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Monthly Archives: March 2017

2017 March IdeaEsq Newsletter is out

You can read the latest March News here, or sign up for it here.

 

 

Patent Month in Review: February 2017

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Supplying a Single Part of Many in an Infringing Device Does not Give Rise to Infringement Liability

The Supreme Court weighed in on whether supplying a single part for export in a multi-part infringing assembly gave rise to liability in Life Technologies Corp. v. Promega Corp. (Supreme Court 2017). In finding no liability, its conclusion was succinct: “supply of a single component of a multicomponent invention for manufacture abroad does not give rise to §271(f)(1) liability.”

Board (and Examiners) Must Sufficiently Identify Elements in Prior Art and Justify Motivation to Combine References

Patent applicants sometimes feel frustrated by loose rejections where examiners don’t explicitly point out where each claim element may be found in a reference, or more often, what would motivate a person of ordinary skill in the art to combine references. In PersonalWeb Tech v. Apple (Fed. Cir. 2017), the Federal Circuit gave some support to the frustrated applicant, stating that “[t]he Board did not sufficiently explain and support the conclusions that (1) Woodhill and Stefik disclose all of the elements recited in the challenged claims of the ’310 patent and (2) a relevant skilled artisan would have been motivated to combine Woodhill and Stefik in the way the ’310 patent claims and reasonably expected success.”

“Consisting of” Still Sets of a Closed List

Careful claim drafters know that “comprising” and “comprised of” set off open lists that include the elements therein and others unidentified, and “consisting” sets off closed lists that are limited to the elements in the list and no others. Shire Development v. Watson Pharma (Fed. Cir. 2017) confirmed this reading on “consisting of:” “‘consisting’ creates a very strong presumption that that claim element is ‘closed’ and therefore excludes any elements, steps, or ingredients not specified in the claim.”

Sovereign Immunity Protects Public Universities from IPR Challenges

According to the Patent Trial and Appeals Board, the 11th Amendment shields public universities from IPR challenges. The 11th amendment reads, “The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.” The case has not gone higher than the PTAB at this point but this is good news for public universities with large patent portfolios. It will be interesting to see how this might apply to public university licensees. See Covidien LP v. University of Florida Research Foundation Inc., Case Nos. IPR 2016-01274, 01275, and -01276 (PTAB January 25, 2017).

Who is the Director of the USPTO: Solved

For reasons unknown, the identity of the USPTO director was unclear since President Trump’s inauguration. In response to FOIA requests from Patently-O’s Dennis Crouch, the USPTO now confirms that Michelle Lee is still Director.

[T]he Agency is responding that Michelle K. Lee is the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office and Anthony P. Scardino is the Acting Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

If you have questions, contact me.

 

Propeller Head Reads: February

Norse Mythology
by Neil Gaiman
Odin, Thor, Loki. I knew the names but not the stories. Gaiman is a lover of myth and there could be no better guide to these tales than him. Enjoy hearing these tales sounding over hundreds of years echoing in Northern European fjords.

 


The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance
by Ron Chernow
This is a dense read that explores the story of the Morgan empire, and particularly the early years and the company’s adherence to its values. In later years, it was interesting and unfortunate to see the rapid culture shift in the Morgan companies.


The Path to Power (The Years of Lyndon Johnson #1)
by Robert A. Caro
Get this right: Caro has written, at least on volume 1, a five star bio. Tons of details. Well researched. Great quotes. Thorough timeline. Detailed settings. But read this though and ask: Did Johnson have a redeeming quality? At all? We all know what LBJ did on civil rights but that’s in a later volume: You may have to fortify yourself to get to that part of the story.


Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America
by Garry Wills
Deep treatment of the Gettysburg Address. Fun, stimulating, short read. Excellent exploration of the Address’s historical/philosophical echoes.