BSKB’s intellectual property attorneys write articles on important and timely topics in intellectual property law across a variety of industries. You’ll find the latest articles and industry insights here.

  • July 1, 2014

    IP Update, Vol. 12, No. 5

    by Marc S. Weiner and Michael B. Marion | BSKB

    The U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International, No. 13-298, concluding that a computer-implemented scheme for mitigating “settlement risk” was invalid for not claiming patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. (Slip. Op. at 1.) The Court applied its framework established in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., to determine when patent claims are drafted to patent-ineligible concepts of laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas. (Slip. Op. at 7.) After finding the patent claims are drawn to the abstract idea of intermediated settlement, the Court asked, “[w]hat else is there in the claims before us?” and found that the claims only recited a generic computer, when the claims were viewed as individual elements and an “ordered combination.” (Slip. Op. at 7.) The Court held that, “the mere recitation of a generic computer cannot transform a patent-ineligible abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention,” rejecting the patentee’s argument that the existence of the tangible computer would satisfy patent-eligibility. (Slip. Op. at 13-14.) All of the claims before the Supreme Court failed its test, rejecting method, system, and computer-readable media claims directed to the same abstract idea.

  • June 3, 2014

    IP Update, Vol. 12, No. 4

    by Marc S. Weiner, MaryAnne Armstrong, Ph.D., and Ali M. Imam | BSKB

    On June 2, 2014, the Supreme Court handed down the long-awaited decision in Limelight v. Akamai, which considered the issue of whether a party could be liable for inducing infringement under 35 U.S.C. §271(b) in a situation where no one single [controlling] party is liable for direct infringement under 35 U.S.C. §271(a). In their decision the Supreme Court overturned the earlier ruling of the CAFC and held that if there is no direct infringement under 35 U.S.C.§271(a) there can be no liability for inducing infringement under 35 U.S.C.§271(b). However, the Court stated that their decision was predicated by the earlier holding of the CAFC in Muniauction, Inc. v. Thomson Corp.,232 F. 3d 1318 (2008), which held that for there to be direct infringement under 35 U.S.C.§271(a) a single party must be responsible (either themselves or through the control of a third party), for the complete infringement of the claimed invention. Essentially the Court instructed that the same standard dictated in Muniauction for determining liability for direct infringement under 35 U.S.C.§271(a) must be applied to a determination whether there is the prerequisite of the direct infringement required for a finding of inducing infringement. However, in the decision the Court also invited the CAFC to revisit the Muniauction holding. As such, the question of whether liability for inducing infringement may be found even if a single party cannot be found liable for direct infringement possibly remains open for further consideration by the CAFC. However, until and unless the CAFC chooses to reverse the Muniauction holding, under Limelight if there is no direct infringement under 35 U.S.C. §271(a), there can be no inducement of infringement under 35 U.S.C. 271(b).

  • May 23, 2014

    IP Update, Vol. 12, No. 3

    by Marc S. Weiner, Eugene T. Perez, Andrew Meikle, and Leonard Svensson | BSKB

    On March 4, 2014, the USPTO issued its Guidance (guidelines) on subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 in view of the recent Supreme Court decisions of Association for Molecular Pathology v.Myriad Genetics, Inc. (2013) and MayoCollaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. (2012).

  • May 16, 2014

    IP Update, Vol. 12, No. 2

    by Marc S. Weiner and Michael B. Marion | BSKB

    The U.S. Supreme Court handed down a pair of decisions on April 29, 2014, on the issue of when a case is exceptional under Section 285 of the Patent Act: Octane Fitness, LLC v. Icon Health & Fitness, Inc., No. 12-1184 and Highmark, Inc. v. Allcare Health Mgmt Sys. Inc., No. 12-1163. In short, the cases lower the standards for awarding a prevailing party attorney’s fees under Section 285, and afford district court judges with greater discretion in awarding attorney’s fees.

  • March 6, 2014

    IP Update, Vol. 12, No. 1

    by Marc S. Weiner, Aslan Ettehadieh, and Leonard R. Svensson | BSKB

    The USPTO has launched new PPH pilot programs which simplify the entire PPH program for nearly all current PPH users. The new PPH pilot programs are called Global PPH (GPPH) and IP5 PPH. GPPH and IP5 PPH pilot programs have replaced existing PPH programs for the offices that have chosen to participate in these new programs. The aim of Global PPH (GPPH) and IP5 PPH programs is to further simply requirements consistent across the participating offices.

  • November 27, 2013

    IP Update, Vol. 11, No. 6

    by Marc S. Weiner and Aslan Ettehadieh | BSKB

    The After Final Consideration Pilot (AFCP) 2.0 program was scheduled to expire on December 14, 2013. However, the USPTO has recently announced that the AFCP 2.0 program has been extended to run through September 30, 2014 (extending for the remainder of the USPTO’s fiscal year 2014).

  • November 6, 2013

    IP Update, Vol. 11, No. 5

    by Marc S. Weiner and Aslan Ettehadieh | BSKB

    On October 21, 2013, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published its final rule regarding the changes to the agency’s rules of patent practice consistent with implementation of the Patent Law Treaty (PLT).

  • September 30, 2013

    IP Update, Vol. 11, No. 4

    by Marc S. Weiner and Aslan Ettehadieh | BSKB

    The USPTO has announced that, in the event of a general government shutdown on October 1, 2013, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will remain open for (at least) approximately four weeks. The USPTO plans to use their prior year reserve fee collections to operate as usual for those approximate four weeks. In anticipation of the USPTO’s prior year reserve fee collections being depleted, the USPTO will also assess their continual fee collections to determine how much longer they could operate at certain capacities during the general government shutdown.

  • June 24, 2013

    IP Update, Vol. 11, No. 3

    by Marc S. Weiner, Nicholas P. Godici, and Leonard R. Svensson | BSKB

    Similarly, while the Supreme Court decision in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics on June 13, 2013 will have consequences and will alter patent practice, the decision should not lead to a conclusion of great damage or death to the U.S. biotech industry. Many types of subject matter are still patentable and the negative consequences should not be as far reaching as some have predicted. The Court’s opinion rather narrowly concluded that unmodified naturally existing gDNA sequences are not patent eligible, but non-naturally existing sequences (such as cDNA), and modified sequences (if the claims recite the modification) are still patent eligible.

  • May 23, 2013

    IP Update, Vol. 11, No. 2

    by Marc S. Weiner, Nicholas P. Godici, Cynthia Leonard, and Eugene T. Perez. | BSKB

    The USPTO has modified the After Final Consideration Pilot Program (AFCP) to create (AFCP 2.0). The goal is to reduce the number of RCEs filed and increase collaboration between the applicant and the examiner. To participate, the application must contain an outstanding final rejection and be an original filed utility, plant, design, international or continuing application. Reissue or reexamination applications are not eligible. The pilot runs from May 19, 2013 until September 30, 2013 and may be further extended.

  • January 22, 2013

    Descriptive Trademarks Offer Narrow Scope of Protection

    by Michael T. Smith | Inside Counsel

    The use of descriptive marks often sparks disagreement between corporate marketing and legal departments

  • January 8, 2013

    Consumer Reviews May be Protected by Anti-SLAPP Laws

    by Michael T.Smith | Inside Counsel

    Anti-SLAPP laws should serve to further give a potential plaintiff pause when considering a civil action for negative online reviews and comments

  • December 25, 2012

    Having Facebook Fans Doesn’t Count as Business Expectancy

    by Michael T. Smith | Inside Counsel

    Facebook can take down your company’s page if another party complains of infringement

  • November 27, 2012

    Effective Terms of Use Agreements

    by Michael T. Smith | Inside Counsel

  • October 30, 2020

    3D Printing and Patent Law

    by David A. Bilodeau |

    Many people have access to a 3D printer. Thus, conceivably, a person could illegally print (make) a patented object using a 3D printer. Let’s consider the following real life scenario that occurred in Italy during the peak of the coronavirus epidemic in the Spring of 2020.

  • May 29, 2020

    Double Patenting: Expiry Dates Hold the Key

    by MaryAnne Armstrong, Ph.D. | LSIPR

    The April 22, 2014 decision in Gilead Sciences, Inc v Natco Pharma Inc (Gilead) emphasises that obviousness-type double patenting (ODP) is a concern not just during the examination of a patent before the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) but is a viable basis for invalidating an issued patent despite the presumption of validity that a patent has under 35 USC §282. In the case, Gilead owned two patents: the ‘483 and the ‘375. After being sued for infringement of the ‘483 patent, Natco asserted that the claims of the ‘483 patent were invalid for ODP as being obvious given the claims of the ‘375 patent.

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