Posts in Government

FTC Approves Final Rule to Ban All New Non-Compete Agreements in 3-2 Vote

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission today voted in a Special Open Commission Meeting to publish and approve a final version of the January 2023 proposed rule that would ban employers from using clauses for their employees. Today’s rule allows existing non-competes to remain in force for senior executives but bans new non-competes for all workers and makes existing non-competes for all other workers unenforceable after the effective date, which is 120 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Unveiling The Untapped Potential of Brazil’s Solar Energy Market

Brazil, a country known for its abundant natural resources, is emerging as a significant player in the global renewable energy sector. Brazil has one of the highest levels of insolation in the world (ranging from 4.25 to 6.5 sun hours per day according to the Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment Project – (SWERA) and is therefore uniquely positioned to harness the power of the sun.

Chamber Appeals Decision to Deny Expedited FOIA Request on March-In Proposal

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) has filed an appeal with the U.S. Department of Commerce, which denied the GIPC’s January 2024 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking more detail about the working group behind the Biden Administration’s draft framework for considering the exercise of march-in rights. The proposed framework was published in the Federal Register in December 2023 by the Department of Commerce and the National Institutes for Standards and Technology (NIST) and included suggestions on whether and when to exercise “march-in rights” under the Bayh-Dole Act that would arguably significantly broaden the criteria for compulsory licensing of patented technology developed with federal funding.

EUIPO Implements Common Practice on Objectionable Trademarks

On April 19, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) formally began implementation of Common Practice 14 (CP14) governing the agency’s treatment of applications of trademarks that are contrary to public policy or accepted principles of morality. The EUIPO’s common communication on CP14 seeks to establish a uniform understanding of the EU Trademark Directive’s prohibitions against registering such marks in light of increased numbers of trademark applications filed that have arguably triggered this statute.

Young Sheldon’s Inventorship Woes: Important Lessons for All Young Inventors

As the hit sitcom Young Sheldon comes to an end next month, a look back at the series offers an opportunity for young inventors to learn about inventorship. The coming-of-age show centers around a boy genius, Sheldon, who has run the gamut of growing up in expedited fashion—experiencing high school, college dorm life, and even a first (failed) kiss (attempt), all before being eligible to drive. Another milestone in Sheldon’s life—his first inventorship dispute—shows that it doesn’t take a boy genius to become a young inventor.

Thoughts on the USPTO’s NPRM: Not Bad But the Big Challenges Remain

Times are changing at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)! Not only are there rumors that the Senate IP Subcommittee may be a matter of several weeks away from marking up the PREVAIL Act and voting it out of committee, but the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has finally issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) relating to several changes to the Code of Federal Regulations as they pertain to patent challenges at the PTAB.

USPTO Publishes Long-Awaited Proposed Rule on PTAB Changes

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that will be officially published in the Federal Register tomorrow and that addresses a subset of issues from the controversial April 2023 Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM). USPTO Director Kathi Vidal received criticism following the ANPRM, most notably from Congress. In a House IP Subcommittee meeting held last year, members of the Subcommittee expressed confusion about the ANPRM and suggested Vidal may have been exceeding her authority with some of the proposals.

Patent Filings Roundup: Slow Week in PTAB and District Court, Ideahub Subsidiary Challenges Instituted; Patent Armory Continues the Offensive

It was a slow week for new patent filings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and in the district courts. This week saw only 18 new filings at the PTAB—one of which was a Post Grant Review, while the remaining were inter partes reviews (IPRs). Texas Instruments, Inc. continued challenging Greenthread LLC patents, filing four IPRs against  four patents (bringing the total number of IPRs Texas Instruments has filed up to seven). Amazon filed two IPRs against one Nokia Technologies Oy [associated with Nokia Corporation] patents; Apple filed five IPRs against three Resonant Systems Inc. (d/b/a RevelHMI) patents; and Micron filed two IPRs against two Yangtze memory Technologies Company Ltd.

FTC Sets Meeting to Vote on Final Noncompete Rule

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  Chair Lina Khan announced yesterday that there will be a Special Open Commission Meeting held on April 23 to vote on whether to issue a final version of the January 2023 proposed rule that would ban employers from using noncompete clauses for their employees. “The proposed final rule being considered would generally prevent most employers from using noncompete clauses,” said the Open Commission Meeting’s event description. “As the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking explained, noncompetes are a widespread and often exploitative practice that suppresses wages, hampers innovation, and blocks entrepreneurs from starting new businesses.”

Commerce Department Opens $54 Million Funding Opportunity to Small Business R&D in Semiconductor Metrology

On April 16, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that the Biden Administration had issued a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) earmarking $54 million in funds available under the CHIPS and Science Act to fund advances in measurement technologies critical to semiconductor production. These funds, administered via grant through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, are expected to improve U.S. leadership in computer chip manufacturing by mitigating production defects and increasing production yields.

USPTO Proposes Making Director Review Process Official

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced today that it will be publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) tomorrow aimed at formalizing the rules governing Director Review of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decisions under the America Invents Act (AIA). In July 2021, the USPTO announced that it would be implementing an interim rule at the agency in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s late June 2021 decision in Arthrex v. Smith & Nephew. In the Arthrex ruling, the Court found that the constitutional Appointments Clause violation created by the process for appointing administrative patent judges (APJs) to the PTAB was best cured by review of APJ decisions by the USPTO Director. The interim rule began the process of determining how that review process would play out during the day-to-day operations of the PTAB.

Thaler, Copyright Office Fight Over Human-Authorship Requirement for AI-Created Artwork Continues

On April 10, Dr. Stephen Thaler filed a reply brief  at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, continuing the artificial intelligence (AI) technologist’s legal challenge to the U.S. Copyright Office’s refusal to register copyright to an artwork generated by Thaler’s Creativity Machine. The reply brief argues that there is no human authorship requirement under the U.S. Copyright Act preventing Thaler from claiming copyright in the AI-generated work, and that standard principles of property law enables ownership of the work to vest in Thaler, who created the AI system at issue in the case.

Schiff Introduces Bill to Mandate Disclosure of Copyrighted Content Used to Train GAI Models

On April 9, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced the Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act of 2024 into the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, which would require generative artificial intelligence (AI) platforms to disclose their use of copyrighted works in training AI models with retroactive effect, comes after months of growing concerns by the global creative community over the misappropriation of original works of authorship by companies collecting such content without prior authorization.

Bayh-Dole Coalition: Activist Groups’ Bid for Medicare to Make Generic Xtandi is a ‘Desperate Ploy’

On April 9, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), the Union for Affordable Cancer Treatment (UACT) and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) sent a letter to Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, requesting that CMS use alleged statutory authority to allow companies to make and sell generic versions of the blockbuster prostate cancer drug, Xtandi®. The letter comes two months after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) denied an appeal of a decision not to march in on the drug under 35 USC §203.

USIJ and Medical Device Group Urge Movement on PERA and PREVAIL

The Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA) and the Alliance of U.S. Startups and Inventors for Jobs (USIJ) sent a letter today to the leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property to express their support for both the Promoting and Respecting Economically Vital American Innovation Leadership Act (PREVAIL Act) and the Patent Eligibility Restoration Act (PERA). Both PREVAIL and PERA were introduced on June 22, 2023. The PREVAIL Act aims to reform Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) practices while PERA would eliminate all judicially-created exceptions to U.S. patent eligibility law.