New Old Patents

So far in 2016, the USPTO has issued three patents that claim priority pre-GATT.  These three are grandfathered in under the old 17-year-from-issuance patent term because they were filed before June 8, 1995.

  1. John Harvey’s Signal Process Patent No. 9,294,205 is one of dozens held by the company claiming priority back to a 1981 filing. The patents are owned by Personalized Media Communications.  PMC is an active plaintiff in the Eastern District of Texas.
  2. Dr. Robert Gallo and Flossie Wong-Staal received another patent relating to their discovery that HIV is the cause of AIDS. U.S. Patent No. 9,309,574 claims priority back to a 1985 filing and relates to the creation of an immortal cell line that reproduces HIV. At the time, Gallo worked at the National Cancer Institutes and the patent rights are held by the U.S. Government.
  3. Finally, U.S. Patent No. 9,294,184 has issued to Lockheed Martin covering covers a repeater that receives and transmits polarized RF signals. The application was originally filed in 1973 but was held under a secrecy order until 2010.  From 2010 until 2015 the case awaited examiner action that finally arrived with a notice of allowance.

 

14 thoughts on “New Old Patents

  1. “PMC is an active plaintiff in the Eastern District of Texas.”

    Tomorrow the pejorative will read,

    The troll PMC is an active plaintiff in the District of Delaware.

    Of course patent owners want to be anywhere but the defendant’s home court. The ND Cal. has a reputation for being anti-patent. What really is going on is that it is biased in favor of local companies. Look at Apple’s victories over Samsung as an example. Everyone knows about this bias. I believe that most district courts favor hometown companies.

  2. Dennis, will the PTO tell you how many more of these truely “submarine” patent applications are still pending, and in particular how many are Gilbert Hyatt’s?

    1. “Right. A method of using ‘an automatic control unit.'”

      That’s not what is claimed. I’d say “nice try” but it wasn’t.

      You have the reading comprehension of the typical patent exam!ner. I wonder why that is.

  3. If Lockheed Martin used their invention for anything it looks like they got a great deal. Commercial exploitation for 43 years followed by 17 years of patent life.

    1. It’s difficult to tell what would happen today if this were litigated. Back when this was drafted, everyone wrote MPF claims:

      1. An rf cross-polarization repeater comprising, in combination: an rf antenna adapted to receive an input signal and to separate said signal into orthogonally related polarization components; an rf receiver; a first transmission channel connecting said antenna and said receiver, said first channel being adapted to transmit said polarization components of said input signal in separate subchannels; first adjustable phase shift means included in said first channel; first detection means connected to said receiver for adjusting said first phase shift means to null the signal presented to said receiver by one of said subchannels; a second rf transmission channel coupled to said first channel at the antenna end thereof, said second channel having two subchannels connected to the subchannels of said first channel; second adjustable phase shift means included in said second channel; testing means for presenting a test signal to said receiver by applying a signal to one of the subchannels of said second channel and for simultaneously adjusting said second phase shift means to null the signal thus presented to said receiver by one of the subchannels of said first channel; a transmitter connected to the other of the subchannels of said second channel; and sequencing means for operating first said first detecting means, then said testing means and then said transmitter in a recurring sequence to transmit from said second channel a pulsed output signal which maintains a substantially cross-polarized state with respect to the polarization state of said input signal.

      The problem is that the rules have changed. Would the means here be adequately described? It’s unclear. There’s only one figure with some blocks. For instance, the “sequencing means” appears to be the server and controller 35. Is this described well enough (or is the name good enough) to enable one skilled in the art to know the structure for performing the sequencing? It may or may not.

      That’s the problem with changing caselaw: even though 35 USC para 6 has been around for a long time, the caselaw is completely different now than when this was written. My quick analysis is these claims are likely invalid based on the current caselaw (but not the caselaw that existed when this was filed).

  4. r. Robert Gallo and Flossie Wong-Staal received another patent relating to their discovery that HIV is the cause of AIDS. U.S. Patent No. 9,309,574

    The claims of this patent appear to be focused on (1) single-stranded nucleic acid polymers for detecting HIV-1 by hybridization and (2) the duplexes created by hybridization. The eligibility of these claims would appear to suspect. Claim 18 in particular seems particularly dubious from a 101 standpoint:

    18. A nucleic acid of at least 18 contiguous nucleotides comprising a nucleotide sequence selected from the group consisting of … a Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type-1 (HIV-1) nucleotide sequence from the H9/HTLV-III cell line having ATCC Accession No. CRL 8543 … and wherein the nucleic acid is covalently attached to a solid support.

    The nucleic acid sequence is found in nature. Attachment of that ineligible nucleic acid to a solid support (old and well known in the art to be useful for purification/detection) would not seem to qualify as the “something more” that would lend eligibility to the claim.

  5. John Harvey’s Signal Process Patent No. 9,294,205 is one of dozens held by the company claiming priority back to a 1981 filing. The patents are owned by Personalized Media Communications. PMC is an active plaintiff in the Eastern District of Texas.

    Wow. This is some functionally claimed junk of the lowest order:

    1. A method for storing programming at a programming storage station, said storage station having a storage device capable of storing transient programming, and an automatic control unit for controlling said storage device to store information, said automatic control unit maintaining a record of one or more locations of said storage device that are available for storing transient programming, said method comprising the steps of:

    storing at said storage station a first control signal operative to store programming at said storage device;

    storing first programming at a first storage location of said storage device under control of said automatic control unit in accordance with said first control signal;

    accessing said first programming at said first storage location, said accessing causing a requirement to continue to store said first programming to cease;

    determining, automatically, with said automatic control unit that said requirement to continue to store said first programming at said first storage location has ceased;

    recording with said automatic control unit, based on said step of determining, that said one or more locations of said storage device that are available for storing transient programming include said first storage location;

    receiving second programming at said storage station;

    selecting, based on said step of recording, said first storage location from said recorded one or more locations of said storage device that are available for storing transient programming with said automatic control unit;

    and storing said received second programming at said first storage location based on said step of selecting.

    Totally worth the wait. 😛

    1. “This is some functionally claimed junk of the lowest order:”

      It’s a method claim, re re.

      Man, you never venture far from the script, do you?

      Heckuva job, Dennis.

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