Patent Prosecution Luncheon January 2011


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Topics covered in this month’s patent prosecution presentation include a discussion of the new extended missing parts program, the Microsoft v. i4i case in which the clear and convincing standard for the presumption of validity is being challenged, the Costco v. Omega case regarding foreign first sale doctrine, patent office appeals practice, and joint infringement.

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Patent Prosecution Luncheon January 2011

  1. 1. Prosecution Lunch Patent January 2011
  2. 2. Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program <ul><li>Requirements </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A non-provisional meeting filing-date standards and claiming benefit from a provisional </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A request to participate in the program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No non-publication request </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Basic filing fee, declaration, papers in condition for publication should be filed </li></ul><ul><li>Design, provisional, national stage, PCT, reissue applications not eligible </li></ul>
  3. 3. Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program <ul><li>If program requirements satisfied: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Notice of Missing Parts sent out </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gives 12 months to pay search, examination and excess claim fees plus surcharge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>On response to Notice, application goes in the examination queue based on its actual filing date </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If filing fee, declaration missing, or papers not in condition for publication: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Notice of Missing Parts sent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gives two months (extendable) to submit filing fee, declaration, papers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gives 12 months for other fees </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Invalidity Standard — Microsoft v. i4i <ul><li>Cert. granted November 29 </li></ul><ul><li>Issue: clear and convincing evidence needed to invalidate? </li></ul><ul><li>Microsoft: lower standard appropriate where the evidence not considered by PTO </li></ul><ul><li>Note KSR : rationale for validity presumption, PTO’s expertise in approving claims, “seems much diminished&quot; if patentee did not disclose key prior art to PTO </li></ul>
  5. 5. Invalidity Standard — Microsoft v. i4i <ul><li>Did i4i make a 102(b) sale (undisclosed to PTO)? </li></ul><ul><li>Inventors: sold item lacked features of their invention </li></ul><ul><li>M. relied on former i4i employee testimony and inventor’s written statements suggesting that sold item did have one of the features; source-code for the item unavailable </li></ul><ul><li>FC: jury had sufficient evidence to rule that the patent was not barred </li></ul>
  6. 6. International Exhaustion <ul><li>Costco Wholesale Corp. v. Omega S.A. (12/13/2010) </li></ul><ul><li>Legitimate watches bought abroad, imported to US; Omega argued that is infringement of US copyright </li></ul><ul><li>First sale doctrine: can resell one’s legitimate item </li></ul><ul><li>9th Cir.: N/A to foreign-made copies bought abroad (© is territorial; foreign sale did not “exhaust” US ©)  </li></ul><ul><li>S.Ct.: 4–4, w/o opinion; affirming but not precedent </li></ul><ul><li>“ Our unanswered questions . . . remain unanswered.” </li></ul>
  7. 7. Appeal Practice: “Silence Implies Consent” <ul><li>Ex parte Njo , No. 2009-004173 (BPAI 2010) </li></ul><ul><li>Appellant’s and Examiner’s brief filed, but appellant did not file reply brief </li></ul><ul><li>BPAI: “This absence . . . suggest[s] that such inaction may constitute acquiescence in the Examiner’s [briefed] arguments. ‘Silence implies assent.’” (quoting Harper and Row , 471 U.S. 539 (1985). </li></ul><ul><li>Appellant’s rebuttal in reconsideration request should have been in a reply brief, are untimely </li></ul>
  8. 8. Claim Drafting—Joint Infringement <ul><li>Akamai Tech., Inc. v. Limelight Networks, Inc. (FC 2010) </li></ul><ul><li>Joint infringement requires agency relationship or contractual obligation to do relevant steps </li></ul><ul><li>Issue arises when steps of method claims not carried out by a single party </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g., claim includes steps A, B, and C, but A & B done by one party and C done by another </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Here, at least one claim step performed by another (customers) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Claim Drafting—Joint Infringement <ul><li>P’tiff: def’t (1) gives customers instructions for steps, (2) offers technical assistance, and (3) contract has them perform steps if they use defendant’s service  </li></ul><ul><li>FC: essential whether “relationship between the parties is such that acts of one may be attributed to the other” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Joint infringement only if “an agency relationship between the parties . . . or when one party is contractually obligated to the other to perform the steps” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rejected both theories </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Insufficient evidence that customers do steps as agents for defendant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>K “merely explains that the customer will have to perform the steps if it decides to take advantage” of the service  </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Claim Drafting—Joint Infringement <ul><li>When drafting method claims, consider whether one party will perform all steps </li></ul><ul><li>FC: address “multiple party” issues by proper claim drafting ; “A patentee can usually structure a claim to capture infringement by a single party”  </li></ul><ul><li>May be possible to correct a claim via reissue </li></ul>
  11. 11. “ Everything that can be Invented has been Invented” <ul><li>Attributed to Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office in 1899. But is it apocryphal? </li></ul><ul><li>Researcher discovered an 1899 edition of Punch, with a dialogue in a publisher’s office regarding “The Coming Century” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Genius: Isn’t there a clerk who can examine patents. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Boy: Quite unnecessary, Sir. Everything that can be invented has been invented. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Or, go back to Ecclesiastes 1:9— </li></ul><ul><li>What has been will be again,    what has been done will be done again;    there is nothing new under the sun. </li></ul><ul><li>Thanks to </li></ul>
  12. 12. Prosecution Lunch Patent January 2011