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Articles about Patent Law

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Scores of profs give hated US patent law an F minus, demand massive rewrite

A group of 60 or so US law professors have publicly backed an effort to overhaul the US patent system. The brainy gang, who signed a letter published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, asks lawmakers to step up efforts to reform patent law and the system for which patent holders can file suit for allegations of infringement …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Nov 2013
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Kiwis (finally) confirm software ban under new patent law

It's taken five years, but New Zealand's parliament has finally passed its long-awaited patent reform, which among other things makes it clear that a bit of code isn't enough to attract patent protection. The tortuous history of the new Patents Bill has seen IT companies lobbying on both sides of the debate. Local kiwi firms …

Senate decides patent reform is just too much work, waves white flag

The US Senate has decided to call off its efforts to rid the US legal system of patent trolls, tabling proposed legislation to overhaul patent law. Senator Patrick Leahy said on Wednesday that he would remove proposed patent legislation from the Senate Judiciary Committee agenda, effectively killing any effort by the Senate to …
Shaun Nichols, 21 May 2014
management regulation2

SCOTUS asked to overturn patent-troll's charter

The tech world – and plenty of others, The Register suspects – is waiting with a little trepidation to hear the outcome of a patent battle between Akamai and Limelight Networks that's currently occupying the brainspace of the US Supreme Court. Arguments have been heard in the case, which combines some of the most entertaining …
Money FU

Cisco coughs up to patent troll, smacks down IP laws

Cisco has announced that its long-running battle with patent troll Innovatio is over, with the licensing outfit accepting $US2.7 million to settle the case. The deal includes Netgear and Motorola devices. As noted by Cisco's Mark Chandler in this blog post, the settlement amounts to 3.2 cents for each of 85 million WiFi device …
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German court says nein to Apple's slide-to-unlock patent

Apple's slide-to-unlock patent has been ruled invalid by a German court because it's not really an "innovation" in the eyes of European patent law. The Bundespatentgericht (federal patent court) in Munich ruled that the famous patent is invalid because European law doesn't allow for the patenting of software that doesn't …
troll

Fearless slayer of lawsuit-lovin' patent trolls steps forward from shadows

After years of inaction on patent law, a new bill has been introduced to the House of Representatives that could curb the scourge of patent trolls that is costing American businesses billions every year. The Innovation Act [PDF, summary] was put forward by House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). The draft law …
Iain Thomson, 23 Oct 2013

Bored with patent trolls? Small fry - prepare for the Design Trolls

Changes to UK patent and design law affecting thousands of British businesses have been criticised by industry and Labour's front bench business team. The Intellectual Property Bill contains changes to design and patent law proposed in the so-called Google Review, better known as "The Independent Review of IP and Growth” by …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jan 2014

US Senator introduces 'Patent Abuse Reduction Act'

US Senator John Cornyn, who represents Texas, has introduced the “Patent Abuse Reduction Act of 2013”. Cornyn says the Bill (PDF, brace for legalese) is intended to have the following effects: “This bill would require plaintiffs to disclose the substance of their claim and reveal their identities when they file their lawsuit; …
Simon Sharwood, 24 May 2013
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Juries: The only reason ANYONE understands patent law AT ALL

Apple's recent mobile patent trial victory over Samsung has raised the spectre of justice being done behind closed doors by self-appointed elites. Today, it's the norm for juries to decide patent disputes. Jury trials oblige the parties to speak in plain language. And there's plenty of wiggle room for cantankerous citizens to …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Sep 2012
apple with ladybird

Patent law? It's all about Apples, Newton and iPads

As regular readers will know, I'm about as froth-mouthed free market as it is possible to get without descending into Randian lunacy. Yet even I support government interventions into the economy at times: it's only the times and methods used that are to be argued about. A case in point is the existence of the patent system. I'm …
Tim Worstall, 19 Nov 2013

How to kill trolls and influence Apple people: A patent solution

Having decided that the patent problem is an attempt to solve a public goods problem, as we did in part 1, let's have a look at the specific ways that we put our oar into those perfect and competitive free markets. It's worth just noting that patents and copyright are not, absolutely not, the product of some fevered free market …
Tim Worstall, 06 Jan 2014
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You can help fix patent laws … now!

While Barack Obama frets about patent law and trolls attack even helpful government e-health initiatives, IP experts around the world are quietly working on something that might just help: a survey! Not just any survey, mind. This one was created by Tegernsee Experts Group, an entity composed of representatives from patent …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Feb 2013

US patent office prepares to kill off Apple's bounce-back patent

The US Patent Office (USPTO) appears to have provisionally invalidated one of the major patents that Apple was using against Samsung... And it's possible that large parts of the case will go “kablooie” as a result. Given that it's not Friday afternoon yet, everyone will remember that the Cupertinians were most insistent that the …
Tim Worstall, 23 Oct 2012
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US Supremes add 'willful blindness' to patent law

In a case supported by HP, eBay, Red Hat, Yahoo!, and General Motors, the US Supreme Court has issued a ruling that may make it more difficult for a company to be sued for inducing another company to infringe a patent. According to the ruling, a defendent accused of inducing patent infringement must be proven to have either …
Rik Myslewski, 01 Jun 2011
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UN locks Apple, Google, Microsoft in a room for patent peace summit

Tech titans including Apple, Nokia, Google and Microsoft will today argue the toss at a UN confab on whether patent law is stifling innovation. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) arranged the get-together to assess the effectiveness of allowing companies to sort out the licensing of patents crucial to building …

Google's legal boss is fed up with patent warfare

Legal tangles over patents are stifling innovation and will lead to stagnation in the tech industry, said Google's chief patent lawyer in a newspaper interview in the San Francisco Chronicle. "The concern is that the more people get distracted with litigation, the less they'll be inventing," said Tim Porter, Google's patent …
Anna Leach, 07 Nov 2011
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Jury selection delays start of Apple/Samsung patent showdown

The jury has been picked for the forthcoming patent trial between Apple and Samsung to determine who has the rights to produce a rectangular fondleslab with rounded corners, among other things. Tomorrow three women and seven men will hear opening statements in the case in San Jose's federal court. Jury selection took all day as …
Iain Thomson, 30 Jul 2012
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IPO: Patent laws must change to attract Big Pharma to UK

The government is likely to change patent laws because some pharmaceutical companies are at risk of breaking patent law when carrying out clinical testing, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has said. The IPO said that three-quarters of respondents to its recent consultation on patent infringement in pharmaceutical clinical …
OUT-LAW.COM, 06 Dec 2011
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Will Samsung's patent court doc leak backfire spectacularly?

Samsung's decision to leak evidence banned from court could hand Apple an automatic win in the warring tech titans' patent trial. The South Korean giant had prepared slides to potentially prove its rival was wrong to claim Samsung had copied the iPhone design - but after the judge barred the evidence from being put before the …
The Register breaking news

MPs: Unified EU patent court framework would hurt small biz

A new court framework that would rule on validity and infringement cases stemming from proposed new unitary patents in the EU would be "prohibitively expensive" for small UK businesses to use, a committee of MPs has said. In a report analysing plans for the development of a new unified patent court (UPC), the House of Commons' …
OUT-LAW.COM, 09 May 2012

Apple snags blockbuster multi-touch patent

Apple was granted two dozen patents in the US Patent and Trademark Office's weekly patent-palooza, held each Tuesday, providing Cupertino's legal team with a new cache of ammunition to be fired up in future patent wars. Snuggled in amongst Tuesday's hoard is a patent entitled "Multipoint touchscreen" that could potentially be …
Rik Myslewski, 29 Feb 2012
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iPad app that lets mute kids speak menaced by patent lawsuit

A company that makes specialist talking tablet computers for speech-disabled children has mounted a patent lawsuit which seems set to kill off an iPad app that does the same thing for a tenth of the price. The firm is making no commitment to provide replacement affordable software for consumer devices. Prentke Romich's Minspeak …
Anna Leach, 03 Apr 2012

US negotiators in Singapore to unblock TPP negotiations

America's free trade tourists have returned to Singapore on yet another attempt to unlock stalled talks over the Trans Pacific Partnership treaty. Hailed by business and government alike, the 12-nation treaty has been criticised on various grounds: the secrecy of its proposed text, the lack of consultation in many countries, …
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High Court: Computer simulations can get patent protection

The High Court said that the UK's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) had wrongly applied UK patent law when assessing four patent applications for computer simulations of designs made by oilfield company Halliburton Energy. The IPO had previously ruled that the company's computer simulations were mental acts which cannot be …
OUT-LAW.COM, 12 Oct 2011
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Nice try, Amazon: 'One-click' payment too obvious to patent

A payment system devised by online retail giant Amazon is too obvious to patent, the European Patent Office (EPO) has ruled. Amazon had hoped to patent the way its customers pay for products through the click of a single webpage button. The company was previously granted patent rights to the payment system in the US. An appeals …
OUT-LAW.COM, 07 Jul 2011

Will the next US-EU trade pact prevent Brussels acting against US tech giants?

The European Union government in recent years has proven to be perhaps the most willing to take on the world's major tech companies over digital rights and wrongs. But that could come to an end if planned measures allowing companies to sue governments for lost profits are implemented as part of the next EU-US trade agreement. A …
Jennifer Baker, 18 Jul 2014
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Halliburton seeks patent on patent trolling

Halliburton - the Texas-based company famous for pocketing billions from the war in Iraq - hopes to patent the art of patent trolling. In an 18-month-old application just released by the US Patent Office, Halliburton attorney Clive D. Menezes seeks exclusive rights to "patent acquisition and assertion by a (non-inventor) first …
Cade Metz, 10 Nov 2008

New Zealand to bar software patents, again

The software patentability row in New Zealand, which broke out last August over the wording of new patent legislation, seems to have been settled with the release of new legislation by the government. In a move that's been welcomed locally by the IT industry, the government has clarified the original intention of the legislation …
The Register breaking news

HTC hurls more patent spew on Apple

HTC has filed a new patent-infringement suit against Apple, setting in motion yet another round of patent litigation between Cupertino and the Taiwanese manufacturer of Android-based smartphones and tablets. The suit, which alleges infringment of three patents, follows Apple's four-patent slap at HTC of July 11. Other jolly fun …
Rik Myslewski, 16 Aug 2011
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Google bids $900m for Android and Chrome patent shield

Google has bid $900m for Nortel's patent portfolio, saying it hopes to use the portfolio to deter lawsuits against not only Google but also partners and open-source developers working on projects such as Android and Chrome. On Monday, Nortel announced that it has entered a "stalking horse asset sale agreement" with Google, …
Cade Metz, 04 Apr 2011
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Patent flame storm: Reg hack biteback in reader-pack sack attack

My piece on patents on Tuesday received a record number of votes of disapproval for a Reg article. I'm not in the least bit surprised. That's because in my analysis I advance an argument you don't hear very often in the tech world. Which is that the patent system gives us a huge social benefit. It's an irreplaceable component …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Sep 2012
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UK patent attorneys: ECJ should reject advisors' opinion

The European Court of Justice should reject the opinion of its advisors and put pragmatic economics ahead of legal technicalities and approve a pan-EU patent court, the UK patent attorneys' trade body has said. Advocates General of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said in an opinion that the current proposal for a pan- …
OUT-LAW.COM, 07 Sep 2010

US Supremes: Human genes can't be patented

In a welcome display of patent-law sanity, the US Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that human genes can't be patented. "We hold that a naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated," wrote Justice Clarence Thomas, who authored the court's decision. The …
Rik Myslewski, 13 Jun 2013
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Dotcom titan funds 'Mark Cuban Chair To Eliminate Stupid Patents'

It's not like there's not enough money in the sector. Patent lawyers have been the main beneficiary of the global lawsuits created by the world's richest tech companies suing each other over patents such as "pinch to zoom", page scrolling and round-cornered rectangles. But that's why the reform of patent law has become a …
Anna Leach, 20 Dec 2012
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US Supremes prod software patent law

The long-running battle to redefine what is patentable reached the US Supreme Court on Monday, and the back-and-forth between the Justices and competing counsel hinted that their decision will result in relatively minor changes to existing law - not the sweeping overhaul feared by the software and medical technology industries. …
Rik Myslewski, 11 Nov 2009

The Internet of Things helps insurance firms reward, punish

The more the Internet of Things knows about you, the more that insurance companies are able to slurp that data and incentivize you to walk the straight and narrow. "You know the way that advertising turned out to be the native business model for the internet? I think that insurance is going to be the native business model for …
Rik Myslewski, 23 May 2014
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Patent law passed in US, but Presidential veto could follow

A new US law which would reduce the damages to be paid out for patent infringement has been passed by one half of the US legislature. The proposed law was backed by large technology firms and banks but opposed by smaller tech companies and drug companies. The Patent Reform Act was passed by the House of Representatives on …
OUT-LAW.COM, 11 Sep 2007
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US patent office gives i4i Word up in Microsoft snub

Microsoft's request to have the patent claim it brought against Canadian software maker i4i examined has been thrown out by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). i4i said it was pleased that all the claims of US patent number 5,787,449 that belong to the company came out unscathed following a re-examination called for by …
Kelly Fiveash, 11 May 2010
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EPO says UK patent law is clear enough

The president of the European Patent Office has turned down a request by three English judges to have the EPO clarify a tricky section of European and UK patent law. In October last year the judges took the very unusual step of asking for clarification of the scope of Article 52. They made the request in their judgement in the …
Lucy Sherriff, 19 Mar 2007
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Patent judge hits out at legal tactics used against file-sharers

A senior patent court judge has heavily criticised a law firm that pursued online file-sharers with threatening letters and then ditched its cases against 26 defendants. ACS:Law and its client Media CAT had fired off thousands of threatening legal missives to alleged illegal file-sharers, offering them the chance to pay a £495 …
Kelly Fiveash, 09 Feb 2011
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Patent Office loses software not a patent case

Symbian has won a High Court judgement against the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) which refused to grant it a software patent. The company applied to protect how a computer indexes functions which can then be used by different applications on the device. Mr Justice Patten said the case showed the difference between UK …
John Oates, 19 Mar 2008
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Samsung threatens Apple in response to patent lawsuit

Korean electronics giant Samsung has responded to Apple's patent-infringment lawsuit against them. As might be guessed, they're not happy – and they're considering legal retaliation. "Samsung will respond actively to this legal action taken against us through appropriate legal measures to protect our intellectual property," a …
Rik Myslewski, 19 Apr 2011
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Ban Samsung sales in the US? Sorry, Apple: Tech titans say 'No'

A group of technology companies led by Google has asked permission to let their collective opinion be known in the long-running patent dispute between Apple and its South Korean rival, Samsung. The group, consisting of Google, HTC, Rackspace, Red Hat, and SAP, filed a motion with the US District Court of Northern California on …
Neil McAllister, 09 May 2013
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Tech titans: Give it a rest with the SEP injunctions, wouldja? - economists

Standard-essential patent owners should be required to try to settle licensing disputes out of court in a bid to restrict the affects of litigation on market innovation, three prominent economists have said. In a paper for the Competition Policy International (CPI) think tank, Kai-Uwe Kühn, Howard Shelanski and Fiona Scott …
OUT-LAW.COM, 08 Mar 2013
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Brit inventor wants prison for patent crims

The inventor of the wind-up radio is calling on the UK government to toughen its stance on patent law, by making intellectual property theft a criminal offence. Trevor Baylis has written to business secretary Lord Mandelson urging him to consider a change in legislation. He said in an interview with the Beeb today that …
Kelly Fiveash, 02 Sep 2009
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MS and Cisco back resistance to controversial patent law

The US Supreme Court is to rule on one of the most controversial aspects of patent law, "obviousness". Though the case involves car accelerator pedal technology, Microsoft and Cisco are backing one side of the case, which could set a vital precedent. US firm Teleflex has accused KSR International of infringing its pedal …
OUT-LAW.COM, 29 Jun 2006
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Supremes look again at US patent law

eBay has won a first step to changing US patent law yesterday when the Supreme Court agreed to revisit rules under which companies are granted an injunction if they accuse another firm of infringing on patents. eBay was found guilty of infringing patents owned by MercExchange and ordered to pay $25m in damages. The case centred …
John Oates, 29 Nov 2005
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Apple ordered to open its books on iPhone, iPad profits

The judge in the ongoing Apple versus Samsung patent trial has ruled that Cupertino must disclose financial information on the profitability of its iPad and iPhone lines so that proper damages can be assessed. Apple won the initial stage of its trial against Samsung over the Korean manufacturer's infringement of Cupertino's …
Iain Thomson, 18 Oct 2012
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EU patent law dies, software law lives

The push to unify Europe's patent laws collapsed on Tuesday, washing years of work and compromise down the drain. The proposed directive, a hotly-debated matter in recent months, sought to reduce the costs involved in the patent process and to unify Europe's disparate patent laws into a single code. The proposed law was a …