Courts encourage clarity at USPTO to combat patent trolls

Courts encourage clarity at USPTO to combat patent trolls

Recently, there has been a push for clarity in patents because non-practicing entities and patent trolls have been accused of taking patents with ambiguous claim terms and construing those ambiguous terms to cover things beyond what is disclosed in the patent.  Since patent litigation costs are very high and even prohibitive, many businesses would rather […]

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Abstract ideas require something more for patent protection

Abstract ideas require something more for patent protection

Under U.S. patent laws, Section 101 states that “Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.” Judicially, the courts have limited the breadth of Section 101 by […]

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KSR distinguished making it harder to reject a claim

KSR distinguished making it harder to reject a claim

The KSR decision could have been construed very broadly so as to make all inventions obvious.  In the opinion, the Supreme Court held that rigid rules cannot override common sense when determining obviousness.  In its broadest terms, the examiner could merely state that a modification was obvious based on common sense, and thus deem the […]

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Everyone in the supply chain could be sued for patent infringement

Everyone in the supply chain could be sued for patent infringement

Patent owners can sue anyone up and down the chain of distribution for infringement of patent.  Manufacturers, distributors and end users are all possible litigants.  For example, the end user can be sued for using the patented invention.  The distributor can be sued for selling the patented invention. The manufacturer can be sued for making […]

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Online communications can be prior art against patent

Online communications can be prior art against patent

Under U.S. patent laws, an application for patent must be filed within one year of the first public use, sale, offer for sale, or printed publication.   Otherwise, those activities will be considered prior art against any later filed patent application.  With the rise of communication over the Internet, these bars to patentability (i.e., public use, […]

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Common ownership problems for those new to patents

Common ownership problems for those new to patents

For those new to protecting their inventions with patents, one of the more common issues that needs to be resolved is ownership.  Who owns the invention or patent?  A company may believe that it owns the rights to an invention.  However, a closer look at the law reveals that this may not be the case.  […]

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Power given to district courts to stop abusive litigation tactics

Power given to district courts to stop abusive litigation tactics

In the United States, each party generally pays their own attorney fees.  Shifting attorney fees to the non-prevailing party is permitted in certain circumstances. For example, in patent litigation, fee shifting is permitted for exceptional cases.  35 U.S.C. Section 285 states that “the court in exceptional cases may award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing […]

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S.Ct. raises standard for definiteness in patent cases

S.Ct. raises standard for definiteness in patent cases

The claims in a patent are supposed to inform others about the scope of patent protection afforded under the patent so people know what the can and cannot be marketed regarding the patent.  In particular, the Patent Act requires that a patent specification “conclude with one or more claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming […]

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S.Ct. places power back in hands of judges with fee shifting

S.Ct. places power back in hands of judges with fee shifting

The Supreme Court has made fee shifting (i.e., award of attorney’s fees) easier in patent cases reversing the framework laid out in Brooks Furniture for determining when a case is “exceptional”.  Now, under Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., (S.Ct. 2014), an exceptional case in which the court may, in its discretion, […]

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Written description requirement for writing a patent application

Written description requirement for writing a patent application

A patent application is a well-crafted document which has many different requirements for it to be effective.  One of the requirements is the written description requirement.  The Manual of Patent Examining Procedure states that “to satisfy the written description requirement, a patent specification must describe the claimed invention in sufficient detail that one skilled in […]

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