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When ‘No Means’ Means ‘Means’ in Functional Claim Language

Posted on Jun 24, 2015 in Articles

The preferred patent claim strikes a very fine line. When patent claims are broad, with fewer words, it is easier to find that they have been infringed. When claims are too broad, however, they may fail to meet the statutory requirements of patentability, for they may then fail to distinguish over the prior art (i.e., that which was already known before the patent was applied for). One way that patent attorneys draft broad claims, while at the same time differentiating over that which is already in the public realm, is to use something called functional claiming. Simply put, instead of writing a patent claim that describes what something is, a functional claim describes what something does (and hence the function that is performed).

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The Washington Redskins Might Be Getting Trademark Help

Posted on May 27, 2015 in Articles

And so continues the latest controversy over the name of a professional sports team. Last year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) canceled the Washington Redskins’ trademark registration, citing the federal trademark statute that prohibits the registration of trademarks that are disparaging.

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The Debate Over Fee-Shifting in Patent Infringement Litigation

Posted on Apr 22, 2015 in Articles

The Innovation Act is a bill currently before Congress to revamp several statutes relating to patent litigation. Earlier this month, over 150 university presidents received a letter from the Consumer Electronics Association urging those presidents to support the Innovation Act. At issue is a controversial proposal to provide for fee-shifting in patent infringement litigation.

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Patent Office Disbands Warning System; Defenses Still in Place

Posted on Mar 25, 2015 in Articles

Earlier this month, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled an internal program that had been designed to flag patent applications of questionable subject matter. The Sensitive Application Warning System (SAWS) had existed for many years as a way for the patent office to try to prevent the issuance of patents that were “controversial and noteworthy.” Although the program no longer exists, there are still mechanisms in place to prevent such patents from issuing.

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Standards-Setting Body in the IP News Over Policy Change

Posted on Feb 25, 2015 in Articles

If someone does not have a technical background, then he or she may have never heard of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, but IEEE plays a huge role in many of the most popular electronic devices that are used today. IEEE, of which I am a proud member, is the world’s largest association of technical professionals, with more than 400,000 members worldwide. IEEE has recently been in the news because of a significant policy change that will affect the patent rights of many patent holders. In fact, the policy change has initiated significant controversy, because while some technology users will benefit from this change, some patent owners have expressed not only dismay and concern, but outright defiance.

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特許が「質」と定義される意味とは?

Posted on Jan 28, 2015 in Articles

クライアントに業務を取り扱う弁護士に何を期待するか尋ねてみてください。その答えは、業務に「質」が伴うことでしょう。誰でも、法律サービスを購入すると、代わりに質を手に入れると考えます。しかし、特許の分野において、特許が質を持つ意味とは何ですか?

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What Does It Mean for a Patent to Be Defined as ‘Quality’?

Posted on Jan 28, 2015 in Articles

Ask any client what he or she expects from the lawyers who are handling his or her work, and invariably the answer you receive is that the work must possess “quality.” Everyone wants to know that when they purchase legal services, they will get quality in return. But in the patent realm, what does it mean for a patent to have quality?

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Ruling In Your Case May Depend On Whether 112(6) Applies

Posted on Dec 5, 2014 in Articles

Whether prosecuting a U.S. patent application, or litigating a U.S. patent, patent practitioners must consider the implications of 35 U.S.C. §112(6).[1] These implications are significant, because whether or not 112(6) applies to a claim can determine claim construction or can render a claim indefinite and thus invalid.

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Are You Able to Extend Your Patent’s Term of Enforcement?

Posted on Sep 3, 2014 in Articles

The U.S. Constitution provides to inventors the exclusive right to their discoveries “for limited times.” Patents are thus granted with limited terms of enforcement. Is there a way to extend the term of a patent? Is there a way to increase the time period during which a patent can be monetized? In some situations, the answer to both questions is a resounding “yes.”

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Balancing Claim Language Requirements in Nautilus Case

Posted on Jul 2, 2014 in Articles

When legal principles are at odds with each other, it can be immensely difficult to reach a conclusion that is fair and just. Such is the dilemma in Nautilus v. Biosig Instruments, 572 U.S. _______ (2014). The case has been talked about for months, and seen by some as a possible major step forward in the “war” against “patent trolls.”

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