Posts in Government

Patent Owner Scores Partial Win Against Google at CAFC

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today issued a precedential decision partially reversing and partially affirming a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decision that had found Google failed to prove certain claims of Hammond Development International’s U.S. Patent No. 10,270,816 unpatentable. Hammond’s patent covers “a communication system that allows a communication device to remotely execute one or more applications.”

Senate Judiciary Set to Consider Pride in Patent Ownership Bill Amid Opposition

As the Senate Judiciary Committee gears up for an Executive Business Meeting Thursday where members will in part consider S.2774, the Pride in Patent Ownership Act, co-sponsored by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), a number of patent advocacy organizations have sent a joint letter to the committee asking it to oppose the bill. The Pride in Patent Ownership Act (PPOA) is seemingly intended to ensure that the public has access to information about the true owner of a patent. But critics of the bill have noted that it focuses on ownership of patents, and does not seek to provide true transparency by identifying those funding and benefiting from Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) challenges, for instance. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) last year questioned the bill’s approach, which  would entail penalizing patent owners who fail to record accurate ownership information within 90 days after the issuance date.

Patent Durability: Building a Better Fence

At the very end of the movie “The Current War,” Benedict Cumberbatch, the actor who played Thomas Edison, bumps into Michael Shannon, the actor who played George Westinghouse. The two had battled for years over implementations of their respective electric current systems into society, with Westinghouse winning in the end. This particular meeting probably never took place, but the conversation in the movie was rather interesting. 

Groups on Both Sides Slam USTR Support for Delaying IP Waiver Extension Pending ITC Investigation

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) this morning announced support for delaying the deadline to decide whether to extend a waiver of intellectual property rights under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to diagnostics and therapeutics. The USTR also said it has asked the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) “to launch an investigation into COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics and provide information on market dynamics to help inform the discussion around supply and demand, price points, the relationship between testing and treating, and production and access.”

Shortened Deadline to Respond to USPTO Office Actions Takes Effect for Trademark Applicants

If you are filing or have filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) you now have a shorter deadline to respond to Office Actions. The USPTO on Friday announced a new examination guide that implements changes mandated by the Trademark Modernization Act (TMA) of 2020 to the deadline for trademark applicants to respond to Office Actions from six months to three months with an optional three-month extension.

This Week in Washington IP: Marking Up the American Music Fairness Act, Licensing Patents in the Internet of Things, and Exploring Chinese Patent Licensing and Enforcement Policies

This week in Washington IP news and events, the House Judiciary Committee convenes a hearing Wednesday afternoon to mark up a new copyright bill that would require AM/FM radio stations to pay copyright royalties to music creators. Over in the Senate, the Agriculture Committee explores the research and innovation programs that could be funded through the next iteration of the Farm Bill that will pass Congress next year. Elsewhere, the Hudson Institute pushes back on misguided claims that patent licensing will prevent innovation in the Internet of Things, while the Center for Strategic & International Studies invites USC Gould School of Law Professor Jonathan Barnett for a discussion on patent licensing and enforcement policies in the People’s Republic of China.

Practical Tips for Writing Ex Parte Appeal Briefs

When it comes to ex parte appeals, the kid gloves come off. It’s always nice to be easy-going with the examiner when working directly with that person, but if an impasse is reached and you need to appeal, then there’s no reason to go easy anymore. Don’t be disrespectful, but it’s okay to be rigorous and articulate. With that in mind, below are a few practical tips for writing an appeal brief to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). None of them are meant to serve as a magic bullet but they might help you get a leg up. And course, you need to have a decent case to appeal in the first place or nothing I say below is going to help very much.

Former Commerce, USPTO Heads Push for U.S. to Lead Opposition to Extending WTO’s COVID IP Waiver

In a webinar hosted today by the Council for Innovation Promotion (C4IP), the organization’s founders, Andrei Iancu and David Kappos, both former Directors of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), spoke with former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke, about the increased skepticism surrounding a plan to extend the waiver of intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics. According to Kappos, while World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries were supposed to decide on December 17 whether to extend the waiver, “given the rising opposition and other countries starting to raise their hands” with questions, “it’s seeming likely the WTO will defer its decision until the New Year.”

Patent Experts Urge Kanter to Reject Calls to Scrap Avanci Business Review Letter

A group of 25 experts in intellectual property law sent a letter to Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Jonathan Kanter today in support of a business review letter that the group said, “represented a legally sound and evidence-based approach in applying antitrust law to innovative commercial institutions.” The letter is also a response to an earlier letter sent to Kanter on October 17, 2022, by 28 former government enforcement officials, professors, and public interest advocates that urged the AAG to reconsider the business review letter. The Avanci business review letter was published by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice on July 28, 2020. In the letter, the DOJ said that Avanci’s licensing platform, which plans to license patent claims declared essential to implement 5G in cars, did not harm competition in the industry. Business review letters represent guidance by the DOJ to inform businesses how to best coordinate their practices to ensure they don’t violate antitrust laws.

US Inventor Arguments for Opposing the Pride in Patent Ownership Act Fall Short on the Merits

Last September, a bipartisan pair of Senators introduced the Pride in Patent Ownership Act, which, if passed, would add greatly-needed transparency to our patent system. The legislation would require patent owners to disclose their identity to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) when a patent issues and whenever it changes hands so that members of the public have easy access to information about who the true owners of patents are. Right now, inventors, businesses, and other interested members of the public often have to undertake time consuming and expensive litigation to determine who owns a patent. As Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) rightly pointed out when introducing the legislation, “Patents provide a limited term monopoly against the public, and it’s in the public’s interest and benefit to know who owns that monopoly.”

USPTO, Copyright Office Joint Study on NFTs Could Help Dispel Confusion About IP Ownership in Media Content Underlying Digital Assets

On November 23, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the U.S. Copyright Office published a joint notice of inquiry in the Federal Register announcing that the two agencies would be collaborating on a study regarding intellectual property legal issues related to digital assets known as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The announcement follows the dramatic rise in mainstream attention on NFTs due to their wildly fluctuating value, which has in turn created a great amount of confusion surrounding IP rights to NFTs and the underlying digital files used to create them.

Are Your IP License Agreements Undervalued? What to Consider Before Starting a Forensic Royalty Audit

Companies that license intellectual property may not realize they are leaving money on the table in royalty underpayments and calculation errors made by their licensees. Forensic royalty audits can identify issues and correct royalty underpayments and IP valuations, but there are many aspects, not just financial, to consider. Beyond the costs and benefits associated with conducting a royalty audit, it’s also important to understand why and how licensees underreport and underpay royalties, and the key terms to scrutinize in your licensing agreement.

CAFC Says Burden of Reexamination Following Denied IPR Does Not Warrant Mandamus Relief

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) last week denied a petition requesting mandamus relief to vacate the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) grant of a request for ex parte reexamination of Sound View Innovations’ U.S. Patent No. 6,708,213 by DISH Network LLC. The ‘213 patent covers a “Method for Streaming Multimedia Information Over Public Networks.” DISH originally petitioned the USPTO for inter partes review (IPR) of claim 16 of the ‘213 patent on the ground that it was anticipated and/or obvious based on two prior art references called Sen and Geagen.

OpenSky: ‘There Was No Harm’ Stemming From Offer to Manipulate VLSI Proceedings

On November 17, patent owner VLSI Technology and petitioner OpenSky Industries each filed briefs at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in response to Director Kathi Vidal’s order for OpenSky to show cause as to why it should not be required to pay attorney’s fees to compensate for its abuse of inter partes review (IPR) proceedings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). While VLSI argues that OpenSky should be ordered to compensate all attorney’s fees and costs incurred from each IPR petition encouraged by OpenSky’s own petition filing activities, OpenSky argues that Director Vidal’s order to show cause fails to identify any compensable harm stemming from OpenSky’s IPR conduct.

How to Ensure Your Retroactive Foreign Filing License Petition Isn’t Dismissed

As outlined in our article, The Good, the Bad and the Missing: Findings from a Review of the Data on Granted Retroactive Foreign Filing Licenses, Petition.ai’s subscribers’ most searched patent petition type is for retroactive foreign filing licenses (RFFLs). In the article, we highlighted that 71% of applications petitioning the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a RFFL eventually are granted. On average, it took 2.3 RFFL petitions over 1.4 years before obtaining the granted petition. We also pointed out 84% of granted RFFL petition decisions could not be found in the Public PAIR’s Image File Wrapper (IFW). Several months after we published the article, and after several communications with the Office of Petitions, these granted decisions were finally published in the IFW. This article examines the most common reasons why the USPTO dismisses RFFL petitions.