Posts in Guest Contributors

Darrell Issa Doesn’t Understand That He is the Problem

US Inventor is publicly opposing the appointment of Representative Darrell Issa (R – CA) to Chair the IP Subcommittee due to Issa’s record of IP reforms that are harmful to independent inventors and startups. To accomplish these IP reforms, Issa squelches the voices of independent inventors and startups while amplifying the voices of Big Tech and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) controlled multinationals. Now, in a recent statement, Issa argues that his IP reforms have made the patent system more fair for everyone, even as the facts show he is completely wrong. Issa is unfit to be IP Subcommittee Chair.

Issa is Not a Fit for IP Subcommittee Chairman

The House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee—Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet (IP Subcommittee) writes patent law and is responsible for other patent-related initiatives. A country’s patent laws directly affect its innovation economy. In a free-market economy, patent laws can boost or destroy incentives to invent and commercialize new things. As a result, patent law influences economic and job growth, social mobility, technological advances and national security. The 118th congress has begun. Currently, the Republican Steering Committee is selecting the Chairs for the various committees and filling the ranks with members. The next step is for the Chairs of the various committees to select their subcommittee chairs. In the case of the IP Subcommittee, Jim Jordan is the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, so he selects the IP Subcommittee Chair. Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) is the most likely candidate to be selected.

The Adidas v. Thom Browne Saga: Stripes May Be ‘Earned’ But They Cannot Be Owned

Engagement in proactive IP litigation by global companies is the bedrock of trademark enforcement, and Adidas is no stranger to this strategy. Since 2008, this athleisure accessories manufacturer has consistently protected its intellectual property by signing over 200 settlement agreements and fighting more than 90 court battles. Most recently, on  January 12, 2023, Adidas’s efforts to sue Thom Browne Inc., a Zegna subsidiary, for trademark infringement of its ‘three-stripes logo’ was foiled. The damages claim of around $7.8 million, or £6.4 million, backfired on the German sportswear giant when it was denied by an eight-person Manhattan jury.

ITC Puts Complainants on Notice that Pleading Requirements are Not Mere Suggestions

A recent policy change at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) provides a lesson in how to properly draft a key requirement in a Section 337 complaint. The ITC is a popular forum for companies facing unfair competition from imported goods that infringe intellectual property rights. Companies alleging unfair competition can file a complaint asking the ITC to institute what is called a Section 337 investigation and issue exclusion orders barring entry into the United States of the offending goods. To prevail in a Section 337 investigation, the complainant must show, among other things, it has made investments in the US to exploit its intellectual property—the “domestic industry” requirement.

Industry Risk and Investment Drives Academic Tech Transfer

AUTM, which represents the academic technology management profession, just released the results of the survey of its members for 2021. Once again, the results are impressive, particularly considering that the U.S. economy was just beginning to emerge from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic…. It’s clear that despite continual attacks on the Bayh-Dole system, which allows academic institutions to own and manage federally funded inventions without Washington micro-management, our system keeps truckin’ right along, year after year, leading the world.

Patent Eligibility and the Life Sciences Industry – The Impact of Law on Innovation in the Industry

One of the panels at last year’s IPWatchdog’s Life Sciences MastersTM Series addressed the thorny problem of patent eligibility.  I moderated the panel, titled Patent Eligibility and the Life Sciences Industry–What Next?, where the speakers, with input from passionate audience members, discussed the impact of section 101 jurisprudence on innovation in the life sciences industry. Do the limits on what is patent-eligible subject matter created by the courts strike the proper balance or do unpredictable court decisions harm investment and research in the life sciences? While the majority view appeared to be that patent-eligibility reform is necessary, both to provide clarity and to incentivize certain type of inventions, the panel also expressed the idea that some form of section 101 jurisprudence is necessary to prevent “discoveries” from being monopolized, which could also harm innovation.

Understanding IP Matters: Inventor and Author Arlyne Simon Wants to Change the World — and How Children View It

Inventor, author, and entrepreneur Arlyne Simon believes creative problem solving should be the foundation of every child’s early education. The Intel Corporation biomedical engineer says that failure is a part of every invention’s success, and that we need to learn how to fail to succeed. She is the creator of Abby Invents, a highly regarded series of children’s books about perseverance, the power of learning, and the invention process told from the perspective of a young black girl.  In Episode 7 of Season 2 of his podcast “Understanding IP Matters,” Bruce Berman interviews Simon about the importance of representation, her motivations as an invention educator, and her career as a professional inventor.

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.

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.

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.

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.

RALIA Is Economic Suicide: A Reply to the Critics

Paul Morinville, Founder of US Inventor, recently published a response to my column criticizing RALIA, a bill in Congress that would abolish the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). I offer a few observations in reply. I argued in “The Made in China Act,” November 16, 2022, that juries are not an effective or reliable check on patent validity and that eliminating contested validity reviews at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) would be a disaster for U.S. manufacturing. As if determined to prove my point, the VLSI patent-assertion group recently obtained yet another monster infringement verdict against Intel based on a patent that probably shouldn’t have issued.

The Campaign Against Pharma Companies Creates New Level of Uncertainty for all Patent Attorneys Re: Duty of Disclosure and Inquiry

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a Notice on the “Duties of Disclosure and Reasonable Inquiry During Examination, Reexamination, and Reissue, and for Proceedings Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board” on July 29, 2022 (87 FR 45764-67), without a big reaction from the IP community. Patent attorneys mostly scratched their heads wondering what it means, especially as it was created in the backdrop of an attack on drug companies and drug pricing. The attack was motivated by a now largely discredited disinformation campaign by the advocacy group I-MAK (Initiative for Medicines, Access and Knowledge; an oxymoron), based on non-peer reviewed erroneous patent data analysis (see supporting false analyses by Univ. of Calif. Hastings Law School “Evergreen Drug Patent Search” and R. Feldman, “May your drug price be evergreen” J. Law and Biosciences Vol 5(3) Dec 2018, 590-647). Notwithstanding, the White House and certain members of Congress picked up I-MAK’s “Overpatented, Overpriced” faulty advocacy piece (2018; updated Sept 2022), and without checking the integrity of the data, quoted to it, and got to work.