According to the documents produced in response to a recent USPTO FOIA request, the Sensitive Application Warning System (SAWS) is “designed as an information gathering system to apprise various areas of the PTO of the prosecution of patent applications that include sensitive subject matter.” “Sensitive” subject matter, in this case, has rather broad scope including applications disclosing frivolous, silly, or controversial subject matter, especially subject matter generating extensive media coverage. A 1989 memo initially detailing the SAWS project was publicized in 2006, but the most recent FOIA request provides additional insight, including USPTO internal memoranda to each technology center outlining specific topics for each center as well as protocol for flagging and reviewing “sensitive” applications.

Thanksgiving traditions are deeply rooted in American culture.  Ever since Abraham Lincoln first mandated Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, Americans have been rejoicing this popular national holiday on every fourth Thursday of November. 

Accordingly, the history of Thanksgiving evokes many great memories for many Americans.  Family and friends travel long distances to come together and spend quality time in each other’s company. As such, Thanksgiving is about spending time with family, watching football on television, feasting on traditional foods, shopping at malls, partaking in parades, volunteering at food drives, and taking naps.

Given this, many products and services contribute in helping American families come together to cherish these special moments, and invariably intellectual property is prevalent everywhere in them.

 

Wednesday, 05 November 2014 15:02

Intellectual Property in Your Voting

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As mid-term elections embark, millions of Americans will rush to the voting booths to exercise on their Fifteenth Amendment Constitutional Right to vote. During this exciting democratic process, Intellectual Property will be all around them.  Historically, there have been ground breaking patents, which have helped shape the American voting process.  Some of the notable patents granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) include as follows:

The ALS Association’s “ice bucket challenge” gained tremendous popularity via the social media.  Friends, family members, acquaintances and sometimes even strangers challenged each other on social media such as Facebook, by recording an act of drenching themselves with an ice-cold bucket of water, and thereby making a pledge to donate towards ALS research.  As such, the popularity helped the Association raised more than $94 million in less than a month towards finding a cure for ALS, colloquially known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014 17:03

Software Patentability after Alice Corp v. CLS Bank

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In the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision in Alice Corp v. CLS Bank, we have been keeping a close eye on Federal Circuit and PTAB decisions for further clarification on the case's more stringent test regarding patent-eligibility under 35 USC 101. In this article we note several post-Alice developments regarding the patent eligibility of software processes that may fall in the category of "abstract ideas".

The White House under Obama Administration is ”pressuring” the new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to revise the Indian Intellectual Property Laws, especially to repeal Section 3 of the Indian Patent Act of 1970, as amended in 2005.  In an ongoing effort to strengthen relationships between the U.S. and India, both administrations have agreed to establish high level working groups on intellectual property matters to engage in issues of concern.  This move on part of the White House, however,  is not unprecedented, given that the United States has consistently advanced higher intellectual property protections through its trade working groups and partnerships on international platforms.

The White House is working on initiatives geared to aid defendants from suits asserted by Patent Troll Plaintiffs.  A Patent Troll or a patent assertion entity is a non-practicing person or entity that enforces its rights against accused infringers in an attempt to collect damages often from a big pocket entity like Microsoft or Apple.  A patent troll generally does not manufacture products or advance services from the patent in question, but rather stockpiles it, until an entity or person infringes on their patent. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014 23:38

No More Monkeying Around

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An entertaining case emerged at the United States Copyright Office recently in regards to a "selfie" taken by a crested black macaque in Indonesia in 2011. British wildlife photographer David J. Slater was on a mission to Indonesia to raise awareness on endangered species via wildlife photography.  While attempting to take an ideal picture of the endangered crested black macaques in their habitat, a female macaque grabbed Slater’s camera and proceeded to take some selfies of herself. One of the images was a highly animated and grinning selfie, which became an instant viral hit.

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