Blog Posts

Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Copyright Sovereign Immunity Case

This post, from guest author Jonathan Band, first appeared on the Disruptive Competition Project.  While the case addresses sovereign immunity with respect to copyright claims, it directly implicates the Florida Prepaid decision which applied sovereign immunity to states who infringe patents.  Later cases interpreted Florida Prepaid to bar actions by defendants seeking to invalidate state…

Senate Hearing on Patent Quality Today

Later today, the Senate will hold a hearing on how Congress can help prevent the issuance of poor quality patents.  I recently testified at a hearing on the STRONGER Patents Act and patent quality was one of the topics discussed.  In fact, in my responses to questions for the record from Sen. Tillis, I addressed…

Voting Machines, Patents, and National Security

When standard-essential patents (SEPs) are in the news, it’s usually in the context of cellular or wireless networking standards.  Maybe you’ve thought about how standards govern other things, ranging from audio-visual encoding standards like MP3 to threads on fire hydrants. But what you probably don’t think about are voting machine standards.

New E.D. Texas Ruling Is Vicarious Victory for Trolls

In a decision issued last week, Judge Gilstrap—the “poster boy” for patent trolls’ favorite court, the Eastern District of Texas—has mangled the law on induced infringement, contributory infringement, and willfulness.  The ruling in Motiva v. Sony & HTC contradicts case law and the logic of the statute, cites case law for a proposition it explicitly…

Mythical Troll Attacks GNOME

It’s become a bit of shibboleth among the folks who want to roll back the patent reforms of the past decade that patent trolls are a myth.  Unfortunately, this week one of those mythical trolls is taking a very real swing at a little GNOME.

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…