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Remembering Norman Latker: The Passing of a Friend

If you’re in the profession of technology transfer, you just lost a close friend. Whether you knew him or not, you are a beneficiary of Norman J. Latker who passed away last weekend. Concerned that new innovations were driving up health care costs (a familiar sounding theme), the Carter Administration terminated the program. Norm, Howard Bremer, and Ralph Davis of Purdue set up a meeting with Senator Birch Bayh’s office asking that the program be made the basis for a uniform government patent policy. This request led to the introduction of the Bayh-Dole Act.

Who Will Be the Next Secretary of Commerce?

Those who live inside the beltway know that rumors swirl left and right, and it is sometimes extremely difficult to cut through the rumor-mill, which sometimes seems more like a “wishful thinking mill” than a true rumor-mill. Notwithstanding, there is one name that I have heard from multiple sources as likely to become the next Secretary of Commerce — Ambassador Ron Kirk.

Common Marketing Mistakes Attorneys Make, Part Deux

Can you honestly say that your firm has more business than it can handle? I would venture a guess that no, it does not. Marketing is so often put on the back burner to everything else that needs to be done. This is especially the case for firms that need to cut their budget. If you cut marketing to save funds in your budget, you will likely need to cut more of your budget down the line. Even if the firm’s table is quite full right now, you must always seek to add new clients to make up for yearly attrition.

PTO Announces Austerity Measures in Face of Financial Crisis

The last Continuing Resolution (or CR) ran out on April 8, 2011, with a 11th hour agreement, which was ultimately passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama the following week. When the dust had settled the United States Patent and Trademark Office did not fare well at all, with $100 million be diverted from the Patent Office. That lead to the Office today announcing severe austerity measures because they don’t have the funds available to operate as a going concern.

Interview Finale: Manny Schecter, IBM Chief Patent Counsel

We talked about Peer to Patent, Watson on Jeopardy, where the Supreme Court is heading with patent law, the usual fun questions to get to know Schecter on a personal level and more. As we moved into the “fun stuff” you will learn that one famous IBM invention was tested out in the early stages by the inventors on a Thanksgiving turkey one year, proving that innovation never takes a holiday! We also learn that Schecter is something of a James Bond fan, and selected one recent Academy Award winning film as his favorite movie.

Common Marketing Mistakes Attorneys Make

In other words, simply making a sale does not mean you are marketing your products and services effectively. Effective marketing is the process by which you promote your firm through the sharing of information with prospective clients about what you have to offer, with the ultimate goal being that a sale is made. Without an effective marketing strategy, you are far less likely to facilitate the sale.

Reviewing the ACLU and Myriad Oral Arguments at the CAFC

The ACLU lead plaintiffs have a real predicament relative to standing. It does not sound as if the Federal Circuit believed any single plaintiff could satisfy both prongs required to bring a Declaratory Judgment Action, and rather were trying to say we have some plaintiffs with first prong evidence and some with second prong evidence. Simply put, that dog doesn’t hunt, at least not under current law relative to standing. Thus, there seems a real chance that the entire case could be thrown out because no plaintiff has standing.

The Impact of the CAFC’s Joint Infringement Conundrum on Protecting Interactive Technologies

The conundrum created by the Federal Circuit’s joint infringement doctrine and its impact on protecting interactive computer-based technologies got worse last week with McKesson Technologies, Inc. v. Epic Systems Corp. McKesson Technologies involved a patented interactive electronic method for communicating between healthcare providers and patients about personalized web pages for doctors. Judge Linn’s majority opinion (and a “thin” at majority at that) ruled that, because the initial step of the patented method was performed by the patient while the remaining steps were performed by the software provided by the healthcare provider, there was no infringement, direct, indirect, joint or otherwise of the patented method.

Microsoft i4i Oral Arguments Complete at Supreme Court

Hungar would go on to say that the clear and convincing standard “makes no sense,” which nearly immediately drew the first comment from the bench with Justice Ginsburg saying that it would be difficult to say the standard makes no sense when it was supported by Justice Cardozo and Judge Rich. Ginsberg would later, in a nearly annoyed way, say “then you have to be saying that Judge Rich got it wrong…” Hungar cut off Justice Ginsburg, not typically a wise move.

An Interview with Manny Schecter, IBM Chief Patent Counsel

On April 4, 2011, I had the honor to interview Manny Schecter, the Chief Patent Counsel for IBM Corporation. I met Manny in October 2010 when I did a CLE presentation at IBM’s offices in Armonk, New York. Since that time I have worked to schedule a time to chat with him on the record, and we were recently able to coordinate and chatted on the record for approximately 60 minutes. During our conversation we talked about numerous topics, including patent reform, Microsoft v. i4i, Patent Office initiatives such as the Three Track initiative and Peer to Patent. We also discussed David Kappos, his former boss, as well as Watson’s Jeopardy triumph, the new IBM IP blog and the usual fun questions.

Top 10 Reasons to Take the PLI Patent Bar Review Course

Effective April 12, 2011, the USPTO has dramatically updated the patent bar examination. As a result, the PLI Patent Bar Review Course has been completely updated – overhauled really. We had already been working on updates to our materials based on the inevitable change in the exam moving from MPEP Rev. 4 to MPEP Rev. 8. We knew it was only a matter of time before a new revision of the MPEP was tested, so we have had MPEP Rev. 8 materials at the ready. The text and questions have been completely revised and our lectures re-done. We feel confident the PLI patent bar review course is simply the best!

Drafting Patent Applications: Writing Method Claims

Method or process claims will include active steps to achieve a certain result. In method claims the transition is typically either “comprising” or “comprising the steps of.” While legally there may be some distinction between these two different transitions, both are acceptable. It is also important to understand that each of the steps in a method or process claims use gerunds, which are a form of a verb that ends in “ing” and operates to direct the action that is to take place. Said another way, you must use “ing” words in method claims. You cannot define a method or process in the past tense.

AIPLA Applauds Approval of Patent Reform in House Committee

At an all-day session on April 14, members of the Committee gave serious consideration to a variety of amendments to the bill and concluded with an overwhelming, bi-partisan vote of 32-3 in support of the long-overdue improvements to the patent law. The Committee proceeding demonstrated the careful balancing of interests and the compromises necessary to address the concerns of the diverse stakeholders. While more work is yet to be done, the Committee’s effort represents encouraging progress.

House Patent Reform Bill is in Need of Reform, BIO to Oppose

BIO has consistently praised House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) for his introduction of a comprehensive patent reform bill similar to the bill adopted by the U.S. Senate earlier this month by a nearly unanimous vote. Unfortunately, given the addition of the Goodlatte supplemental examination amendment, added to the bill during Committee consideration, we have no choice but to oppose floor consideration of the bill until this issue is repaired.

Ethical Issues: Staying in the Frying Pan and out of the Fire

In the situation where there is a joint research collaboration everything is fine, people are happy and hope springs eternal right up until that moment when everything falls apart. Then you have issues associated with a law firm representing inventors of a joint collaboration might be conflicted out of the representation altogether because downstream patent applications filed by one or more of the collaborators creates a situation where the collaborators no longer have jointly aligned interests, perhaps as the result of double patenting issues. Ware explained several cases arising out of a common set of facts whereby multiple joint collaborators were not consulted on the filing of a joint application (or at least not enough to their liking), which created a double patenting issue for an after filed application. The law firm representing the collective was sued for malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty; the case settled.