Patently-O Bits & Bytes by Lawrence Higgins

Google Places a bid on Nortel Patents

  • Google has placed a $900 million cash offer bid for the rights to Nortel patents. Google’s bid is just the starting point, against which others bid prior to the auction that will take place in June. Nortel has about 6,000 patents and patent applications, which cover many areas of technologies including wireless, internet search, computer science, and online social networking. Nortel was once a telecom powerhouse, but filed for bankruptcy in 2009. As part of the bankruptcy, Nortel must auction off all patents that they hold. It has been reported that Google wants to purchase the Nortel patents as a defensive tactic, to decrease the amount of lawsuits filed against them. [link]

New Patent Blog!

  • Written Description is a blog that reviews recent scholarship on patent law, IP theory, and innovation. The blog is intended to provide useful content for law professors, law students, practitioners, and anyone else interested in patent law. The blog is written by Lisa Larrimore Ouellette, who has a Physics Ph.D. from Cornell and is a current 3L at Yale Law School.

Apple Doesn’t Have to Pay $625.5 Million in Patent Case

  • Apple was sued in 2008 by Mirror Worlds LLC; Mirror Worlds was founded by Yale University Professor David Gelernter. [Complaint] Mirror Worlds claimed that Apple’s Mac computers infringed its patents relating to the way documents are displayed on a computer. The main focus of the trial was Apple’s Spotlight and Time Machine technology. The case was decided in Mirror Worlds favor in October, and the jury award $625.5 million in damages. However, Apple appealed and a federal judge in Texas agreed with Apple and stated that, Apple did not infringe any patent owned by Mirror Worlds LLC and closed the case. [Link]

John Duffy to Join Virginia Law School

  • IP scholar John Duffy will be at the University of Virginia next fall, currently Duffy is a Professor at George Washington School of Law. Duffy has been named as one of the 25 most influential people in the field of IP by the American Lawyer. Duffy was co-counsel in the important Supreme Court case KSR v. Teleflex, which was the first Supreme Court Case in decades on the standard of nonobviousness. [Link]

Patent Jobs:

  • Muir Patent Consulting is seeking to hire a patent attorney with a degree in electrical engineering and 2-5 years experience. [Link]
  • Mannava & Kang is searching for a patent attorney or patent agent with a degree in electrical engineering and at least 3 years in preparing and prosecuting patent applications. [Link]
  • Roberts Mlotkowski Safran & Cole is looking for a patent attorney with 2-4 years experience and a chemical degree. [Link]
  • Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell and Berkowitz is searching for a patent attorney or patent agent with a PhD and 1-4 years patent experience. [Link]

Upcoming Events:

  • The 2nd Annual John Marshall Review of Intellectual Property Law Symposium will be held on April 15th. The symposium will discuss biotechnology and health-related issues in IP law. Guest speakers include Peter Yu, Lawrence Pope, and the keynote speaker Ananda Chakrabarty. [Link]
  • AIPLA Spring Meeting will be held May 12-14 in San Francisco. [Link]
  • San Francisco Intellectual Property Law Association (SFIPLA) will be hosting its spring seminar June 3-5 in Yountville, California. This event will discuss various topics, such as Copyright and the Cloud, Patent Year in Review, and Patent Litigation to name a few. Guest speakers include Peter Menell, Marc Greenberg, Madhavi Sunder, and David Franklyn. [Link]

Contact with leads for future Bits and Bytes.

32 thoughts on “Patently-O Bits & Bytes by Lawrence Higgins

  1. 31

    But he wants others to stop posting.

    Dont be so simple(minded) Chowder Boy, it wasnt simply “others” he wanted to stop posting, it was “others who are arrogant pip-squeaks and have very little useful to offer, but instead like to personally attack people.”

    There be a slight difference.

    Just an observation.

  2. 28

    I don’t think Apple “appealed”. Sounds more like they were granted their motion for JNOV.

  3. 26

    PL, as I said once before, if patent covers a product, I would hold that every plaintiff is a patent troll to the extent that they cannot prove that they or an exclusive licensee is marking a product.

    If Google buys a patent it does not practice to assert against an entity that is asserting patents against them, and it goes to court and Google wins, what justification does Google have to obtain an injunction? None whatsoever.

    So, why is it that Google occuppies the moral high ground while others similarly situated are smeared by an almost racist ephithet?

    I don’t know about all NPEs, but they do buy patents from somewhere, valuable patents. The people who sold them the patents, if they are valuable, typically are failed startups. Now, it seems to me that it is quite normal for the failed startup to make money off its patents, as this incents the investment in the startup in the first place.

    The pejorative “troll” affixed to NPEs for the practice of buying patents from failed startups is clearly not in our national interest to the extent that all really revolutionary products and new jobs originate in startups. The latter propostion is actually true — it has been shown that established corporations expand their product lines by acquiring startups, rather than by invention.

  4. 24

    Since Intellectual Ventures started suing, I now completely disbelieve the claims of any business entity that it is buying up patents for “defensive purposes only.” However, even when it does inevitably start suing, Google will likely be able to evade the “patent troll” label (and thus take advantage of judicial preference for “practicing” entities over NPEs/PAEs), since it also engages in R&D. Clever.

  5. 23


    I find it surprising, if Google is actually infringing some of Nortel’s patents, that Google would not have already struck a deal with Nortel and licensed the patents in some fashion.

    But you’re quite right. If Google has any fear of infringement of the Nortel patents, acquiring the portfolio makes a lot of sense.

    But what I find more likely is this: Google is now being harassed by the big boys, who may have raised patent issues with Google. However Google may not have any patent portfolio itself, or at least not in the area that is of any concern to the big boys. Thus they are in fact the acquiring the portfolio for “defensive purposes.”

    But for the big boys, Google’s defense looks quite a bit like an offense.

  6. 22

    OMG, somebody left their tags on!!!!! The sky is falling!!!! The sky is falling!!!!! Run for your lives!!!!!!!

  7. 21

    Lolz to self appointed police and bosses.

    (And a chance to mirror the self-righteous):


  8. 20

    just how incompetent Texas justice really is

    Mind pointing out what the incompetence is? (not a jab with a pointy stick – I just be too lazy to look into the matter myself).

  9. 19

    Note to self: based on continued inability to turn of HTML tags, NEVER hire Mooney for any work requring attention to detail such as, for example, patent-related work…

  10. 16

    Ned The definition of a troll is an entity who buys patents to assert them. Google is doing just that.

    Sounds to me like Google is buying Nortel’s patents just to keep anyone else from buying them and asserting them against Google. That’s not trolling. It’s reasonable behavior for a practicing entity who is continually harassed by patent trolls.

  11. 15

    What about counts if they’re going to backpay?

    And what about response filings?

    Still lots more to know.

  12. 14

    “Should a shutdown continue longer than the six-day period, a small staff will continue to work to accept new applications and maintain IT infrastructure, among other functions.”

    Meaning what; that everyone else–including the examiners, SPEs, APJs, etc will be told to stay home (and those who work from home will be told to stop working?).

    Oh; this’ll do a whole lot for efficiency & pendency.

    Darn politicians.

  13. 13

    From the Wash Post which is quoting a PTO press release:

    …in the event of a government shutdown on April 9, 2011, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will remain open and continue to operate as usual, for a fixed period, with all USPTO staff continuing to work and being paid.

    Because the USPTO maintains sufficient funding not linked to the current fiscal year, the USPTO can and will stay open for business. We have enough available reserves to remain in operation for six business days and intend to do so. During that time we will continue to process the patent and trademark applications that drive our country’s innovative economy. Should a shutdown continue longer than the six-day period, a small staff will continue to work to accept new applications and maintain IT infrastructure, among other functions.

  14. 11

    Does anyone know what’s happening with the PTO and government funding/budget? I know it’s fee based, but the PTO also falls under the federal general budget.

  15. 9

    What’s the latest on that law firm partner guy who tried to patent a “paradigm” he invented with his co-worker’s wife?

    Is he still prosecuting that crxp?

    I need some laughs.

  16. 7

    I’d also just like to say that I’m glad nortel is going the way of the dino. Maybe we can get their re tarded software out of our system at the office already.

  17. 4

    It seems your definition of ‘troll’ is anyone who owns a lot of patents.

    Nortel, if I had to guess, probably has lots of great Patents and the exclusive use of the technology in there is probably worth it… $900 million isn’t something people just lay out every day!

  18. 3

    Right now, Mirror Worlds wishes they had forum-shopped elsewhere.

  19. 2

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  20. 1

    Google buying patents? Are they now a NPE or better yet, a troll? Why of course not. They are one of the good guys. By definition — even if they fully intend to used the patents to “defend” against infringement attacks on Google by asserting (there’s that nasty word) the Nortel patents they themselves do not practice against those who might wish to complain about Google’s infringement.

    So, why isn’t Google now a troll?

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