112th US CONGRESS SET TO 'PROMOTE INNOVATION'
On 11 January 2011, US Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), outlined his agenda for the 112th Congress, promising to revive several issues left over from the last Congress, including patent reform efforts.
In an address entitled 'Protecting Taxpayers, Promoting Innovation, Preserving Justice', Sen. Leahy said:
Among our top priorities is the Patent Reform Act. This bipartisan initiative to modernize our patent system has received considerable attention in the last several Congresses. Updating our antiquated patent system will keep America at the forefront of innovation and invention. It will help bolster our economy and protect jobs. And it will do so without adding a penny to the Nation’s deficit. I am encouraged that Chairman Lamar Smith of the House Judiciary Committee agrees that patent reform is sorely needed. In the interest of protecting American jobs and economic leadership, Democrats and Republicans need to complete this important legislative effort.We admire the Senator's optimism, but given past experience with these reform efforts, we trust that readers will excuse our skepticism.
UNILOC'S AUSSIE INVENTOR RESPONDS TO APPEAL DECISION IN MICROSOFT CASE
We reported last week on the US Federal Circuit decision in Uniloc v Microsoft. While the attention of commentators has been focused mainly on the court's criticisms of the damages calculations, and its trashing of the so-called '25% rule' for determining reasonable royalties, we suggested that Uniloc would probably be reasonably happy with the outcome.
The Australian inventor of the 'product activation' system at issue in the case, Ric Richardson, has commented on his blog that:
As the inventor of the Uniloc technology it is a great thing to have put your future in the hands of the US legal system by applying for a patent, then have that patent withstand some of the heaviest scrutiny ever in history and come out intact.
The jury verdict last year was a great feeling. The judge's decision to overturn that decision was a major setback. Today’s decision gets us back on track towards justice.Richardson is also quoted in the Wall Street Journal:
“All the discussion is about the claim, the damages amount,” said Mr. Richardson. But from his perspective, the most important part of the ruling was the infringement finding, he said. A federal judge in Rhode Island had previously thrown that out.
LICENSING SPECIALIST MCINNES JUMPS SHIP TO DIBBSBARKER
Many in the Australian IP business will know, or at least know of, Rob McInnes, who has for many years been with the firm of Spruson and Ferguson in Sydney.
In a surprising move (to us, at least) DibbsBarker has announced that, as of 11 January 2011, McInnes is a partner in the firm's Intellectual Property and Technology Team. As their media release says, McInnes is:
[a]cknowledged as one of the top 250 technology licensing lawyers worldwide, and one of only four Australians to have met the requirements for the Certified Licensing Professional qualification, he is a specialist in the structuring and negotiation of patent licences and other contracts for the development and commercialisation of new technologies.
IBM BREAKS (OWN) RECORD FOR ISSUED US PATENTS
Patent research company IFI CLAIMS has released its annual list of top US patent recipients and (surprise) IBM once again heads the table.
In 2010, the USPTO issued a record 219,614 patents, of which IBM received 5,896 patents, smashing the previous record of 4,914 patents issued in 2009 to... IBM. The company has now topped the US patent charts for 18 consecutive years!
Rounding out the top ten were: Samsung (4,551); Microsoft (3,094); Canon (2,552); Panasonic (2,482); Toshiba (2,246); Sony (2,150); Intel (1,653); LG Electronics (1,490); and Hewlett-Packard (1,480).
Patentology will not be accepting bets on who will top the list in 2011!
JUDGE JAGGER? RANDALL RADER REPORTEDLY ROCKS RAFFLES!
[US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Chief Judge Randall] Rader took to the stage at the gala dinner [on 6 January 2011] and entertained the assembled crowd with an energetic rendition of the Rolling Stones' Honky Tonk Woman. He may not have captured Mick Jagger's vocals, but he had the moves down pat. A rock and rolling judge is not something that many of us come across too regularly, let alone one as senior as Rader.
Now, you only have to glance through reader's comments on almost any of Judge Rader's opinions in patent cases on the Patently-O blog to know that not everybody shares his views on patent law. But what's not to love about jivin' judiciary?!