Posts in Guest Contributors

Secrecy and Taylor Swift: What Conspiracy Theories Reveal About Our Growing Distrust of Institutions

Maintaining control over trade secrets is mostly about risk management, and one dimension of risk lies in having to tell hundreds or thousands of employees to keep quiet and then depend on each of them to do so. Human nature being what it is, risk increases quite a bit when the secret is about something really big and important. And it increases even more if the secret shows that your employer is lying to the public. Indeed, you might think that kind of information is the very hardest to keep under wraps. But there seems to be a growing number of people who think it’s quite easy.

Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approaches in Writing a Patent Application

Writing a useful and enforceable patent application is not an easy task. A number of articles show how to draft a patent application. For example, Gene Quinn of IPWatchdog published a series of articles with tips to avoid mistakes or pitfalls. Automated software and AI-assisted drafting tools have also become available, but there have been ethical and practical concerns about relying on AI. Instead of discussing the specific details of the steps in writing a patent application or the pros and cons of automated or AI tools, I will focus on the overall strategies or approaches.

A Perspective on USPTO Rulemaking Following In re Chestek

There are many views on the significance of In re Chestek, No. 2022-1843 (February 14, 2024) to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) rulemaking process. One question I have asked myself is what I would do differently after Chestek if I were still involved in rulemaking at the USPTO. The simple answer is almost nothing: I would cite Chestek instead of the other decisions in the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) section of a proposed or final rule.

Three Congressional Letters Show the March-In Debate Has Shifted

When the Biden Administration unleashed its proposed march-in guidelines last December, it claimed they would be a powerful tool for lowering drug prices by allowing the government to “march in” to license copiers under the authorities of the Bayh-Dole Act. It did so despite previously joining every other Administration denying price control petitions as not authorized under the law. It should have known the proposal would have minimal impact on drug prices—but would have a devastating impact on American innovation. That’s because the guidelines apply to all federal R&D agencies—not just the National Institutes of Health — so they cover inventions across the spectrum, not just the life sciences.  Now the chickens are coming home to roost. Three Congressional letters illustrate the point.

Patently Strategic Podcast: James Howard and the Black Inventors Hall of Fame

What would you have been without a role model? What would you have done had you not known your career path was even an option? The answers to these career and life-defining questions often come down to exposure, access, and whether or not we could picture ourselves doing something in the first place. I doubt there are many readers on here who are not regularly awe-inspired by the incredible work of the inventors we’re fortunate to know and serve. There are few nobler or more important professions. While we already know this and possibly take that knowledge for granted, our future depends on as many kids as possible – from as many backgrounds as possible – being inspired by, and personally identifying with, this world-shaping path. Our special guest in this month’s episode, James Howard, is taking on that challenge.

What Can You Do if You Buy Stolen or Forged Art and Antiquities?

In February 2023, an art dealer in Palm Beach, Florida admitted to selling millions of dollars’ worth of counterfeit artwork to unwitting buyers. Daniel Elie Bouaziz of Danieli Fine Art and Galerie Danieli in Palm Beach County purchased cheap reproductions online, forged provenance and authenticity paperwork, and resold the forged artworks for a hefty profit. Two months later, in April 2023, a Los Angeles-based auctioneer confessed to creating forged Basquiat pieces for display in the Orlando Museum of Art. Michael Barzman and an unidentified co-conspirator in the case created 20 to 30 of these fake paintings.

Examining the Possibility of Compulsory Copyright Licensing for LLM Training

ChatGPT and similar generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools rely on large language models (LLMs). LLMs are fed massive amounts of content, such as text, music, photographs and film, which they analyze to discover statistical relationships among these inputs. This process, describe as “training” the LLMs, gives them the ability to generate similar content and to answer questions with seeming authority. The business community, and society at large, seems convinced that AI powered by LLMs holds great promise for increases in efficiency. But multiple lawsuits alleging copyright infringement could create a drag on development of LLMs, or worse, tip the competitive balance towards offshore enterprises that enjoy the benefits of legislation authorizing text and data mining. A lot seems to hang on the question of whether LLM training involves copyright infringement or instead is a fair use of copyrighted content.

Digging Into the USPTO’s AI Guidance: Adjusting Practices to Capture Human Contribution

As artificial intelligence (AI) systems become increasingly sophisticated and play a greater role in our society, questions surrounding patentability and inventorship have come to the forefront of intellectual property discourse. This is particularly so in the wake of Thaler v. Vidal, 43 F. 4th 1207, 1213 (Fed. Cir. 2022), cert denied, 143 S. Ct. 1783 (2023), in which the Federal Circuit held that “only a natural person can be an inventor, so AI cannot be.” The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently issued guidance aimed at addressing these concerns.

Rader’s Ruminations: The Most Striking (and Embarrassing) Legal Mistake in Modern Patent Law

The most striking (and embarrassing) mistake of law in modern patent law history occurred in the case of eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, 347 U.S. 388 (2006). This mistake led to an alarmingly incorrect outcome and a monumental disruption of U.S. innovation policy…. The traditional and longstanding remedy for trespass on a patent property right is a permanent injunction. By making removal of an established infringer/trespasser optional in eBay, the Supreme Court vastly undercut and devalued every patent’s exclusive right. This erroneous outcome is a cataclysmic policy error, but that policy miscarriage is not itself the embarrassing error of law.

Understanding IP Matters: AI Beyond ChatGPT — How a Healthcare Investor and INDYCAR Engineer are Taming Big Data

OpenAI shocked the world when it released its spectacularly helpful, free generative AI platform, ChatGPT, on November 30, 2022. AI has existed in various forms for decades but it has never been so widely accessible or boldly efficient. No one can deny that we’ve been living in an AI world ever since. But ChatGPT is just one example of how AI is being used by businesses. To unpack why and how different forms of artificial intelligence are being adopted by businesses and their impact on intellectual property rights, Bruce Berman hosts two innovative exponents of AI on the seventh episode of the third season of his podcast “Understanding IP Matters.”

PTAB Subpoenas: Practical Guidance on How to Use This Rare but Useful Tool

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) remains a popular and busy venue for post-grant review of patents. These proceedings are known for being faster, and by statute, they allow for less discovery than district court patent cases. PTAB litigants therefore may not think about potential third-party subpoenas, which can take significant time and effort to obtain. It is possible, however, to obtain a subpoena in a PTAB case. In certain circumstances, a PTAB subpoena can be a useful tool to bolster your case at the PTAB, but there are specific procedures that must be followed to properly issue and enforce such a subpoena. Precise compliance with these procedures is necessary to obtain the discovery sought.

‘Where Are the Designers on This?’: Some Post-Argument Thoughts on LKQ v. GM

On February 5, 2024, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) held its en banc oral argument to reconsider the obviousness test for design patents. Overall, the many judges’ questions indicated a hesitancy to change the current law, as they expressed concern with positions advanced by the patent challenger. Listening to the argument, it became instantly clear that the designer’s voice was missing from the arguments of both parties. The judges had deeply probing and important questions that need the input of a design professional. As an experienced design professional, I penned this article to highlight the designer’s voice by providing answers to several critical questions posed by the court during oral argument.

Since 2020, Patent Errors Have Decreased by 11.24%

In an ideal world, issued patents would not contain errors. In reality, patent drafting is tedious and time-consuming work and perfection is not an attainable goal. The patent industry seems to be steadily getting better, though. In a recent study, we uncovered an 11.24% decrease in errors per patent over the past four years. We observed this decrease by reviewing every patent issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) since 2020 – nearly 1.4 million patents.

Patent Filings Roundup: ‘DASH’ Streaming Patents Struck Down Under 101; Samsung IPRs Fall to Fintiv; IP Edge Affiliate Kicks Off New Campaign

It was an average week for patent filings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and an above-average week in district courts, with 72 district court complaints filed and 18 new PTAB petitions—one petition for Post Grant Review (PGR), and 17 for Inter Partes Review (IPR). At the PTAB, a number of challenges were filed, including two IPRs by Tesla challenging patents owned by Iqar Inc, four IPRs by Dish challenging patents owned by Entropic Communications LLC (associated with Fortress), two IPRs by Microsoft challenging patents owned by Interdigital Patent Holdings Inc (associated with InterDigital Inc.), and two IPRs by Juniper Networks challenging patents owned by Monarch Networking Solutions LLC (associated with Acacia Research Corporation).

Chanel’s Win in Trademark Infringement Case is a Lesson for Resellers

Fashion is a brand-driven industry, and few brands in the fashion space carry the same cachet as Chanel. But how much control do brands like Chanel have over merchants who resell name-brand items in the secondary market? The answer, according to a federal jury in the Southern District of New York, is “Quite a bit.” The jury awarded Chanel $4 million in statutory damages on Chanel’s claims of trademark infringement, false association, unfair competition, and false advertising related to What Goes Around Comes Around’s (WGACA) reselling and marketing of Chanel products. The plaintiffs prevailed on all claims.

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