US SUPREME COURT TO HEAR MICROSOFT v i4i
On 29 November 2010 the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari (ie accepted the appeal) in Microsoft Corporation v i4i Limited Partnership (see Summary Dispositions, page 4). For unspecified reasons, Chief Justice John Roberts 'took no part in the consideration or decision of this petition.'
This case relates to the presumption of validity enjoyed by a granted US patent, which currently requires 'clear and convincing evidence' to be presented at trial in order to invalidate a patent claim, regardless of whether the prior art offered at trial was considered during examination by the US Patent & Trademarks Office. Microsoft argues that this high standard is unreasonable in relation to prior art that was never reviewed by the patent examiner, and that such prior art should instead be reviewed de novo by the trial court.
This does not seem an unreasonable proposition, considering the significant time and resource constraints faced by the USPTO, and it is nothing new for those of us living in jurisdictions in which patents do not enjoy a presumption of validity (see, for example, section 20 of the Australian Patents Act 1990).
We understand that the Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in the case in March, with a decision likely by the end of June.
IP AUSTRALIA LAUNCHES BETA VERSION OF FULL TEXT SEARCHING
Amidst absolutely no fanfare whatsoever, IP Australia has launched the beta version of its AusPat full-text searching facility, as promised in its announcement of 3 November 2010 (reported here).
The web site advises that:
The beta system has full functionality but only some of the documentation. The remaining documents are being quality tested and are being loaded progressively. We're expecting the new version of AusPat to become fully operational in March 2011 and will advise when this occurs.In the meantime, users are invited to experiment and familiarise themselves with the new functionality.
Try AusPat Beta here.
IP EVENTS NEWS
On Thursday 9 December 2010 at 6:30pm, an event entitled 'The Innovative Organisation – Strategy and Executive Compensation' will be held at the Melbourne Business School. This free public seminar is presented by the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia (IPRIA), in conjunction with the Melbourne Business School. For further details, and to register, visit the IPRIA website.
IP Australia recently hosted a webinar entitled 'The Super IP Professional – what role will an IP Professional play in a modern knowledge economy?' For those who missed it, the webinar can now be viewed online on-demand, and for free. All of the presentations from the seminar are also available for download.
PATENTOLOGY AUTHOR PUBLISHED IN THE AGE NEWSPAPER
Last week we reported on the release of the results of the Australian Senate inquiry into Gene Patents. A somewhat skewed (in our opinion) article on the Senate Committee's report appeared in The Age newspaper on 27 November 2010, airing the views of anti-gene patent campaigner Dr Luigi Palombi. This prompted us to write to the paper, presenting an alternative view of the Committee's findings. The letter was published yesterday, and can be read by following this link, and then scrolling down to (or searching for) the heading 'Little value, patently'.
Interestingly, our letter was edited quite substantially, despite being within the 200-word limit. The original contained an additional paragraph more critical of the lack of balance in the Age article. In particular, the word 'outdated' which appears in quotation marks in the article heading appears nowhere in the Senate Committee report, or in the article, so it is not clear who is being quoted, or why. The version as published concentrates more on the value of the inquiry, which only serves to demonstrate that criticising politicians is a more certain path to publication than criticising the paper's journalists and subeditors!