Posts in Legislation

Senators Take Aim at Chinese Anti-Suit Injunctions with ‘Defending American Courts Act’

A bipartisan group of five U.S. senators have introduced a bill to amend Chapter 28 of Title 35 of the U.S. Code to include language that would “combat corrupt Chinese Courts from issuing ‘anti-suit injunctions,’” according to a joint press release issued by the senators today. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced the bill on March 8. An anti-suit injunction is an injunction issued by a foreign court to limit the rights of parties to pursue litigation in U.S. courts.

China Joins Hague System – Here’s Why You Should Care

An IP announcement that may have slipped past you in the last few weeks is that China will now become a part of the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs. The Act will officially enter into force on May 5, 2022. Does this make a difference to you and your clients? Yes, in a very, very big way. Back in the mid-1990s, I had a key client operating out of Hong Kong, prior to the transfer of sovereignty from the UK back to China. He had, by then, become the world’s largest “maker” and seller of vacuum cleaners. Yet, he had only a small staff, mostly engaged in shipping and monetary transactions, i.e., paying for and getting paid for goods he bought and sold to vendors across the globe located in developing world economies.

The SECRETS Act Adds a Critical New Defense Against IP Theft Threatening U.S. Tech Leadership

Intellectual property (IP) theft, especially of trade secrets, remains a significant threat to advanced U.S. industries, global competitiveness, and national security. It is foundational to the U.S. trade dispute with China, given state-sponsored efforts to steal as much American know-how as possible. Yet, instead of new laws and regulations, the United States has relied mainly on tariffs in an indirect effort to convince China to curb these illegal practices. That is, until now. As Congress and the Biden administration prepare to finalize competitiveness bills and set the country’s annual defense budget, they have an opportunity to advance another bill that will benefit American businesses and workers by combatting the Chinese threat to U.S. industries—the SECRETS Act, introduced last summer by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Todd Young (R-IN).

Senate Judiciary Moves Open App Markets Act Forward

On February 3, during an Executive Business Meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) proposed several amendments on the markup of S. 2710, the Open App Markets Act. The bill would apply existing U.S. antitrust law under the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act or the Clayton Act for enforcement actions against companies that engage in anticompetitive practices in app stores, such as requiring app developers to use a favored in-app payment system for accessing consumers through that app store.

On Final Day of PTAB Masters™ 2022, Iancu/Panelists Ponder the Road Ahead for USPTO and PTAB

The last day of PTAB Masters™ 2022 featured sessions on dealing with parallel litigation at the International Trade Commission (ITC) and district courts in Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) proceedings; life sciences and inter partes review (IPR); and the future of the PTAB. On the latter topic, speakers contemplated what lies in wait for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director nominee, Kathi Vidal, who is likely to be confirmed, as well as how certain the Restoring America Invents Act is to be passed, and what changes it may include.

Senate Judiciary Advances American Innovation and Choice Online Act to Ramp Up Antitrust Efforts Against Big Tech

On January 20, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary voted 16-6 to advance S. 2992, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, out of committee and toward a full vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate. If passed, the bill would give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the U.S. Attorney General and state attorneys general new powers to bring antitrust enforcement actions against major online platforms that are alleged to be engaging in discriminatory conduct by preferencing their own products and services over competing products and services that are also available on those platforms.

Use of Research Tools May Expose Companies to Patent Infringement Claims

The safe harbor provision set forth in 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(1) immunizes many types of activities in pursuit of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) submission from patent infringement claims. Research tools are frequently used in pursuit of an FDA submission, such as drug development, testing and screening. But research tools themselves generally are not subject to FDA or other regulatory approval. Depending on the circumstances, using research tools to submit data to the FDA may not be protected by the safe harbor provision and thus may expose companies to patent infringement claims.

Iancu and Kappos: TRIPS IP Waiver Proposal Will Kill More People Than It Saves

A webinar hosted on Tuesday, January 12, by The Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Project featured former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Directors Andrei Iancu and David Kappos, as well as Duke University Professor of Law and former USPTO Administrator of the Office of External Affairs Arti Rai, discussing the proposal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to waive IP rights under the Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement for certain COVID-19 technologies. While all three panelists agreed that the IP waiver discussion has become a distraction that will not solve the fundamental problems, Iancu and Kappos were especially passionate that the precedent set by the U.S. government’s decision to back the proposal could do very real harm, rather than good.

Amicus Curiae Practice is Set to Make Its Statutory Debut in Japan

In the United States and other countries, there is a growing awareness and increasing appreciation of the purpose and value of amicus curiae practice as an aid in adjudicative decision-making. The role of an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in support of a party, or in support of no party, is to supply, voluntarily, the presiding court or other tribunal in cases of controversy with pertinent information, insights, or arguments in a formal, publicly accessible manner. Toward that end, a well-written amicus brief is one that is useful to the decision-maker(s) in calling attention to relevant or material factual or legal aspects of the issue(s) in contention – aspects that the decision-maker(s) or the party-litigants may not have been aware of or able to develop fully.

SEPs in Europe and Beyond: Highlights From 2021

Even as Europe and the rest of the world continued to face the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, the development of 5G and other Standard Essential Patent (SEP)-enabled technology standards has continued at an unabated pace. While the year has not yet ended, more than 100,000 technical contributions have already been submitted at 3GPP meetings for 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G in 2021 – a near-record yearly contribution count. The invention and standardization of massive, complex communication technologies continues to generate significant numbers of SEPs. According to IPlytics data, the cumulative number of self-declared SEP families has surpassed 72,000 in 2021, indicating a five-fold increase in just 10 years.

As Policymakers Say They Want to Rein in Big Tech, Others Seek to Give It Even More Power

Over the past several years, Congress has raised a long overdue microscope to Big Tech and its worst practices and as a result, the relationship between Washington, DC and Silicon Valley has changed tremendously. Rather than being feted by policymakers, Big Tech is now being forced to answer tough questions. Elected officials are now more aware of Big Tech’s reach and impact on our elections, security, and data collection – and they are not liking what they see.  These companies have intruded on nearly every aspect of American lives and have avoided any responsibility or accountability.

Examining the Moderna-NIH COVID-19 Vaccine Debate in the Context of Bayh-Dole

In the wake of the development of COVID-19 vaccines, the Biden-Harris Administration has suggested major shifts in U.S. policy concerning patent protection. In May of this year, Ambassador Katherine Tai, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced the Administration’s support for waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines. Most recently, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins accused Moderna of excluding three NIH scientists as co-inventors of a key patent for the COVID-19 vaccine. This article explores an alternative possibility of the Administration exercising certain rights in the COVID-19 vaccine invention under the 1980 Bayh-Dole Act—one day after the bill’s co-sponsor, Senator Bob Dole, passed away—and whether such an exercise of rights is in line with past precedent or would be a violent disruption to the status quo.  

Tai Tells Tillis Support for COVID-TRIPS Waiver is Not Political but Based on ‘Extraordinary Circumstances’ of the Pandemic

Following four letters sent by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) to United State Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai regarding the proposed waiver of intellectual property rights under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, Tai on November 8 replied to a July 14  letter sent by Tillis and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR). That letter referred Tai and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to a May 19 letter in which Tillis, Cotton and 14 other senators requested responses to 10 questions on the proposal to waive IP rights for COVID-19 related technology. The May 19 letter had requested Tai and Raimondo’s responses by July 19, 2021.

Massie Introduces Bill to Repeal PTAB, Abrogate Alice

Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) on November 5 introduced a bill, titled the Restoring America’s Leadership in Innovation Act of 2021 (RALIA), HR 5874, that would repeal the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), return the patent system to a “first-to-invent” model, rather than first-to-file, and would end automatic publication of patents. Inventor groups such as US Inventor and conservative groups are supporting the legislation.

Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing: E-Commerce Platforms Have Curbed Infringement, But Counterfeits and Safety Problems Persist

The full Senate Judiciary Committee convened today for a hearing titled, “Cleaning Up Online Marketplaces: Protecting Against Stolen, Counterfeit, and Unsafe Goods,” in which witnesses explained the continuing challenges of policing stolen and counterfeit products in online marketplaces. The panelists included small business owners, internet platform advocates, academics and retail store representatives.