Posts in Holiday Posts

The Year in Patents: The Top 10 Patent Stories of 2019

As we prepare to enter a new year—and a new decade—it is time once again to look back on the year behind us to assess its impact for the IP world. All in all, it was very much a year of “almosts.” While the Supreme Court is still considering some cases that could herald massive change for patent law, its most notable move this year has largely been to keep its head planted firmly in the sand, particularly when it comes to Section 101 and patent eligibility, signaling that it seems to either believe everything is fine, or that Congress or the Federal Circuit will fix the problem they initially created. Similarly, Congress has been perhaps more active than ever before on IP issues across the board, but has thus far failed to enact or move forward on meaningful legislation at any level. At the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Andrei Iancu made some heroic changes in examiner guidance on Section 101 that promised to clear up the massive confusion that has developed over the last decade, but the courts refused to acknowledge the USPTO’s authority on the matter, thereby making the changes virtually useless.

The Most High-Profile Patents of 2019

With the end of 2019 upon us, the holiday season is a great time to take a look back at the most influential patents—rather than patent stories—representing a variety of important developments from this year. As we explore some of the patents and technologies that have had the greatest impact on the previous year, our focus will be upon both patents that have led to court decisions having major ramifications on the U.S. patent system, as well as those patents representing major advances in technological sectors that are growing more important by the day. From Athena v. Mayo to brainwave device authentication methods, 2019 offered no shortage of impressive innovations and depressing patent-eligibility decisions.

Washington Insiders Weigh In on What Mattered in 2019

As the year draws to a close, we reflect on what mattered most in the world of intellectual property during 2019.?It was a particularly active year on IP issues, with important events in the courts, Congress, and agencies. Below we have highlighted a few of the most significant activities. Compare our list to yours and let us know what you think!? 

The Most Iconic (and Patented) Toys and Games of All Time

Since America’s earliest days, many creative and innovative toys have come through the consumer marketplace. Many have become so iconic they are now household names and synonymous with a moment in time for America’s youth. Some of the most popular of these toys continue to show up year after year under Christmas trees and – you guessed it – were…

The Top 10 Patent Stories of the Decade 2010 – 2019: Part II

As we explained in Part I of this series yesterday, this December marks the end of a decade as well as 2019. In reflecting on the top 10 patent stories from 2010 to 2019, we acknowledge that there will undoubtedly be disagreements and mentioned yesterday that some big cases, like Mayo v. Prometheus and TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group…

The Top 10 Patent Stories of the Decade 2010 – 2019: Part I

This year, we wind down not only the year, but the decade. So, it is time to reflect upon the biggest patent related stories of the last ten years. As with any Top 10 list or ranking, there will undoubtedly be disagreements. For example, be forewarned, Mayo v. Prometheus did not make the list, but rest assured the ineptitude of the Supreme Court with respect to patent eligibility is well represented. Before jumping to the top 10, represented in chronological order, I want to mention several honorable mention stories that were close but didn’t make the list. First, although completely inconsequential, on June 22, 2015, in Kimble v. Marvel, the United States Supreme Court rejuvenated a 50-year-old rule that limits collecting patent royalties after a patent expires. In that decision the Supreme Court cited the importance of stare decisis, saying that there needs to be an overwhelmingly important rationale for disturbing well settled law, which is laugh-out-loud funny given how they did precisely that when they completely rewrote all of patent eligibility law with Bilski, Myriad, Mayo and Alice this decade. I’m sorry, but the Supreme Court citing stare decisis shows just how out of touch and ignorant they have collectively become.

Christmas Gifts for Patent Attorneys and Inventors

Christmas is in just a few days, but if you’re still looking for gifts for the patent attorneys, engineers, scientists or inventors in your life, here are a few can’t-miss gifts for your consideration.

Congress Includes an Ugly Sweater in the STRONGER Patents Act

It is not unusual for there to be unintended consequences in the law or life. A loved one gives you something you don’t really like, but you do such a good job of feigning happiness that it becomes a regular gift. Who knew you could ever have too many “lovely” ties or too much single malt Scotch? Congress is in the process of giving the patent bar some welcome relief on some important issues, but may be throwing in that unwanted gift along with it. The STRONGER Patents Act intends to address the potential for inconsistent rulings between district court cases and inter partes reviews (IPRs). The Act achieves this by expressing a preference for district court rulings and by requiring IPRs to apply the same standards for validity determinations that are used in the district court. This is already the case by USPTO regulation with respect to claim construction, but the Act would make it statutory for both claim construction and validity, and thus not subject to change by the USPTO. While the use of the same standard for validity in both forums will make the rulings more consistent, the statutory preference for the district court over the IPR may have an unintended consequence.

This Thanksgiving: What Is the IP Community Thankful For?

This year has included many twists and turns for IP stakeholders, particularly on the patent side. Most recently, the Federal Circuit’s decision in Arthrex has called into question the constitutionality of Patent Trial and Appeal Board decisions, and perhaps the Board itself. Elsewhere, Congress has been—unsuccessfully—attempting to step in and clarify U.S. patent law since early in the year, while the courts have continued to muddy the waters of patent eligibility law. The Federal Trade Commission’s case against Qualcomm, and Judge Lucy Koh’s decision in the case, have further called into question the United States’ ability to compete on the innovation front going forward. And yet, there have been some wins in other areas this year, including at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and there remain many reasons to be hopeful about the year ahead. IPWatchdog asked some IP experts to share what they have to be thankful for on the IP front this Thanksgiving, despite all the uncertainty. Hopefully, as those of you who celebrate the holiday enjoy your Thanksgiving dinners, these sentiments will inspire you to be thankful too.

The Latest and Greatest Halloween Patents for Your Perusal

It’s a fun yet creepy day, so a fun and creepy patents post is in order. Hopefully you are reading this while dressed as a goblin, ghoul, or your favorite/ most hated politician. While I must admit that the USPTO database exhibited a dearth of Halloween-related patents this year, below are the few newer additions, along with some of the classics. Happy Halloween everyone!

IPWatchdog Turns 20: A Look Back Through the Years

Through the years, the IPWatchdog website has changed quite a bit; from the logo to the overall design and presentation of content, we’ve come a long way. Enjoy this trip through 20 years of IPWatchdog evolution, starting with IPWatchdog CEO and Founder Gene Quinn’s first post upon the launch of the current platform in 2007.

Happy 20 Years, IPWatchdog! Celebrating Two Decades of Unmatched IP Insight

Today marks 20 years since the date of IPWatchdog.com’s launch. Happy Birthday to Us! As IPWatchdog Founder and CEO Gene Quinn recalled at the 10-year mark, in 1999 he was living in Orlando, Florida, and planning to embark on a career as a full-time law professor. But things didn’t quite turn out that way. Quinn first purchased the IPWatchdog URL in 1998 with the intention of providing a service to evaluate stocks based on IP portfolios. But when his partners in that plan slowly began leaving the dream behind for law firm jobs, Quinn decided to create a platform of his own, mainly summarizing “literally every IP case in America” in one paragraph each week. “The target audience was potential clients and IP attorneys,” Quinn recently told Eli Mazour for the Clause 8 podcast. “I had more of a belief than a plan that what I was doing was going to be worthwhile,” Quinn said. “Even if I didn’t figure out how to turn it into a business, I knew it would be beneficial because more people would know who I was.” Tonight, IPWatchdog will celebrate its 20th anniversary in style with the many close friends, colleagues and readers Gene and Renée have met over the years. Below, we share some of their thoughts on what IPWatchdog, and Gene and Renée, have meant to them and to the IP community over these past two decades.

Other Barks & Bites, Friday August 30: CAFC Dismisses Appeals of PTAB Institution Denials, Levandowski Indicted on Trade Secrets Theft

This week in Other Barks & Bites: the PTAB institutes IPRs despite arguments that the Chinese government was an unnamed real party-in-interest; the Federal Circuit dismisses appeals of PTAB decisions denying institution on three IPRs; USPTO seeks public comments on examination guidance for artificial intelligence inventions, announces a public hearing on proposed trademark fee adjustments, and is facing backlash for seeking proof of citizenship for trademark applications; Tesla avoids a 10% tax on auto sales in China; the Department of Defense gets closer to establishing an IP protection team; former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski is charged with trade secret theft; trademark protection cases in Dubai have risen 63%; the Copyright Royalty Board announces an intent to audit Sirius XM Radio; and Amazon’s Audible faces copyright infringement suit over text captioning feature.

Three Inventions That Made My Summers Fun

As we enter the August heat, it’s worth remembering some of the patents that have made summers more bearable through the years, for kids and adults alike. Below are three that stand out from my lifetime—unfortunately, the oft-cited on IPWatchdog and now-popular Bunch O’ Balloons toy was well after my time. Let us know in the comments which inventions made your summers cooler.

My Top 25 Songs of All Time: An IPWatchdog Fourth of July Tradition

IPWatchdog has been publishing readers’ and staff picks for the Top 25 songs of all time for the past four years on the Fourth of July. See previous posts here, here, here, and here. Not one to snub tradition, this year it’s my turn. I was raised chiefly in the 1980s and 90s, but my heart has always been with 60s/70s folk music and classic rock (while my tween friends were fawning over NKOTB I was renting Yellow Submarine and Help! at Blockbuster). At nine years old, my father took me to Tower Records to purchase all of his favorite Beatles albums on cassette—loving the Beatles is passé now, but it’s sentimental in my case. The first song I fell in love with was Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, because it’s silly, and I was nine. That one didn’t make the list, but the Beatles—and Lennon specifically—set the standard for my musical tastes going forward, lyrics being key. This exercise was much harder than I expected, and my final list looks nothing like I thought it would off the top of my head. There are so many great songs across so many genres and eras from a musical and lyrical perspective that it would be impossible to choose—so in the end I just went with the songs that have had personal meaning to me throughout my life. Some of them may not be so technically “top”, but this list is all about the memories.