Posted by Douglas Sorocco at February 21, 2007 05:27 PM
Want to follow Federal Circuit caselaw but don’t have time to read lengthy case summaries? FedCirc.us has an RSS/e-mail feed for you.
1. Case Review Summaries (provides summaries of the ten most recent case reviews)
E-mail:Click for subscription form
2. Practice alerts (provides all FedCirc.us Practice Alerts)
E-mail: Click for subscription form
Posted by Douglas Sorocco at February 15, 2007 06:29 PM
The master plan for the FedCirc.us site includes several web features designed to deliver patent caselaw information in a more effective manner. The first - the GimmeTen! feature - has quickly become the most popular page on the site...and for good reason. Not familiar with it? Simply bookmark http://10.fedcirc.us and visit regularly. That page always provides concise summaries of the ten most recently posted case reviews. We're confident you'll quickly be hooked.
Today we announce the second feature in our bag of tricks - the travelling FedCirc.us search engine. By following the steps below, you'll be able to search the FedCirc.us site from anywhere on the web.
The best part is the simplicity -- 5 easy steps (4 for most people). Five minutes tops.
1. Make sure you're using either Internet Explorer 7 or Firefox 2.0 as your browser. If you're not, download the latest IE here or Firefox here (both are free). For the record, FedCirc.us is optimized for Firefox.
2. Start your browser.
3. Visit FedCirc.us.
4. Pull down the drop-down search box in the upper right hand corner and select "Add FedCirc.us" (in Firefox) or select "FedCirc.us" with the gold star next to it (in IE, see image at right).
5. Surf the web. Whenever you want to search the site, simply enter a search string in the box in the right hand corner, pull down the list, select FedCirc.us, and hit return. You can do this from any page on the web...and you'll immediately be transported to a listing of search results from the site.
I've quickly gotten used to searching by party name or full case name as I'm reading on the web. This little trick has changed my surfing habits for the better...it's a wonderfully efficient way to find information quickly. We hope you find it useful as well.
As always, if you have any comments or suggestions, please let us know. You can e-mail Matt directly at jmb @ rtipllc.com.
Posted by Stephen M. Nipper at February 13, 2007 12:53 PM
I try not to rant here too often, but seeing posts on the allowance rate dropping (within a few years) from 70+% to ~50% and questions regarding whether there has been a secret change to official USPTO policy regarding examination and allowance makes me say “hmm…..”
One thing I’ve been noticing is that the number of restriction requirements appears to be on the rise.
I don’t mind restriction requirements that are appropriate…there is a reason for them. But, I have to admit, I’m having a hard time believing some of the reasons I’ve been seeing recently. For instance, the one I received earlier this week…the entire support for the rejection? “The species are distinct because each of them has a distinct feature.” No reasons provided. No examples to support conclusions. Just a blanket statement that (essentially) the embodiments each have a distinct feature and thus they must be patentably distinct species. Argh.
Is it just me??? Anyone else seeing more restriction requirements than they used to? The comments are open.
Posted by J Matthew Buchanan at February 9, 2007 02:13 PM
Doug and I were fortunate to be invited to speak at the recent Corporate Patent Congress in New York City. Even without our meeting with Bill Patry at Google regarding his rethinking of the legal treatise and the quick jaunt we made to the Apple Store, the trip would have been an amazing success because the conference itself was very rewarding.
The small group attending the conference packed a punch - generating some amazing discussions on all things patent law, including legislative patent reform efforts and recent judicial activity. Thanks, in large part, to the wonderful pairing of Nick Godici (ex-Commissioner for Patents ) and John Love (current Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy), a significant portion of the discussions focused on Patent and Trademark Office efforts to implement change.
In his talk, Deputy Commissioner Love presented the graph at right that shows the dramatic dropoff in the allowance rate over the last several years. In explaining the dropoff, he stressed several new "quality initiatives" being implemented at the Office, including the mysterious and frequently-fatal "second pair of eyes" policy (have you been caught by this one yet?). Deputy Commissioner Love clearly draws a connection between the allowance rate dropoff and PTO examination "quality initiatives."
But, to me, that graph shows something entirely different. Perhaps because I've yet to see a dramatic increase in examination quality, I think the graph really highlights the degree of control the Office has over the backlog of applications.
Think about it. Have you abandoned more cases over the last couple years as you've fought the so-called allowance rate? Or have you simply pursued other prosecution options, such as Pre-Appeal Brief Conferences, full appeals, and continuation filings? I'd be surprised if the abandonment rate has increased as dramatically over the last couple years. If it hasn't, as I suspect, the allowance rate dropoff directly feeds into the backlog.
Here's the troublesome part. The application backlog can be, and has been, used for a variety of political purposes, including anti-fee diversion, outsourcing, inter-Office partnerships, and administrative rule changes. Perhaps more troublesome is the fact that the application backlog is often cited as evidence of the need for major patent policy changes (think the "alternative patent products" mentioned in the strategic plan and even several of the proposed legislative changes). It's even possible that the Supreme Court might look at the backlog as it considers its stance on obviousness in the KSR v. Teleflex case.
So what's the point? Simple...policy-makers, including legislators, administrators, and judges, need to be careful out there. Before justifying any major policy change with the growing backlog, a thorough examination of the reasons for its growth should be conducted. Heck, a congressional investigation might be warranted. They might just find that all that glitters is not gold.
Posted by Stephen M. Nipper at February 7, 2007 12:00 PM
Anyone have an idea what’s up with the http://des.uspto.gov page? If you click on that link, you get this page:
It also appears that there is an OED page: http://des.uspto.gov/OEDCI/query.jsp and IP Newsflash’s links to BPAI decisions use a des.uspto.gov domain (with an interesting FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) subfolder) (i.e., http://des.uspto.gov/Foia/ReterivePdf?flNm=fd10548102-07-2007.pdf)
Perhaps this is part of the open application/peer review project? [the comments are open]
Posted by Stephen M. Nipper at January 31, 2007 11:28 AM
The Resolution will give you a sneak-peak at the features of the magazine. It's jam-packed with all sorts of patent-caselaw goodness, including a 'Trend Spotting' article, a featured case review, prosecution- and litigation-focused digests, chronological and alphabetical listings of cases from last quarter (including summaries), and a fun "Quotables" section that includes some of our favorite quotes from cases issued during last quarter.
For this issue, we've even included a brief note about the story behind the FedCirc.us name and domain.
We think you'll agree that the magazine is an exciting and effective new tool for staying current on patent caselaw developments.
Of course, the free preview issue includes subscription details for the magazine. The site will be ready to accept subscription payments starting tomorrow.
Please do download our first copy and let us know what you think.
Posted by Stephen M. Nipper at July 12, 2006 11:32 AM
According to this story:
Former [Canadian] prime minister Brian Mulroney tried to contact an American cabinet secretary [then-U.S. commerce secretary Don Evans] on behalf of Research In Motion Ltd. (TSX:RIM) during RIM's legal battle with NTP Inc., according to an internal [USPTO] e-mail…
…The e-mail message says Mulroney's request reached the patent office's legal department, which gave Evans' office an explanation as to why the secretary should not speak to Mulroney about the NTP case…
Previous Rethink(IP) coverage: USPTO explains the AWOL Anderson Declaration and NPT alleging that the USPTO engaged in improper communications with third party in Blackberry case.
Posted by Douglas Sorocco at June 18, 2006 02:54 PM
We are proud to announce that our newest podcast is available for your down loading and listening pleasure – Rethink(IP) Aloud #6.
The audio is approximately 47 minutes long and the file is a 41.1MB file. If you want to grab the RSS feed and subscribe to the Rethink(IP) Aloud podcast – you can get it via FeedBurner at Rethink(IP) Aloud Podcast.
This podcast is the audio portion of Matt’s lecture on U.S. patent reform in 2006 and covers the efforts happening in the 109th Congress and at the Supreme Court and USPTO. We posted the video of the presentation over at Phosita last week and received many requests for an audio only version. Matt’s PowerPoint slides to go along with the Patent Reform lecture are also available.
Happy father’s day!
Posted by Stephen M. Nipper at June 12, 2006 03:03 PM
Video of Rethinker patent reform expert Matt Buchanan’s recent speech on patent reform is available over at the PHOSITA® blog. If you want to know the latest in what’s going on in the patent reform world, the video is well worth watching.
Posted by Stephen M. Nipper at May 25, 2006 01:03 PM
Remember my previous post: “NPT alleging that the USPTO engaged in improper communications with third party in Blackberry case”? In that post I mentioned that the USPTO had deleted “Anderson Declaration” from the file wrapper. The Anderson Declaration allegedly contained copies of internal USPTO emails and other information obtained in a FOIA request.
Well…the USPTO recently explained why the Declaration was deleted:
This is a decision returning improper papers. The papers were filed dated April 24, 2006. The papers are presently before the Special Program Examiner of the Central Reexamination unit. The papers filed contain and make reference to a document identified as a Freedom Of Information Act request. Since these documents are outside the scope of reexamination, there are returned.
For you IFW hounds, the number is 90/006,533.
Posted by Stephen M. Nipper at May 9, 2006 01:07 PM
Did the PTO Engage In Improper Communications with Third Parties That Are Not Reflected In The Record Of Decision for the NPT (Blackberry) Reexaminations?
That is the exact argument made in an Response (dated April 24, 2006) filed by NPT in one of their patent reexaminations. A copy of the relevant portion of the Response is here [File Attachment: NTP_Reexam_Responsel.pdf].
Mysteriously, the “Anderson Declaration” is A.W.O.L. on PAIR. If anyone has a copy, please let me know! The attachments to the missing Declaration include internal USPTO emails (some of which were redacted) and other documents.
The arguments presented in the Response include:
The PTO Had An Ex Parte Meeting With RIM To Discuss The Reexaminations
PTO Files Contain Communications With Third Parties
Political Pressure Resulted in Actual Bias Against Patent Owner
If you want to pull your own copy off PAIR: Application Number: 90/007,731, 90/006,675, 90/006,533; Applicant: Campana, Jr. et al.
If you ever need to make your own FOIA request with the USPTO: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/sol/foia/
More to follow…
[hat tip: Hal Wegner]
[update: AWOL documents explained?]
Posted by Douglas Sorocco at May 6, 2006 02:11 PM
Gary Odom over at the Patent Prospector must have missed his fibre this morning:
Large high-tech corporate patent infringers turn into crybabies, often pouting before Congress, painting themselves as victims of the patent system, because individual inventors and small patent-owning companies try to make them take licenses for infringing their patents. The crybabies don't bother to mention their regular cross-license patent deals, or knock-down-drag-out fights between corporate competitors, as something to be concerned about. And because of the noise the corporations make, the mainstream press, which are corporate toads, and always hungry for drama, pile in, making the same noises, wailing for patent reform. Congress, itself a humongous corporate toad, listens sympathetically, and makes its own noises, but thankfully does nothing.
You just have to love a good “patent troll” rant on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Gary has a way with words and probably does the best job I have yet seen at framing the issues in an appropriate manner.
If you are interested in learning more about patent trolls and the congressional response, head on over to Promote the Progress. Matt would be too humble to mention it himself, so I will whore it out for him.
Posted by Stephen M. Nipper at April 6, 2006 03:07 AM
Put this on your "to read" list: Are Software Patents Evil? by Paul Graham
This is, by far, the best essay I have ever read on software patents and patent trolls. While you/I may not agree with every point he makes, he does an excellent job of explaining the issues and arguing his points. Well worth the read.
He does say one thing that makes me twitch funny: "We tell the startups we fund not to worry about infringing patents, because startups rarely get sued for patent infringement." Yikes...not the kind of statement I want quoted against me in a deposition. ;)
Posted by Stephen M. Nipper at March 1, 2006 12:15 PM
Apparently the problems with US Patent Law are caused by patent attorneys. Yep...we're to blame.
Posted by Stephen M. Nipper at February 23, 2006 03:12 PM
RSSMojo is a Rethink(IP) site where we post important USPTO News & Notices and information on recent patent lawsuit filing.
Posted by Stephen M. Nipper at November 2, 2005 10:31 AM
Insourcing is one of the main reasons Matt, Doug and I were drawn together almost a year ago. It was a conversation about how to work together to promote the insourcing of patent services to inland patent firms instead of outsourcing them abroad that started this great rethinking project. We've clearly gone beyond insourcing a major Rethink(IP) theme, but that topic is still close to our hearts.
In reviewing my client base recently I noticed something I hadn't seen before (and I'm sure my fellow rethinkers see too in their own practices), namely that the amount of work we are doing for foreign patent and trademark firms has substantially increased in the past few years. Substantially. Maybe The World is Flat has just opened my eyes more to the impact of technology and the Internet on my practice.
I'm not sure whether they are ditching their big city firms and insourcing to the Intermountain West and/or Midwest for customer service, for price, or for other reasons, but it is clearly happening. What amazes me is how quickly foreign IP attorneys get it, but US businesses as a whole don't.
Foreign IP work has traditionally been "quid pro quo," in that "if you send me work, I'll send you work." Perhaps it is due to the low performance of the US dollar or perhaps other factors, but the reality is that having IP work done in the US is as expensive as ever. In my opinion, this is a fact which is causing some foreign IP firms to consider other cost effective ways of protecting their client's intellectual property in the States, and one of those ways is insourcing. The result is that foreign firms are sending lots and lots of work to smaller firms in smaller metropolitan areas, firms that can't possibly support the old school quid pro quo.
Is it the end of "tit for tat" in IP work? I doubt it, but it is sure to have ripples in the market for worldwide IP services.
Other thoughts, insight and comments appreciated (the comments are open)...
Posted by J Matthew Buchanan at October 14, 2005 02:12 PM
Let the uspto.gov bashing continue.
One of my biggest pet peeves about the site is the linkfarm structure of several key pages. Look at the main “Patents” page, for example:
Is there a better example of a web1.0 linkfarm out there? I think not. How is this helpful to anyone? I use the site all the time and still struggle to find what I’m looking for.
For those of you not familiar with the site, please visit the farm here, so as to see it in all of its glory.
Posted by Stephen M. Nipper at October 10, 2005 01:29 PM
We've joked a number of times internally about things we hate about the USPTO's website and how we should compile a list of grievances. Today I stumbled onto one of the things I "hate" and it spurred me to start the list...
Grievance #1: Why in the world is the "LOGOUT" button above the search form boxes on the trademark search page (picture below). I don't know how many times I have loaded that page in a hurry and clicked that button by mistake like it was a "NEXT" or "ENTER" button. I think it is akin to putting a "delete all" button right next to a "save" button. ARGH!
What drives me nuts is that the Logout button is the first thing you see when you come to the page...just in case you changed your mind before you do the search and want to logout.
Feel free to send your own grievances over and we'll add them to the list.
Posted by Stephen M. Nipper at September 12, 2005 04:59 AM
The fact that a lawsuit has been filed can be an incredibly valuable piece of information, especially in the practice of patent law.
Today, Rethink(IP) announces the availability of another tool that allows you to acquire that valuable piece of information, every week with little to no effort.
Why is the existence of a lawsuit such a valuable piece of information?
First, the defendant might not know that he/she/it has been sued!
Your company, or your client, might have no idea that a patent lawsuit has been filed. How can this be? Remember that in the United States, a plaintiff has 120 days from the date of filing to serve a Complaint upon the defendant(s). To reserve a preferred venue/forum, many times a plaintiff will preemptively file the suit and not serve the Complaint, spending up to the next 120 days putting their case together, acquiring additional evidence, and (sometimes) attempting to settle the dispute.
Knowing that your company or client has been sued (but hasn't been served) can be priceless information when counseling them. How's that for a valuable "heads up"?
Second, the filing of a lawsuit can also be a valuable piece of competitive intelligence.
Knowing that competitor X just sued competitor Y may change discussions you're having with competitor X, Y, and/or A! It could also help in decision-making on several issues, such as marketing and product development. Best of all, it may allow you to monitor the case for information that might be helpful in a variety of situations.
We here at Rethink(IP) recognize the value of this information, and have created another RSS feed to deliver it to you.
The new RSS feed covers US patent lawsuit filings. We plan to update the feed at least weekly -- an interval that we expect will deliver value in a timely manner.
Each item in the feed will contain information on the lawsuits filed in the prior period (e.g., the past week). For each individual lawsuit, the names of the parties, name of the district court, and the case number.
A sample weekly report appears at the bottom of this post.
The RSS feed is available here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/RethinkIP_SUITS_PATENT
If you don't use an RSS aggregator (blog reader) and would like to subscribe to the feed via email, enter your e-mail address in the following form box and click the button:
Comments, questions, suggestions...let us know. firstname.lastname@example.org
EXAMPLE POST DATA
HULL vs. ROTHHAMMER INTERNATIONAL, INC.
ALZA CORPORATION vs. IMPAX LABORATORIES INC.
NOVO NORDISK A/S vs. SANOFI-AVENTIS
Posted by J Matthew Buchanan at August 29, 2005 08:14 AM
How much do you hate patents? I’m not talking about the legal concept of the right to exclude, but actual patents.
The document. It’s structure, layout and appearance.
Current US patents are better documents than their ancestors. But, if you ask me, there’s still room for improvement.
Let’s change them.
Got any ideas on how to improve the patent document? We’d love to hear them. The ideas can be about anything and for any purpose. You can view one of my prior rants on the subject here if you need something to get the gears moving.
So go ahead, make the patent more useful and/or easier to understand. Heck, we’d even love to hear suggestions on how to make them more aesthetically pleasing (just remember not to place that term in the claims).
Use comments or send any of us rethink’rs an e-mail (addresses at top left). We’ll post ‘em later. Maybe we’ll even send them to someone who cares.
Posted by Douglas Sorocco at August 26, 2005 11:27 PM
Thank you. Thank you for the response to our providing the United States Patent and Trademark information, news and notices via email. It has been great!
One of the major "complaints" that we have received is that we were only providing the information via RSS. RSS is really the information delivery option of the future and we will be pointing the way to some tutorials in the future, but in the interim - give the people want they want.
So - below is an email signup application. Simply put in your email address and you will receive all USPTO updates via email.
We value your privacy, just like we value our own. We will never sell the names of the folks that sign up - so have no fear. We will not add to your spam burden.
So, sign up and enjoy. And please keep the feedback coming - it really helps us to know what you need and want.
Posted by Stephen M. Nipper at August 23, 2005 11:36 AM
A number of readers have fired over other feeds:
- WIPO: http://www.wipo.int/news/en/newsfeed.jsp
- EPO: http://www.european-patent-office.org/_data/update/rss.xml
- US Copyright Office: http://www.copyright.gov/help/rss.html
- Switzerland: http://www.ige.ch/rss/rss-de.xml (German only)
- http://www.ipnewsflash.com/feeds/notices.xml is a private collection of notices from EPO, WIPO, USPTO, German office, UK office and Switzerland
Thanks Christopher, Bill, and others. If there are others, let us know!
Posted by J Matthew Buchanan at August 22, 2005 11:42 PM
We are pleased and excited to announce that we have created RSS feeds for all news items and notices released by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
They haven’t done it or shown any intention of doing so, so we did!
Many of our readers will no doubt agree that the Office’s News and Notices site is a woefully antiquated and inadequate means for distributing important information to the intellectual property community. We believe this site stands as a stark reminder of the Office’s failure to implement RSS technology. We’ve ranted on this in the past, but have seen no action or commentary by the Office.
So we decided to take matters into our own hands.
Today we launch the following four RSS feeds that mimic the categories used by the Office:
Official Gazette and Federal Register Announcements (feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/RethinkIP_USPTO_OG )
General news items (feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/RethinkIP_USPTO_GEN )
Patent news items (feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/RethinkIP_USPTO_PAT )
Trademark news items (feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/RethinkIP_USPTO_TM )
A fifth feed includes ALL items for each of the four categories listed above (feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/RethinkIP_USPTO_ALL )
Go ahead and subscribe. Who knows, you might find yourself actually reading PTO news and notices on a regular basis!
We believe this Rethink(ip) project is a great example of a practical application of RSS technology and we hope it will expand the use of RSS throughout the IP community. We also hope it will grab the attention of decision-makers at the PTO and encourage them to take a serious look at RSS.
If you have any questions regarding RSS or how to use the feeds, please contact any of us at the addresses listed on the main rethink(ip) site.
UPDATE: Other IP RSS feeds can be found here.
Posted by Douglas Sorocco at April 28, 2005 06:15 PM
Steve Veenema made an interesting comment in the Rethinking Legal Education and IP post that I want to highlight and comment on:
Speaking as someone who is currently preparing for a Property exam (at Suffolk Law School in Boston), but spends his days working in the real world with copyright and intellectual property issues, I can definitely see value in making IP a requirement, and in integrating it more into the first-year Property class. However, I don't know that it makes sense to view every aspect of your legal education that is not eventually utilized in practice as a worthless waste of a semester (or two). From where I'm sitting, the beginnings of law school are about developing an intellectual framework for understanding the fundamental legal relationships that have developed over time. Losing an understanding of the distinctions between contracts, trusts, agency, bailment, etc... is to lose some of the basis for our system of law. While I agree that few of us may apply that knowledge in any professional capacity, I don't think that the opportunity for professional application should be the determining factor for what is taught in law school.
I agree, Steve.
Law school should be the starting point of the lifelong pursuit of how to “think and act like a lawyer” – the application of rigorous analysis, insight and a good dose of common sense. A common vocabulary and understanding is necessary to be able to move on to the more judgment and insight related aspects of our profession – but we also need to be providing students with the information necessary to develop the common sense portion of the equation.
As an adjunct professor my perspective on the teaching of law is a bit different — I don’t see law students being trained in a manner that provides them with the tools to start developing and exercising insight – not to even mention judgment. Most law schools are merely fulfilling the need of big firms – producing robots that are programmed to churn and burn billable hours.
Inductive reasoning is not taught – rote memorisation and “case worship” usually carry the day.
For example, throw a non-science background person into a patent class and the dynamic instantly changes. The science folks learn the need to simplify issues so that the non-science folks can understand while the non-science students gain an appreciation of how complex legal issues become when applied to scientific endeavors.
Each group of people learn from one another more than they will ever learn from the professor. I would bet, however, that most law schools segregate out the patent class and don’t encourage non-science folks to take the class.
Another disturbing trend I see is that of law schools decreasing the number of semesters required for a degree — I would argue the opposite should be occurring. Ideally, law school should be a 4–5 year experience with required internship semester between semesters of coursework.
Every law student should be required to work with clients much the same way that doctors should be required to work with actual living patients. In such a framework, classes on intellectual property could be required and not compete for time with the “staid bastions of legal education”. Without the practical experience – it is all just book learning, nothing more and nothing less.
But why should IP law just be taught in law school? If it is truly touching all aspects of our economy and daily lives – why not make it a requirement for an MBA or even all undergraduate degrees. Maybe instead of teaching Bar Association CLE classes, IP lawyers should be teaching classes at the local colleges, trade schools and VO-Techs. Maybe even at the high schools?
Just some more thoughts on the issue…. What do you think? Keep the comments coming.
Posted by Stephen M. Nipper at April 18, 2005 06:00 AM
U.S. patent law, at its simplest level is a bargain between the U.S. Government and inventors. The bargain essentially being "you tell everyone else how you did it and we'll give you a limited monopoly to exclude others from doing the same." While Thomas Jefferson and others weren't thrilled with the system...it is the system our founding fathers established.
Blawger and patent attorney N. Stephan Kinsella recently penned a very interesting critique of our patent system in an article entitled "There's No Such Things As a Free Patent." Stephan's article questions whether the costs of the patent system outweigh the gains it provides and mentions some potential alternative systems others have proposed (reward systems, nationalized IP, taxes to fund R&D, copyright-like patent terms, etc.). An interesting read...
UPDATE: For those of you reading via RSS, the comments for this post continue the discussion...