In a recently published Forbes.com article titled”The Federal Circuit, Not the Supreme Court, Legalized Software Patents,” Lee doubled down with his absurd and provably incorrect assertions regarding the patentability of software patents. But he also more or less sheepishly admitted that his reading of the most relevant case is not one that is widely accepted as correct by anyone other than himself. He wrote: “To be clear, plenty of people disagree with me about how Diehr should be interpreted.” Thus, Lee admits that his primary assertion is one he created from whole cloth and contrary to the widely held views to the contrary. Of course, the fact that his radical views are in the minority was conveniently omitted from his ?Ars Technica? article. If Lee has any integrity he will issue a public apology to the Federal Circuit and issue a retraction. If Lee doesn’t come to his senses and do the right thing in the face of overwhelming evidence that he is wrong then Forbes.com and Ars Technica should step in and do what needs to be done.
As part of a wider effort aimed at stakeholders fully benefitting from the sweeping reforms of the America Invents Act (AIA), the U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced today that it has updated a critical examination for applicants seeking to practice in patent cases before the Office. The USPTO anticipates making another update to the examination when the first-inventor-to-file provisions of the AIA become effective in March 2013.
Indeed, few articles have struck a nerve in me quite the way that a recent Ars Technica article did. The article is titled How a rogue appeals court wrecked the patent system??. It is a cheap shot, factually inaccurate and embarrassingly incorrect “news” story that concludes the Federal Circuit is at the heart of all the problems in the patent system. A real Pinocchio tale. Ars Technica? should be ashamed at having published such an inaccurate attack piece. If they are not going to properly vet articles in advance of publication then what have they become? Little more than an online technology specific version of those tabloids with the salacious headings. The patent system is far to important to the U.S. economy and our way of life to suffer from that level of journalistic ignorance and bias.
The PTO, the House and Senate Judiciary Committee staffs, and some segments of the patent community, mainly those that were supporters of the AIA, had drafted a a proposed technical corrections bill. Obviously, if a proposed change is purely technical in nature, there shouldn’t be a lot of trouble passing it, but what is technical and what is not technical can be a rather subjective test. There has been some talk about efforts to change the AIA in ways that would have substantive effect on the law . And it’s those issues that have garnered some attention in recent months. There was some discussion about changing the estoppel standard for the post grant review provisions of the AIA, and there have been some proposals regarding a proposed expansion of prior user rights being kicked around as well. If those are on the table or appear in a technical corrections package, “technical” in quotes, I think it would be difficult to pass such a measure this calendar year. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that those who support those changes won’t continue to press for them and try to see them enacted, if not this year maybe next year.
Cooney is a prominent behind the scenes player in Washington, DC. He is a partner in the American Continental Group, a D.C. based consulting and lobbying firm that boasts one of the most prominent IP practice groups in town. Cooney and the American Continental Group were intimately involved in working behind the scenes on the America Invents Act (AIA), as well as the predecessor legislation that was circulating through Congress for years before it ultimately passed. With the anniversary of the passage this month I asked Manus if he would go on the record to talk about his experiences, legislation and lobbying in general, as well as what is on the horizon for the future.
The most significant reform to the U.S. patent system in more than a century took a major step forward at 12:01 am Sunday, as numerous provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011 went into effect. The new rules will spur innovation and economic growth by streamlining the patent application process and introducing new procedures to ensure patent quality. Seven reforms to U.S. patent law went into effect one year after the signing of the bipartisan patent reform legislation by President Barack Obama on September 16, 2011.
So what is going on with these research Studies that seek only U.S. patents? It would seem that based on the specific details of some of these research assignments there are a growing number of entities using the AOP network to search for patents that might be able to be acquired for some strategic purpose. If that is what is going on it would be a creative way to use the AOP network of researchers to identify patents and/or patent portfolios. It also means that if you are a patent searcher and you are not frequently perusing ongoing AOP Studies you are missing an opportunity.
In order for one to file a statement of the patent owner in Federal court the submissions must: (1) Identify the forum and proceeding in which patent owner filed each statement, and the specific papers and portions of the papers submitted that contain the statements; and (2) explain how each statement is a statement in which patent owner took a position on the scope of any claim in the patent. See Section 1.501(a)(3). The required explanation must include discussion of the pertinence and manner of applying any prior art submitted to at least one claim of the patent. See Section 1.501(a)(b)(1). The explanation may also include discussion of how the claims differ from any prior art submitted or any written statements and accompanying information submitted under paragraph.
As pointed out astutely by RMail is that the Supreme Court jurisprudence on patent-eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 have primarily involved ex parte prosecution appeals from the USPTO. There are only two instances involving patent litigation I’m aware of where the Supreme Court squarely determined patent-eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101: the recent case of Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. (ruling that the claimed method was patent-ineligible under the “law of nature” doctrine); and the 2001 case of Pioneer Hi-Bred International v. JEM AG Supply (which ruled that sexually reproduced plants qualified as either “manufactures” or “compositions of matter” under 35 U.S.C. § 101). But as RMail correctly observed, no one seems to have pointed out to the Supreme Court this important threshold issue of statutory construction, and statutory limitations on the powers of the federal courts. Accordingly, Prometheus does not bar this Court from issuing a correct ruling in the present adversarial context.
At the conclusion of the supplemental examination if the certificate issued indicates that a substantial new question of patentability is raised an ex parte reexamination will be ordered by the USPTO. The resulting ex parte reexamination, which will address each and every substantial new question identified, will substantially be conducted according to the rules and procedures associated with ex parte reexamination. Notwithstanding, there is one very notable exception — the ex parte reexamination is not limited to patents and printed publications. Additionally, a less consequential procedural distinction is that the patent owner will not have the right to file a statement pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 304.
The questions asked of the USPTO, and specifically Director Kappos, related to the USPTO interpretation of the grace period in 102(b)(1)(B). At one point, in response to a question, Direct Kappos responded: “We are reading the words just the way that Gene Quinn suggested in his comment.” I do not claim that everything below is in 100% alignment with the USPTO interpretation, but I write now to expand upon my remarks. We have a first to file system with an American flavor, not a first to publish system as so many seem to think.
Invisibility cloaks have long been a prop in science fiction stories, such as the Harry Potter invisibility cloak or the device used to cloak Klingon war ships in Star Trek. The concept of invisibility goes back even much further in the writings of H.G. Wells and others. But the science fiction invisibility cloaks seem to suggest that objects could be rendered invisible by diverting waves in a ‘see thru’ effect. That is at least the path that these cloaks inspired researchers to take, seemingly to great affect. The ‘639 patent disclosure relates to techniques for cloaking objects at certain wavelengths/frequencies or over certain wavelength/frequency ranges (bands).
The moral of the story for those in the anti-patent community is this: get a clue! Why not do something radical like becoming informed on the topics on which you pontificate? Treating patents like they hold up innovation is ridiculous. You need to re-calibrate your definition of innovation and stop pretending that those who copy are innovators. That is insulting and extraordinarily disingenuous even for folks who are constitutionally challenged by the truth. Doing what someone has already done is NOT innovative. It is the antithesis of innovative. It is copying. It is infringing.
News analysis and op-ed pieces following the $1 billion jury decision in Apple v. Samsung have been filled with reactive statements critical of the US patent system. Apple’s enforcement of its patents may “literally choke innovation” cried one law professor. A critic of the decision said that cases like this will require competitors to innovators like Apple to be much more mindful of patents and to “try to avoid or secure rights to [patents]” before bringing a product to market. What the critics have not explained is how making it easier for a foreign company like Samsung to steal US-born innovation is in our long-term national interest.
Indeed, the bill’s co-sponsor acknowledges and states “[t]his bill combats the problem of patent trolls by moving to a ‘loser pays’ system for software and hardware patent litigation.” However, the bill’s sponsors fail to explain what makes the frequency, risk, or social harm of “egregious” patent lawsuits any different than those of other “egregious” civil suits in America so as to single out patent right enforcement for a special treatment under civil law. In fact, the following graph shows that in the last four decades the number of patent lawsuits filed per year has risen at slower pace than other IP lawsuits or when compared to all Federal civil suits. Patent lawsuits now constitute a little over 1% of all Federal civil suits – the same fraction as that in the mid 1970’s.