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Supreme Court Patent Watch: i4i Files Brief in Microsoft Case

Microsoft would like to have the standard for invalidating a patent claim lowered to a mere preponderance of the evidence standard. They say that prior art not considered by the Patent Office should not be afforded the same level of deference. I say — why not? Truthfully the standard for invalidating patent claims in court should be the same as it is when a patent is denied. The standard shouldn’t even be as low as “clear and convincing,” rather it should be “abuse of discretion.”

NFL Players vs. Owners: A Hail Mary of a Lawsuit

About 10 years ago, the NFLP decided that they wanted Reebok (and only Reebok) to make hats with the teams’ logos on them. American Needle, Inc., a competitor of Reebok, had been making these types of hats for the NFL for a really long time, and as a result of the NFLP’s deal with Reebok, it lost its contract with NFLP to make said hats. American Needle, Inc. did not have much of a sense of humor about this and sued the NFL under Antitrust principles. Enter American Needle v. National Football League et al. Needle is a big case because if the NFL had gotten what it asked for, the player’s union wouldn’t have been able to decertify and the players wouldn’t have been able to bring an antitrust suit.

Obama Press Conference Address Oil and Renewable Energy

Little impacts cascading together can have a large impact, but for the time being we need to realize that the technology is not where it needs to be to leverage alternative and renewable energy in an impactful way. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, but it does mean we need to be perfectly honest with ourselves and realize that a silver-bullet green technology is unlikely. In the meantime as we incentivize innovators we need an all-of-the-above series of solutions.

Supreme Court Will Review Constitutionality of Restoring Expired Copyrights in Foreign Works

Earlier this week the United States Supreme Court granted the petition for a writ of certiorari filed by lawyers from Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project (FUP) and Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP and will review the constitutionality of a federal statute that has removed thousands of foreign works from the Public Domain and placed them under copyright protection. The case presents a two-pronged constitutional challenge to the 1994 law passed by Congress, which amended the Copyright Act. The case will test whether Congress has the authority to remove works from the Public Domain under the “Intellectual Property Clause” of the United States Constitution and whether the 1994 law violates the First Amendment rights of those who performed, adapted, restored and distributed works which had previously been in the Public Domain.

Show Me the Money! Article One Reaches $1 Million Milestone

On Monday, March 7, 2011, Article One Partners announced that it had surpassed the $1 Million milestone and has now distributed over $1 million in reward money to Advisors. It would seem that Article One Partners is growing and thriving, and that my initial reaction to the Article One Partners business model was incorrect. In fact, Article One Partners is likely just scratching the surface of its potential and demonstrating the power of coordinated crowd sourcing solutions.

An Exclusive Interview with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke

During my interview with Secretary Locke we spoke about patent reform efforts in the United States Senate, what patent reform might look like from the House of Representatives, his management style and how to motivate individuals to achieve transformative change. Secretary Locke strikes me as a thoughtful person, extremely energetic, motivated to succeed and the type of person we need in government. His CEO-like approach to running the Department of Commerce and in working together with both political appointees and career employees has transformed the Patent Office, and he will be missed. I’m sure he will make an excellent Ambassador, but have to wonder about the future of the Department of Commerce and the Patent Office. Whoever becomes the next Secretary of Commerce has some big shoes to fill.

Patent Reform: The Senate Makes Its Move

With a powerful vote of 87 to 3 on a motion to bring debate to a close, the Senate is on the cusp of passing comprehensive patent reform legislation. S.23, “The America Invents Act,” is expected to pass with a strong vote as early as Wednesday of this week. In the end, the full House and Senate will need to pass the same version of any patent reform bill before it can become law. Assuming House Judiciary Committee Chairman Smith passes a bill of note through the House; the House and Senate bills will need to be reconciled. While civics books teach that the differences in the bills will be resolved via a formal Conference Committee, the Senate and House have not conferenced on a Judiciary Committee bill since 2005. A formal conference for patent reform is considered very unlikely.

BIO Opens Nominations For 2011 Biotech Humanitarian Award

The Humanitarian Award honors work that aims to reduce human suffering significantly or enhance the human experience in a way that has a clear and direct benefit to society. Additional consideration will be given to approaches that are at a turning point and may potentially have immeasurable influence. The Award and a prize of $10,000 will be presented at the 2011 BIO International Convention, in Washington, DC on June 27-30, 2011.

Erik Iverson: Gates Foundation Interview Part 2

As a prelude to his presentation at BIO Mr. Iverson agreed to go on the record with me. Part 1 of my interview with Mr. Iverson was published last week, and what appears below is the final segment of our discussion. We pick up with discussion of crowd sourcing techniques to enhance innovation and the humanitarian work of the Gates Foundation, as well as the humanitarian work of all those engaged in the life sciences, which Iverson says is “all about helping people and saving lives.”

Smithsonian Exhibition on Innovation in 19th-Century America

Through a collaboration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the museum will present a robust series of public programs and educational outreach about today’s inventors and inventions as a contemporary complement to the exhibition. These programs will include webcast public lectures, an inventors’ symposium and clinic, and hands-on activities for children and families, as well as outreach to schools and professional development workshops for educators.

Paranoia Power: Confidentiality Before and After Patent Filings

Inventions can be patented, but if you start telling others about your invention they could make and use your invention, which has immediate negative consequences for the patenting of the invention. Outside the United States most countries follow an absolute novelty standard, which means you need a patent application on file before any public activity associated with the invention. In the United States you would need to file a patent application within 12 months of public activity, such as a public use or offer for sale. Timing can be critical and keeping your mouth shut a very good strategy. But how much paranoia is too much paranoia?

Inventors Digest Publisher, Louis Foreman, Cited in Patent Reform Debate in US Senate

As the debate in the Senate starts to wind down and moves to the House of Representatives, whether you are pro-reform or against reform, get involved and participate. Taking the time to be engaged can go a long way. In listening to the debate in the Senate over the past 4 days it is clear to me that Senators are listening to those on both sides who engage in thoughtful debate. While I am often cynical about government, it has been refreshing to watch. Painful at times, but nice to see that ordinary citizens can make a difference.

NEWSFLASH: Feinstein First to File Amendment Dies in Senate

The Senate Roll was called and a vote taken on whether to table the Feinstein Amendment. The votes were 87 in favor and 13 against, thereby killing the Feinstein Amendment and keeping the first-to-file provisions within S. 23.

Patent Reform Gaining Steam, Debate Continues in U.S. Senate

As flattering as it was to be inserted into the patent reform debate in some peripheral way, the real news from yesterday was the Manager’s Amendment was passed by a vote of 97-2. The Manager’s Amendment included language that would allow the United States Patent and Trademark Office to keep the fees it collects. The Manager’s Amendment reportedly also included insertions favored by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), who is chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Thus, it seems quite likely that patent reform will soon become a reality.

Patent Reform in the Media and De Facto First to File

As I have repeatedly explained over and over again for the past several years, there is nothing to fear about a first to file system (see above) AND there is no reason that a first to file system must be linked with changes to the grace period enjoyed by innovators. It seems those that would prefer to marginalize my factually correct statement about a de facto first to file statement conveniently ignore my complete views. Those who mischaracterize the truth seem to have an unhealthy and unnatural emotional attachment to a first to invent system that simply doesn’t exist, at least 99.99613% of the time.