Blog Posts

The Law of the Patent Instrument

Patents are a useful tool in innovation policy—but they aren’t the only tool available.  If all you ever see are patents (and patent lawyers), your natural reaction is to use patents to solve policy problems.  It’s a normal human bias—the law of the instrument states that humans will reach for a familiar tool (i.e., patents)…

Curver v. Home Expressions Advances Design Patent Law

In today’s Curver v. Home Expressions decision, the Federal Circuit resolved several outstanding questions regarding design patents.  In particular, the Federal Circuit rejected the notion that a design can be claimed, untethered from a specific article of manufacture to which it is applied.  It also rejected the notion that the verbal portion of a design…

Nartron IPRs a Touchstone For Understanding PTAB Discretion

The PTAB’s recent institution decisions in petitions filed against US5,796,183, a touchscreen patent owned by Nartron, are useful in understanding how the PTAB can be expected to address other situations with multiple simultaneous petitions, especially when a later petitioner may be able to benefit from a decision on an earlier petition.

Protecting Inventors—Independent Invention As A Defense

Alice has an idea.  Independently, Bob has the same idea.  Neither one has ever talked to the other.  Alice develops her idea and on January 1, files for a patent on it.  Bob develops his idea and files for a patent one day later, on January 2.  While their patents are being examined, both develop…

Global Innovation Index Highlights The Difference Between Patents And Innovation

The 2019 Global Innovation Index (GII) was recently released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).  Conceived of as a broad measure of the innovative environment in various countries, the GII incorporates a wide variety of indicators in an attempt to measure innovation, ranging from scientific articles normalized by economic output, to the number of…

Not Invented By A Human—AI As An Inventor

Recently, a group of patent attorneys—along with the self-proclaimed “patent holder for all neural systems that contemplate, invent, and discover via such confabulations”—has filed a set of patent applications at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, European Patent Office, and the UK Intellectual Property Office.  But—reminiscent of the infamous “monkey selfie” copyright case, and unlike…

Much Ado About Injunctions

It’s become an article of faith among those complaining that patent reform has gone too far that the 2006 eBay case must be overturned—so much so that Sen. Coons has included it in both editions of his STRONGER Patents Act (one of a multitude of reasons that bill is bad policy.) But, as with so…

A Different Bite At The Subject Matter Apple

Utility patents aren’t the only form of patent, much less the only form of intellectual property.  While not a frequent subject of discussion in comparison to its much better known cousins, the utility patent and the design patent, the plant patent is still relevant and provides a useful example of how to protect subject matter…

Qualcomm’s Petard: Apple Acquires Modem Business From Intel

Yesterday, Apple officially announced its acquisition of Intel’s smartphone modem unit.  Apple will receive a variety of assets from Intel, including patents, as well as a significant portion of Intel’s employees dedicated to wireless modem technology.  Intel retains the ability to develop 5G systems for non-smartphone applications like PCs, Internet of Things devices, and autonomous…