10 February 2011

Patentology Soundbytes

"All the news (and views) that's fit to link!"  

In this issue...

>   Briefing underway in Microsoft v i4i
>   IBM and Samsung announce massive cross-licensing deal
>   USPTO issues new 35 USC 112 Guidelines
>   Federal Circuit issues its first ever inter partes reexam decision
>   'Collateralized loans' patent survives Bilski



Patentology Soundbytes - we trawl the Web, so you don't have to!

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Briefing of the Supreme Court of the United States in Microsoft v i4i is in full swing.  Microsoft has filed its brief, and now 25 amici curiae ('friends-of-the-court') have filed briefs, ostensibly either in support of Microsoft or supporting 'neither party'.  The case is important, because it will establish the burden of proof required to invalidate an issued patent, either as the Federal Circuit's current rule that 'clear-and-convincing evidence' is necessary, or some lower standard.

Read more about the briefs filed to date on the Patently-O blog.

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IBM and Samsung have announced a patent cross-license agreement, under which they will license their respective patent portfolios to each other.  The two companies are the most prolific patentees at the USPTO, and in 2010 alone they were issued a combined total of 10447 US patents, or a staggering four and three-quarter percent of all US patents issued last year!  Read more:
  1. IBM media release
  2. IAM Magazine blog
  3. our earlier report on the top US patent recipients of 2010
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The USPTO has issued new Supplementary Guidelines to assist Examiners in determining compliance with 35 USC 112 (which covers clarity and definiteness of claims, written description, and so forth).

Gene Quinn over at the IPWatchdog blog seems pretty impressed with the guidelines, and suggests that they should be very useful for applicants.

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The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its first ever decision in an inter partes reexamination on 24 January 2011.  Although no opinion was issued with the decision, The Reexamination Center notes that the case is interesting for the clarity it brings to the procedural aspects of appeals from inter partes reexamination in the USPTO.

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Meanwhile, in the Eastern District of Texas, a 'business method' patent owned by H&R Block, relating to 'collateralized loans', and having claims directed to 'a computerized system for distributing spending vehicles', has been found to comprise patentable subject matter under the Supreme Court's Bilski ruling, despite failing the so-called 'machine-or-transformation' test.

Read more on Pater Zura's 271 Patent Blog.

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