PublishedJune 14, 2013

Roundup of This Week’s Patent News: June 14 Edition

Hi there!  No, this week wasn’t quite as eventful as last week.  (If you missed the big patent news, check out last week’s roundup.)  But we still have some news you don’t want to miss.

First up, on Saturday June 8, our own Matt Levy’s Letter to the Editor was published in the New York Times, in which he explained the key takeaway of the administration’s proposal:

It’s important to understand the larger point of President Obama’s executive actions. The president has correctly identified software patents as the main fuel for the patent troll litigation wildfire. And he has proposed a reasonable solution: directing the Patent and Trademark Office to focus on limiting patents to what someone actually invented.

That refers to the functional claiming fix, which he explained in depth in a post last week.  In a post yesterday, Matt Levy did a deep dive into another desirable reform, the expansion of the Covered Business Method (CBM) review program, found in Senator Schumer’s Patent Quality Improvement Act, and also in the President’s proposal.  Senator Schumer also had a great op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (paywall alert, sorry!) yesterday, where he explained the benefits of expanding CBM review:

If a troll knows he can no longer trap a defendant in expensive and lengthy litigation, his interest in the suit will diminish substantially. And American businesses can get back to the work of innovation and growth, rather than frivolous litigation defense.

This week, Matt Levy also did a line-by-line takedown of an op-ed in the Boston Globe by former Senator John Sununu, debunking all of his classic pro-troll arguments, like: “Patents Are a Constitutional Right”, “Sure, There’s Abusive Litigation, but Reform Is Hard. And Also Trial Lawyers!”, “Look! Over There!”, “But Universities!”, and “What About Individual Inventors?”

Also, although it’s an area of patents we don’t often cover on Patent Progress, I just wanted to point out that the Supreme Court’s Myriad decision came out yesterday, and SCOTUS unanimously held human genes aren’t patentable.  A few interesting excerpts are below:

To be sure, it found an important and useful gene, but separating that gene from its surrounding genetic material is not an act of invention.

Groundbreaking, innovative, or even brilliant discovery does not by itself satisfy the §101 inquiry.

Did we miss something?  Questions or suggestions?  Feel free to leave a comment below, mention us on Twitter (@PatentProgress), or email us: patentprogress[AT]ccianet[DOT]org

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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