Posts in Patents

Five Patent Highlights from Europe in 2022

The long-awaited introduction of the Unitary Patent and UPC should provide much interest in 2023, with attention likely to focus on the early numbers of applications for unitary effect, as well as the number of European patents opted out and the volume and nature of cases brought before the Court. At the EPO, decisions are expected from the Enlarged Board of Appeal in Case G 2/21, which concerns plausibility and post-published evidence, and Cases G 1/22 and G 2/22, concerning entitlement to priority. Oral proceedings in G 2/21 were held on 24 November. And the UK Supreme Court should hear the DABUS case and deliver its judgment in 2023.

AI Year in Review: A Busy 2022 for AI and IP Promises Even More in 2023

In general, the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies has the potential to impact society in many ways. These technologies can automate tasks and make them more efficient, which can lead to job displacement and other economic impacts. They can also be used to make decisions that affect people’s lives, such as in the criminal justice system or in hiring, which raises ethical concerns. Additionally, the development and use of AI and machine learning technologies can raise issues related to privacy and security. What could be a more fitting way to open a 2022 year-in-review article on AI and machine learning than by asking OpenAI’s newly beta-released ChatGPT tool to contribute? The above paragraph was generated using ChatGPT’s conversational, chat-based dialog input. The initial request of ChatGPT was the prompt: “Explain the social impacts of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies over the past year.”

USPTO Guidance Reduces PTAB Discretionary Denials, Signaling Potential Uptick of IPRs in 2023

The appointment of USPTO Director Kathi Vidal in April 2022 and her introduction of interim guidance in June 2022 has spurred changes at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that may result in an increase in instituted inter partes reviews (IPRs) due to a dramatic decline in discretionary denials. Under the reign of former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Andrei Iancu, the number of discretionary denials of IPR petitions had steadily increased over the last five years, in part due to the application of the PTAB’s 2020 precedential decision in Apple Inc. v. Fintiv, Inc.

CAFC Grants Mandamus for Amazon, Ordering Albright to Transfer to Colorado

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today granted Amazon, Inc.’s petition for a writ of mandamus asking that Judge Alan Albright of the Western District of Texas be directed to sever claims brought by Flygrip, Inc. against it from claims made against another defendant and to transfer the case to a Colorado district court. Flygrip sued Amazon for direct and indirect patent infringement based on resale on Amazon’s platform of handheld-device cases manufactured by PopSockets, Otter Products and Quest USA Corp. PopSockets and Otter are headquartered in Colorado, so Amazon moved to transfer the case to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

Bringing Unwilling Licensors to the Table

Some months ago, two courts in Germany granted injunctions against Oppo, one based on a standard essential patent (SEP), and another on a non-SEP related to Wi-Fi. Rather than cave to the demands of Nokia, Oppo has since decided to pull its products out of the German market. Since then, some commentators have claimed that this is another example of so-called “implementers” engaging in hold out. They point to the need for strong injunctive relief in order to force these “unwilling” licensees to the table.

As IP Waiver Extension Deadline Approaches, Advocacy Groups Call on WTO Director-General to Step In

A group of more than 160 charities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), advocacy organizations, and others sent a letter today under the banner of the People’s Vaccine Alliance to World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala imploring the WTO not to accept the proposed delay of a decision to extend waiver of IP rights under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to therapeutics and diagnostics. The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on December 6 announced support for delaying the deadline on an extension decision.

Intel Asks Delaware Court to Dismiss $4 Billion VLSI Patent Suit

Intel Corp. has asked the United States District Court for the District of Delaware to throw out a $4.1 billion patent lawsuit from VLSI Technology in a filing unsealed Friday, December 9. Intel claimed that VLSI “has repeatedly failed to disclose its full ownership as required,” and the company’s “opaque ownership structure is an entrenched feature of hedge fund-driven patent litigation.” In its filing, Intel argued that VLSI has failed to comply with U.S. District Judge Colm Connolly’s standing order for the company to identify “every individual and corporation with a direct or indirect interest.”

Deadline to Register as a Speaker at the Public Listening Session on USPTO-FDA Collaboration Efforts Almost Here

he United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) sent out a reminder today to those interested in speaking at an upcoming Public Listening Session on collaboration efforts between the USPTO and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that they must sign up to participate by January 5, 2023. The listening session will be held on January 19, 2023. Speakers must attend in person. Those who just wish to listen, virtually or in person, must register for the event by January 17, 2023. The Federal Register Notice announcing the listening session and request for comments on the subject was published on November 7, 2022 and relates to a joint July 2022 announcement of the USPTO and FDA that the Office plans to execute a number of initiatives aimed at lowering drug prices, as directed in July 2021 by President Joe Biden’s “Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy.”

Webinar Panelists Say Vidal Should Have ‘Thrown a Thunderbolt’ at OpenSky Case

During an IPWatchdog-hosted webinar held today, panelists reflected on the impact that U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Kathi Vidal has had on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) so far and called her handling of the VLSI v. OpenSky case a “giant missed opportunity” to create a roadmap for how the Office will handle bad faith behavior.

As Deadline on COVID IP Waiver Extension Looms, LMICs Propose Text, U.S. Supports Delay, and Organizations Speak Out

A number of lower-income countries (LMICs) on Tuesday, December 6, proposed new text to the World Trade Organization (WTO) urging them to adopt it and proceed with an extension of the waiver of IP rights for COVID-19-related technologies under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of IP Rights (TRIPS). The text was sent following the United States’ announcement on the same day that it supports a delay of the deadline to decide whether to extend the waiver to diagnostics and therapeutics pending an International Trade Commission investigation that the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has ordered.

Federal Circuit Rejects Mandamus Plea Seeking to Dodge Delaware Judge’s Disclosure Orders

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) yesterday denied a petition for writ of mandamus asking the Delaware district court to vacate an order to produce certain documents to ensure compliance with Chief Judge Connolly’s standing orders on initial disclosures in patent litigation cases. Nimitz Technologies LLC petitioned the CAFC asking it to vacate a November 10, 2022, order by the Delaware court demanding Nimitz produce documents including communications between Nimitz owner, Mark Hall, his counsel, and patent assertion entity IP Edge and the related entity, Mavexar. Following a failure to timely comply with the standing orders, Nimitz had initially told the court that Hall was the sole owner and LLC member of Nimitz and asserted in a statement that Nimitz “has not entered into any arrangement with a Third-Party Funder, as defined in the Court’s Standing Order Regarding Third-Party Litigation Funding Arrangements.”

Patent Owner Scores Partial Win Against Google at CAFC

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today issued a precedential decision partially reversing and partially affirming a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decision that had found Google failed to prove certain claims of Hammond Development International’s U.S. Patent No. 10,270,816 unpatentable. Hammond’s patent covers “a communication system that allows a communication device to remotely execute one or more applications.”

The Economic Value of Wi-Fi 6: A $500 Billion Market

Wi-Fi has been universally recognized as a term for non-cellular, wireless connectivity to the Internet for at least two decades, and reliance on Wi-Fi has been increasing as more devices become “connected,” such as smart outlets, TVs, audio systems, and the like, in a connected household. Similarly, consumers have become more dependent on the bandwidth of Wi-Fi for bandwidth-intensive activities, such as streaming video, video conferencing during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the emerging “metaverse.”

Senate Judiciary Set to Consider Pride in Patent Ownership Bill Amid Opposition

As the Senate Judiciary Committee gears up for an Executive Business Meeting Thursday where members will in part consider S.2774, the Pride in Patent Ownership Act, co-sponsored by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), a number of patent advocacy organizations have sent a joint letter to the committee asking it to oppose the bill. The Pride in Patent Ownership Act (PPOA) is seemingly intended to ensure that the public has access to information about the true owner of a patent. But critics of the bill have noted that it focuses on ownership of patents, and does not seek to provide true transparency by identifying those funding and benefiting from Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) challenges, for instance. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) last year questioned the bill’s approach, which  would entail penalizing patent owners who fail to record accurate ownership information within 90 days after the issuance date.

EU Unified Patent Court Delays Opening by Two Months

The European Union Unified Patent Court (UPC) announced this week that the court’s Sunrise Period will be delayed by two months. The Sunrise Period has a new planned opening date of March 1, 2023, with the entry into force of the UPC Agreement (UPCA) pushed to June 1, 2023. In an official announcement, Klaus Grabinski, President of the UPC Court of Appeal, and Johannes Karcher, Acting Chairman of the Administrative Committee, said, “the additional time is intended to allow future users to prepare themselves for the strong authentication which will be required to access the Case Management System (CMS) and to sign documents.”