2015 Was an Up and Down Year for Issued U.S. Patents and Patent Applications

We have seen a steady increase in the number of patents issued each year by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office since 2009. The statistics are in for calendar year 2015, and it appears that the growth trend is slowing. With a concerted effort by the USPTO to decrease patent pendency, some believed that we would see more patents issued in 2015, but that was not the case. Many see the issuance of U.S. Patents to U.S. businesses and universities as a quantitative indicator of American innovation, so we are analyzing the numbers from that perspective.

Apple v. Samsung: A Dozen Lawsuits, Four Years and 548 Million Dollars

Those who enter into heated money-related disputes will often claim that it is “not about the money, it’s the principle of the thing.” That statement is rarely true. It is almost always about the money. But in the case of the lengthy Apple-Samsung lawsuits that have come to be known as the “smartphone patent wars” it really never was about the money.

No Business Understands the Value of IP Better than Apple

The idiom “beg, borrow or steal” refers to going after something you want and doing anything to get it. In the case of Apple, it craves the latest technologies and does not have to beg or borrow or steal. Apple just pays cash for what it wants, and often pays a premium. With $200 billion in cash (yes, “billion” with a “b”) on hand, Apple has the luxury of just buying the intellectual property it wants.

The Apple-Samsung Lawsuits Were Not the Beginning of IP Litigation for Apple

Long before the famous Apple-Samsung iPhone patent wars, Apple was involved – as both plaintiff and defendant – in several litigations involving intellectual property rights. Here are just a few of the more notable trademark and patent lawsuits involving this American icon.

The Beatles vs. Apple

Drafting and Prosecuting Patents to Avoid Inter Partes Review

There is no way to make a patent invulnerable to challenge in an Inter Partes Review (IPR), but there are ways to make a patent less appealing as a target for IPR and also less susceptible to a finding of un-patentability in an IPR. The authors of this paper have extensive experience in IPR as well as in patent prosecution, which gives us a unique perspective as to how our actions in procuring patents affect a client’s ability to defend those patents against a validity challenge in IPR.

Innovation and PATENT Acts Generate Considerable Political Turmoil

The Innovation Act (H.R. 9), that is currently stalled in Congress and not scheduled for a vote at the writing of this article, has generated considerable political controversy. Patent legislation never draws this type of news coverage and interest, and maybe it’s about time it did!

Opposition Continues to Build against the Innovation Act

Although it was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee in June, the Innovation Act (H.R. 9) – which, we have pointed out previously, has nothing to do with innovation – has yet to come to the House floor for a vote, and opposition to the bill continues to build. Since the organizations opposed to the Innovation Act make their points very effectively, we share with you this month - in their own words - why several organizations oppose the Innovation Act.

Two Patent Bills Are Reported Out of Committee in June

Two separate patent bills – one in the Senate and one in the House of Representatives – were reported out of committee this month and will be sent to the floor for a vote. These are both “patent” bills because they deal with changes in patent law, but neither is “patent reform” since both bills are the product of lobbyists for Big Tech and are designed to make it riskier and more expensive for inventors, small and start-up businesses, universities and patent licensing companies to assert their intellectual property rights.

Yet Another Patent Bill Is Introduced in Congress

The year began with the re-introduction of the Innovation Act (H.R. 9), a do-over of the same bill that passed in the House two years ago, but failed in the senate. As we wrote in the January Wealth of Ideas feature article, “The Re-Introduced Innovation Act Has Nothing to Do with Innovation,” this bill was crafted by lobbyists for Big Tech, and funded primarily by Google, in an attempt to weaken U.S. Patents and the American patent system.

At Last, a Patent Reform Bill that Makes Sense

It received very little fanfare when it was introduced last year, but the TROL (Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters) Act of 2014 just came out of subcommittee as we go to press. Formulated in the Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee of the House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee, this bill focuses on the true “patent trolls,” the companies that send out hundreds or thousands of letters to small businesses demanding payment for alleged infringement of a patent or patents which are often not clearly defined.