October 31, 2006

On Thursday, November 2, 2006, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will host a one-hour webinar on its accelerated examination procedure beginning at 2PM Eastern time. On August 25, 2006, a new procedure was finalized to allow for an applicant to receive a “final decision” from an Examiner within 12 months of filing a patent application. This accelerated examination process requires an applicant to perform his or her own patent search, providing detailed search results to the USPTO at the time of filing, and limits the applicant to a maximum of 3 independent claims. The USPTO has dedicated a specific web page to the Accelerated Examination program, including several additional links in addition to those listed below. According to the general USPTO invitation, the webinar will discuss benefits to the applicants, petitions to make special, specific processing and examination procedures, the information required to be provided by an applicant under this program, the accelerated review period itself, and instructions on how to electronically file such an application on EFS-Web. Registration for this webinar is required (see link below).

USPTO General Invitation: LINK
Webinar Registration: LINK
Accelerated Examination FAQs: LINK
Application Guidelines: LINK
USPTO Search Templates Website: LINK
MPEP § 708.02 (VIII – Accelerated Examination): LINK

October 30, 2006

The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Friday that it has granted a writ of certiorari for Microsoft Corp. v. AT&T Corp to allow for additional comment on foreign patent damages. In July of 2005, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the lower court’s decision that AT&T could pursue royalties from Microsoft from Microsoft’s overseas manufacture and sale of infringing software. At issue were the master versions of the Microsoft Windows® product that Microsoft would ship overseas and allow specific computer manufacturers to replicate the software and install it on computers being assembled and sold overseas. The software contained specific speech codecs that were held to be infringing of AT&T reissue patent no. 32,580. The Federal Circuit affirmed the decision that Microsoft was liable to AT&T under 35 U.S.C. § 271(f), holding that shipping software overseas for copying purposes counts as “supplying” under the statute. Microsoft’s petition for a writ of certiorari contained two issues: “(1) Whether digital software code – an intangible sequence of “1’s” and “0’s” – may be considered a “component[] of a patented invention” within the meaning of Section 271(f)(1); and, if so, (2) Whether copies of such a “component[]” made in a foreign country are “supplie[d] … from the United States.” According to the Washington Post article (link below), this “is one of the most important patent cases that will come before the court this year and could determine the reach of U.S. patents overseas.”

U.S. Supreme Court Announcement: LINK
Washington Post News Article: LINK
Microsoft v. AT&T (Federal Circuit Decision): LINK

October 27, 2006

On Wednesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a new speech recognition patent to Apple Computer, Inc. This patent (U.S. Patent No. 7,127,394, entitled "Assigning meanings to utterances in a speech recognition system") includes 29 claims for computer-implemented methods, computer-readable storage media, and an apparatus pertaining to speech recognition. The first claim is a method comprising "determining a set of speech rules which match a spoken sequence of words by searching a current language model," the language model generated "from a plurality of speech rules according to a current operating context" and the words are received through an audio input. The claim also describes the plurality of speech rules as comprising "a language model and an expression; and evaluating said expressions in said current language model to assign a meaning to said spoken sequence of words." According to the patent, "prior art speech recognition systems suffer from many deficiencies that prohibit incorporating such technology into non-dedicated devices such as a personal computer," including the overall complexity of algorithms used for speech recognition, problems with accuracy, the requirement of a large vocabulary of words, dynamically adding words to the vocabulary, and transforming the spoken commands into data that can be used by the system. To potentially overcome these deficiencies, the disclosed technology within the patent is to "provide a means for associating meanings with spoken utterances in a speech recognition system" and "provide an improved method for associating expressions (e.g. actions and variable values) to speech rules in a speech recognition system." According to the Mac News Network Article (link below), "it's apparent that this patent could easily apply to a future iPhone."

U.S. Patent No. 7,127,394: LINK
Mac News Network Article: LINK

October 26, 2006

According to a recent World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Press Release, there are now 17 countries (including the European Patent Office) allowing electronic filing of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications. The list of countries/offices, in alphabetical order, providing such a filing mechanism includes Australia, Denmark, the European Patent Office (EPO), Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States of America. Oddly enough, the newest member of this list is the United States, when on October 14th of this year the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s EFS-Web system was expanded to allow for the filing of PCT-SAFE (“Secure Applications Filed Electronically”) system. Some benefits are listed in the WIPO press release (link below), including reduced fees in some instances, prompt filing receipts and processing notices, and cost savings pertaining to copies and postage.

WIPO Press Release: LINK
PCT Treaty, Regulations and Administrative Instructions: LINK
USPTO Electronic Business Center Website: LINK
Current USPTO Fee Listing: LINK
USPTO EFS-Web Help & Tutorial Webpage: LINK

October 25, 2006

On Monday, two men who conspired to steal trade secrets from The Coca-Cola Company for subsequent sale to PepsiCo, Inc., pleaded guilty to the crime at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division. Ibrahim Dimson and Edmund Dehaney pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy, while a third person, Joya Williams, pleaded not guilty to the charges against her. According to the CNN article (link below), Williams was to "copy and/or remove the company's trade secret documents and remove samples of products that were in development" and give them to Duhaney and Dimson, who would then attempt to sell the trade secrets. An attempted sale to a Pepsi employee led to involvement by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, further leading to a $75,000 attempted sale and a $1.5M attempted sale of the trade secrets by the two men. A sample of product that was stolen from Coca-Cola and “sold” to an FBI agent was tested and confirmed as a true Coca-Cola sample product. According to the Yahoo! News article below, convictions in this trade secret theft case could result in 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine for each defendant.

CNNMoney.com News Article: LINK
Yahoo! News Article: LINK
18 U.S.C. § 1832 (Theft of Trade Secrets): LINK

October 24, 2006

Late last week, the USPTO announced the winners of the 2006 Collegiate Inventors Competition, and the Grant Prize went to Matthew Haugland of the University of Oklahoma. According to the invent.org website link below, Mr. Haugland’s technology focused on accurately predicting temperatures at night after purchasing land and installing a number of weather stations on the plot to obtain temperature data, and based on the data he collected, Mr. Haugland “developed a weather forecasting technique that accurately predicts nighttime temperatures.” For winning the competition, Mr. Haugland received a $25,000 prize. First place in the Graduate Category ($15,000) went to Craig Hashi and YiQian Zhu, both from the University of California, Berkeley, for their development of a vascular graft made from a polymer and a patients own bone marrow stem cells. First place ($10,000) in the Undergraduate Category went to Fan Yang of Johns Hopkins University for her development of a coating for contact lenses to prevent bacteria from adhering, thus reducing the risk of a contact lens-induced eye infection. The Collegiate Inventors Competition first took place in 1990, and is held on an annual basis and “promotes exploration in invention, science, engineering, technology, and other creative endeavors and provides a window on the future technologies from which society will benefit in the future.”

USPTO Press Release: LINK
Collegiate Inventors Competition Overview: LINK
Invent.org Webpage for Matthew Haugland: LINK
Invent.org Webpage for Craig Hashi & YiQian Zhu: LINK
Invent.org Webpage for Fan Yang: LINK

October 23, 2006

In response to a request by a consortium of Japanese television stations and entertainment groups, YouTube, Inc. agreed to remove nearly 30,000 files from its website that were alleged to be copywritten by Japanese entities. Research performed by the Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers identified over 29,000 video clips on YouTube that were posted without requisite permissions from the copyright holders in Japan. According to the Yahoo! Article below, most of the videos posted on YouTube are homemade, but there are also "scores" of copywritten material available on YouTube. YouTube has a specific policy to remove copywritten materials once a complaint is received, but it is also noted in that article that since Google recently acquired YouTube for $1.65B in stock, YouTube may be subject to a number of copyright lawsuits. According to YouTube's Terms of Use, its users may not "submit material that is copyrighted, protected by trade secret or otherwise subject to third party proprietary rights, including privacy and publicity rights, unless [the user is] the owner of such rights or have permission from their rightful owner to post the material and to grant YouTube all of the license rights granted herein." It is reported that over 100 million video clips are viewed on YouTube each day.

Yahoo! News Article: LINK
YouTube Website: LINK
YouTube Terms of Use: LINK
YouTube Community Guidelines (including copyright references): LINK
YouTube's Press Release Regarding Google Acquisition: LINK

October 20, 2006

In what is being referred to as a “landmark ruling” in Japan, the Japanese Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision to award royalties to an employee for intellectual property created during his employment and owned by his employer. Seiji Yonezawa, the creator of technologies regarding reading CDs and DVDs that were the subject of at least three patent applications filed by Hitachi in the 1970s, was initially paid 118,000 yen (approximately US$1,000) for his inventing efforts. Mr. Yonezawa then took Hitachi to court after retiring from the company, claiming that he was due royalties based on products sold that incorporate his inventions. A 2004 court agreed with him, and on Tuesday, the Japanese Supreme Court ordered Hitachi to pay him 163 million yen (approximately US$1.4M) in royalties. According to the International Herald Tribune, this is not the first such decision awarding high royalty amounts to employee inventors in Japan, noting that earlier this year Toshiba settled a similar lawsuit filed by an inventor for 87 million yen, and Japan’s Nichia Corporation settled a case in 2005 with the inventor of the blue light-emitting diode (LED) for 840 million yen (approximately US$7.1M) after a lower court decision awarded 20 billion yen (approximately US$168.6M) to the inventor.

International Herald Tribune News Article: LINK
Forbes.com News Article: LINK
Asahi Shimbun News Article: LINK
Supreme Court of Japan Website: LINK

October 19, 2006

According to a recent Forbes.com article (link below) referencing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Patent Report released on Monday, 2004 statistics show that while Japan and the United States still lead the world in total patent application filings, China is quickly moving up the list. In 2004, 423,081 patent applications were filed in Japan, compared to 356,943 in the United States. The Republic of Korea was third with 140,115, China fourth with 130,384, and 155,000 patent applications were filed with the European Patent Office (noting that this is the only non-country on the list). The next countries, in decreasing order of patent applications filed, are Germany, Canada, Australia, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, Brazil, India, France, Mexico, and Norway. Additional data is also provided showing the number of patent filings per billion U.S. dollars in gross domestic product (GDP), as well as the number of patent filings per million people in the country. One surprising change of note was the increase in patent applications filed in China between 2000 and 2004, which nearly doubled during that time period. I note that the article does not appear to take into consideration the fact that a significant portion of these applications are filed internationally, but the actual WIPO data shows a distinction between "resident" applications and "non-resident" applications (see link to graph below).

Forbes.com Article: LINK
WIPO Patent Report: Statistics on Worldwide Patent Activity (2006 Edition): LINK
Top 20 Patent Offices for Filing Applications (Chart): LINK

October 18, 2006

It was announced on Monday that the U.S. Department of State will be allocating $3M to assist foreign countries with their intellectual property training and protection programs. According to the AllAfrica news article below, this new allocation increases the total granted by the U.S. government since 2004 for this purpose to $8.5M. The largest allocation is just over $700k to support the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and other countries, over the next two years for training of border and customs officials regarding IP crimes. Similar assistance being provided to India, where $365k is allocated to train those officials as well as judges and prosecutors. Several other programs, including funding to Paraguay, Ukraine, Brazil, and Russia, are being funded for these purposes and for targeting specific piracy of audio and visual recordings. Lists of allocations to individual countries are available at the first two links below.

AllAfrica News Article: LINK
ag-IP-news Article: LINK
U.S. Department of State "Intellectual Property Enforcement" Website: LINK

October 17, 2006

I will periodically post case citations from the Federal Circuit along with the date of the opinion/order and a brief list of the legal topics discussed therein (specifically those with additional embedded case law citations). This posting covers the eighty-sixth through the ninetieth IP cases that were appealed from the district court level and decided by the Federal Circuit in 2006. All opinions are precedential unless otherwise indicated.

Intel v. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research OrganisationMicrosoft v. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (07/14/2006): subject matter jurisdiction of a foreign state, scope of patent protection, licensing arrangements, definition of “commercial activity” under the U.S. Code

Jumpsport v. Jumpking (07/21/2006, non-precedential): appellate review of judgment as a matter of law, review of claim construction for infringement purposes, abuse of discretion standard of review of inequitable conduct, unenforceability of a patent due to inequitable conduct, contributory infringement requires direct infringement

State Contracting & Engineering Corp. v. Condottee America v. Ross, Esq. (07/24/2006, non-precedential): attorney’s fees dispute from patent infringement litigation, liens filed against court judgments, discharged counsel & contingent fees, definition of “prevailing party” under the law of one state

Louisville Bedding Company v. Pillowtex Corporation (07/25/2006): settlement agreements regarding patent infringement claims, motion to reopen litigation matter, appellate review of denial of motions under FRCP 60(b)(6), abuse of discretion standard of appellate review

Wireless Agents LLC v. Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB (07/26/2006, non-precedential): appellate review of claim construction, claim language read in view of the specification of a patent, specification language as limiting claim scope

October 16, 2006

I will periodically post case citations from the Federal Circuit along with the date of the opinion/order and a brief list of the legal topics discussed therein (specifically those with additional embedded case law citations). This posting covers the eighty-first through the eighty-fifth IP cases that were appealed from the district court level and decided by the Federal Circuit in 2006. All opinions are precedential unless otherwise indicated.

Cordis Corp. v. Boston Scientific (06/29/2006, non-precedential): inequitable conduct regarding prior art reference disclosure, standard for "materiality" of a prior art reference, standard for "intent to deceive" the patent office, conduct pertaining to one patent tainting another patent, patent citing to only one solution to two listed problems

Momentus Golf v. Swingrite Golf Corp. (06/30/2006): doctrine of prosecution disclaimer (statements made to overcome rejection during prosecution), different interpretations of responses during prosecution; dissent discusses response language from an additional perspective

LG Electronics v. Bizcom Electronics (07/07/2006): implied licenses & requisite burden of proof, patent exhaustion doctrine (a.k.a. first sale doctrine) as triggered by an "unconditional sale," licenses for entire portfolios of patents, pursuit of patent infringement claims, claim language and applicability of § 112 ¶ 6, claim differences as assisting with claim interpretation, cited prior art as assisting with claim meanings, claim scope disclaimer within specification, "all limitations rule" of doctrine of equivalents

Rogers v. Desa International (07/13/2006, non-precedential): review of summary judgment for invalidity as being obvious, Graham factors regarding obviousness, discussion of individual Graham factors as applicable to the claimed invention and the noted prior art

Flex-Rest, LLC v. Steelcase (07/13/2006): challenge of jury verdict regarding sufficiency of jury instructions, notable list of appellate standards of review regarding jury instructions, expert testimony, non-infringement, and inequitable conduct; suppression or concealment of the invention, each element of a patent claim as being material, lack of disclosure of photographs to the patent office during prosecution, materiality and intent of inequitable conduct, applicants erring on the side of disclosure

October 13, 2006

On Wednesday, the patent court in South Korea ruled against Starbucks Corporation in its attempt to restrict Elpreya’s use of the brand “Starpreya.” Noting that the words “bucks” and “preya” have no special meaning, and that the word “star” is common and does not distinguish one product from another, the court stated that “[b]Both of the trade names are made of two words and are very unlikely to be called in separate forms such as ‘Star’ or ‘Preya’ and ‘Star’ or ‘Bucks’.” Starbucks initially filed suit against Elpreya, a South Korean company, claiming that the use of the word “Starpreya” was an attempts to benefit from the goodwill of Starbucks and would cause confusion between the two product brands. It is also noted that last year the patent court dismissed an earlier claim made by Starbucks that Elpreya’s Starpreya logo infringed it’s trademarked logo, stating that as the two logos have different elements (one having a mermaid and the other having a goddess), and even though both logos contain green circles with the same green banding, block text of either “STARPREYA” or “STARBUCKS” at the top of the circle and “COFFEE” at the bottom of the circle, white stars on the left and right sides of the green band containing the text, and a black and white line drawing of a woman in the center of the circle with a black background, the court determined that it was hard to consider the two logos (shown here, click to enlarge) as being similar to one another.

The Korea Times News Article: LINK
Yahoo! News Article: LINK
Starbucks Company Webpage: LINK
Starpreya Coffee Website: LINK

October 12, 2006

On Tuesday, TeleCommunication Systems Inc. (TCS) announced that it had received a U.S. patent on its server location technology. U.S. Patent No. 7,120,450, entitled “Consequential Location Derived Information,” issued on October 10th and includes 22 method and apparatus claims for providing information regarding a wireless device. According to the summary of the invention, “[a]pplications register with the system they are interested in presence and/or location information consequentially,” and “[a]request for presence or location information is received by a potentially unrelated application, either through a direct request or as a polled request.” Afterwards, the location information “is retrieved through standard practices and replied to the caller,” and “[a]s a consequence of the original presence or location request, the resultant information is also returned to the register applications.” The patent references the practice of watching/monitoring wireless subscriber locations by “polling,” noting that “[t]he conventional polling technique utilizes a system within the wireless network to request updated location information relating to all provisioned subscribers” which is performed, for example, every few minutes. However, the patent states that polling is “very resource intensive making it a costly solution for the business use cases it supports.” According to the patent, implementing the disclosed technology “greatly reduces the load placed on the wireless network since the registered applications received updated information without directly requesting the information.”

SYS-Con Media Article: LINK
U.S. Patent No. 7,120,450: LINK
TeleCommunication Systems Website: LINK

October 11, 2006

It was recently announced that Fortinet Inc., a provider of internet security systems, obtained three U.S. patents related to its security technology. U.S. Patent No. 7,096,383, entitled “System and method for virtual router failover in a network routing system,” issued on August 22, 2006, and includes 25 system and method claims relating to a “network routing system having a control blade and a plurality of virtual routing engines.” U.S. Patent No. 7,111,072, entitled “Packet routing system and method,” issued on September 19th and includes 20 system and method claims pertaining to a “flexible, scalable hardware and software platform that allows a service provider to easily provide internet services, virtual private network services, firewall services, etc., to a plurality of customers.” U.S. Patent No. 7,116,665, entitled “Methods and systems for a distributed provider edge,” issued on October 3rd and includes 27 system and method claims for processing network traffic on a distributed Provider Edge (PE) system. Fortinet’s most recently issued patent claims a PE system comprising a PE backbone device, a Virtual Routing and Forwarding device (VRF) “associated with a single customer site and having a single routing table and forwarding table,” and a plurality of “Virtual Private Network (VPN) Routing and Protocol Modules (VRPs) residing on the VRF,” whereby each of the VRPs communicates with the routing and forwarding tables with the PE backbone device through the data place, and wherein “each VRP is associated with a single customer VPN.” According to the USPTO’s assignment records, Fortinet has 4 issued patents (the aforementioned 3 patents as well as U.S. Patent No. 6,983,792) and also has the rights to 13 additional pending published U.S. patent applications.

Yahoo! Finance Article: LINK
U.S. Patent No. 7,096,383: LINK
U.S. Patent No. 7,111,072: LINK
U.S. Patent No. 7,116,665: LINK
Fortinet Inc. Website: LINK

October 10, 2006

By Jay G. Taylor

The Southern District of New York finds that Google's practice of selling a registered trademark as a key word to a competitor of the trademark owner so that a search of the trademark triggers the appearance of a sponsored link to the competitor's website as part of the search results does not constitute trademark use and is not actionable under the Lanham Act. In Rescuecom Corp. v. Google, Inc., 5:04-CV-1055, Chief Judge Norman Mordue concluded that because Google was not using the mark in connection with the sale, offering for sale, distribution or advertising of any goods or services, there was no actionable trademark use within the meaning of the Lanham Act. The court noted that the search results are not altered and searchers are not diverted because a link to the trademark owners web site is also available as a part of the search results. The sponsored link is identified as such either to the right of or immediately above the unaltered search results. The court likened this practice to the common retail practice of grouping generic products next to brand products on store shelves so that the consumer could reach purchasing decisions based upon product comparisons. The court also pointed out that neither the sponsored link nor the competitor's web page contained the trademark at issue. The court also found no dilution because there was no trademark use to cause dilution. This case is one of several recent district court cases which have gone both ways on this issue. So far no Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has directly weighed in on this issue and as a result the law on this issue remains very murky.

Rescuecom Corp. v. Google, Inc. Decision: LINK

Jay Taylor is a Partner with Ice Miller focusing his efforts on patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret litigation.

October 09, 2006

The USPTO, in a release from October 5th, has issued a "Notice of Clarification of Office Policy To Exercise Discretion in Reexamining Fewer Than All the Patent Claims." The USPTO acknowledged that the 8th Edition Revision 4 MPEP included language within MPEP § 2258(IV)(B), regarding ex parte reexaminations, and MPEP § 2658(IV)(B), regarding inter partes reexaminations, resulted in "a public perception that the Office is required to examine all claims of a patent, once ... reexamination ... is requested for at least one claim of a patent and the Office then determines that a SNQ [substantial new question of patentability] is raised for at least one claim." The USPTO then notes that this issue was clarified in Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., et al. v. Jon W. Dudas, Civil Action No. 1:05CV1447 (E.D.Va May 22, 2006), Slip Copy, 2006 WL 1472462, where the court noted that the 35 U.S.C. §§ 311-313 were clear that reexaminations would be performed on the claims requested to be reexamined by the requester, and that the USPTO was not required to reexamine any claim not specifically requested. This has been memorialized in the 8th Edition Revision 5 MPEP at § 2258(IV)(B), regarding ex parte reexaminations, which now states in relevant part that "The Office's determination in both the order for reexamination and the examination stage of the reexamination will generally be limited solely to a review of the "live" claims (i.e., existing claims not held invalid by a final decision, after all appeals) for which reexamination has been requested. If the requester was interested in having all of the claims reexamined, requester had the opportunity to include them in its request for reexamination. However, if the requester chose not to do so, those claim(s) for which reexamination was not requested will generally not be reexamined by the Office." The language stating in part that "each claim of the patent will be reexamined" has been removed from the MPEP to support this clarification. A similar change was made for inter partes reexaminations in the 8th Edition Revision 5 MPEP at § 2658(IV)(B).

USPTO Notice of Clarification: LINK
MPEP § 2258 (Revision 4): LINK
MPEP § 2258 (Revision 5) - within Chapter 2200: LINK
MPEP § 2658 (Revision 4): LINK
MPEP § 2658 (Revision 5) - within Chapter 2600: LINK

October 06, 2006

This afternoon, the Director of the USPTO and Under Secretary for Commerce, Jon Dudas, and U.S. Representative Tom Feeney (24th District of Florida) will co-present via conference call on the importance of intellectual property protection in Orlando, Florida. This 2PM local time conference call will focus on how IP protection leads to the creation of jobs, and how counterfeiting and piracy can hurt the U.S. economy. According to the USPTO press release, "Orlando ranks fourth in the nation for high-technology jobs," and that "[t]he Burnham Institute for Medical Research's recent decision to expand to the Orlando area will create more than 3,000 jobs and an atmosphere for high wage technology job growth." The USPTO has provided a phone number (888-359-7564) and passcode (58075) for reporters to call in to participate, with the conference leader’s name (Brigid Quinn) also required to be connected to the call.

USPTO Conference Call Announcement: LINK
Jon Dudas’s USPTO Webpage: LINK
Rep. Tom Feeney’s Congressional Website: LINK
Burnham Institute for Medical Research Website: LINK

October 05, 2006

It was announced this week that Traffic.com received a patent on its animation technology for traffic flow at real-time. U.S. Patent No. 7,116,326, entitled "Method of displaying traffic flow data representing traffic conditions," issued on October 3, 2006 and includes 97 method and traffic-flow map claims for displaying traffic conditions on a road map. The first claim of the patent is a method of "displaying traffic flow data representing traffic conditions on a road system" comprising the creation of a graphical map including one or more segments, "determining a status of each segment on the graphical map, the status of each segment corresponding to the traffic flow data associated with that segment," and creating an animated map by "combining the graphical map and the status of each segment." This method further comprises real-time updates of traffic flow, whereby the traffic flow map reflects the real-time data and the "animated traffic flow map depicts artificial moving images." This is the first U.S. patent issued and assigned to Traffic.com, noting that the company has two additional published applications (U.S. Patent Application Serial Nos. 10/463,056, entitled "Remote radio spectrum information acquisition," and 10/611,494, entitled "Method of creating a virtual traffic network") related to its traffic technologies.

U.S. Patent No. 7,116,326: LINK
MSN/AP Article: LINK
Traffic.com Website: LINK

October 04, 2006

I thought it would be an interesting project to look to see how quickly the U.S. Patent Office issues utility patents. I began with the issue date of U.S. Patent No. 4,000,000 (December 28, 1976), and looked at how many days it took to issue the next 100,000 patents. I took increments of 100,000 patents through U.S. Patent No. 7,100,000 (issued on August 29, 2006), and calculated the number of days between each 100,000 patents issued. As could be expected, it took longer to issue patents earlier on, noting that the highest figure (658 days) occurred between the issuance of U.S. Patent No. 4,100,000 (July 11, 1978) and U.S. Patent No. 4,200,000 (April 29, 1980). Although it appears that the rate of patent issuance has leveled off somewhat, the shortest period of time (196 days) occurred between the issuance of U.S. Patent No. 7,000,000 (February 14, 2006) and U.S. Patent No. 7,100,000 (August 29, 2006). I also note that from U.S. Patent No. 5,800,000 and U.S. Patent No. 7,100,000, the number of days between each 100,000 utility patents ranges from 196 days to 259 days, the latter figure (oddly enough) being the time between the issuance of U.S. Patent No. 6,900,000 and U.S. Patent No. 7,000,000. (Click on the graph to open a larger version.)

October 03, 2006

According to the USPTO website, the current patent and trademark fee schedules will continue into FY2007. The current fee schedule, last updated on September 15, 2006, will remain in effect for the foreseeable future. The most recent changes to the schedule, previously discussed in a recent Daily Dose of IP article, included changes to the “PCT Fees to Foreign Offices” section and had no impact on the remainder of the patent or trademark fees. According to the USPTO, “Should any revision become necessary, it will be announced on this website as promptly as possible. USPTO customers should monitor this website for any updated information.”

USPTO Fee Schedule Announcement: LINK
Current USPTO Fee Schedule: LINK

October 02, 2006

This Thursday, several organizations are working together to honor the "flying machine" patent authored by Harry A. Toulmin and issued to Wilbur and Orville Wright on May 22, 1906. According to the Dayton Daily News, "Thursday's events will include the unveiling of a statue of Toulmin on downtown Springfield's Fountain Square, across from the restored Bushnell Building where Toulmin had his office." In addition, a dinner will be hosted at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, including a program entitled "The Lawyer's Role in Innovation." The President-elect of the American Bar Association, Bill Neukom, and the United States Patent Commissioner, John Doll, will both be speaking at the event. For those in the Dayton area, this program is free and will be held at the Joseph E. Keller Hall at the University of Dayton starting at 6:30PM.

U.S. Patent No. 821,393: LINK
Dayton Daily News Article: LINK
"Lawyers Promoting Innovation" Event Brochure: LINK
University of Dayton School of Law Website: LINK

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Copyright 2006-2010, Mark Reichel. The Daily Dose of IP is my personal website, and I am not providing any legal advice or financial analysis. Any views expressed herein should not be viewed as being the views of my employer, Ice Miller LLP. Any comments submitted to this blog will not be held in confidence and will not be considered as establishing an attorney-client relationship. Information submitted to this blog should be considered as being public information, and the submitter takes full responsibility for any consequences of any information submitted. No claims, promises, or guarantees are made or available regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information contained in this blog or otherwise available by searching from or linking away from this blog.

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The DDIP Author

Mark Reichel
Reichel IP LLC

I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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Patent Docs (Zuhn et al.)
Patently-O (Crouch)
The 271 Patent Blog (Zura)
The Ice Loop (Ice Miller LLP)
The Indiana Law Blog (Oddi)
The Invent Blog (Nipper)
The Patent Prospector (Odom)
The TTABlog (Welch)