Posts in Guest Contributors

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.

Stay on Top of Hot Topics in Patent Damages Litigation

In patent litigation, damages issues are sometimes treated as an afterthought when compared to the issues of infringement and invalidity. However, achieving a client’s goals requires an attorney to place damages at the center of the litigation strategy from the very beginning. Damages, quite simply, can make or break a case. And it is a quickly evolving field, rife with inconsistent judicial decisions, vague standards, and new techniques for measuring damages. Below are some of the current hot topics in patent litigation—and tips for practitioners on both sides of the “v” on how to handle them.

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.

From Foundation to Fortress: Developing an IP Strategy for Success

While many see intellectual property merely as a shield, its greater power rests in its strategic use to spark innovation and propel business growth. In this article I describe a systematic approach for developing IP strategies that are tailored to the technology and objectives of each business, so that the resulting IP can be used to drive the achievement of those goals.

Evolving IP: The Innovation Crossroads

On Episode 2 of the Evolving IP podcast from LexisNexis® Intellectual Property Solutions, host Nigel Swycher speaks with Olivia Koentjoro, the Head of Global Legal Data Analytics at Applied Materials. Koentjoro’s discussion spans the spectrum of challenges and opportunities inherent in effectively harnessing IP data. She argues that analytics can revolutionize this data into a potent force for highlighting the strength of a company’s innovation.

Lidl v. Tesco: Supermarket Wars in Court

Supermarkets compete aggressively for our custom. The entry of upstart discount supermarkets Lidl and Aldi into the market has created new pressures on the established brands, including Tesco— ironically, the original “pile it high and sell it cheap” operation. Supermarkets benchmark their prices against those charged by their competitors and offer loyal customers benefits, including, extremely attractive special offers when customers use their loyalty cards. They are no less aggressive when it comes to using and protecting their trademarks.

The Licensing Vector: A Fair Approach to Content Use in LLMs

A spate of recent lawsuits is shining light on how some generative AI (GenAI) companies are using copyrighted materials, without permission, as a core part of their products. Among the most recent examples is the New York Times Company’s’ lawsuit against OpenAI, which alleges a variety of copyright-related claims. For their part, some GenAI companies like OpenAI argue that there is no infringement, either because there is no “copying” of protected materials or that the copyright principle of fair use uniformly applies to generative AI activities. These arguments are deeply flawed and gloss over crucial technical and legal issues. They also divert attention from the fact that it is not only possible but practical to be pro-copyright and pro-AI.

What RFK, Jr.’s VP Pick Could Mean for IP

Independent Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr’s Vice-Presidential running mate, Nicole Shanahan, a mercurial patent analyst, intellectual property lawyer and incidentally rich entrepreneur, is in the position to influence declining patent reliability and increasing copyright abuse. But will she? This column is not intended to opine on Shanahan’s merits as an independent Vice-Presidential candidate, but to attempt to understand her motivation for running and its potential impact on IP rights, creators and assignees.

What’s Next After Brazil’s Enactment of the Nagoya Protocol

In a significant milestone for the preservation of biodiversity, Decree 11,865/2023, published in the Official Gazette on 12/28/2023, enacted the Nagoya Protocol in Brazil. The protocol, providing for access to genetic resources and the fair sharing of benefits arising from their use, is part of the renowned Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The Nagoya Protocol, in force since October 12, 2014, relates to the international commitment of 140 countries, including Brazil, to implement the objective of the CBD on the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources and the traditional knowledge associated with them (TK).

IP Practice Vlogs: Design Practical Exercise – Protecting Variable Design Choices and Color

In the latest episode of IP Practice Vlogs, it’s time for another design patent practical exercise. We previously did a design exercise on patenting Apple’s AirPods. This time we are going to patent the lightsaber. Specifically, as an example, we will be using a custom made lightsaber from Disney which was built by my husband at an experience at Galaxy Edge called Savi’s Workshop. The lightsabers that are assembled and sold at Savi’s workshop are all customizable in which the design or physical appearance actually vary depending on the customer’s design choice. I’m going to show you why this custom-made lightsaber is actually a very good candidate for design patent protection despite its variable design.

Return to Assertion Value Series: The 1% Patent

“Many believe the root cause of the patent system’s dysfunction is that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office [USPTO] is issuing too many invalid patents that unnecessarily drain consumer welfare, stunt productive research, and unreasonably extract rents from innovators.” That quote from Professors Michael Frakes and Melissa F. Wasserman echoes a common complaint in patent policy conversations. The USPTO is widely perceived as issuing too many bad patents.

A Case Study on the ‘Crime-Fraud’ Exception to Attorney-Client Privilege

The protection of privilege in communications between clients and lawyers is a very important one under U.S. law. The basic rule is that when a client seeks legal advice from a lawyer, the communication between the client and the lawyer is confidential and cannot be discovered during litigation. An important purpose of this rule is to encourage clients to communicate fully and freely with lawyers in the process of seeking legal help. The lawyers here include both external lawyers and in-house lawyers.

Evolving IP Podcast: Bringing Clarity to Innovation

The debut episode of LexisNexis’ Evolving IP podcast features inaugural hosts Francesca Levoir, Marco Richter, Nigel Swycher, and Tim Pohlmann, who set the stage for the overarching theme of “bringing clarity to innovation.” This podcast endeavors to unravel the complexities of intellectual property (IP), tackling the intricate dynamics at the crossroads of IP, law and business.

Report: Recent IP Summit Explores the Relationship Between AI Benefits, IP Rights

The remarkable story that inventor Alan Nelson shared last week at the 7th Annual Intellectual Property Awareness Summit held by CIPU at Northwestern University was revealing in many ways. Dr. Nelson related how he overcame numerous obstacles to commercialize a landmark technology for detecting cervical cancer in the 1990s. Using artificial intelligence (AI) while at the University of Washington, Dr. Nelson automated and vastly improved how early and accurately cervical cancer is identified — he and his team invented a machine to read Pap smears. 

Patent Filings Roundup: Financed IP Edge Patents Back From the Dead; Toyota Challenges InfoGation Patents at PTAB

In a nod to Mark Twain’s famous quote, the rumors of the death of IP Edge are greatly exaggerated. It appears the prolific NPE aggregator has either sold or transferred at least one portfolio (and potentially up to 40) to a new entity, Inferential Capital, LLC, which after hiring, has begun asserting again—more below.  On the stats, it was a slightly below average week at both the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and in the district courts. At the PTAB, there were 25 new patent filings, with one post-grant review and 24 inter partes reviews (IPR).