• False Advertising, Free Speech, and the Fight Over Plant-based and Lab-Grown Meat Alternatives

    Missouri made history in August 2018 when it became the first state to regulate the use of the word “meat” on product labels. The new legislation takes aim at companies selling plant-based meat alternatives. It also targets producers of lab-grown meat products, known as “clean meat” or “cell-based meat.”

    The post False Advertising, Free Speech, and the Fight Over Plant-based and Lab-Grown Meat Alternatives appeared first on IPWatchdog.com | Patents & Patent Law.

    Continue Reading ...
  • CAFC Vacates PTAB Decision to Uphold Conversant Wireless Patent Challenged by Google, LG

    On Tuesday, November 20th, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a nonprecedential decision in Google LLC v. Conversant Wireless Licensing, which vacated a decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to uphold the validity of patent claims owned by Conversant after conducting an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding petitioned by Google and LG Electronics… It is hard to reconcile decisions where the Federal Circuit bends over backwards to give more process and procedural…

    Continue Reading ...
  • Helsinn Argument Recap: Did the AIA Change the Meaning of Patent Law’s "On Sale" Bar?

    As Michael previewed this morning, the Supreme Court heard argument today in Helsinn v. Teva, which is focused on the post-America Invents Act § 102(a)(1) bar on patents if “the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public” before the relevant critical date. The Federal Circuit held that Helsinn’s patents were invalid because Helsinn had sold the claimed invention to a distributor more than one year before filing for a patent, but Helsinn (supported by the United States as amicus) argues that the “on sale” bar is triggered only by sales that make the invention “available to the public” under a broad reading of “public.”

    During argument, none of the Justices seemed inclined to favor Helsinn’s attempt to argue that “on sale” clearly means on sale to everybody—Justice Kavanaugh said “it’s pretty hard to say something that has been sold was not on sale,” and Chief Justice Robert’s noted that Helsinn’s interpretation “might not be consistent with the actual meaning of the world ‘sale'” because “if something’s on sale, it doesn’t have to be on sale to everybody.” Nor did they jump at the government’s argument that “on sale” means a product can be purchased by its ultimate consumers—Justice Sotomayor said: “This definition of ‘on sale,’ to be frank with you, I’ve looked at the history cited in the briefs, I looked at the cases, I don’t find it anywhere.”

    Helsinn’s better statutory argument is that the meaning of “on sale” is modified by “or otherwise available to the public” to require that the sale be publicly available. Indeed, for a reader with no background in patent law, this might seem like the most natural reading of the statute. Justice Alito said that “the most serious argument” against the Federal Circuit’s position is “the fairly plain meaning of the new statutory language,” and that he “find[s] it very difficult to get over the idea that this means that all of the things that went before are public.” And Justice Gorsuch suggested, at least for hypothetical purposes, that “the introduction of the ‘otherwise’ clause introduced some ambiguity about what ‘on sale’ means now.” But if there was more support to reverse the Federal Circuit, it was not apparent from the argument.

    Much of the statutory language used in the Patent Act—including “on sale”—has developed a technical legal meaning over time, generally due to courts’ attention to the law’s utilitarian focus. For example, patentable subject matter caselaw is “implicit” in § 101, courts have put a highly specialized gloss on the word “obvious” in § 103, and—relevant here—the § 102 categories of prior art have long been interpreted to include relatively obscure and private uses. Although this expansive definition of prior art might seem unfair to patentees, there are also strong policy arguments in its favor, including (1) encouraging patentees to get to the patent office early (leading to earlier disclosure and patent expiration) and (2) avoiding patents when their costs (including higher prices for consumers and subsequent innovators) aren’t likely to be outweighed by their innovation-incentivizing benefits, such as when there is independent invention—even when evidence of that invention is relatively obscure.

    As Justice Kavanaugh noted at argument today, Mark Lemley’s amicus brief on behalf of forty-five IP professors describes the long history of treating relatively non-public disclosures as prior art, including (1) “noninforming public use” cases, (2) “output of a patented machine or process” cases, and (3) cases involving secret, confidential, and nonpublic sales transactions. Justice Breyer also mentioned the Lemley brief, and he said it “seems right” to have the on-sale bar include private sales “to prevent people from benefitting from their invention prior to and beyond the 20 years that they’re allowed.” The legislative history of the AIA does not suggest that Congress intended to do sweep away all of these cases—Justice Kavanaugh said that he thinks “the legislative history, read as a whole, goes exactly contrary” to Helsinn’s contention because “there were a lot of efforts … to actually change the ‘on sale’ language, and those all failed,” leaving the losers “trying to snatch victory from defeat” with “a couple statements said on the floor.”

    It is perhaps because of this history that Helsinn and the government seemed more focused on the argument that “on sale” has always excluded nonpublic sales than on the argument that the AIA changed the law. Justice Ginsburg’s only comment during argument was to ask Helsinn to clarify this: “I thought that one argument was that the AIA changed the way it was. But … you seem to say there was no change; ‘on sale’ never included the secret sale.” Arguing for the government, Malcolm Stewart even conceded—in response to questioning from Justice Kagan—that if the law was settled pre-AIA such that “on sale” included nonpublic sales, then the new AIA language (“or otherwise available to the public”) “would be a fairly oblique way of attempting to overturn” the law. But based on my reading of the transcript, it doesn’t seem likely that the argument that “on sale” has always meant “on sale publicly” will get five votes.

    I waited until after writing the above to get Ronald Mann’s take at SCOTUSblog, but I think I very much agree on his bottom line conclusion: while this isn’t “a case in which the argument clearly presages the result,” the overall transcript “suggests that the most likely outcome will be an affirmance.”

    Continue Reading ...
  • 瞬時

                            目次はこちら

    瞬時

    (INSTANT/INSTANTLY/INSTANTANEOUS)
    $$ This would also allow instant feedback as to what temperature and flow rate the user has selected. / これは…

    Continue Reading ...
  • How Important is Helsinn?

    In honor of the oral argument in Helsinn today, I thought I would blog about a study that questions its importance. For those unaware, the question the Supreme Court is considering is whether the AIA’s new listing of prior art in 35 U.S.C. §102(a)(1): “the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public…” changed the law.

    Since forever, on sale meant any offer or actual sale, regardless of who knew about it. Some have argued that the addition of “or otherwise available to the public” means that only offers that are publicly accessible count as prior art. I think this is wrong, and signed on to an amicus brief saying so. We’ll see what the Court says. Note that non-public does not mean “secret.” True secret activity is often considered non-prior art, but the courts have defined “public” to mean “not-secret.” The question is whether that should change to be “publicly accessible.”

    But how big a deal is this case? How many offers for sale would be affected? Steve Yelderman (Notre Dame, and soon to be Gorsuch clerk) wanted to know as well, so he did the hard work of finding out. In a draft paper on SSRN that he blogged about at Patently-O, he looked at all invalidity decisions to see exactly where the prior art was coming from. Here is the abstract for Prior Art in the District Court:

    This article is an empirical study of the evidence district courts rely upon when invalidating patents. To construct our dataset, we collected every district court ruling, verdict form, and opinion (whether reported or unreported) invalidating a patent claim over a six-and-a-half-year period. We then coded individual invalidation events based on the prior art supporting the court’s analysis. In the end, we observed 3,320 invalidation events based on 817 distinct prior art references.

    The nature of the prior art relied upon to invalidate patents informs the value of district court litigation as an error correction tool. The public interest in revoking erroneous patent grants depends significantly on the reason those grants were undeserved. Distinguishing between revocations that incentivize future inventors and those that do not requires understanding the reason individual patents are invalidated. While prior studies have explored patent invalidity in general, no study has reported data at the level of detail necessary to address these questions.

    The conclusions here are mixed. On one hand, invalidations for lack of novelty bear many indicia of publicly beneficial error correction. Anticipation based on obscure prior art appears to be quite rare. When it comes to obviousness, however, a significant number of invalidations rely on prior art that would have been difficult or impossible to find at the time of invention. This complicates — though does not necessarily refute — the traditional view that obviousness challenges ought to be proactively encouraged.

    So, let’s get right to the point. The data seem to show that “activity” type prior art (that is sale or use) is much more prevalent in anticipation than in obviousness. This is not surprising, given that this category is often the patentee’s own activities.

    With respect to non-public sales, they estimate that a maximum of 14% of anticipation and 2% of obviousness invalidations based on activity were based on plausibly non-public sales. This translates to about 8% of all anticipation invalidations and 1% of all obviousness invalidations. Because there are about as many obviousness cases as anticipation cases, this averages to 4.25% of all invalidations. They note that with a different rule, some of these might have been converted to “public” sales upon more attention paid to providing such evidence.

    A related question is whether the inventor’s actions can invalidate, or whether the AIA overruled Metallizing Engineering, which held that an inventor’s secret use can invalidate, even if a third-party’s secret use does not. The study found that the plaintiff’s actions were relevant in 27% of anticipation invalidations and 13% of obviousness invalidations.  Furthermore, they found that most of the secret activity was associated with either the plaintiff or defendant–this makes sense, as they have access to such secret information.

    So, what’s the takeaway from this? I suppose where you stand depends on where you sit. I think that wiping out 4% of the invalidations, especially when they are based on the actions of one of the two parties, is not a good thing. It’s bad to allow the patentee to non-publicly sell and have the patent, and it’s bad to hold the defendant liable even if it has been selling the patent in a non-public (though non-secret) way. We’re talking about 20 claims per year that go the other way – too high for my taste, especially when it means we have to start defining new ways to determine whether something is truly public.

    Furthermore, the stakes of reversing Metallizing are much higher. I freely admit that the “plaintiff’s secret actions only” rule has a tenuous basis in the text of the statute, but it has been the law for a long time without being expressly overruled by two subsequent revisions. Given that more than 25% of the invalidations were based on the plaintiffs actions, I think it would be difficult to reverse course.

    Continue Reading ...
  • How Important is Helsinn?

    In honor of the oral argument in Helsinn today, I thought I would blog about a study that questions its importance. For those unaware, the question the Supreme Court is considering is whether the AIA’s new listing of prior art in 35 U.S.C. §102(a)(1): “the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public…” changed the law.

    Since forever, on sale meant any offer or actual sale, regardless of who knew about it. Some have argued that the addition of “or otherwise available to the public” means that only offers that are publicly accessible count as prior art. I think this is wrong, and signed on to an amicus brief saying so. We’ll see what the Court says. Note that non-public does not mean “secret.” True secret activity is often considered non-prior art, but the courts have defined “public” to mean “not-secret.” The question is whether that should change to be “publicly accessible.”

    But how big a deal is this case? How many offers for sale would be affected? Steve Yelderman (Notre Dame, and soon to be Gorsuch clerk) wanted to know as well, so he did the hard work of finding out. In a draft paper on SSRN that he blogged about at Patently-O, he looked at all invalidity decisions to see exactly where the prior art was coming from. Here is the abstract for Prior Art in the District Court:

    This article is an empirical study of the evidence district courts rely upon when invalidating patents. To construct our dataset, we collected every district court ruling, verdict form, and opinion (whether reported or unreported) invalidating a patent claim over a six-and-a-half-year period. We then coded individual invalidation events based on the prior art supporting the court’s analysis. In the end, we observed 3,320 invalidation events based on 817 distinct prior art references.

    The nature of the prior art relied upon to invalidate patents informs the value of district court litigation as an error correction tool. The public interest in revoking erroneous patent grants depends significantly on the reason those grants were undeserved. Distinguishing between revocations that incentivize future inventors and those that do not requires understanding the reason individual patents are invalidated. While prior studies have explored patent invalidity in general, no study has reported data at the level of detail necessary to address these questions.

    The conclusions here are mixed. On one hand, invalidations for lack of novelty bear many indicia of publicly beneficial error correction. Anticipation based on obscure prior art appears to be quite rare. When it comes to obviousness, however, a significant number of invalidations rely on prior art that would have been difficult or impossible to find at the time of invention. This complicates — though does not necessarily refute — the traditional view that obviousness challenges ought to be proactively encouraged.

    So, let’s get right to the point. The data seem to show that “activity” type prior art (that is sale or use) is much more prevalent in anticipation than in obviousness. This is not surprising, given that this category is often the patentee’s own activities.

    With respect to non-public sales, they estimate that a maximum of 14% of anticipation and 2% of obviousness invalidations were based on plausibly non-public sales. Because there are many more obviousness cases than anticipation cases, this averages to 4.25% of all invalidations. They note that with a different rule, some of these might have been converted to “public” sales upon more attention paid to providing such evidence.

    A related question is whether the inventor’s actions can invalidate, or whether the AIA overruled Metallizing Engineering, which held that an inventor’s secret use can invalidate, even if a third-party’s secret use does not. The study found that the plaintiff’s actions were relevant in 27% of anticipation invalidations and 13% of obviousness invalidations.  Furthermore, they found that most of the secret activity was associated with either the plaintiff or defendant–this makes sense, as they have access to such secret information.

    So, what’s the takeaway from this? I suppose where you stand depends on where you sit. I think that wiping out 4% of the invalidations, especially when they are based on the actions of one of the two parties, is not a good thing. It’s bad to allow the patentee to non-publicly sell and have the patent, and it’s bad to hold the defendant liable even if it has been selling the patent in a non-public (though non-secret) way. We’re talking about 20 claims per year that go the other way – too high for my taste, especially when it means we have to start defining new ways to determine whether something is truly public.

    Furthermore, the stakes of reversing Metallizing are much higher. I freely admit that the “plaintiff’s secret actions only” rule has a tenuous basis in the text of the statute, but it has been the law for a long time without being expressly overruled by two subsequent revisions. Given that more than 25% of the invalidations were based on the plaintiffs actions, I think it would be difficult to reverse course.

    Continue Reading ...
  • Inside Views: Defending Fair Use In South Africa

    Sean Flynn, Peter Jaszi, and Mike Carroll write: On Wednesday the South African National Assembly vote on the Copyright Amendment Bill, which includes a new “fair use” right. Learned professors at the University of Stellenbosch have taken to calling the bill “shambolic”, and “an abomination.” It is certainly time for a little light to go with the heat.

    Continue Reading ...