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.
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According to statistics released in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s “2013 Performance and Accountability Report” (pages 193-206), 2013 was a banner year for U.S. patent issuances and federal trademark registrations. New patent and trademark filings by Florida-based residents continued to accelerate in number, passing totals of several other states over the last decade and moving into 3rd place for federal trademark applications (FY2013) and 8th place for patent applications (FY2012) among the fifty U.S. states.
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning is facing a Federal Court challenge to his office’s cease-and-desist order barring Farney Daniels, a firm he identified as notorious for representing “patent trolls”, from brining a patent suit against a Nebraska based defendant. The primary issue is what, if any, roll or authority the Attorney General’s Office has in regulating patent infringement actions, including the types of suits that can be brought and/or the law firms that can bring them. It appears that the Attorney General is not backing down, and I am sure that his counterparts in numerous other states are paying close attention, especially as suits by “Patent Trolls” contiue to grow in both number and disfavor. For more read here.
In an all-too-rare showing of bipartisan cooperation, ten members of the U.S. House of Representatives came together in support of a patent reform bill introduced Monday by Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia.
Titled the “Innovation Act,” (H.R. 3309) the bill proposes some significant changes to the way patents would be procured and enforced.
In a show of broad bipartisan cooperation, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Innovation Act Thursday by a vote of 325-91.
One of a handful of patent cases accepted by the Supreme Court this term, Icon Fitness v. Octane Health and Fitness presents the question of whether Brooks Mfg. v. Dutailier, Inc., 393 F.3d 1378 (Fed. Cir. 2005) should be overturned to the extent that it “shoehorned” the rigid, two-part test for sham litigation into the Patent Act’s test for fee shifting. The petitioner, Octane Fitness, LLC, recently filed its brief arguing that the standard should be relaxed and raises several notable points.
Under Section 32 of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) which became law in 2011, the USPTO is required to work with and support intellectual property law associations across the country in the establishment of pro bono programs designed to assist “financially under-resourced independent inventors and small businesses.” In keeping with its obligations, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has announced a new charter agreement placing the burgeoning regional pro bono efforts in the hands of a newly-formed central advisory council. Specifically, the AIA Pro Bono Advisory Council has been formed to assist existing regional programs and offer assistance to new programs so that they can operate under a central framework.
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.
China’s rise in patent dominance, eclipsing filings of Japan and the U.S. has long been predicted. According to a recent report published by Thomson Reuters, by 2011, China had passed the patent output of both countries, and by 2013, China’s annual application filings nearly doubled those of of both countries. This recent push is driven by a five-year government plan in which the country has set out to reach two million applications for patents for inventions, utility models, and designs by 2015.
Patent Reform is back in Congress and this time it is House Judiciary Bob Goodlatte, who will be reintroducing the legislation dedicated to reduce “patent trolling.” Patent trolling, as it is colloquially known, is a strategy typically employed to enforce patent rights owned by non-practicing (emphasis added) entities against accused infringers in attempts to collect lost royalties and/or licensing fees.