Patently-O Bits & Bytes by Lawrence Higgins

Google signs deal to Translate European Patents

  • The European Patent Office (EPO) and Google signed an agreement, in which the EPO will use Google's Translate technology to offer translation of patents on its website. The EPO will translate patents on its website into 28 European languages, as well as into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Russian. The partnership between the EPO and Google will enable free, real-time translation of millions of patents granted in European countries, China, Japan, Korea and Russia. [Link]

Monsanto sued over transgenic seeds

  • Farmers, agricultural organizations, seed businesses, and others filed suit against Monsanto over Monsanto's transgenic seed patents. The plaintiffs, led by the Public Patent Foundation, state that they brought suit to protect themselves from ever being accused of infringing patents on transgenic seeds, because contamination is bound to happen. [Link] Plaintiffs contend that since they have no intention to infringe they should not be sued for patent infringement if such contamination occurs. The plaintiffs claim that Monsanto's transgenic seed patents are not valid for several reasons. One reason being that Monsanto's transgenic seeds are injurious to the well being, good policy, and threatens to poison people. (Quoting Justice Story's 1817 Lowell decision). [Complaint]

U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) decides more patent cases

  • The ITC job is to settle disputes over imported products and in recent years the ITC has seen an increase in patent cases, particurly in mobile technology. Plaintiffs can file these suits even before the alleged infringement has occurred in the U.S., which can be a big incentive to keep the alleged infringing products out of the market. The increase can be seen as a consequence of the decision in eBay v. MercExchange, in which the court stated that an injunction should not automatically issue based on a finding of patent infringement, but a court must use the four factor analysis. This eBay decision does not have to be followed in ITC cases and therefore the ITC can grant an injunction based solely on the finding of patent infringement. [Link]

Patent Jobs:

  • Shay Gleen is searching for patent attorneys with either 1-2 years or 4-5 years patent prosecution experience. [Link]
  • Washida & Associates is looking for an electrical U.S. patent attorney for their Tokyo office. [Link]
  • McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff is seeking a patent agent with 2-4 years experience to work in their electrical arts group. [Link]
  • Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel is seeking a patent agent with a mechanical engineering background. [Link]

Upcoming Events:

  • The Florida Bar will hold its 2nd Annual Intellectual Property Symposium in Fort Lauderdale on April 14th & 15th. The symposium will take a look at the story behind the $21 Million Verdict in Powell vs. Home Depot, the Gene Patent Controversy, Licensing and Endorsements in Sports (and Entertainment), Intellectual Property Protection vs. The First Amendment and Bankruptcy. Guest speakers include Lori Andrews, Felix Wu, Ury Fischer, Chris Holman, and Robert Stoll. [Link]
  • American University Washington College of Law will host the first annual Global Congress on Public Interest Intellectual Property August 25-27 in Washington DC. The Global Congress on Public Interest Intellectual Property will serve as a site for the sharing of research, ideas and policy proposals for how international intellectual property law should be constructed to better protect the full range of global public interest concerns. [Link]
  • The 3rd Annual Corporate IP Counsel Forum will be held May 24-25 in New York. The Corporate IP Counsel Summit is the premier forum to hear about solutions to maximize IP assets, avoid costly litigation, create and maintain efficient infrastructure, fully integrate IP strategies into business plans, prepare for anticipated patent law changes, and much more. Guest speakers include Michael Bishop, Mony Ghose, Mark Costello, Michael Springs, Charles Kwalwasser, and Timothy Wilson. Patently-O readers will receive a $100 discount by using promo code FZA884. [Link]

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

  1. 24

    What do you mean by “It worked”?

    Case citation? links? specific outcome?

  2. 23

    I assisted some farmers about 10 years ago with asserting common law trespass against ADM concerning GM seeds. The damages sought were equal to those that the Company asserted against the farmers for patent infringement. If you claim ownership is property on my land that I do not want on my land then you are trespassing on my property. The provides a common law right (license) to enter my land and remove my property; however, you can’t damage any of my property when you remove yours. I just love common law torts. It worked.

  3. 22

    Isn’t the requirement for a DJ simply that a reasonable belief that you will be sued? Given Monsanto’s overly litigious nature, wouldn’t any farmer who has a farm anywhere within a ten mile radius of anyone using Monsanto’s seeds have a reasonable believe they would be sued?

  4. 21


  5. 20

    Although Monsanto certainly has the same right as any patentee to engage in patent enforcement, its aggressiveness in this area has not served its interests particularly well, at least in regard to public relations. Of course, any patent holder is legally entitled to protect and enforce its IP rights. But this is not similar to, say, an Apple patent on the newest touchscreen technology — because there is a nexus (or, perhaps, a conflict) between Monsanto’s IP rights and the rights of humans and animals to eat food to survive. Monsanto needs to acknowledge that its role is unique, and that its IP (being critical to the sustainment of life) is unlike most other IP; its public image would improve if the company demonstrated more sensitivity to this fact.

  6. 19

    I was at EPOPIC in 2006 when details of their translation research program was detailed to all attendees. My first thought when hearing of this effort was: “Why don’t they just partner with Google to do this for them?”

    At EPOPIC 2008, more details of their now-behind-schedule translation program were provided. They were making some progress, but still struggling with some languages, particularly Asian languages.

    Now, 2011, and the EPO does what they should have done from the beginning. Maybe we’ll see some quick results now.

  7. 18

    Google Inc. translation software will translate existing patents to and from Chinese and 31 other languages, the company and the European Patent Office said.

    Researchers will be able to check translations of millions of patents granted in European countries, China, Japan, Korea and Russia “to demonstrate that their invention is new and has not been already patented by somebody else,” Benoit Battistelli, the patent office’s president, told reporters.

    Google will have access to existing translations held by the European Patent Office, the company said in a statement, and will provide its translation technology without charge on the patent office’s website. Google’s program will translate patents to and from Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian as well as the 28 languages recognized by the European Union, it said.

    European companies can pay as much as 10,000 euros ($14,100) to translate a patent valid in only 13 European Union countries, the European Commission has said. The EU, which lacks a region-wide patent, moved closer to establishing a system earlier this month.

  8. 17

    I thought the issues in the complaint were resolved in McFarling in the USA, and Schmeiser in Canada.

    And “sanctions”, why would you assume the plaintiffs hired a “reasonable” law firm?

    Some of the best law firms are totally unreasonable, by the way.

  9. 16

    If you’re a patent attorney with 3 years experience, you need not apply at Shay Gleen–but if you have 2 or 4 years experience, you’re the kind of attorney we’re looking for!

    But DEFINITELY NOT 3 years.

  10. 15

    If you’re a patent attorney with 3 years experience, you need not apply at Shay Gleen–but if you have 2 or 4 years experience, you’re the kind of attorney we’re looking for!

    But DEFINITELY not 3 years.

  11. 14

    Clearly “The Big” cannot be one of his names, because it is two of his names. The. Big. Lebowski.

    I on the other hand have two middle names.

  12. 12

    What’s this relevant to?

    I don’t get why you posted it here.

    Not arguing that the real depression is not yet to come (2011, 1911, what’s the difference, right), but what does it have to do with this post?

  13. 10

    Unfortunately not a non-sequitur at all for those folks without jobs, especially for those who haven’t had a job in a while or who are working at a job that is a dead end and doesn’t utilize the skills that employers pay more for … and there are a lot of them. I suspect there are some patent prosecutors in that bunch as well.

    But it’s great to know that the stock market is getting right back to those awesome “innovations” that worked so well before.

  14. 9

    Regarding Washida & Associates, I hear Tokyo is nice this time of year.

    Man, they couldn’t have had worse timing. I hope it works out for them.

  15. 7

    Interesting Monsanto complaint. Coincidentally, I’m heading out to Ohio in two weeks to visit an old friend who is a farmer out there and a strong proponent of transgenic seeds. Among other things, Roundup Ready crops have much less soil erosion than conventional seeds. You don’t have to plow. We are also stopping by a friend of his who is a strictly organic farmer.

    Should be a lively discussion.

  16. 5

    Once again, just a friendly reminder of the job situation in the United States:

    link to

    Oh, and there’s this choice nugget in today’s WSJ:

    link to

    Subprime and other residential mortgage bonds that helped trigger the financial crisis are back in vogue with long-term investors, in the latest sign that American credit markets are healing after the worst downturn in a generation.

    “Who needs muscles when you have tumors like these?!?”

  17. 4

    “So how exactly is there DJ jurisdiction here, even under the relaxed standard of Medimmune?”

    Standing I wouldn’t think would be a problem, apparently they’re very aware that it is just a matter of time before their fields become infected and Monsanto is well known to sue people who’s fields are infected rather than intentionally planted with it. He ll even I know they would sue, I’m quite sure that a farmer would.

  18. 3

    Silly organic farmers, when will they learn? You need a few USSC justices in your back pocket before you can hope to beat those that do.

  19. 2

    Hey The Big,
    Following up on your point, what reasonable law firm could believe standing for such a DJ exists? Is this sanctionable activity?

  20. 1

    Ignoring the hyperbole and bluster of the complaint against Monstanto, it contains some interesting arguments. But how do the plaintiffs have standing? There’s a boatload of plaintiffs, most of which are organizations that don’t stand to get sued. And even the plaintiffs that might theoretically get sued admit they’ll only get sued if they accidentally wind up with Monstanto’s genes in their seeds – they admit they’re seed growers who refuse to use Roundup Ready seeds and the like. So how exactly is there DJ jurisdiction here, even under the relaxed standard of Medimmune?

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