Posts in Government

Consumers Target Apple Following DOJ Antitrust Suit

A number of individual consumers have filed suit against Apple, Inc. in California and New Jersey courts, piggybacking on the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) March 21 complaint accusing Apple of “broad-based, exclusionary conduct” amounting to monopolization of the smartphone market. The DOJ’s sweeping complaint included a number of U.S. states as plaintiffs and charged Apple with “thwart[ing] innovation” and throttle[ing] competitive alternatives via its practices around the iPhone platform.

Massive Replication of Comments Submitted to NIST March-In Rights RFI Should Cause Concern

I have been critical of certain National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) proposals to alter the regulations related to the Bayh-Dole Act, in 2021 (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, NPR), and specifically, the NIST “Framework” published for comments in December, 2023.  My Comments submitted in February addressed numerous legal infirmities, ranging from construction analysis to demonstrated ambiguity problems of the Request for Information/Comments (RFI) itself. 

Biden’s Patent Proposal Carries Devastating Costs, No Real Benefits

It’s rare that a federal policy inspires fierce opposition from both sides of the aisle. But the Biden administration’s recent proposal to gut the Bayh-Dole Act is doing exactly that. Bayh-Dole is a pivotal and successful bipartisan law, but Biden’s proposal would effectively allow federal agencies to tear up patent licensing agreements signed between federally funded universities and private businesses. The economic consequences would be dire. Individuals from across the political spectrum, including former Obama administration officials, have warned the proposal would threaten America’s small businesses and inventors.

‘IP Rights’ is the National High School Debate Topic for 2024-2025

After a year-long process involving 38 state organizations and dozens of individual representatives, IP rights has been selected as the topic for the 2024-2025 debate competition by The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). “Should the U.S. strengthen intellectual property rights” was chosen over “Nuclear Weapons Reduction” by a 25-17 vote in the final balloting process. In addition to NHFS and state debate associations, those who helped to determine the outcome included the National Speech and Debate Association, the National Catholic Forensic League, the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues and the Nation Debate Coaches Association.

Intel-Commerce Deal Includes Nearly $20 Billion in Funding Under CHIPS Act

On March 20, American semiconductor developer Intel Corporation and the U.S. Department of Commerce jointly announced that the chip giant had entered into a preliminary memorandum of terms (PMT) that could make Intel eligible for nearly $45 billion in federal investments into chip production facilities and workforce development. At least $19.5 billion of this funding comes from money appropriated under the CHIPS and Science Act, making Intel an early beneficiary of the landmark legislative package enacted in 2022 to establish U.S. dominance in chip production.

APPLE JAZZ Trademark Owner Strikes Out in Latest TTAB Ruling

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) on Wednesday, March 20, denied APPLE JAZZ mark owner Charles Bertini’s petition to cancel Apple, Inc.’s mark APPLE for entertainment services. While the Board found that Bertini had “proven and maintained his entitlement to a statutory cause of action,” it ultimately held that he had failed to make a prima facie showing of Apple’s abandonment of the APPLE mark for those services.

Patent Filings Roundup: Mixed Results in DraftKings IPRs; Key Patent Innovations Entity Launches First Campaign Asserting Former BlackBerry Patents; Pointwise Ventures Aims for Numerous Targets

It was a below-average week in both the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and in district courts this week for new patent filings, with only 27—all inter partes review (IPR)—at the PTAB and 47 new filings in district court…. The PTAB issued institution  decisions in 16 proceedings this week, denying institution in two IPRs (both on the merits) and ordering institution in 12 IPRs and two post-grant reviews (PGR). Instituted proceedings include two IPRs filed by Palo Alto Networks and Keysight Technologies challenging one Centripetal Networks patent; two IPRs filed by Samsung Electronics Co., challenging two Headwater Research Patents; and two IPRs filed by Motorola Solutions Inc., challenging two Sta Group LLC patents.

Coalition Aims to Combat Biden March-In Proposal, Other IP Threats

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today announced it is partnering with entrepreneurs and other business advocates to counter threats to innovation due to “excessive government overreach,” including the Biden Administration’s proposed framework to expand the use of so-called patent march-in rights.

USPTO Issues Reminder to Examiners on Means-Plus-Function Analyses

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Tuesday, March 19, issued a memo for all patent examiners reiterating its current practices and resources for examining means-plus-function and step-plus-function claim limitations. The memo is primarily focused on reminding examiners that they must create a clear record explaining their interpretation of such claims and points to various resources and training tools that are available to assist them.

The Trains, Planes and Automobiles of Correcting DOCX-Related Errors

Similar to Steve Martin and John Candy’s calamitous odyssey in the classic 1980s film Planes, Trains and Automobiles, patent practitioners are experiencing their own misadventures when filing applications in the DOCX format. As of January 17, 2024, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) mandated submitting all specification, claims and abstracts of non-provisional applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) in DOCX format or incurring a $400 surcharge (non-discounted). The DOCX mandate came after thousands, and likely tens of thousands, of practitioners, directly or indirectly, communicated their significant procedural, technical, legal, ethical, professional liability, and financial concerns to the USPTO.

SCOTUS Denies Petition to Review CAFC Precedent on Justification for Primary Reference Selection

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, March 18, denied a petition filed by patent owner Jodi A. Schwendimann asking the Court to review a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) that affirmed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) determination that Schwendimann’s patents were obvious. The petition specifically asked the Court to review the CAFC’s holding that Schwendimann’s argument that “justification for selection of a primary reference is a necessary step to guard against hindsight bias for the motivation to combine references” was unsupported by Federal Circuit case law.

Amid Approval of EU AI Act, Creators Demand Stronger Protections for Rightsholders

On March 13, the European Parliament approved the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act, a major piece of legislation that lays the legal foundation of the European Union’s (EU) regulation of AI platforms. While the 459-page bill addresses some of the copyright and other intellectual property (IP) issues related to generative AI, European creator groups have called upon the EU’s parliamentary body to create more meaningful mechanisms for IP rightsholders to prevent their works from being incorporated into AI platform training models. Further, questions have been raised regarding the extraterritorial impact of reporting requirements and how they might implicate the development of copyright law in foreign jurisdictions.

Responding to Obviousness Rejections in Light of the USPTO’s New Guidance

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently released new guidance to patent examiners on making obviousness rejections. The guidance focuses on post-KSR precedential jurisprudence from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Some of the guidance is fairly mundane, some of it is not. The purpose of this article is to propose a few responses one might use to counter rejections that apply certain problematic aspects of the new guidance.

USPTO Wants Input on How to Better Commercialize Innovation

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today issued a Request for Comments (RFC) that will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow seeking input from the public on how to better incentivize commercialization of innovation, particularly in green and critical or emerging technologies. According to the RFC, the comments received “will be used to evaluate possibilities for amplifying the impact of our current work, and to explore new ways to support the transfer of innovation to the marketplace.”

High-Tech Groups and EFF Revive Patent Troll Narrative and Other Lies

Efforts by high-tech companies to undermine both the Patent Eligibility Restoration Act of 2023 and the Promoting and Respecting Economically Vital American Innovation Leadership (PREVAIL) Act ramped up this week, with a joint letter sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee by a number of tech industry organizations on Monday and a campaign launched by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) yesterday.

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