.The USPTO has a very cool article on its site. It seems former #NFL cornerback Shawn Springs holds a patent on helmet foam technology that minimizes the effects of those skull-crushing impacts that football players suffer as part of the game. The technology is adapted from a child safety seat used in automobiles.
If you’ve invented something, or are even thinking about inventing something, the US Patent and Trademark Office’s 2020 Invention-Con is The Place To Be. It started yesterday (8/20/2020) and continues through tomorrow (8/22/2020). This year’s theme is Your IP: A power tool for building success.
…and Delain Law Office, PLLC congratulates them.
The National Patent Drafting Competition is a competition that the US Patent & Trademark Office holds for law students to introduce them to issues arising in US patent law. The point of the competition is to develop each team’s drafting, amending and prosecuting skills working with a hypothetical invention statement.
Competitions like this one vastly improve the quality of the work that a new law-school graduate can produce right out of the gate. Patent drafting is one of those things where practice makes perfect; the more practice a student gets, the more professional his or her initial work will be. The law students who have the opportunity to participate in competitions such as this one will join the ranks of the legal profession with some degree of experience under their belts … and this experience is invaluable to them and to their clients.
So. You’re being a good citizen of the world and sheltering in place. Your employer actually allows you to work from home and you’re accessing your employer’s information over your home-based wi-fi. You have a password on your router, a password on your local computer, your and you have never seen a neighbor lurking on your internet system.
But now you’re accessing your employer’s sensitive and private intellectual property using your home-based internet. Is your home-based security sufficient?
My guess is that no, it is not.
Hackers love a challenge. And a home-based internet security system is usually not set up to handle a hacker’s attack. There are resources available on the internet to help you beef up your home’s internet security; the Federal Trade Commission provides these tips; here’s ZDNet’s article; Digital Guardian lists 101 Data Protection Tips; and there are other references available. You must be proactive in keeping your and your employer’s data secure.
The best advice, though, is to follow your employer’s internet security protocols. If they have a PITA VPN, use it. If they want you to use the Tor browser rather than your favorite Internet Explorer or Firefox or Safari, use it. Be careful about email, especially email that can travel across the open internet; you can simply assume, de facto, that emails are open communication with the world. And if you or your employer don’t want something forever on the internet, don’t put it there.
If you want to keep something private, you must keep that something private. Remember, not everything belongs on the internet.
You’re forming a business. You need a lawyer because you need to do it right. You need the magic words that form the business you want to form in the formation documents (do you know what those magic words are?).
Or maybe you’re developing a brand for your new business. You need a lawyer because you need to do it right. Yes, a lawyer is expensive, but a trademark infringement action brought by a senior user of the mark you adopt … without knowing there even IS a senior user … gets mighty pricey mighty quickly.
Or you’ve invented something and you want to get your invention out to the public immediately. But wait; do you want to profit from your invention? You need to take steps to protect that invention. Do you know what steps are available to you? And do you know how steps that seem to be diametric opposites and never able to work together can actually allow you to effectively extend the term of protecting your invention? You need a lawyer because you need to do it right.
Or maybe you’ve written something. Let’s say you’re J.K. Rowling and you’ve just completed your very first “Harry Potter” book. You want all the protection you can get for that book. Do you know the ins and outs of obtaining and using that protection? You need a lawyer because you need to do it right.
Or you want to … ooh, ooh, ooh … start up a company that franchises its business methods and trademark (i.e., you’re Ray Croc) out to others. What do you need to do to start that franchise and comply with the state and federal laws that govern franchises? What business and legal models do you need to have in place? You need a lawyer because you need to do it right.
Or you don’t want to franchise, but you do want to license your intellectual property for others to use. How do you license out your intellectual property without creating a franchise? You need a lawyer because you need to do it right.
Or someone has handed you a contract to sign. It’s long and full of legal jargon. What does it actually say? Remember, lawyers use words differently than most people do, and it’s lawyers who will interpret any contract you sign that goes south. You need a lawyer because you need to do it right.
You need a lawyer because you’re in business and you need to do it right.
So. The Jury Has Spoken. And Apple’s stock will dip a bit. That, for those looking to buy AAPL, might be a good thing; for those already invested in AAPL, it’s not a good thing.
But will Apple actually be on the hook to pay $85M to WiLan? Well see. Apple’s pockets are deep enough to be able to appeal the decision; since this is a patent case, that appeal will likely be heard before the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which holds exclusive jurisdiction over patent appeals. If one of the parties is unhappy with that decision, that party may actually file a writ of certiorari with the US Supreme Court. And who knows … SCOTUS might actually grant that writ and hear the case.
Meanwhile, though, Apple owes WiLan $85M.
The patent world is full of technologies that support the Earth. From solar panels to ever-more-efficient batteries to new recycling technologies, inventors throughout the USA are working to protect our environment.
Even the oil and gas industry have worked, at least a little, to help keep things cleaner. According to www.oilprice.com:
Oil companies, working alongside environmental organizations, scientists, biologists and engineers have developed numerous solutions for spills occurring both on land and in the water. Water spills can now effectively be cleaned by presses that involve straining and draining while containing the oil slick, using “floating booms” to corral the oil while skimmers and vacuum pumps cleanse the water and reclaim large percentages of the spilled oil.
Another “eco-friendly” oil spill management method for both water and land spills is called “Bio-Remediation. It’s a technique that uses living organisms such as bacteria and fungi to degrade, break down and in some cases; actually eat the oil as it safely cleanses the spill without hurting the environment. Meanwhile, serious upgrading of the technology now being used for the drilling and refining of oil is cutting previous pollution levels down tremendously, as the oil industry increases profits by processing more usable oil while polluting a lot less.
Oil companies are now investing billions of dollars in socially responsible programs and are quickly becoming one of the largest supporters of environmentally friendly programs worldwide. Oil is already largely responsible for many of the major advances in medicine, pharmacology and world wide health care infrastructure, but now they are some of the largest supporters of research dedicated to promoting renewable energy sources.
This text was written in 2009; whether it remains true in the new administration or not is questionable. Our current administration is not friendly toward our planet, and that fact needs to be mitigated through strong Congressional action that puts into statute environmental protections which have, up until now, been administrative.
So, along with lobbying for science, we need to lobby for statutory control of air pollutants, water pollutants, increased use of green energy sources, and all the rest of the stuff formerly regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. There is so very much technology out there already to support an eco-friendly country … we just need to have the backing of the government to continue to develop and use it.
From the US Patent and Trademark Office:
The USPTO will host a three day training course on examination practice and procedure for members of the public as part of the Stakeholder Training on Examination Practice and Procedure (STEPP) program. The training will be held November 15 – 17 on the USPTO’s Alexandria, Virginia campus.
This training is intended for those who have recently passed the Patent Bar for the purpose of practicing before the USPTO. The training will make use of statutes, rules, and guidelines relevant to practicing before the USPTO. The course is led by USPTO trainers and is based on material developed for training patent examiners and other employees. More information and a proposed upcoming course schedule is available on the USPTO STEPP program web page
I was present in the Courtroom for the announcement of the Cuozzo decision by SCOTUS. This decision makes it clear that inter partes review by the USPTO is not appealable, and that the USPTO can institute such review sua sponte (by its own initiative). It’s an interesting decision.
35 USC §314(d) says that the “determination by the [Patent Office] whether to institute an inter partes review under this section shall be final and nonappealable.” (Emphasis added.)
35 USC §312 says that petitions must be pleaded “with particularity.” Those words, in its view, mean that the petition should have specifically said that claims 10 and 14 are also obvious in light of this same prior art. Garmin’s petition, the Government replies, need not have mentioned claims 10 and 14 separately, for claims 10, 14, and 17 are all logically linked; the claims “rise and fall together,” and a petition need not simply repeat the same argument expressly when it is so obviously implied.
The “No Appeal” provision’s language must, at the least, forbid an appeal that attacks a “determination . . . whether to institute” review by raising this kind of legal question and little more. §314(d).
Moreover, a contrary holding would undercut the Patent Office’s significant power to revisit and revise earlier patent grants. Congress would not likely have granted the Patent Office this reexam authority if it had thought that the agency’s final decision could be unwound under some minor statutory technicality related to its preliminary decision to institute inter partes review. Congress has told the Patent Office to determine whether inter partes review should proceed, and it has made the agency’s decision “final” and “nonappealable.” §314(d). SCOTUS’s conclusion that courts may not revisit this initial determination gives effect to this statutory command.
However, the Court limits its green-lighting of the USPTO’s unappealable reviews: “… we need not, and do not, decide the precise effect of §314(d) on appeals that implicate constitutional questions, that depend on other less closely related statutes, or that present other questions of interpretation that reach, in terms of scope and impact, well beyond “this section.”” The Court does not “…categorically preclude review of a final decision where a petition fails to give “sufficient notice” such that there is a due process problem with the entire proceeding, [or] enable the agency to act outside its statutory limits by, for example, canceling a patent claim for “indefiniteness under §112” in inter partes review.”
From the USPTO’s website:
“The Stakeholder Training on Examination Practice and Procedure (STEPP) program is administered by the Office of Patent Training (OPT) under the third pillar (Pillar 3, Excellence in Customer Service), of the Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative (EPQI) and is a new and important part of the USPTO’s mission to deliver intellectual property information and education to external stakeholders.
Training delivered through STEPP is designed to provide external stakeholders with a better understanding of how and why an examiner makes decisions while examining a patent application. In person courses are led by USPTO trainers and based on material developed for training employees of the USPTO.
Currently, it is anticipated that courses provided through STEPP will be free to attend. In addition, the USPTO is in the process of determining the applicability of providing CLE credits for attending STEPP courses; however, CLE credit cannot be earned for the first scheduled training session.”
The first scheduled training session is July 12-14 at the USPTO’s campus in Alexandria, VA.
For more information, see the USPTO’s website.