Patently-O Bits and Bytes No. 95

  • Injunctive Relief: I re-read Michelle Lee’s (Google) statement about the need for patent reform. One issue that jumped-out this time: No mention of injunctions. Money is still at stake, but Google appears confident that it won’t face a shut-down even if it loses a patent case. In that sense, Google is lucky that it is being sued by non-practicing entities who as a de facto rule don’t get injunctive relief against infringers who have a major market share.
  • Benefit of Trade Secrets: Avoid Charges of Infringement. In some senses, google is very public. Yet, its actual operation is quite secretive. One benefit of that type of operation is that it helps avoid charges of patent infringement. If patentee’s can’t tell how you operate, it makes it much more difficult to assert charges of infringement.
  • Warranties and Copyright: My colleague Marc Roark has an interesting new paper: Limitation of Sales Warranties as an Alternative to Intellectual Property Rights: An Empirical Analysis of Iphone Warranties’ Deterrent Impact on Consumers.
  • The BPAI Watchdog: So far, Leigh Martinson is focusing on the BPAI’s application of Bilski.
  • European Bilski: The Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO is looking for third-party input on four issues:
    1. Is it only proper to exclude patents covering computer programs as such when explicitly claimed as a “computer program”?
    2. Does a claim avoid the computer program as such exclusion by mentioning a computer or data storage medium? (If not, what technical effect is needed?)
    3. Can a technical effect be non-physical? Is it sufficient if the physical entity is an unspecified computer?
    4. Does the activity of programming a computer necessarily involve technical considerations?
  • Input on the European questions are due by the end of April.
  • Application for the job of PTO Director (by Prof Morris) I maintain that it is possible to find an excellent nominee who is not a patent attorney. However, any nominee who does not have extensive experience with the patent prosecution process will face an uphill credibility battle from day one.