Patently-O Bits & Bytes by Lawrence Higgins

Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt Opinions about the Patent System

  • Schmidt suggested that the problem with the current patent system is that; in the early 90s and 2000s there were a lot of patents issued that were very broad, and that patent clerks are now spending a lot of time combing through and invalidating these older patents. Schmidt's suggest that the best way to address the problem is to take the patents as they're published and crowdsource them. Further Schmidt states that "the best way to potentially curb these patent wars, then, would be to publish the patents publicly and allow everyone to comment to see if there's any prior art." Schmidt is worried that "overbroad patents will somehow slow" the progress of the software industry down. [Link]

Applications to Law Schools Decline

  • Many students in the past couple of years came to the conclusion that law school was not for them. This year applications to law schools nationwide are down by almost 10 percent. It seems like potential students are being scared off by the recent legal job market for graduating law students. In 2010, only 87.4 percent of the graduating class had a job 9 months after graduation, which was a 15 year low. While many areas of the legal industry have suffered in the past several years, it seems that the patent law sector is still going strong. There has been an increase in patent lawsuits, as well as patent applications for many consecutive years. The patent industry is somewhat different from other practices of law; an individual that prosecutes patents must have a science, engineering, or computer background to be eligible to take the patent bar. While an individual does not need a technical background to practice the other areas in the patent field, (litigation or licensing) most practicing legal professionals have the technical background anyway. There will probably be no decline in law students who would like to practice patent law; there might even be an increase in future years. [Link]

A New Way to Win Patent Claim Construction

  • In a recent article I read by patent attorney David Orange, he discusses negative claim construction. David states that a classic example of negative claim construction is prosecution history estoppel, which requires the disavowal of claim scope "to be both clear and unmistakable." The article also discusses how to successfully defend against concerns of infringement. David states that, "we routinely look for definitional statements in patents and their prosecution histories… but finding positive definitions is hard because patent prosecutors are raised to never refer to "the invention" and speak only in nonlimiting examples." The article suggest that we should also look for negative statements, such as declaratory statements… [Link]

What Will Kodak Patents Sell for?

  • Kodak has announced that it is willing to sell 10% (1,100) of its patent portfolio, which could help raise a significant amount of money for the company. The sale will be handled by the investment bank Lazard. Lazard recently brokered 2 of the biggest patent deals ever, Google's purchase of the Motorola patents and the purchase of the Nortel patents. It has been reported that the Kodak patents will sell for at least 3 billion, which is a large amount for only 1,100 patents. Nortel sold over 6,000 patents for 4 billion dollars and Google purchased over 17,000 patents for around 12.5 billion. So, is 3 billion dollars for 1,100 of Kodak patents a reasonable or realistic amount, I would say probably no in this situation. Kodak has over 10,000 patents in its portfolio and they are selling 1,100 of them. This could mean the ones they are selling probably are not that important, since they have not decided to sell the total portfolio. Also, Kodak doesn't have that much room to negotiate, over the past several years Kodak has been struggling to stay above water and therefore, the potential purchasers would have more power in the negotiations. [Link] [Link]

Patent Jobs:

  • Thompson Hine is seeking an IP associate with 4-6 years of patent and trademark experience. [Link]
  • Roberts Mlotkowski Safran & Cole is searching for a patent attorney with 2-4 years of experience and an electrical engineering background. [Link]
  • Roberts Mlotkowski Safran & Cole is searching for a patent attorney with 2-4 years of experience and a chemical background. [Link]
  • Maginot, Moore & Beck is looking for a patent attorney with 1-5 years of experience and an electrical engineering background. [Link]
  • Cooley is searching for a patent attorney with 2-3 years of experience. [Link]
  • Meyertons, Hood, Klivin & Goetzel is seeking patent attorneys/agents and software computer engineers. [Link]

Upcoming Events:

  • Mizzou will be hosting its annual Missouri Technology Expo on September 8th. The event is held as a way of uniting innovators with those who can advance, develop and commercialize technologies. The guest speakers include, Christopher "Kit" Bond, Gregg Scheller, Suzanne Magee and many others. Several investment groups will be on hand, such as The Incubation Factory, DFJ Mercury, Allied Minds and many others. This will be a great event for patent attorneys and many others to network and build business relationships. [Link]
  • The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) will be holding its annual meeting in Los Angeles September 11-13th. Guest Speakers include CEO Chad Deaton (Baker Hughes) and Deputy Director James Pooley (WIPO). [Link]
  • IPO will be holding a conference in Los Angeles on September 14. The conference will discuss "Compulsory Licensing as an Emerging Global IP Issue". [Link]
  • The Chicago-Kent Supreme Court IP Review will be held on September 15th at Chicago-Kent College of Law. The conference is designed to provide intellectual property practitioners, jurists, legal academics and law students with a review of IP cases from the U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 Term, a preview of cases on the docket for the 2011 Term, and a discussion of cert. petitions to watch. Guest speakers include, Judge O'Malley, Mark Lemley, David Kappos, and a number of other influential individuals in the IP field. [Link]
  • The 2nd European Pharmaceutical Regulatory Law Forum will be held in Brussels, Belgium September 21-22nd. The forum will focus on recent developments affecting the pharma industry in Europe and will discuss the impact of US developments on European companies. (Patently-O readers can register with code PO 10 for a 10% discount) [Link]
  • American Conference Institute's Life Sciences Business Development & Acquisitions in Emerging Markets conference is scheduled for September 26-27 in New York, NY. (Patently-O readers can register with code PO 200 for a discount) [Link]
  • Boston University School of Law and the Kauffman Foundation will be holding a Workshop on Innovation and Patent Harmonization at Boston University School of Management on September 30-October 1. The workshop will cover the effect of harmonization in both advanced countries, such as the US, and in developing nations, with a particular focus on China. Anyone interested in attending, please RSVP to Elizabeth Aggot at [Link]
  • American Conference Institute's 12th Annual Maximizing Pharmaceutical Patent Life Cycles will take place in New York on October 4th-5th. The conference is one of the leading sources of information and analysis on the patent life cycle management. (Patently-O readers can register with code PO 200 for a discount) [Link]
  • C5 will be holding the 21st annual Forum on Biotech Patenting in London on October 5th-6th. The 2011 London Biotech Patenting Forum will focus on the latest legal developments affecting biotech companies and how to implement successful methods and strategies for drafting and filing patent applications in multiple jurisdictions. (Patently-O readers can save 100 pounds by using discount code PO 100) [Link]
  • American Conference Institute will be holding a FDA Boot Camp Device Edition conference on October 25th-October 26th in Chicago. (Patently-O readers can register with code PO 200 for a discount) [Link]
  • Licensing Executives Society (LES) will be holding their annual meeting on October 16-19 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego. Guest speakers include, Martha Ries, VP of IP Management, The Boeing Company and Barbara Dalton VP, Venture Capital, Pfizer. (Register by 8/31 to receive a $100 discount) [Link]
  • IPMI is holding the IP Law & Management Institute on November 6th – 8th at the Rancho Las Palmas in Palm Springs, CA. Hailed as "One of the few programs geared to experienced in-house IP Counsel", the Institute is a CLE-accredited program designed to provide time-starved Heads of IP with the Opportunity to meet and network with their peers, learn from the best practices and validate solutions and services. [Link]

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