Author: Gene Quinn

5 Tips From a Patent Attorney

Inventors meeting with a legal practitioner should be informed and realistic One of the problems independent inventors can face when seeking representation from a patent attorney is an unfavorable stereotype—about inventors. This stereotype based on a minority paints an unfavorable picture of the majority. There is no easy way to say this, so I’ll just say it. If you want competent representation from a patent attorney or patent agent, you cannot come off like a crazy inventor: out of touch with reality and/or combative. Sure, even an inventor wearing a tinfoil hat may eventually be able to find a...

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Let’s Reverse 3 Recent Bad Decisions

History shows our patent system can recover, but current leaders lack vision In many parts of the world on April 26, there was reason to celebrate World Intellectual Property Day. In the United States, there should be less celebration and more reflection on how elected leaders, appointed officials and learned jurists are allowing the engine of U.S. economic dominance to be disassembled. However, there could be much to celebrate in America if a few decisions in the past 11 years are reversed to put the United States on exceptionally solid footing. Positive signs Though the U.S. patent system is...

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Laches Ruled No Defense to Patent Infringement

EXPECTED DECISION BY SUPREME COURT IS PRO-PATENT On March 21, the United States Supreme Court ruled in SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag et al. v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC, et al that laches cannot be invoked as a defense against a claim for damages in a patent infringement case brought within the sixyear statute of limitations set forth in the U.S. Patent Act. Laches is an unreasonable delay in making an assertion or claim. The same ruling was reached in 2014 in Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., with respect to laches as a defense in copyright infringement claims. The case involved a dispute over a patent for adult incontinence products. SCA Hygiene, the plaintiff, accused defendant First Quality of infringement in October 2003 but did not file suit until August 2010—almost seven years later. The district court and a panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that SCA’s delay in filing suit was unreasonable and that laches therefore barred SCA’s claim for pre-suit damages. These included damages for infringement occurring within the patent act’s six-year damages limitation period. But the 7-1 Supreme Court decision, delivered by Justice Samuel Alito, vacated the federal circuit’s ruling and eliminated what had been an important tool used by accused infringers to fight delayed infringement claims. A dissent was filed by Justice Stephen Breyer, who would have affirmed the federal...

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End Regulations that Inhibit Patents

Trump’s order is a start; now he must make USPTO more patent friendly. On February 24, President Donald Trump issued an executive order that directed agencies to review all regulations in a search for those that are outdated, unnecessary or ineffective. The goal is to streamline regulations by eliminating those that inhibit job creation, eliminate jobs, or are inconsistent with government initiatives and policies. Michelle Lee—finally confirmed in March as director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office after a couple months’ uncertainty as to whether she would continue in the role following Trump’s inauguration—recently formed the Regulatory...

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U.S. Falls from 1st to 10th in Patent System Strength

America still No. 1 in IP protection, Chamber Index says   The United States was again the top-ranked country for intellectual property protection in the recently released U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global IP Index for 2017, but the rankings for the economies of America, the U.K., Japan and the European Union ranked more closely together than ever. No doubt this was significantly due to the United States tumbling to 10th from first on patent system strength. The United States continues to take steps backward due to a variety of self- inflicted wounds. Among them: the omnipresent threats of more...

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