USPTO

Patent reform: Can preissuance submissions help?

patent reform

While almost no one thinks that the America Invents Act (AIA) will completely solve America’s patent problems, there are a few provisions in the AIA that may be useful tools in limiting and/or preventing bad patents. One of these tools is the newly implemented Preissuance Submission procedure, which went into effect on September 16, 2012. This procedure allows third parties to participate in the patent application process by providing prior art, which can then be used by a patent examiner to determine whether a patent application lacks novelty or is otherwise obvious. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has now seized upon the new procedure to organize a project to identify pending applications related to 3D printing and then seek out relevant prior art for submission. » Read more

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Infographic: How patents hinder innovation

How patents hinder innovation

Patents may have been created to help encourage innovation, but instead they regularly hinder it. The US Patent Office, overwhelmed and underfunded, issues questionable patents every day. "Patent trolls" buy too many of these patents and then misuse the patent system to shake down companies big and small. Others still use patents to limit competition and impede access to new knowledge, tools, or other innovations. » Read more

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A cure for the common troll

A cure for the common troll

Our bridge into the 21st Century presently houses a nasty creature who demands a toll from the best and brightest in our community. The dreaded troll is a regular denizen of our current system of patent enforcement and he poses serious problems for technology companies. Despite the great expense of patent litigation, trolls are filing increasing numbers of patent suits aimed at technology companies, and particularly aimed at software and related areas of commerce. Their club of choice is the broad, complex, and vague patent claim. There are several means at our disposal, most of which are based on known mechanisms from other areas of the law, for dealing with these trolls, or more diplomatically, these "non-practicing entities." » Read more

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Open For Business: The importance of trademarks, even for an open source business

Though it might seem to contradict the open source way, I believe it is essential for an open source project to register and protect its trademark.

Think about it: You spend hours upon hours creating a project, writing code and building a reputation. The code is free, so anyone can use it, but your reputation--that’s your business. How do you protect it, if just anyone can come along and use your name? » Read more

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A hazy shade of value: Software patents just took a hit

Much of the problem with the current U.S. patent system involves haze. Whether it is ambiguity regarding what the patent covers or murkiness about whether the technology covered by the patent is actually new, patent plaintiffs regularly use this uncertainty to their advantage. This ambiguity–often planned–allows plaintiffs to leverage settlements against businesses that are forced » Read more

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Open*Law: 2010 in review

By nature of our interests and where open source commonly intersects the law, we post a lot about patents in the Law channel on opensource.com. And it's been an interesting year for patents.

In May, a verdict was delivered in favor of Red Hat and Novell in an infringement case based on bad software patents owned by "non-practicing entities." Rob Tiller's post on it, Total victory for open source software in a patent lawsuit, was the top article across opensource.com for the year. » Read more

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Introduction to "three strikes" copyright infringement rules in Dragon*con EFF track

Clifton Tunnell, a patent attorney registered to practice before the USPTO and associate of Anderson Dailey, LLP in Atlanta, GA and Andrew Norton of the United States Pirate Party and previously Pirate Party International, presented “Three Strikes and You’re Out” in the Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) track at Dragon*Con 2010. They gave an overview of the graduated response program in the entertainment industry to pursue file sharers and online copyright infringement.

”Graduated response” means each time a copyright holder finds an infringement, they increase their response. The first time they find you infringing, you might get a warning. The next time they may » Read more

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Can programming language names be trademarks?

Can–or should–a programming language name be a trademark? The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, the administrative board within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that adjudicates whether trademarks can be registered, recently decided that the word “Lua” was not a generic name for a programming language, but rather that the term referred to a particular proprietary language. Is it right though, that someone is allowed to exercise proprietary rights over a programming language name? » Read more

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