a Patent Agent with Expertise in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

Pillsbury seeks a registered Patent Agent with expertise in electrical engineering and computer science and with 2+ years of experience preparing and prosecuting patents. This is a full-time, permanent position located in the state of California (San Diego, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, San Francisco), Texas (Austin), or Virginia (Northern Virginia).

Amici Filings in Amgen Encourage the Supreme Court to Correct the Federal Circuit’s ‘Unworkable’ Enablement Standard

On January 3, a total of 14 amicus briefs and one motion for leave to participate in oral argument were filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on the question presented by Amgen Inc. v. Sanofi, on which the Supreme Court granted certiorari this past November. While organizations representing the most powerful interests in the technology industry supported the Federal Circuit’s holding that Amgen’s patent claims were invalid for lack of enablement, a wide swath of patent stakeholders are urging the Supreme Court to correct the enablement standard to continue the encouragement of genus patent claims. Below is a collection of arguments raised by several of the recent amicus filings from earlier this week.

Federal Circuit Rejects More Mandamus Petitions Seeking to Sidestep Delaware Court’s Standing Orders

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Wednesday issued two orders denying mandamus relief for petitioners seeking to end the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware’s “judicial inquisition” concerning disclosure of their owners and third-party litigation funders. Chief Judge Colm Connolly’s standing orders on initial disclosures in patent litigation cases have been the subject of much controversy and are presently being appealed at the CAFC in a separate case. They require up front disclosures from companies in patent cases assigned to Connolly of 1) “the name of every owner, member, and partner of the party, proceeding up the chain of ownership until the name of every individual and corporation with a direct or indirect interest in the party has been identified”; and 2) the identity of any third-party litigation funders.

Patently Strategic Podcast: Top Three Inventor Mistakes

The patent world is full of trap doors that lie waiting for unsuspecting inventors. Without a good map and an intentional path, mistakes and missteps can be plentiful and costly. Some of these mistakes are reversible with limitations. Others have no undo button. When is it safe to talk about your idea or sell your invention? How do you hedge against invalidation and rejection from blind spots with competitor IP and prior art? How do you ensure you actually own your invention when working with employees and contractors? The answers to these questions – and even knowing to ask them in the first place – goes a long way toward keeping inventors on solid ground. Long term success will depend on the steps taken – or not – very early in the journey. This timing is unfortunate for many inventors, however, since it’s also when they know the least about the process.

Juno v. Kite: A Rare Opportunity for the Supreme Court to Grant Rehearing

The patent world is trained on the upcoming Supreme Court Amgen v. Sanofi case. That case is the first time in over 75 years that the Supreme Court is evaluating the meaning and scope of the enablement requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 112. The case offers the Court an opportunity to correct a negative trend in enablement law that has made it more difficult to protect groundbreaking, pioneering inventions. Waiting in the wings, however, is an equally important Section 112 case: . There, the petitioner sought review on whether “the ‘written description of the invention’ [is] to be measured by the statutory standard of ‘in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to make and use the same.’” As is apparent, Juno’s written description issue is highly intertwined with the Section 112 enablement issue in Amgen v. Sanofi.