The Supreme Court has granted a writ of certiorari in the software patent case of Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, et al. (Docket No 13-298), where a divided en banc Federal Circuit could not agree on a standard for assessing patent eligibility for computer-implemented inventions under 35 USC § 101. This case will provide a new test for the most basic provision of U.S. patent laws -- whether an invention is patent eligibile -- a threshold test that must first be met before the further requirements of novelty (§ 102) and non-obviousness (§ 103) are considered.
In a show of broad bipartisan cooperation, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Innovation Act Thursday by a vote of 325-91.
Earlier this month, the District Court for the Southern District of New York, on remand from the 2nd Circuit, sided with Google in the copyright infringement proceedings that began in 2005 over the Google Books Library Project. Judge Chin, presiding over the case, agreed that Google Books provided "significant public benefit", and accepted Google's fair use defense for the scanning of more than 20 million books for an electronic database, and making snippets of the text available for online searches.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secretive, multi-national trade agreement that has been developing behind closed doors for the past several years. Bits and pieces of the text have leaked over time, but recently the entire draft chapter on Intellectual Property protection has been released by WikiLeaks. The TPP marks the largest economic treaty to-date, which encompasses nations including the U.S., Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.
Somewhat analogously to the nuances between the standards for trademark registration versus infringement, which are sometimes confused, the patentability standard for design patents is different from the design patent infringement test. In a recent Federal Circuit decision, High Point Design LLC et al. v. Buyers Direct, Inc., the Federal Circuit provided some helpful guidelines for evaluating patentability for design patents, particularly regarding “obviousness” (merely obvious ornamental designs are not patentable).
In the days before its initial public offering, Twitter expressed a number of intellectual property woes in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commision.
The Government of Antigua is preparing to excercise its right to compel treaty obligations after attempts to negotiate the decade long dispute over online gambling have failed. In January, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body voted to allow Antigua to suspend its obligations to the U.S. under the TRIPS Agreement. As a result, the Government of Antigua announced plans to launch a platform to "[exploit] the suspension of American intellectual property rights" according to a recent press release by the government of Antigua.
A number of patent fee changes will go in effect January 1, 2014. Notably, the issue fees of all applications will decrease dramatically. Small and micro entity fees will now be available for a number of PCT fees. The assignment recordation fee has also been eliminated if filing electronically.