State Senate passes ‘patent trolls’ bill
In the letters, patent trolls frequently fail to disclose basic information, including the actual owner of the alleged patent and the circumstances surrounding any alleged infringement. Identical letters have been sent to thousands of businesses and …
If IP is ever to be the asset class that many believe it should be, finding a transparent, coherent, widely accepted way to value IP holdings is absolutely crucial. Over the years, there have been a number of attempts to develop generally agreed valuat…Continue Reading ...
We are a society that worships innovation and idolize those who commercially capitalize on it. Mark Zuckerberg, the late Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin and Larry Page are (or were) all larger than life personalities. Indeed, the fame that each has enjoyed is part and parcel of his commercial success, and vice versa. To analogize to copyright, each enjoys something like moral rights in his respective enterprise, whereby the respective persona of each is intertwined with the business itself, to the extent that a failure to speak of the enterprise in terms of its persona is akin to a violation of his commercial “right of attribution”. While Silicon Valley likes to distinguish itself from Hollywood, the role that glamour plays for both is not so dissimilar. Matti Makkonen, aged 63, passed away this week. His name is probably not known to most Kat readers, even after we tell you that this Finnish engineer was popularly known as the “father of SMS”.
As the story goes, Makkonen proposed the idea of text messaging in 1984 in a pizzeria during a telecoms conference in Copenhagen. At that time, he was working in a senior position in the Finnish Telecoms and Postal Authority. In large part due to Makkonen’s direct involvement, the first 160 character format was developed a year later. The first message was sent in 1992 by Brit Neil Papworth to Vodafone director, Richard Jarvis, at work-related party (“Happy Christmas” was the message). Two years later, following developments in phone hardware, Nokia introduced the first phone that enabled its user to write messages easily. While the use of SMS technology is declining, billions of text messages are still sent each day. No exaggeration here—SMS technology has changed the way that the world communicates with each other.
Given all that, what was the concluding comment that this Kat heard on the radio this week, in reporting Makkonen’s death—“He did not bother to seek a patent for his idea. His wife cannot have been too happy about that.” There we have it—innovation, technology and patents, all for one and one for all. Makkonen, however, did not see the world like that. The one word that described him is “reluctant”. He did not like the nickname that had been given to him—”the father of SMS.” In his own (text-messaging) words, “I did not consider SMS as personal achievement but as result of joint effort to collect ideas and write the specifications of the services based on them.” Indeed, for a long time, his name was not even associated with the technology. It took some dogged newspaper reporting to uncover his identity and his connection to SMS technology. Only in 2008 did The Economist magazine award him one of its prestigious Innovation awards.
Makkonen seldom expressed his views in public. All the more intriguing was the “SMS interview” that he had with the BBC in 2012. This Kat sets out below several of Makkonen’s text responses to the questions posed by the BBC interviewer.
“20yrs ago I didn’t see sms as separate issue—it was just a feature in the revolutionary mobile communications system.”
“I don’t think that I made a patentable invention, but was one of the early persons to understand the need and the concept. I’m glad the work was done as part of GSM.”
“In my mind private message of high profile persons should be kept out of public discussion. Privacy belongs to telecommunication as much as to private letters.”
“20 years is long time… I believe that reliable convenient to use text messaging will stay forever. Is not necessary what we call sms. No more pay per message.”
“Not my idea but integration of mobile content display to my eyeglasses. Maybe someone is working with it?”
So we do make of this remarkable innovative life of Matti Makkonen? Start with the issue of patents. One wonders whether the Finnish Telecoms and Postal Agency even had a patent policy in 1984 (in any event, Makkonen was a civil servant at the time, so his personal financial interest in any patent that might have been issued would have been limited). This Kat can already hear Professors Michele Boldrin and David Levine, leading proponents of “the case against patents” position, pointing to the development of sms technology as a good example of where patent protection would have only got in the way of technological development. Pushing back is Makkonen’s own appreciation for the centrality of Nokia in the ultimate adoption of text-messaging, and the role that patents presumably played for Nokia during that period. Indeed, Makkonen joined a unit of Nokia in 2000.
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As for his total reluctance to embrace the potential for cultivating celebrity status, part of this Kat finds it so very admirable. But there is also a part of this Kat that recognizes that celebrity status helps contribute to the dynamism that high tech entrepreneurship seems to require to reach its full potential. Without detracting from Makkonen’s accomplishments and his contribution to modern life, maybe that is one of the reasons why Finland is not Silicon Valley, despite the excellence of its educational system, the quality of its engineers and the imagination of its business community.
Patently Apple was first to report that Samsung was going to change tactics against the iPhone 6 by moving or at least adding a Galaxy S6 Edge phone with a 5.7"display. While the 5.7" display has been reserved for their Galaxy Note, it would now appear…Continue Reading ...
Skilled person reproducing the prior art
Appeal proceedings in German nullity actions are limited to the examination of errors of law. The Supreme Court is therefore bound by the facts established by the court of first instance, unless specific grounds justifying doubts about their correctness or completeness exist (§ 117 of the Patents Act § 529(1) Nr. 1 ZPO).
This is, however, hardly perceivable in real life patent nullity appeal proceedings because the discussions mostly turn around the question of patentability, sometimes enablement and all of these are considered to be questions of law (see e.g. BGH “Stabilisierung der Wasserqualität“) and therefore fully re-examined in the 2nd instance. The above exclusion of questions of fact is therefore, in practice, mostly limited to factual circumstances of prior use.
In the decision “Coenzym Q10″, the BGH establishes a further group of cases where the examination is precluded. It relates to the specific case of implicit disclosure where carrying out the teaching of the prior art is said to inevitably lead to a product falling under the scope of the claim, wherein the product itself (or the properties thereof) are not explicitly described. These cases leave plenty of room for speculations on what the skilled person might or might not have experienced when reproducing the prior art.
The BGH rules (in a rough translation by the author of this note) that “…. judgements of the Patent Court supporting the conclusion that reproducing an embodiment in a document of the prior art lead to the realization of a feature of the subject-matter of the patent in suit are binding for the appeal procedure unless specific indications justifying doubts in their correctness exist”.Continue Reading ...
Business InsiderApple has filed a patent for a new feature that could kill off mobile payment …
Apple Pay is missing one essential feature that it needs to stop people using other mobile payments apps: person to person transactions. But it looks like Apple is planning to change that. The company just filed a new patent that will let people send …
Apple applies for patent for person-to-person payments, secured by Touch ID9 to 5 Mac (blog)
Apple’s P2P payment patent has a focus on securityCult of Mac
Apple files P2P via NFC patentNFC World
Digital Spy UK -TrustedReviews
all 20 news articles »
Federal Circuit Review – July 03, 2015
Gaymar Industries, Inc. (“Gaymar”) sued Cincinnati Sub-Zero Products, Inc. (“CSZ”), asserting that CSZ’s Blanketrol III device infringed various claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,517,510 (“the ‘510 patent”), which relates to a temperature control system …
VPG Systems UK Ltd v Air-Weigh Europe Ltd  EWHC 1862 (IPEC), is a tidy little decision of Judge Richard Hacon, sitting in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, England and Wales, on 1 July, where the court found that VPG’s patent for a devi…Continue Reading ...
EngadgetMicrosoft and Kyocera quietly squash patent beef
Microsoft can cross out another patent dispute in its list, now that it has settled its issue with Kyocera. Redmond filed a lawsuit against the Japanese electronics maker back in March, claiming that the latter’s Android phones infringe upon seven …
身の回りの”知的財産”って何があるのかな？探してみよう！ PDFファイルでもご覧いただくことができます ポスターの内容 裏面Continue Reading ...
GSMArena.comMicrosoft And Kyocera To End Patent LawsuitAndroid Headlines – Android NewsKyocera an electronics and ceramics corporation located in Kyoto, Japan has just agreed to extend its licensing patent with tech giant Microsoft, and in turn end the…Continue Reading ...
Denver Business Journal (blog)What you need to know to protect your business from patent trolls
Denver Business Journal (blog)
By now most of us have either encountered, read about or received a threatening letter from a patent troll – those enterprising vermin whose exploits, aimed at squeezing dollars out of others through the use, many would say abuse, of the U.S. Patent …
Patent Trolls and CBMHuman Events
New Mexico businesses need patent reform | by Sen. Jerry Ortiz y PinoNew Mexico Political Report
R Street -Mondaq News Alerts (registration) -The Japan News
all 12 news articles »
Federal Circuit deals blow to biotech industry and diagnostic method patents
On June 12, 2015, the Federal Circuit invalidated Sequenom’s patent on fetal DNA testing (U.S. Patent No. 6,258,540; “the ‘540 patent”) holding that the subject matter was not eligible for patent protection under 35 U.S.C. § 101. This is the first time …
Good day for maple leaf growers? Well, maybe not quite, but the IPKat’s friends at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) have just told him in UPOV Notification 117 that Canada has ratified the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (the UPOV Convention), which comes into effect for Canada on 19 July. A full list of countries that have signed up for this convention can be found here.Also from WIPO, but this time from our Katfriends in WIPO’s Communications Division, comes a request to remind everyone of a couple of things: (i) last week saw the first edition of the new WIPO Wire newsletter, which aims to help busy WIPO-watchers stay abreast of what the organisation is doing, with a short-and-sweet, fortnightly selection of news, features and resources [this Kat understands that the WIPO folk warmly welcome feedback on this initiative from the IP community, so don’t be shy to tell them what you think]; (ii) in case you have forgotten, WIPO has revamped its entire suite of newsletter offerings, from the specialist updates on global IP services, to news on various law, policy and cooperation-related programmes. Details are available from a new mailing platform, which makes it easier for users to sign up and manage their preferences. This new central subscription page provides an at-a-glance overview of all the different newsletters on offer.Just a red herring — or the ultimate truth? “The Unitary Patent Package, the Court of Justice, Union Law & a further response to the academics” is the latest salvo in the battle between respected Dutch patent practitioner Wouter Pors (who heads Bird & Bird’s Netherlands IP practice) and the equally respected and somewhat more numerous collection of the good and great from Europe’s academic and practising intellectual property community, spearheaded by Alain Strowel. The original shot in this battle, arguing that the new patent package was setting a dangerous precedent since the EU Member States were stripping the Union of its powers, can be read here. Wouter responded here, to the effect that the critics had got it all wrong. “Oh no we haven’t”, they responded here. Dutch IP magazine Berichten IE then asked Wouter to write his surrejoinder, which you can read here.Ukraine police in big clean-up. Once upon a time it was money-laundering that everyone was worried about. Now, it seems, something quite different is being “laundered” — leading brands of washing powder and shampoo. According to an article in the most recent Petosevic Eastern Europe news letter, authorities from the city of Chernivtsi recently uncovered an illegal production plant where two individuals, having purchased cheap washing powder in bulk through wholesale distributors, repackaged it in plastic buckets weighing 5.6 kg apiece for sale online as a popular consumer brand. The police raided the premises, where they found 6.7 tons of washing powder, not to mention 3,800 shampoo bottles and 210 disposable razor packages. Criminal proceedings were then launched under Article 229 of the Criminal Code, which makes it an offence to trade unlawfully through the use of trade marks, brand names, and appellations of origin. Penalties range from fines of 7,000-11,000 euro to the seizure and destruction of counterfeit goods, equipment and materials used for their production. Says Merpel, while lighter sentences may be appropriate for people who have a previously clean criminal record, it is possible that the courts may wish to impose a heavier fine in the hope that it will have a detergent deterrent effect on others.The sight of one hand being registered .. In “Should EU Courts know national statute law and case law? A comparative reprise”, guest Kat Alberto Bellan discussed reactions to the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Case C-530/12 P OHIM v National Lottery Commission, [explained in his earlier Katpost here] in which that court set aside a decision of the General Court that had effectively allowed the cancellation of National Lottery’s Community trade mark on the basis of evidence which was plainly fake but which was presumptively valid under domestic Italian law. This palpable nonsense has now finally been laid to rest since, on Tuesday, in Case T-404/10 RENV the General Court to which these proceedings was remitted has nullified the cancellation decision of the Board of Appeal — which was made a full five years ago, following the application for cancellation that was made nearly eight years ago. What a shame that it has taken so long to reach this point, adds Merpel, who hopes that this decision will not be subject to a further appeal.German IP blogs. A reader whom this Kat presumes to be German, or at least German-speaking (though his written English is excellent) has contacted the Kat family to ask if they have any recommendations as to the best German-language intellectual property blogs. This Kat is not a talented modern linguist and, while he has taken an active interest in learning what his German colleagues have been thinking and writing, this has always been on the basis that their blogs have been in the English language. Accordingly, readers are invited to post, using the comments facility below, recommendations of German-language IP blogs — whether from Germany, Austria, Switzerland or anywhere else that German is spoken. For the convenience of readers, it would be appreciated if respondents could specify the area(s) of IP covered by recommended blogs if that information is not apparent from the title. Thanks!
conservative leaningsHero status conferred. Mike Weatherley, Vice Chairman at the Motion Picture Licensing Company, former Conservative Member of Parliament and till recently the IP adviser to British prime minister David Cameron, has been awarded the Hero Award from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) for his impact on consumer protection while in parliament. He recently campaigned in support of the work of local trading standards authorities in tackling intellectual property crime and supported the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and managed to help squeeze an additional £3 million out of the Home Secretary, Prime Minister and Intellectual Property Office in order to secure PIPCU’s future until 2017. Well done Mike, says this Kat, who rather liked his Rock the House competition — an imaginative and not unsuccessful attempt to sensitise British parliamentarians to the importance of fostering a live and growing musical culture based on the existence of fair and enforceable intellectual property rights.Around the weblogs. PatLit carries two pieces of interest: one, by Michael Thesen, addresses patent claim construction in Germany following the Bundesgerichtshof ruling in Rotorelemente. The other, by Jeremy, looks at a recent judicial comment about the absence of a “long-felt want” argument in a patent obviousness action and asks whether that rule of thumb isn’t really a bit obsolete. Elsewhere, the 1709 Blog picks up a light and readable article by Lucinda Hawksley, a direct descendant of Charles Dickens, on her celebrated forebear’s contribution to copyright law reform.Continue Reading ...
According to a new supply chain report today, makers in the iPhone supply chain have started delivering parts and components to the two iPhone OEMs …Continue Reading ...
Last week Sutor Technology Group announced that an independent valuation of the intellectual property owned by it and its subsidiaries had arrived at a figure of Rmb700 million (approximately US$113 million). The Chinese steel manufacturer and service …Continue Reading ...
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