Posts Tagged ‘intellectual property’

EPO – New Guidance On Added Subject Matter

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

A guest post from Paul Cole.

Readers will be aware that added subject matter issues have for a long time been a thorny issue for EPO Examination practice.

On 7 February 2014 a symposium on EPO practice regarding Art. 123(2) EPC took place at the EPO’s Munich headquarters. Twenty-five senior patent professionals from Europe, Japan and the USA took the opportunity to share experiences with EPO examiners, lawyers, and procedural experts in an effort to enhance understanding of how examiners apply Art. 123(2) EPC, and raise awareness among examiners of the problems encountered by users.

Margot Fröhlinger, Principal Director Patent Law and Multilateral Affairs, Heli Pihlajamaa, Director Patent Law, and Alfred Spigarelli, Director Patent Procedures Management opened the plenary session with an overview of EPO practice. John Hornickel from the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), Yasuda Ryosuke from the Japan Patent Attorney Association (JPAA), and Gabriele Leißler-Gerstl from the European Patent Institute (EPI), presented the US, Japanese and European perspective on Article 123(2) EPC. The results were presented in a final plenary session.

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“The Good Wife” Defends GMOs

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Last Sunday’s episode of “The Good Wife” featured a Christian mediation between a farmer (Robert Joy) sued by a Pioneer-like company, represented by the actor Richard Thomas, for saving GMO corn seed for replanting. The facts were a mash-up of J.E.M. Ag Supply v. Pioneer Hi-Bred., 534 U.S. 124 (2001), and Monsanto Canada v. Schmeiser, 1 S.C.R. 902 (2004). In the former case, JEM was selling Pioneer’s hybrid seed that had been “saved” by farmers from a previous crop of the seed, in violation of the shrink wrap-type license on the original Pioneer seed they had purchased at JEM. In Monsanto-Canada, a farmer saved and replanted glyphosate-resistant canola seed from a field he claimed was contaminated by “GMO” pollen from neighboring fields.

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American Calcar v. Amer. Honda Motor Co. – Therasense Goes Out For a Test Drive

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

On Friday, in American Calcar v. Amer. Honda Motor Co., App. No. 2013-1061 (Fed. Cir., September 26, 2014) a divided Fed. Cir. panel affirmed the district court’s ruling, following remand, that three patents on a multimedia system for vehicle information and control were invalid due to inequitable conduct (IC) by Calcar’s founder, Mr. Obradovich. The patents were all part of one family and the “priority patent” is U.S. Pat. No. 6,009,355. The primary evidence of inequitable conduct was the failure by Obradovich to disclose the owner’s manual of an Acura model that Calcar used as the basis of its specification. (A copy of the decision can be found at the end of this post.)

The Fed. Cir. had reversed the court’s earlier finding of inequitable conduct for a number of reasons, including judicial error in relying on jury findings of IC rather than ruling from the bench on equitable grounds, applying the “reasonable examiner” standard instead of the “but for” Therasense standard to resolve materiality, and use of a “sliding scale” to find intent based on a strong showing of materiality.

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PLANET BLUE v. NAMCO – Abstract at the “Point of Novelty”

Monday, September 29th, 2014

In McRO, Inc. d.b.a. Planet Blue v. Namco Bandai Games America, civ. No. CV 12-10322-GW (FFMx) (C. D. Cal., Sept. 22, 2014), the granted Defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings that US Patent numbers 6,307,576 and 6,611, 278, were invalid as attempts to claim an abstract idea. (A copy of the decision is available at the end of this post.)

The claims were directed to automatically animated lip synchronization and facial expression of 3D animated characters. The court read the claims in view of the admitted state of the prior art and located a single “point of novelty”: “[T]he idea of using rules, including timing rules, to automate the process of generating keyframes.” “So what the claim adds to the prior art is the use of rules, rather than artists to set the morph weights and transitions between phonemes [e.g., the change in the shape of the lips as words are spoken.]”

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