Articles Posted in Patents

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Today, May 22, 2017, in the TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the proper venue for a patent infringement lawsuit is (1) the state of incorporation for the defendant, or (2) a district where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business. The Court held that for purposes of the patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. §1400(b), a domestic corporation “resides” only in its State of incorporation, rejecting the argument that §1400(b) incorporates the broader definition of corporate “residence” contained in the general venue statute, 28 U.S.C. §1391(c).

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crying-jordan-meme-300x211Almost everyone (even my parents) has seen the Crying Michael Jordan meme popping up around the internet and social media. Crying Jordan has appeared in the standard meme form of photoshopped images and gifs but has also inspired Halloween masks and even customized Air Jordan sneakers. TMZ reports that Jordan doesn’t have a problem with it, as long as no one uses it to “promote their commercial interests.” But what if he changed his mind or someone started using it for commercial gain? Could Jordan protect himself against “unauthorized memeing”?

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USPTO-seal-300x300The President’s January 23, 2017, executive memorandum implemented a federal hiring freeze. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is one of those agencies affected by the President’s memorandum. While such a hiring freeze may not have an immediate impact on patent application pendency and/or examination quality, due to the relatively high attrition rate of the patent examining corps, the examination timeline and quality may be affected in the future. In particular, technologies having greater upfront value, including internet-based technologies and platforms, and clients relying on patent portfolios for valuation will be most acutely impacted. As illustrated below, the pendency backlog may inevitably increase and the examination quality suffer.

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The U.S. Patent Office has long granted patents on new card games, but the path for patenting card games was narrowed by a Federal Circuit ruling last Thursday. In In Re Smith, the Federal Circuit Court ruled that patent claims on a new card game were ineligible for patent protection, even if the card game is novel and non-obvious. The court did acknowledge, though, that some card games are potentially patentable if they satisfy certain criteria.

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Stories of interest this week include Google’s quantum computer (and bucket-load of patents), an AR-based visual browser, concerns over spying and toys, and more.

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Patents related to games are facing new challenges for being too “abstract,” but a recent court ruling highlights the limits to this line of attack. Last year, the Supreme Court reinvigorated a body of law that defines the types of inventions eligible for patent protection. Generally, inventions deemed “abstract” are ineligible for patenting, unless there is some other inventive concept in how the invention is implemented. Defendants accused of infringing game-related patents have seized on this body of law to challenge issued patents as being mistakenly granted. But in these challenges, what counts as “abstract” has been subject to much debate. So new court rulings on patent eligibility of interactive-entertainment technologies are worth noting. A recent decision should comfort game-patent owners.

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At the recent Apple iPhone unveiling event, we learned that you can Peek at it with a light press on your iPhone screen and Pop into it by pressing a little deeper. And just like that, Apple unleashed a new namespace of gestures distinguished by different amounts of force applied by the users. Developers will soon create 3D input gestures characterized both by where a user’s finger moves on screen and by how hard the user presses. For instance, you might scroll faster through your contact list based on how hard you press while drawing your finger across the screen, or control the speed of your virtual racecar based on the amount of force you apply. If history is any guide, expect savvy businesses to lay claim to the 3D gesture space with intellectual property.

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Prevent a Loss of Patent Rights when the U.S. Changes to a “First-Inventor-to-File” System on March 16, 2013

Act Now.jpgOne of the most significant changes of the 2011 Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (“AIA”) takes effect on March 16, 2013 when the U.S. transitions from a “First-to-Invent” patent system to a “First-Inventor-to-File” patent system.

Join Pillsbury for a Webinar as we take a closer look at the legal and business implications of the looming deadline. We will provide recommendations and guidance so that you can ensure your company will not be at a competitive disadvantage or, worse yet, potentially lose patent rights, when the U.S. transitions to a first-inventor-to-file system.

SPEAKERS INCLUDE:
Bradford Blaise
Partner, Pillsbury
Patrick Doody
Partner, Pillsbury

WEBINAR
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Noon – 1:00 p.m. ET
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. PT

Our speakers will try to accommodate all questions on the webinar, or will follow-up individually.

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The Director of the USPTO recently explained why patents are “innovation currency,” how they create jobs and how they add significantly to the economy. He also explained why this is driving the multi-billion dollar acquisitions of patents and high-profile patent wars in the mobile space. The Director also acknowledged that the patent system is not perfect, but highlighted the new patent laws that will help ensure the quality of software patents. In part, the Director said:

It is increasingly clear that intellectual property, or IP, is a key driver of economic growth, exports, and job creation. IP rights are the global currency for creating value for products and services, for all innovators, in all markets. And the protection provided by patents is critical to the innovation ecosystem. In fact, last spring, the U.S. Commerce Department released a report that found IP-intensive industries support at least 40 million jobs and contributes more than $5 trillion to our economy, accounting for 35 percent of America’s gross domestic product. So it is in this context that we are seeing multi-billion dollar acquisitions of patent portfolios and a number of high profile patent lawsuits, involving some of the most innovative companies on the planet, who are producing some of the most popular technologies ever created.

For a full copy of the speech, click here

Notwithstanding the clear value and importance of software patents, many companies still do not appreciate their value. Additionally, many people do not fully understand the types of software-based inventions that can be patented. Those that do not seek guidance from knowledgeable patent attorneys who specialize in software and internet patents fail to retain their rightful share of innovation currency.

Software and internet patents are crucial to many of today’s leading industries, including games, social media and mobile.

If you are interested in learning more about challenging software patents under the new laws, we have a team of people dedicated to these new procedures. We also have a whole new section of our website dedicated to the new procedures for challenging patents.

 

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patent images.jpgYES! One of the often cited reasons for not pursuing patents
is that they take too long to obtain. In response to this concern, the
US Patent office has implemented a procedure that enables applicants to
make a request, when an application is field, to expedite examination of the application.

Based on recently published statistics, the vast majority of these
requests are being granted (if submitted properly) and cases are being
allowed within 11 months from filing (assuming they are patentable).

In fast moving spaces such as social games, mobile apps and social
media, this procedure can be very effective to rapidly obtain much
needed patents.

Understanding what can be protected, how to protect it and how to do
so expeditiously is often challenging for many companies. For more
information on IP protection strategies see our client alert. For more information on expediting patent grants contact Pillsbury’s Social Media Team