• EPO: New Employment Rules Roil Staff; Management Denies Push For More Patent Grants

    Outgoing European Patent Office President Benoȋt Battistelli has proposed a new “employment framework” that includes fixed-term contracts for patent examiners, reigniting anger among staff members already in a tense relationship with management. There is also concern that Battistelli’s apparent push – which the EPO denies – for more patent grants is hurting patent quality.

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  • EPO: New Employment Rules Roil Staff; Management Denies Push For More Patent Grants

    Outgoing European Patent Office President Benoȋt Battistelli has proposed a new “employment framework” that includes fixed-term contracts for patent examiners, reigniting anger among staff members already in a tense relationship with management. There is also concern that Battistelli’s apparent push – which the EPO denies – for more patent grants is hurting patent quality.

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  • The Power of Blockchain and Divorce— How We Got to IPwe

    With a high-level understanding of what blockchain is, you might ask “why is it important?” Blockchain has many implications, but it is going to change how we interact with each other and over time will make peer to peer interaction the norm… It occurred to me that blockchain could have a massively beneficial impact on the patent industry and patent asset class… Applying blockchain, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to improve patents, the industry and the asset class is our…

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  • Amici Request SCOTUS Intervention to Protect Against Extra-Statutorily Application of Patent Eligibility Challenges in Court

    Section 101 of the Patent Act was codified as part of the 1952 Patent Act.  At the same time, Congress set forth in Section 282(b) a list of available defenses that may be asserted in a patent infringement action brought in court.  While Congress has tinkered with Section 282 a number of time since its enactment in 1952, including identifying other invalidity defenses, such as failure to comply with some portions of Section 112 (see 35 U.S.C. § 282(b)(3)), Congress has never added “Inventions…

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  • If Uber turns to self-driving vehicles, what is to become of its brand?

    Think of the sharing economy and Uber is usually the first company that comes to mind. What could be more appropriate than providing the infrastructure for the service, while the drivers supply their own vehicles. As the middleman, Uber simply brings together customers and drivers, taking a cut from the transaction. Even given the various legal issues and boardroom intrigues that have been plaguing the company, the fundamentals of the business model have remained unaltered, at least until now. But change may be on the horizon, as the company seeks to get ahead of the potential disruption posed by self-driving vehicles.

    That is the gist of an article by Shira Ovide, published on November 20th as a Bloomberg Gadfly column. Ovide describes an announcement made earlier of last week, according to which Uber has agreed to buy from Volvo 24,000 SUV’s, meant to serve as the foundation for a future fleet of self-driving vehicles. The value of the transaction is approximately one billion dollars, with delivery to take place between 2019-2021. To some extent, the deal complements an earlier partnership transaction between Uber and Daimler, whereby Daimler will make its own self-driving vehicles available to the Uber network.

    The upshot of the Uber-Volvo transaction is that Uber goes from being a mere middleman to the owner of substantial physical assets in the form of DUV vehicles. This carries with it all the obligations that come with owning a fleet of cars, such as readying them for daily use and maintaining such necessities as tyres and the interiors, all the while that the vehicles themselves will be subject to capital depreciation. According to the report, there are few details about how Uber ultimately plans to integrate these vehicles into its business.

    In effect, the overarching question is: what kind of business model will emerge? It is true that a direct result of self-driving cars, if they take hold as a preferred means of transportation, will be that human drivers will be made redundant (although this blogger suspects that the transition to self-driving vehicles will be gradual and a certain sub-group of customers will continue to insist on human drivers). As Ovide has observed, will the company then seek to—

    “make money by continuing to be a middleman for drivers and riders and for other categories including restaurant orders?”

    Or will it simply—

    “collect[] fees from rides, that looks more like Hertz than a traditional two-sided market place consisting of matching supply and demand?”

    If the purchase of the Volvo vehicles presages (or even more, mandates) that the company will sooner or later need to reformulate its business strategy, then what does this say about Uber’s brand? Even within the current shared economy model, Uber has seen its operations effectively taken over in China by Didi Chuxing, while in some Asian jurisdictions, it is playing second fiddle (or no fiddle) to local competitors, such as Grab in Singapore. As for the US, competitors such as Lyft seek to nip at Uber’s heels.

    But perhaps another way to view it as a bold attempt by the company to get ahead of the curve and remake its business model in light of the changes that will be wrought by self-driving vehicles. What comes to mind is Netflix, which began in the 1990’s as a DVD sales and rental business, before soon moving on to the DVD by rental business. When that model faced obsolescence due to the rise of video streaming, the company embraced the video streaming space that is identified with it today.

    During each of these remakes, the company managed to enjoy the continuity of the Netflix brand as the badge of the company to the consumer public. Based on Uber’s current high valuation (Ovide indicates it is 68 billion dollars), there is both promise and risk in maintaining the value of the Uber brand in the face of a remake of the company’s business strategy. Stay tuned.

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  • Tech’s Ruling Class Files Amici Briefs with U.S. Supreme Court in Oil States Case

    October 30th was a very busy day for amici filing briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court on how the highest court in the nation should decide in Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, a case in which oral arguments will be heard on November 27th. Many of the briefs filed on the 30th were submitted by some of the biggest names in the tech industry. Taking a look at briefs filed by this major companies, some of whom have been seeing great success in patent validity trials at…

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  • Image Processing Technologies, LLC v. Samsung Electronics Co. (E.D. Tex. 2017)

    By Joseph Herndon — Plaintiff Image Processing Technologies, LLC (“IPT”) filed suit against Samsung in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Marshall Division), alleging infringement of three patents, including U.S. Patent No. 6,959,293. The ‘293 patent, entitled “Method and Device for Automatic Visual Perception,” claims improved visual perception processors and a method employing a “self-adapting” histogram calculation. At issue here was a motion by Samsung for partial summary judgement that claim 29 is directed to patent-ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The District Court ultimately found that claim 29 is ineligible for patent protection…

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  • Conference & CLE Calendar

    November 27, 2017 – Post-argument discussion on SAS Institute Inc. v. Matal (American University Washington College of Law Program on Information Justice & Intellectual Property) – 4:00 pm (Eastern), Washington, DC. November 27, 2017 – Post-argumen…

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  • 囲繞(いぎょう)




    $$ The syringe holder 9 comprises an elongate housing which closely surrounds the glass barrel of the syringe. / 注射器ホルダ9は、注射器のガラスバレルに密着して囲繞する長尺のハウジングを含む。(USP8647299)

    $$ Alternatively, the coil comprising the unused blister strip may be surrounded by an elastomeric band or band comprising a contractible material. / その他、未使用のブリスターストリップを含むコイルをエラストマーバンド又は収縮性物質を含むバンドで囲繞するようにしてもよい。(USP8113199)

    $$ In FIGS. 9 A and 9B the pile or column (1) is shown by a horizontal section across the pile or column (1) and the collar (2) and as where it is surrounded by the collar or sleeve (2). / 図9A及び図9Bにおいて、支持柱又はパイル1は支持柱又はパイル1及びカラー2を水平断面に横切って示されており、この水平断面のところでは支持柱又はパイル1はカラー2により囲繞されている。(USP7980785)

    $$ This would give a display in which each pixel of the first colour is surrounded by pixels of the second colour, and vice versa. / これにより、第1の色のそれぞれの画素が、第2の色の画素によって囲繞された(逆もまた同じ)ディスプレイが与えられる。(USP5929562)

    $$ The channel may extend (as shown by dotted portion) substantially to the radial level of the surrounding pole faces, and open into the gap 30 by way of one or more apertures 63 in bridging means 64 extending between the adjacent pole faces. / チャンネルは(鎖線で示すように)囲繞する極の面の半径方向レベルまで概ね延び、かつ隣接する極の面の間を延びるブリッジ手段64における1個以上の開口63を介して前記空間30中へ開放している。(USP5355040)

    $$ The weld elements 16, 18 extend towards each other within a weld enclosure 15. / 溶接エレメント16、18は、溶接用のエンクロージャー(溶接用の囲繞体)15内で互いに向かって延びている。(USP8336755)

    $$ As indicated above, the inner layer of insulation 4 encompasses the outer surface area of the inner pipe 2. / 前述したように、内断熱層4は内管2の外側の表面を囲繞している。(USP7578315)

    $$ The flanges or crown of these cross sections of stringer may be extruded to provide an envelope of material from which the required working dimensions of the flanges or crown can be machined. / ストリンガのこの断面のフランジまたはクラウンを押出し成型して、囲繞体材料が提供され、この囲繞体材料を機械加工して、要求される仕上げ寸法のフランジまたはクラウンにすることができる。(USP8091830)


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  • Oliver Wendell Holmes’ stand-up desk

    Justice Kagan recently mentioned Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ stand-up desk, during the roundtable discussion celebrating Harvard Law School’s 200th birthday.  You can see the roundtable below or at this [Link].  As an aficionado of stand-up desks, I was intrigued when she mentioned that Justice Holmes had used a stand-up desk.  In fact, I understand that […]

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  • Blast from the plagiarism past, "Mind Over Mayhem"

    The Colombo episode, Mind over Mayhem,” first aired in February 1974, and had an interesting plot involving plagiarism, which copying was uncovered by a chemistry professor, Dr. Howard Nicholson (played by Lew Ayres).

    The plagiarism victim was a physicist type and already dead by the time of the opening scene. The plagiarism culprit, Neil Cahill, was a computer type who had obtained the notes of the physicist, and had published the theory under his own name. He was to receive an award. The chemist, figuring the computer type unlikely to have developed the theory (an issue not contemplated by the award givers, who are known to be sometimes oblivious to possible plagiarism), found evidence of the copying and asked Cahill’s father (Dr. Marshall Cahill played by Jose Ferrer) to intervene.

    Cahill’s (Ferrer’s) first response was of interest: that a chemist would be incapable of understanding the theory.

    Nicholson persisted and was murdered for his trouble. Uncoverers of plagiarism typically do not fare well.

    Of interest in the episode was an appearance by Robby the Robot, an appearance by a character named Steve Spelberg (yes, the naming was intentional), and an oblique reference to colchicine.

    See also

    Columbo: 5 things you may have missed watching “Mind Over Mayhem”

    Separately, from the Cornell Daily Sun :

    In January, three scholars published a paper — titled “Statistical Heartburn: An Attempt to Digest Four Pizza Publications from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab” — investigating four papers Wansink co-authored on pizza-eating habits and listed 151 claims of data inconsistencies involving incorrectly calculated statistics, sample sizes and standard deviations.

    Wansink responded directly to the “Statistical Heartburn” paper, issuing a 16-page response to each of the authors’ 151 claims.

    More recently, JAMA Pediatrics retracted a similar study co-authored by Wansink, which reported that children are more likely to choose an apple over a cookie if the apple included an Elmo sticker, but contained numerous statistical errors.

    The same day the JAMA publication was retracted, Wansink and his co-authors published a replacement version, which still contained flaws, as both the original and the replacement claimed that the study included 208 students ranging from eight to eleven years old at seven schools in upstate New York. But in fact, the data collected observed kids from three to five years old, Wansink told Buzzfeed News.

    link: http://cornellsun.com/2017/11/28/cornell-food-researcher-retracts-fourth-study-due-to-no-empirical-support/

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  • Three Supreme Court Petitions: Teaching Away, Eligibility, Affirmed Without Opinion

    Nidec Motor Corp. v. Zhongshan Broad Ocean Motor Co., Ltd., Supreme Court Docket No. No. 17-751. Whether the Federal Circuit has erred in holding that, for the purposes of an obviousness determination under 35 U.S.C. § 103(a), a reference “teaches away” from a proposed combination only if it expressly “criticize[s], discredit [s], or otherwise discourage[s]” the proposed […]

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