PublishedFebruary 11, 2013

Patents in the News

Facebook sued over ‘like’ button (BBC News)

Facebook is facing legal action over its use of the “like” button and other features of the social network… It is being sued by a patent-holding company acting on behalf of a dead Dutch programmer called Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer.

Apple, Samsung continue complex relationship as patent wars grind toward stalemate (Reuters News)

It was the late Steve Jobs’ worst nightmare. A powerful Asian manufacturer, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd , uses Google Inc’s Android software to create smartphones and tablets that closely resemble the iPhone and the iPad. Samsung starts gaining market share, hurting Apple Inc’s margins and stock price and threatening its reign as the king of cool in consumer electronics. Jobs, of course, had an answer to all this: a “thermo-nuclear” legal war that would keep clones off the market.

Tim Cook, Jobs’ successor as Apple chief executive, was opposed to suing Samsung in the first place, according to people with knowledge of the matter, largely because of that company’s critical role as a supplier of components for the iPhone and the iPad.

Innovation Nation at War (The New York Times)

America’s patent system is a mess. The United States Patent and Trademark Office, understaffed and overwhelmed, issues too many needless patents. Patent trolls buy or create patent portfolios whose only purpose is to extort fees from the companies that actually make the things that the patents supposedly cover.

Apple’s Winning the Samsung Patent Battles And Losing The War (Forbes)

This is a good little insight into what’s going wrong for Apple in the patents case against Samsung. They’re winning the battles in court: they’ve won a $1 billion damages award against Samsung for example. But that’s not enough to be winning the war really.


Recaps of Friday’s en banc rehearing at the Federal Circuit in CLS Bank v. Alice Corp. (See also our posts on the background of the case, and summarizing the briefs.):

Appeals Court Considers Software Patents (IDG News Service)

U.S. companies shouldn’t be able to get patents on abstract ideas when they combine those ideas with a computer process, a lawyer argued in an appeals court Friday.

CLS Bank v. Alice Corp: Oral Arguments Lead to More Questions (PatentlyO)

On February 8, 2013, the Federal Circuit held oral arguments en banc in this important subject matter eligibility dispute that focuses on the extent that software can be patented. Under Federal Circuit rules, en banc rehearings include all of the regular circuit court judges as well as any other judge who sat on the original panel. For this case, the nine regular members of the court were joined by Senior Judge Richard Linn who sat on the original panel and penned the opinion of the court that has offended so many anti-software-patent advocates.

Groklaw’s Report from the CLS Bank v. Alice En Banc Hearing at the Federal Circuit (Groklaw)

I hope you were not expecting too much from today’s en banc hearing by the Federal Circuit on CLS Bank v. Alice. A split decision is the best we can hope for, according to Bloomberg’s report on the day’s festivities.

Ali Sternburg


Ali Sternburg is Vice President, Information Policy at the Computer & Communications Industry Association, where she focuses on intermediary liability, copyright, and other areas of intellectual property. Ali joined CCIA during law school in 2011, and previously served as Senior Policy Counsel, Policy Counsel, and Legal Fellow. She is also an Inaugural Fellow at the Internet Law & Policy Foundry.

She received her J.D. in 2012 from American University Washington College of Law, where she was a Student Attorney in the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic, President of the Intellectual Property Law Society, Senior Symposium Chair and Senior Marketing Manager for the Intellectual Property Brief, and a Dean’s Fellow at the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property.

She graduated from Harvard College in 2009 where she studied Government and Music, wrote her senior honors thesis on “Theoretical and Legal Views on U.S. Government Involvement in Musical Creativity Online,” and interned at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School.

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