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Albright Gets OK from CAFC on Denial of Transfer for Amazon

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) earlier this week shot down a petition for writ of mandamus filed by Amazon.com, Inc. asking the court to vacate an Order by Judge Alan Albright of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas denying Amazon transfer of a case to the Northern District of California. VoIP-Pal sued Amazon in the Western District of Texas, alleging infringement of its patents through the sale of Amazon’s “’communications platform,’ including the server structure, Alexa calling devices, and Alexa software applications running on those devices.” Amazon sought transfer to California, claiming that the middleware of the accused products was developed by employees based there. In its opposition, VoIP-Pal submitted evidence that “[t]echnical documentation relating to the work of the DeviceOS and Echo Platform Software teams is maintained at the Austin offices.”

Other Barks & Bites for Friday, January, 13: Marjorie Taylor Greene Removes Video after Cease-and-Desist Letter from Dr. Dre; Computer Scientist Asks Courts for Copyright on AI-Generated Art; and Adidas Loses Case Over Three-Stripe Trademark

This week in Other Barks & Bites: Dr. Dre issues a cease-and-desist letter to Marjorie Taylor Greene alleging copyright infringement; Apple loses a patent case that threatens the import of certain Apple Watches; a jury rules in favor of fashion designer Thom Browne over Adidas in a trademark case; and the USPTO extends the deadline to submit comments on “Initiatives to Expand Opportunities for Practicing Before the Office.”

Industry Risk and Investment Drives Academic Tech Transfer

AUTM, which represents the academic technology management profession, just released the results of the survey of its members for 2021. Once again, the results are impressive, particularly considering that the U.S. economy was just beginning to emerge from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic…. It’s clear that despite continual attacks on the Bayh-Dole system, which allows academic institutions to own and manage federally funded inventions without Washington micro-management, our system keeps truckin’ right along, year after year, leading the world.

Michael Best is Seeking an IP Associate or Agent

Michael Best & Friedrich LLP is seeking a Junior to Midlevel Associate or Patent Agent to join the Life Sciences subgroup of the Intellectual Property practice group. This position will work out of one of our Chicago, IL, Salt Lake City, UT, Wisconsin, or North Carolina offices. The Agent or Attorney must have 2+ years of patent prosecution experience at a firm or in-house, and the ability to draft patent applications is a must. The ideal candidate will hold a degree or Ph.D. in Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Molecular Biology, or a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. Admission to the USPTO is preferred. The candidate must excel in a team environment and be a highly-motivated self-starter with excellent business judgment, the ability to communicate clearly with clients, and the flexibility to thrive in a fast-paced environment.

Federal Circuit Says Texas Court Erred in Finding Viscometer Patent Claim Indefinite

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today ruled in a precedential decision that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas incorrectly found the term “enlarged chamber” indefinite, but affirmed the court’s construction of another claim term. The case stems from Grace Instrument Industries, LLC’s May 19, 2020, suit against Chandler Instruments Company, LLC for infringement of its U.S. Patent No. 7,412,877 through the sale of Chandler’s Model 7600 viscometer. The ‘877 patent is titled “High Pressure Viscometer with Chamber Preventing Sample Contamination.”

Patent Eligibility and the Life Sciences Industry – The Impact of Law on Innovation in the Industry

One of the panels at last year’s IPWatchdog’s Life Sciences MastersTM Series addressed the thorny problem of patent eligibility.  I moderated the panel, titled Patent Eligibility and the Life Sciences Industry–What Next?, where the speakers, with input from passionate audience members, discussed the impact of section 101 jurisprudence on innovation in the life sciences industry. Do the limits on what is patent-eligible subject matter created by the courts strike the proper balance or do unpredictable court decisions harm investment and research in the life sciences? While the majority view appeared to be that patent-eligibility reform is necessary, both to provide clarity and to incentivize certain type of inventions, the panel also expressed the idea that some form of section 101 jurisprudence is necessary to prevent “discoveries” from being monopolized, which could also harm innovation.

Apple Loses ITC Battle to Masimo Over Pulse Oximeter Technology

The U.S. International Trade Commission on Tuesday issued a Notice of Final Initial Determination (FID) finding that Apple violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 by importing and selling in the United States Apple Watches with light-based pulse oximetry technology that infringed claims 24 and 30 of Masimo’s U.S. Patent No. 10,945,648. According to a Masimo press release, Apple first started selling the Apple Watch with a pulse oximeter sensor in 2020 and has continued to use it in subsequent versions of the product since then. The ITC Notice said it found no violation of the asserted claims of four other patents named in Masimo’s complaint.

Salesforce’s Abusive Post Grant Tactics Demonstrate USPTO Dysfunction

The issue of who is the real party in interest in an inter partes review (IPR) filed at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is a particularly thorny matter. When IPRs were introduced, patent owners were assured that there would be a meaningful estoppel provision, which would prevent those who lost IPRs from challenging the same patents in later proceedings. There was also a statute of limitations, another thorny matter, that would prevent challengers from filing an IPR more than one year after they were sued. The long and short of it is this—real party in interest law and statute of limitations law, which apply in every other legal setting, are interpreted vastly differently at the PTAB. For example, with the statute of limitations, if you are barred from bringing a challenge and someone else brings a challenge, then suddenly you are able to join the challenge, despite being barred. But wait—there is more. If that first party that was not barred settles and leaves the case and the barred party is the only challenger remaining, well the case must go on. A legal absurdity.

IBM Cites Deliberate Strategy Shift as it Drops to Second Place in IFI Claims Patent Grant List for First Time in 29 Years

This week, patent data analytics firm IFI CLAIMS published its annual report of the top 50 U.S. patent recipients and the global 250 largest patent portfolios for 2022. The list provides a comprehensive snapshot of the patent landscape with insights into growing trends in the industry. One of the most eye-catching details is Samsung taking the first spot for U.S. patent grants in 2022, ending IBM’s 29-year reign at the top. The difference between the two is also surprisingly wide, with a gap of nearly 2,000 patent grants. According to an IFI press release, the number of U.S. patent grants was at its lowest since 2018 despite the number of patent applications reaching a record high. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of patent grants has decreased three years in a row.

Understanding IP Matters: Inventor and Author Arlyne Simon Wants to Change the World — and How Children View It

Inventor, author, and entrepreneur Arlyne Simon believes creative problem solving should be the foundation of every child’s early education. The Intel Corporation biomedical engineer says that failure is a part of every invention’s success, and that we need to learn how to fail to succeed. She is the creator of Abby Invents, a highly regarded series of children’s books about perseverance, the power of learning, and the invention process told from the perspective of a young black girl.  In Episode 7 of Season 2 of his podcast “Understanding IP Matters,” Bruce Berman interviews Simon about the importance of representation, her motivations as an invention educator, and her career as a professional inventor.

Federal Circuit Says Gilstrap’s Grant of CA Transfer to Chinese Company was Improper

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in a precedential order yesterday granted a petition for writ of mandamus vacating Judge Rodney Gilstrap’s transfer of two cases out of the Eastern District of Texas to California. The petition was brought by Stingray IP Solutions, LLP and was opposed by TP-Link Technologies, a Chinese company, which Stingray accused of patent infringement. Stingray first filed the patent infringement suits in the Eastern District of Texas and TP-Link moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction or to transfer the cases to the Central District of California pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406. After the Texas court granted transfer under Section 1406, Stingray petitioned the Federal Circuit for mandamus “solely on the issue of whether TP-Link’s unilateral, post-suit consent to personal jurisdiction in another state (California) defeated application of Rule 4(k)(2).”

Why Voluntary Licensing is Best for Increasing Access to Medicines

When it comes to how to best increase access to medicines in l0w and middle-income countries (LMICs), compulsory licensing gets most of the attention. Academic articles, non-governmental organization (NGO) campaigns, conferences and United Nations (UN)-endorsed technical symposia assert it is the best approach. Certain World Trade Organization (WTO) members are pushing for COVID-19 treatments and diagnostics to be included in the waiver of intellectual property rights under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of IP Rights (TRIPs waiver), which revolves around compulsory licensing. Brazil has recently amended its IP laws to make compulsory licensing easier. Despite its high political profile, compulsory licensing has rarely been used (mainly by a handful African countries in the mid 2000s to address the HIV pandemic). Even then, IP-respecting treatments available from global procurement bodies have proven cheaper. No country has yet seen the need for a compulsory license for a COVID vaccine.

How U.S. Attorneys Should Tackle Extended European Search Reports

Why should U.S. attorneys bother with learning European Patent (EP) practice? Because every once in a while, your client is going to ask you about IP portfolio management in other countries, whether you have a client that is already a multinational entity or thinking about expanding across borders. It’s not uncommon for a client to ask you about practicing before the European Patent Office (EPO) versus, for example, one of the Asian or Latin American patent offices, in which case they will more likely talk directly to a foreign associate. The reason for this is because of English. You speak it. They also speak it. So, your client could very well ask you to review documents coming out of Europe to save money (if they have not already). Because of this, it’s important to know some of the basics of European prosecution practice. In this episode, let’s talk about Extended European search reports (EESRs), which basically means an EP office action.

CAFC Says USPTO Arguments for Rejecting Google Patent Application Lack Support in Record

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in a precedential decision today vacated a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) finding that certain claims of Google, LLC’s U.S. Patent Application No. 14/628,093 were obvious. The CAFC opinion, authored by Chief Judge Moore, said the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) arguments on appeal “cannot sustain the Board’s decision below because they do not reflect the reasoning or findings the Board actually invoked.” Google’s patent application has to do with methods for filtering the results of an internet search query such that only age-appropriate results for a user are displayed. At issue were two prior art references: Parthasarathy, which “discloses methods of filtering search results by comparing a “search-query-intent score” to a predetermined safety threshold” and Rose, which is titled “System and Method for Improving the Ranking of Information Retrieval Results for Short Queries.”

USPTO Calls for Input on Draft 2022-2026 Strategic Plan

Last week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that it is seeking comments from the public on the draft of the organization’s 2022-2026 Strategic Plan. According to a press release, the plan sets five goals for the organization: Spur U.S. innovation and global competitiveness; promote IP rights; promote IP protection against new and persistent threats; bring innovation to positive impact; and maximize agency operations.