In the News
Apple Sued for Patent Violations in Voicemail Application, www.gigaom.com, February 22, 2012
Abstract: Apple is being sued by Brandywine Communications Technologies over multimedia voicemail in its iPhone and iPad products.
America Invents Act Signed , www.whitehouse.gov, September 16, 2011
Abstract: Passed with the President’s consistent leadership and strong bipartisan support, the America Invents Act represents the most significant reform of the Patent Act since 1952.
Wendy Seltzer, April 15, 2008
Abstract: When Kurt Denke at Blue Jeans Cable got a cease-and-desist demand from Monster Cable, his litigator's instinct kicked in. He sent back five pages of questions detailing what he'd need to see before he'd be convinced to back down.
The Patent Epidemic, BusinessWeek Online, January 09, 2006
Abstract: How to determine when an invention is "obvious" is one of the most critical and contentious issues in patent circles. Over the past two decades, critics say, the hurdle for passing the obviousness test has been steadily lowered, and the U.S. is now awash in a sea of junk patents. The U.S. Supreme Court is weighing in on the issue.
Cutting Through the Patent Thicket, Greg Blonder, BusinessWeek Online, December 20, 2005
Abstract: For over 200 years, the U.S. patent system has catalyzed economic growth and protected the national interest. Unfortunately, over the past few decades, patents have become irrelevant -- even harmful -- to the innovation process.
iPod accessory maker sues rival in patent spat, Ina Fried, CNet News.com, December 15, 2005
Abstract: Digital Lifestyle Outfitters, a North Carolina firm that specializes in iPod accessories, said Thursday that it has filed a patent infringement suit against rival Belkin over that company's TuneBase FM product.
In its suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, DLO claims that the Belkin FM transmitter and charger product violates a patent held by DLO parent company Netalog. The suit seeks monetary damages as well as an injunction against Belkin.
Visto sues Microsoft for patent infringement, SillconValley.com, December 15, 2005
Abstract: Mobile e-mail startup Visto Corp. has sued Microsoft Corp. for allegedly infringing on three of its patents related to how information is handled between servers and handheld devices such as cellular phones. The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages and an injunction barring the sale of products, was filed late Wednesday -- the same day Visto announced that NTP Inc. had acquired an equity stake in the startup and signed a patent licensing deal.
Techies weigh in on patent bill, Anne Broache, cNet News.com, September 15, 2005
Abstract: A pending patent reform bill still needs work, tech interests said Thursday at a Congress hearing. At the session--convened by the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property--a panel of witnesses aired their views on two sets of proposed changes to the Patent Reform Act of 2005. The panel included people from the software, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
Invalidation of key Lemelson patents upheld, Sillcon Valley.com, September 12, 2005
Abstract: A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling that invalidated key patents -- for the bar code scanner and industrial robotic vision -- of the late Jerome Lemelson, one of America's most prolific and controversial inventors.
The court affirmed that 14 of Lemelson's critical patents were unenforceable in a case brought by companies including Cognex Corp., the world's largest maker of machine vision, and Symbol Technologies Inc., which makes bar code scanners.
Perot Backs $200 Million Bet On Patents, Tomas Kellner, Forbes.com, August 09, 2005
Abstract: Billionaire Ross Perot is the principal investor in a $200 million private equity fund set up to buy companies with undervalued patent portfolios--the first time that a private equity fund has been established solely to invest in intellectual property.
The fund, being set up by the Chicago merchant bank ICMB Ocean Tomo, is called Ocean Tomo Capital Fund, and will be acquiring or securing controlling stakes in patent-rich companies with revenue between $50 million and $1 billion. Areas of interests include semiconductors, biotech, nanotechnology and software.
Jim Bessen's Critique of Mann, Jim Bessen, Research on Innovation, July 01, 2005
Abstract: “Do Patents Facilitate Financing in the Software Industry?” by Ronald J. Mann contributes empirical evidence to our understanding of how software startups use patents. However, a close examination of the actual empirical findings in this paper points to rather different conclusions than those that Mann draws, namely: few software startups benefits from software patents and patents are not widely used by software firms to obtain venture financing. Indeed, among other things, the paper reports that 80% of venture-financed software startups had not acquired any patents within four years of receiving financing.
Safety in Patents: New Evidence of their Importance, Business Week Online
Abstract: Conventional wisdom in the tech industry says the U.S. patent system has become a murky swamp, safe only for corporations with the deepest of pockets. Some experts, such as Stanford Law School professor Lawrence Lessig, even believe that patents are now a barrier to innovation. But Ronald Mann, co-director of the Center for Law, Business & Economics at the University of Texas School of Law, draws on three years of interviews with entrepreneurs, financiers, and lawyers to come to a different conclusion. "There is no patent thicket in the software industry," says Mann. "The idea that there are so many patents in the software industry that small firms don't have the freedom to innovate is wrong."
EU Software Patent Directive Rejected, Ingrid Marson, ZDNet UK, July 06, 2005
Abstract: The European Parliament voted on Wednesday to reject the directive on the patentability of computer implemented inventions. A spokesman for the European Parliament said that 648 MEPs out of a total of 729 voted to reject the directive, which critics feared would widen the extent to which software could be patented.
The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) described this decision as a "great victory for those who have campaigned to ensure that European innovation and competitiveness is protected from monopolisation of software functionalities and business methods."
Dilbert on Patents, Scott Adams, Dilbert.com
Too much patent reform, too few real fixes, POPA newsletter, June 01, 2005
Abstract: Too Much Patent Reform, Too Few Real Fixes
The American Inventor Protection Act passed in 1999 tried to resolve several patent system problems by ending "submarine" patents and by publishing patent applications after 18 months. But rather than improve,
the patent system defiantly went into crisis. The race to pass the USPTO Fee Modernization Act shifted into gear. That legislation sought to improve the system by raising fees and outsourcing the classification and search
functions. Since that legislation went into effect, we've learned that the patent system has suffered another meltdown requiring new legislative reforms to save it. Enter the proposals for a Patent Act of 2005.
The Monopoly Factory: Want to fix the economy? Start by fixing the patent office., Zachary Roth, Washington Monthly, June 01, 2005
Abstract: No one knows how many mistaken patents the office issues each year. But the results of one patent office experiment suggest that, in some areas, as many as half of those issued may be faulty. Faulty patents may be doing immense damage to the economy. They not only allow patent-holding firms to gouge consumers with exorbitant prices, but they also inhibit innovation and research, put a drag on economic growth, and may even create an investment bubble.
Poles push patents of EU agenda, Ingrid Marson, ZNet UK News, December 21, 2004
Abstract: The EU has again failed to ratify the software patent directive after a crucial last-minute intervention. Poland's opposition to software patents prevented the EU from ratifying the Computer Implemented Inventions Directive on Tuesday.
EPO revokes patent on Indian wheat, Sify.com, October 05, 2004
Abstract: In a clear victory for Indian farmers, the European Patent Office has revoked the patent on Indian Nap Hal wheat variety following a legal opposition filed by Greenpeace at the EPO in February. EPO has informed Greenpeace in a letter that the patent has been revoked in total, according to Ashesh Tayal, Scientific Advisor, Greenpeace India. The European Patent office in Munich had granted a patent to Monsanto on May 21, 2003. The patent covered wheat exhibiting a special baking quality that Monsanto claimed to be its invention.
Patriot Scientific Widens Net on Patent Claims, Mark Hachman, eWeek, April 23, 2004
Abstract: Patriot Scientific Corp. said Friday that it had notified more than 150 additional companies of potential patent infringement of a patent Patriot holds on microprocessor clocks.
Microsoft Checks Off Patent Win, David Becker, CNet News.com, June 08, 2004
Abstract: Better not get too fancy with your grocery list, now that Microsoft has patented a glorified form of the to-do list.
U.S. Patent No. 6,748,582, granted and assigned Tuesday to Microsoft, covers the use of a "task list" in a software development environment.
The patented technology essentially integrates certain comments left in the source code of an application under development with an accompanying checklist. Leave a "TODO" comment in the source code, and an authoring application automatically creates an item in the task list. Check an item off on the task list, and the corresponding source code comment is changed.
Microsoft's New Plan to License Has Linux Fans Worries, Don Clark, Wall Street Journal, June 04, 2004
Abstract: Microsoft Corp., rarely the aggressor in legal affairs, has adopted a new approach to the use of its patents. Some fans of Linux and other open-source software are starting to worry that they could end up as targets.
Microsoft now holds about 4,500 patents, covering its inventions in fields such as how computers store files and how text is displayed on a screen. In December, Microsoft announced a new policy to begin licensing its patents, citing requests from customers, regulators and others,
though it is unclear how many of the patents cover techniques already in use by other companies.
EFF To Fight Dubious Patents, Amit Asaravala, Wired News, April 19, 2004
Abstract: The Electronic Frontier Foundation launched a campaign on Monday to overturn several patents that it says are having a "chilling effect" on public and consumer interest.
In a white paper posted to its website, the civil liberties group targeted 10 patents in particular, including one awarded to Amazon.com for one-click shopping and another awarded to California lawyer Lawrence Lockwood for online credit card payments. The two patents are frequently cited by critics of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as examples of how patents can do more harm than good for the software industry.
TiVo wins pause technology patent suit, Richard Shim, CNet News.com, February 10, 2004
Abstract: Digital video recording service company TiVo announced Tuesday that it received a favorable ruling in a patent infringement lawsuit brought against it by Pause Technology in 2001. Judge Patti Saris of the District of Massachusetts ruled TiVo does not infringe on Pause's patent, according to San Jose, Calif.-based TiVo. Pause's patent covered the pausing of live television, replaying portions of a program while it is being recorded, and fast-forwarding through recorded segments to "catch up" to a live broadcast being recorded. Pause said it first contacted TiVo about the infringement in April 2000 and then again in May 2001.
Microsoft loses round in patent case, Reuters, CNet News.com, January 29, 2004
Abstract: An Arizona judge has ruled that Microsoft infringed on display and printing technology patents, which could result in a jury decision amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars, according to court documents obtained by Reuters.
FTC Calls for Patent Reform, John Leyden, The Register, October 30, 2003
Abstract: Proposals to make US patents harder to obtain and easier to challenge were put forward this week by the US Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has issued a report calling on the US Patent and Trademark Office to apply tougher standards in granting patents. Congress should also establish a mechanism to permit companies to challenge patents more easily, it advises. US practices of allowing business methods to be patented (for example the Amazon One Click patent) have generated controversy in the IT business. But concerns about patent practices extend well beyond hi-tech industries.
TiVo sues Echostar over DVR Patent, Richard Shim, News.com, January 05, 2004
Abstract: Digital video recorder company TiVo filed a patent infringement suit on Monday against EchoStar Communications, a satellite TV service provider. San Jose, Calif.-based TiVo said EchoStar's technology violates its "multimedia time warping system" patent, which it received in May 2001 from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Some set-top boxes used with EchoStar's satellite service come with DVR capabilities. Defending its patents are crucial to TiVo, which has been emphasizing its licensing business as a complement to its services operations. The company counts major consumer electronics makers such as Pioneer, Sony and Toshiba as licensees.
Patenting Air or Protecting Property? (TechNews.com), Jonathan Krim, Washington Post, December 18, 2003
Abstract: Acacia Research Corp. started by targeting dozens of adult entertainment companies, demanding royalties of as much as 4 percent of their revenue from audio and video streaming. Now the firm is seeking fees from universities that use Web video for remote learning, from companies that serve up movies to hotel rooms, from cable and satellite providers, and from major streaming-media companies such as RealNetworks Inc. and America Online Inc.
CD-burning software prompts patent suit, David Becker, News.com, December 15, 2003
Abstract: A small California storage company filed a patent suit late Friday against software maker Roxio and said the dispute will likely expand to cover other hardware and software companies involved with CD-ROMs.
MicroStrategy Sues Over Patents, Reuters, News.com, December 10, 2003
Abstract: Business software maker MicroStrategy on Wednesday sued Crystal Decisions alleging that the company--which is about to be bought by MicroStrategy rival Business Objects--infringed on three of its key patents.
Patent office to re-examine Eolas patents, Paul Festa, CNet News.com, November 11, 2003
Abstract: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has stepped squarely into a fight roiling the Web by agreeing to re-examine the Eolas patent for a browser plug-in, a development likely to bring cheer to Microsoft and software patent foes alike.
FTC Report on Patents and Competition, Federal Trade Commission, October 01, 2003
Abstract: "To Promote Innovation: The Proper Balance of Competition and Patent Law and Policy"
Eolas suit may spark HTML changes, Paul Festa, News.com, September 19, 2003
Abstract: As anxiety builds throughout the Web over the patent threatening Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, the Web's leading standards group is considering modifying the medium's lingua franca itself, HTML, to address the same threat.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is on the verge of forming a patent advisory group, or PAG, in response to the Eolas patent suit, according to sources close to the consortium. That group would conduct a public investigation into the legal ramifications of the patent on Hypertext Markup Language, the signature W3C standard that governs how most of the Web is written, and other specifications related to it.
Eolas says it would settle over IE, Paul Festa, News.com, September 19, 2003
Abstract: In response to newly revealed details of Microsoft's potential plans to redesign its browser, Eolas founder Mike Doyle urged the software giant to leave Internet Explorer alone and pay his company a license fee instead.
Doyle, whose company's patent suit led to a federal district court's $521 million judgment against Microsoft, made his remarks to counter growing perception in the software industry that he is an ideologically driven crusader unwilling to settle with Microsoft at any cost.
Amazon wins patent for ordering forms, Dawn Kawamoto, CNet News.com, September 02, 2003
Abstract: In Amazon's latest patet, the online retailing giant outlined a method for expanding portions of the ordering form, then collapsing that portion of the form and removing the data fields. The content for that particular section of the form would then be displayed again.
The patent, filed in September 1997 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, also described a method for editing content on the order form and redisplaying the information in the section after the changes have been made, according to a copy of the patent.
RIM loses patent-infringement ruling, Richard Shim, News.com, August 05, 2003
Abstract: A judge has ruled in favor of holding company NTP in its patent-infringement case against BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, awarding monetary damages and fees.
Microsoft loses key patent ruling, By John Borland, MSNBC, July 16, 2003
Abstract: With little fanfare, a federal judge has issued a critical ruling supporting a patent lawsuit against Microsoft brought by InterTrust, a digital rights management company.
W3C Makes Patent Ban Final, Paul Festa, News.com, May 21, 2003
Abstract: The Web's leading standards body on Tuesday finalized a patent policy banning the of most royalty-bearing technology in its technical recommendations, an issue that sparked a clash between open-source advocates and software makers.
W3C Adopts Royalty-Free Patent Policy, W3C, May 21, 2003
The W3C Patent Policy governs the handling of patents in the process of producing Web standards. The goal of this policy is to assure that Recommendations produced under this policy can be implemented on a Royalty-Free (RF) basis.
Status of This Document
This is the W3C Patent Policy. This document has been reviewed by W3C Members and other interested parties and has been endorsed by the Director as the W3C Patent Policy. It is a stable document and may be used as reference material or cited as a normative reference from another document. W3C's role in making this policy is to provide a stable policy for handling patent claims in the context of W3C Recommendations and to enhance the functionality and interoperability of the Web. This policy was produced by the W3C Patent Policy Working Group.
In order to promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Recommendations that can be implemented on a Royalty-Free (RF) basis. Subject to the conditions of this policy, W3C will not approve a Recommendation if it is aware that Essential Claims exist which are not available on Royalty-Free terms.
Acacia: A Patent On Porn?, Seth Lubove, Forbes.com, April 02, 2003
Abstract: Acacia Research says it owns five U.S. and 17 international patents covering the transmission and receipt of digital audio and digital video content, otherwise known as streaming media. But before attempting to enforce its patents with big outfits such as Yahoo! and The Walt Disney Co., Acacia instead chose to go after the smallish adult Internet sites that peddle videos of women (and men) doffing their clothes--and much more.
Beginning last year, the company sent a series of letters to 700 racy Web sites with offers to arrange royalty deals, typically consisting of 1% to 2% of gross revenue. Do the deal or we'll see you in court, warned Acacia.
Patent scare hits streaming industry - Tech News - CNET.com, John Borland, CNet News.com, February 06, 2003
Abstract: Michael Roe, proprietor of the small RadioIO Webcasting station, got a surprise FedEx package this week, containing a notification that he was violating patents owned by a company he'd never heard of.
That's not uncommon in the technology world--the surprise was the scope of the claims. The sender, a company called Acacia Media Technologies, said it owned patents on the process of transmitting compressed audio or video online, one of the most basic multimedia technologies on the Net.
SBC stakes claim on Web frames patent, Lisa M. Bowman, News.com, January 21, 2003
Abstract: SBC Communications is claiming a wide-ranging patent on Web frames that could affect hundreds of sites that use the technology. In a letter sent to at least one company that uses frames on its Web site, SBC said it is entitled to as much as $50 million in licensing fees, although actual figures would depend upon a company's revenue.
E-commerce patent threat, Jon Van, Chicago Tribune, January 13, 2003
Abstract: Pangia is part of what patent experts say is a growing trend in which small firms latch onto very broad patents and then threaten to sue businesses using the Internet for commerce.
Divine Inc. extracts dotcom tithe from UK firm, John Leyden, The Register, January 09, 2003
Abstract: UK e-commerce firms trading in the US face the prospect of costly payouts to Divine Inc., which claims ownership of a patent on shopping cart technology.
This week Thompson and Morgan, an Ipswich-based plant seeds specialist, settled a patent claim brought by Chicago-based Divine against it in US courts. Thompson and Morgan came to Divine's attention because of its US subsidiary, Thompson and Morgan Seedsman Inc.
More insight on divine's patent strategy, September 20, 2002
Abstract: I've been contacted by a lawyer who represents a
company called divine, Inc. They claim that my
website has infringed U.S. Patent Nos. 5,715,314 and
5,909,492. I have been using Interchange for about a
year for my online store. The lawyer asked me my
yearly sale and proposed one-time license fee of
$5,000 based on my yearly gross volume sale of
Truth, Ownership and Scientific Tradition, Robert B. Laughlin, Physics Today.org
Abstract: Scientific misconduct is not unique to industry, for the professional pressures in universities, nonprofit organizations, and federal laboratories are similar and in many respects greater. ... However, the economic inducements to misconduct are especially easy to understand in the case of private-sector research. Anyone who has worked in industry long enough to have experienced a business cycle knows how unbearable the job pressure can get when a company is in trouble and how this pressure can turn otherwise excellent and honest scientists into willing deceivers.
Left gets nod from right on copyright law, Declan McCullagh, CNET News.com, November 20, 2002
Abstract: U.S. Appeals Court Judge Richard Posner, one of America's mos prominent jurists, warned Tuesday of an "enormous expansion" of intellectual-property law, adding a conservative voice to a chorus of criticism that's so far come from the left.
During a lecture organized by the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution., Posner criticized a 1998 law extending the duration of U.S. copyrights. He also attacked the Patent and Trademark Office for granting "very questionable" business method patents.
Divine patent -- a shopping cart loaded with cash?, Charles Cooper, ZDNet.com, November 23, 2002
Abstract: If the stars line up the right way, Divine is going to wind up one very lucky company.
How big? Think "cashectomy."
Because of a little-known but far-reaching patent for conducting electronic commerce, the Chicago-based enterprise services firm is in a unique position to squeeze lots of companies that have no idea they are violating the claim.
Divine patent--a shopping cart loaded with cash?, Charles Cooper, ZDNet, October 18, 2002
Abstract: Because of a little-known but far-reaching patent for conducting electronic commerce, the Chicago-based enterprise services firm is in a unique position to squeeze lots of companies that have no idea they are violating the claim.