Posts in Interviews & Conversations

Why is the Supreme Court Interested in Patent Cases?

The other thing I think that’s at play here, and maybe it’s the principal reason is a point that I made earlier which is our economy depends utterly on intellectual property. That is in fostering innovation and inventiveness in the manner in which the framers of the Constitution understood needed to be fostered. That is within appropriately countered system of protections for discoveries and inventions and novel expression. But that doesn’t smother innovation by competitors and by others. And because our economy is so utterly tied to intellectual property the Supreme Court correctly understands that this is a substantive area in which it is very, very important for the correct balance to be struck.

Seth Waxman Discusses Advocacy in the Supreme Court

Waxman on the advantage of not being a “Patent Specialist”: Perhaps paradoxically, it seems to me, the advantage in litigation with respect to esoteric areas of the law and technology goes to the generalist. All too often, experts apply all sorts of mental shortcuts in explaining why their view is correct. It’s difficult for anyone with expertise to put herself in the mindset of someone who isn’t, and is approaching the issue as a generalist adjudicator. Even Federal Circuit judges with technical training lack expertise with respect to the vast majority of the kinds of innovation that comes before that court.

Startups Entrepreneurship: One Simple Idea is all it Takes

We pick up our conversation with where many inventors stumble as they attempt to move from idea person to small business person. We also discuss lessons learned from a Big Bang Theory episode, as well as the important of taking reasonable risks, protecting your innovations (Key is a fan of provisional patent applications to start) and the importance of knowing the market for your product.

Exclusive with Seth Waxman, Supreme Court Patent Superstar

All of these accomplishments would be more than enough to fill out a lifetime spent in the law, but upon leaving the Department of Justice, Waxman has become nationally recognized and highly sought after as one of the preeminent appellate attorneys in America. He has also developed a particular niche in the area of patent law and litigation. Simply stated, if you have a patent case before the Supreme Court and you want to win, Waxman will be on your short list of attorneys to call. In fact, he should be right at the top.

Discussing Startups & Entrepreneurship with Author Stephen Key

A lot of inventors and entrepreneurs might come up with an idea that solves a problem, but I’ve always took a different approach. I would let the market tell me what it’s looking for or what it needs or what’s missing. And I like to refer to it as looking for a sleeping dinosaur. By that I mean something that is old and tired. Don’t reinvent the wheel but come up with a small change in existing products. So number one, you’re guaranteed that there’s a market for it. And number two, the technology exists.

AIPLA Exclusive: On the Record with Todd Dickinson, Part 2

In this final installment of my interview with Dickinson we discuss the Federal Circuit, including the rumors that I have heard about him possibly being on a short list for a future appointment to the Federal Circuit. As you will see, Dickinson deflected those rumors, although acknowledging they are flattering. We then move on to talk about judicial appointments in general, as well as the next big issue that will face the Federal Circuit in the coming years.

AIPLA Exclusive: On the Record with Todd Dickinson, Part 1

As a part of this all-access look behind the scenes I interviewed Q. Todd Dickinson, the AIPLA Executive Director who is also a former Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This interview took place at the conclusion of our day together. In this segment of my two-part interview with Todd Dickinson we start by discussing how the AIPLA manages the daunting task of taking positions in virtually every IP issues that arises.  We then transition into discussing first-to-file and the American Invents Act.

Exclusive: Behind the Scenes at the AIPLA

I really didn’t have any preconceived notions about what I would experience at the AIPLA.  I know what the organization is, I know what they do, and over the years I have come to know Todd Dickinson, bumping into him at virtually every major industry event I attend.  While I don’t want to ruin the story by jumping to the conclusion, I can say I was thoroughly impressed by what I saw.  The shear magnitude of the work that is done by the AIPLA staff and the many dedicated attorney volunteers is staggering.

Exclusive Interview: Talking SCOTUS Decision in i4i v. Microsoft

This month I have been running a series of articles on the United States Supreme Court. Today we switch things up a little and talk patents, focusing on one of the most important decisions the Supreme Court has made over the last generation — i4i v. Microsoft. I recently chatted with Michael Cannata. His is a name you might not know, but he was intimately involved in the i4i case. He is the manager of a fund that put up the capital for i4i to fight the battle. He consequently became a Director for i4i and was involved with co-managing the litigation for i4i.

Interview Finale: USPTO Attorneys Knight and Ray

In this segment, which is the interview finale, we discuss the heightened expectation of fairness placed on government attorneys, what it is like to work for USPTO Director David Kappos, how the USPTO determines when to give guidance to examiners to reconcile case law, specifically using the KSR Guidelines as an example. Before Knight and Chen had to go I also managed to ask a few of those familiar “get to know you” questions at the end. Wait until you hear Knight’s answer for favorite pastime or hobby. Talk about a Renaissance man! The interview does end rather abruptly, but that was because we literally kept talking through the last minute they were available and on to their next set of meetings.

Exclusive Interview: USPTO Attorneys Bernie Knight & Ray Chen

On Wednesday August 1, 2012, I had the opportunity to do something I have wanted to do for quite a while. I sat down on the record with both Bernie Knight and Ray Chen, the top two attorneys who represent the United States government at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This starts the next phase of USPTO 2.0 interviews, which started earlier in the year. We talked about where these attorneys got their start, who they view the client as being, what it is like to represent the United States, ethical dilemmas that present, the structure of the General Counsel’s Office and the process for giving Federal Register guidance on a variety of matters.

Erik Iverson Interview Part 2: Patents for Humanity

On August 2, 2012, I spoke on the record with Erik Iverson, Executive Vice President for Business Development & External Affairs at the Infectious Disease Research Institute. In part 2, which is the final segment of the interview, we discuss the Obama Administration efforts to challenge the innovative community to put patents to work for humanitarian efforts. This project is called Patents for Humanity. Iverson and I discuss the project and whether it is likely to be successful, as well as the risk it runs of defining only one path to acceptably use patents for what the government views as humanitarian relief.

An Exclusive Interview with Erik Iverson: Using Patented Technology for Humanitarian Global Health Purposes

Patents for Humanity in the news was also the perfect excuse to chat with Erik. I always enjoy our conversations. We touch base regularly and talk about industry matters, and I always leave those conversations wanting to write about something. Unfortunately, I have had the hardest time getting my head around what seems to be very counterintuitive — namely the use of patented technology for humanitarian purposes. I can confidently now say that I get it. I am happy to share this interview and hope that it can shed light on what might seem like an otherwise purely altruistic endeavor without much likelihood of success. There is great work being done in this space and it is indeed a “win-win” for everyone.

Bob Stoll Part 3 – SCOTUS, the Future CAFC, Inequitable Conduct

In this final installment, Bob Stoll and I discuss the United States Supreme Court. We spend some time talking about the Supreme Court’s recent patent eligible subject matter decisions. We also discuss the problem of bad patent applications contributing to bad law and slower, more inefficient patent prosecution. We also discuss inequitable conduct after Therasense and who might make a good addition to the Federal Circuit. Stoll says the name he keeps hearing is Todd Dickinson.

Bob Stoll Part 2 – Innovation, Economy, Patent Examination

In part 1 of my interview with Stoll we discussed his adjusting to life in the private sector, the fact that he doesn’t enjoy the billable hour part of private practice (just like every other attorney I know) and we discussed politics a bit, as well as the U.S. economy and innovation policy. Part 2 of my interview, which appears below, picks up where we left off discussing Presidential politics and the buzz that engulfs D.C. every 4 years. We then move on to talk about how innovation drives the U.S. economy and I get his thoughts on why we haven’t seen a great new technology that has spawned an entirely new industry as we have coming out of so many recessions in the past. We then finish part 2 discussing changes to the patent examination process and how to streamline the examination process.