December 28, 2007

December 27, 2007

As noted by a recent Associated Press article via Yahoo! News (link below), a new book appears to provide “definitive evidence” that Alexander Graham Bell, the man recognized as being the inventor of the telephone, actually obtained his ideas from a rival inventor, Elisha Gray. In Seth Shulman’s book, entitled “The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell's Secret”, information pertaining to several “aggressive lawyers” and a “corrupt patent examiner” surrounds Bell’s own laboratory notebook and the “discovery” of a specific type of voice transmitter referenced therein over a twelve-day period when Bell traveled to Washington, DC, to answer patent-related questions. According to the brief description of the book from (link below), “Bell furtively—and illegally—copied part of Elisha Gray's invention in the race to secure what would become the most valuable U.S. patent ever issued. And afterward, as Bell's device led to the world's largest monopoly, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, he hid his invention's illicit beginnings.” Regardless of your position on who did indeed invent the telephone, this book looks to be quite an interesting read. Bell’s patent (U.S. Patent No. 174,465, entitled “Improvement in Telegraphy”), issued on March 7, 1876, includes a system claim (“A system of telegraphy in which the receiver is set in vibration by the employment of undulatory currents of electricity, substantially as set forth”), a combination claim (“The combination, substantially as set forth, of a permanent magnet or other body capable of inductive action, with a closed circuit, so that the vibration of the one shall occasion electrical undulations in the other, or in itself, and this I claim, whether the permanent magnet beset in vibration in the neighborhood of the conducting-wire forming the circuit, or whether the conducting-wire be set in vibration in the neighborhood of the permanent magnet, or whether the conducting - wire and the permanent magnet both simultaneously be set in vibration in each other's neighborhood”), and three method claims. The text of this patent, including images of the figures, is available at the link below. “The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell's Secret” will be released on January 8, 2008.

Yahoo! News Article: LINK Book Entry: LINK
U.S. Patent No. 174,465: LINK

December 26, 2007

It was recently announced that a joint effort between the USPTO and the Japanese Patent Office (JPO), the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH), will soon be implemented on a full-time basis. The PPH effort began in July, 2006, as an initial feasibility study, and after noted successes by both office leaders, the program is scheduled to go full-time on January 4, 2008, one day after the initial part-time trial is scheduled to end. According to Jon Dudas, the Director of the USPTO, “The pilot project shows that the Patent Prosecution Highway offers significant potential for our offices to make inroads in reducing our backlogs, eliminating redundant work, and examining more efficiently,” and that “[b]y leveraging work done by other offices, the USPTO can make better use of its resources to speed up processing and improve quality.” According to the USPTO announcement (link below), “Implementation of the PPH is a cornerstone of the January 2007 cooperation initiative between the United States Department of Commerce and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on enhanced intellectual property rights protection,” and “the initiative calls for the USPTO and the JPO to demonstrate leadership by taking a proactive approach to streamlining practices and procedures under the international patent system to promote expeditious, inexpensive and high-quality patent protection throughout the world.”

USPTO Press Release: LINK

December 21, 2007

December 19, 2007

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) recently held a forum whereby ministers and a number of top officials from several least developed countries (LDCs) discussed the potential impact on intellectual property as a “strategic tool” for helping those countries advance. According to the WIPO announcement (link below), the forum, entitled “HIGH-LEVEL FORUM ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY FOR THE LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES: BUILDING CAPACITY AND A KNOWLEDGE BASE FOR WEALTH CREATION, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT”, was held on December 12, 2007, highlighting the potential using IP for “alleviating poverty and promoting wealth creation” in LDCs, and using IP as “a tool for wealth creation, social and cultural development.” According to one representative of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Debapriya Bhattacharya, IP “can be a strategic tool to promote innovation and give a boost to the SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises], generate income for our artisans and performers, protect our traditional knowledge, healing practices and cultural heritage from misappropriation, help increase food production, bring benefit from geographical indicators, expand innovative and non-traditional ways of learning, facilitate investment and transfer for technology and generate wealth.” Additional comments from several LDCs, including Lesotho, Senegal, the Republic of Guinea, Ethiopia, and Uganda are provided in the WIPO announcement link below. A link to the provisional program, showing all speakers and topics at the LDC forum, is provided below for your reference.

WIPO LDC Forum Announcement: LINK
Provisional Forum Program: LINK

December 17, 2007

It was recently announced that amendments to the Netherlands Patent Act of 1995 and the Implementation Decree of 1995 are undergoing a review and potential amendments, one of which is the discontinuation of the six-year patent. Aside from other changes (including the future ability to file Dutch applications in English and a number of fee changes as described in the Netherlands Patent Office link below), the Dutch six-year patent, which is generally granted without prior examination, is being phased out “because the users feel that it offers to little legal security.” This particular change, according to the Netherlands Patent Office, means that “patent applicants will, in all cases, have to request a search into the state of the art within thirteen months,” and “[a]ll applicants will then be granted a twenty-year patent, including a report on the search.” These changes are proposed so that “both the applicant and third parties are in a better position to make an estimate of the value of the patent granted.”

Netherlands Patent Office Announcement: LINK
Six-year Patent Webpage: LINK
Twenty-year Patent Webpage: LINK

December 14, 2007

The USPTO announced today that it will indeed be closed on Christmas Eve (Monday, December 24th), and since Christmas Day (Tuesday, December 25th) is a traditional Federal holiday, any action or fees due on those two days and on Saturday, December 22nd, and Sunday, December 23rd, will now be due on Wednesday, December 26th. According to the USPTO announcement, December 24th and 25th are deemed to be “Federal holiday[s] within the District of Columbia” under 35 U.S.C. § 21(b) and 37 C.F.R. §§ 1.6, 1.7, 1.9, 2.2(d), 2.195 and 2.196.

In addition, and according to the USPTO, “37 C.F.R. §§ 1.6(a)(2), 2.195(a)(4) and 2.198 provide that correspondence deposited in the Express Mail Service of the United States Postal Service (USPS) in accordance with 37 C.F.R. §§ 1.10 or 2.198 will be considered filed on the date of deposit (as shown by the “date-in” on the Express Mail mailing label) with the USPS. Thus, any paper or fee properly deposited in the Express Mail Service of the USPS on Monday, December 24, 2007 or Tuesday, December 25, 2007, in accordance with 37 C.F.R. §§ 1.10 or 2.198 will be considered filed on its respective date of deposit in the Express Mail Service of the USPS (as shown by a "date-in" of December 24, 2007 or December 25, 2007, on the Express Mail mailing label, respectively).”

Additional information regarding electronic transmissions (patent and/or trademark related), and documentation filed through the USPTO’s Electronic Filing System (EFS-Web) are discussed in the USPTO announcement link below.

USPTO Announcement: LINK
35 U.S.C. § 21: LINK
2007 Federal Holidays: LINK
2008 Federal Holidays: LINK

December 13, 2007

While browsing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) website looking for something of particular interest to write about, I came across the “Conferences, Meetings and Seminars” webpage. This particular webpage “provides access to information about meetings held at WIPO and related documents comprising a detailed meeting calendar and a powerful document search facility.” These two items (the calendar and document search tools) are new to me and I felt that they would be worth sharing with you.

First, the “Calendar of Events” webpage is a tool whereby a user can identify all upcoming WIPO events held in Geneva, Switzerland, or in other places around the world. The calendar shows one month at a time, and lists all events (hyperlinked) to be held that month, and on the individual days when the event takes place, those days are also hyperlinked for the user’s convenience. In this month alone, WIPO is hosting three (3) events in Geneva and is hosting fourteen (14) other events across the world in countries such as Egypt, Paraguay, Brazil, Cameroon, and others. I note that two meetings start today (December 13th): the “WIPO-KIPO ASIA REGIONAL SEMINAR ON USING IP PANORAMA FOR BUILDING CAPACITY OF SMES FOR STRATEGIC IP MANAGEMENT” in Seoul, South Korea, and the “WIPO-JIPA Conference on the Strategic Use of Intellectual Property (IP) in Select Industries” seminar in Tokyo, Japan. Once the individual events are selected, the user may download available seminar information in multiple formats.

Second, the “Search Meetings and Documents” webpage is a tool whereby a user can search and access a plethora of available documents contained within the WIPO seminar database. Meetings can be searched based on the individual meeting codes, keywords in titles, meeting dates, and countries where the meetings were held. In addition, seminar documents can be searched based on individual document codes, keywords in titles, the document author, the language the document is written, as well as a full text search of the document itself. An advanced search is also available for a user to search specific areas of documents for keywords and to search documents excluding specific terms. If you are seeking background information on a specific area of intellectual property, I recommend performing a search using this useful tool.

WIPO Conferences, Meetings and Seminars Webpage: LINK
WIPO Calendar of Events Webpage: LINK

December 11, 2007

If you have ever conducted any online business with the USPTO, then you have probably received the USPTO’s notice by e-mail. For those who have not, the USPTO recently announced that its Legacy Private PAIR system will be retired on December 31, 2007. Legacy Private PAIR, the predecessor to Portal Private PAIR, includes a number of components (like authentication software) which are no longer supported by their respective vendors, and the operating system it is based upon cannot be upgraded without re-hosting the entire system. As such, and so that the USPTO does not risk a potential failure of Certification and Accreditation as required by Appendix III of OMB Circular A-130, Legacy Private PAIR will be retired at the end of 2007 with Portal Private PAIR continuing to be the main system for applicants to conduct patent business with the USPTO. According to the USPTO, Portal Private PAIR offers XML data downloads, noting that “[a]n XML file may be downloaded containing an extensive list of bibliographic data for single applications; users can obtain a list of applications with status changes; and a list of outgoing correspondence and reference documents is also available. Each of the XML download files has W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) schema files available for download from the USPTO.”

USPTO Announcement: LINK
USPTO Private PAIR FAQ Webpage: LINK

December 10, 2007

On Tuesday, December 11th, the USPTO will be hosting its next live online chat for independent inventors. This chat, to be held from 2:00 to 3:00PM EST, will include a number of senior officials from the USPTO answering questions in a continuing effort by the USPTO to “promote and protect America’s independent inventors.” There were two previous online chats this year (June 28th and October 25th), and links to those chat transcripts and all others from 2004 forward are available on the USPTO website (link below). The USPTO has also prepared an alphabetical topic list from prior transcripts, providing the questions and answers from earlier chats for each individual topic. Those independent inventors interested in participating in the upcoming online chat may enter through the link provided below.

Earlier Chat Transcripts: LINK
Alphabetical Topic List: LINK
Chat Participation Login Webpage: LINK

December 06, 2007

Earlier this week the U.S. Department of Justice filed its brief in support of the argument that a $220,000 damage award in favor of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is constitutional. In October, 2007, the RIAA was successful in its claim against Jammie Thomas for copyright infringement of twenty-four (24) specific songs in suit by her use of the Kazaa file sharing service. Thomas argued that the Kazaa music folder was not hers, but evidence pointed to her ownership of that particular file on the file sharing network. Thomas was accused of distributing the copyrighted files back in 2005, and the jury awarded the RIAA $9,250 for each violation (which is within the $750 to $30,000 statutory range). According to the Yahoo! news article (link below), Jeffrey Bucholtz, the Acting Assistant Attorney General, wrote in his brief that "Given the findings of copyright infringement in this case, the damages awarded under the Copyright Act's statutory damages provision did not violate the Due Process Clause" of the Constitution, and that the damages were not "so severe and oppressive as to be wholly disproportioned to the offense...." According to the article (link below), Bucholtz’s Memorandum in Defense of the Constitutionality of the Statutory Damages Provision of the Copyright Act filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota asserted that “the award[s] in the case were not disproportionate or unreasonable and were in line with the provisions of the Copyright Act.”

Yahoo! News Article: LINK Article: LINK
Judgment of October, 2007: LINK

December 05, 2007

Last week the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) hosted an international roundtable regarding to the economics of intellectual property (IP). According to the WIPO news release (link below), the International Roundtable on the Economics of Intellectual Property was held last week on November 27th and 28th and included 15 “leading economists” reviewing the “available economic literature in this field and identify empirical research projects that could be undertaken in developing countries and countries in transition.” Some of the topics discussed included the economics of IP pertaining to developing countries and those in transition, technology transfer, and general access to technology, discussed in-part in the following draft papers:

- Innovation and Appropriability Strategies
- IP and International Technology Transfer
- IP Rights in the Pharmaceutical Industry
- The Economics of Copyright
- The Economics of Geographical Indications
- IP Rights and Knowledge Transfer from Public Research Organizations and Universities to Industry

Although only draft papers were discussed during the meeting, final papers are expected to be made available to the public in early to mid 2008. Additional information regarding the content of the International Roundtable is available at the link below.

WIPO News Release: LINK

December 03, 2007

The U.S. Copyright Office recently announced that it has updated its website to offer the revised version of “Copyright Law of the United States and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code.” According to the U.S. Copyright Office announcement, this edition includes “the text of title 17 U.S.C., including all amendments enacted through the end of the second session of the 109th Congress in 2006. It includes the Copyright Act of 1976 and all subsequent amendments to copyright law; the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984, as amended; and the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act, as amended.” Links to the U.S. Copyright Law in PDF and HTML format and for purchasing the bound volume from the Superintendent of Documents (U.S. Government Bookstore) are provided below.

U.S. Copyright Office Announcement: LINK
U.S.C. Title 17 via U.S. Copyright Office: LINK
U.S. Copyright Law (PDF): LINK
U.S. Government Bookstore 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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