Friday 12 October 2018
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has published a final rule changing the claim construction standard applied during inter partes review (IPR), post-grant review (PGR), and the transitional program for covered business method patents (CBM) proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).
The final rule replaces the “broadest reasonable interpretation” standard with the federal court claim construction standard that is used to construe a claim in a civil action under 35 U.S.C. § 282(b). This is the same claim construction standard articulated in Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc), and its progeny. Additionally, under the final rule, when construing a claim term in an IPR, PGR, or CBM, the PTAB will take into consideration any prior claim construction determination that has been made in a civil action, or a proceeding before the International Trade Commission (ITC), if that prior claim construction is timely made of record in that IPR, PGR, or CBM.
. . . As noted in the rule package, the change will lead, among other things, to greater consistency and harmonization with the federal courts and the ITC and lead to greater certainty and predictability in the patent system. . . . Several comments questioned the proposed “retroactive” application of the rule. In response to these comments, the final rule will not be retroactively applied and instead will apply only to IPR, PGR, and CBM petitions filed on or after the effective date of the final rule, which is November 13, 2018.
Wednesday 10 October 2018
The University of California [UC] has opened a “liaison office” in Beijing to provide opportunities for UC startups to access China’s large market for products and services as well as its venture capital market. The press release states, in part:
In June, 2018, UC’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) established a liaison office in Beijing at TusStar, a leading tech incubator and early-stage investment fund. The key objective of this liaison office is to provide business development and business-matching services as well as overall administrative support to UC startups looking to expand their business in China.
TusStar operates over 160 incubators globally; it has deployed over $2 billion in investment capital since 2001. It is owned by Tus Holdings, a large integrated enterprise with 500+ subsidiaries and $15+ billion in investment capital.
The new UC office will be located inside TusPark, the largest science park in Zhongguancun, the “Silicon Valley hub” of Beijing where multinational tech companies, such as Google, are based.
The creation of this new office and relationship with TusStar will help UC startups connect with resources to market their products to Chinese customers, find additional sources of investor funding, connect with strategic manufacturing and distribution partners, and network with other UC alumni and UC entrepreneurs in China.
The Beijing office will also provide UC’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship with the necessary business network and program support to coordinate alumni events and other programs connecting with Chinese investors and industry partners, i.e., cross-border tours, pitch competitions, conferences, forums and symposiums.
Tuesday 9 October 2018
The United States Trade Representative has released a summary of some of the highlights concerning IP and the new “NAFTA” between the United States, Canada and Mexico. The USMC agreement (United States Marine Corps or What We Say -- I'm making a joke.) summary states, in part:
UNITED STATES–MEXICO–CANADA TRADE FACT SHEET Modernizing NAFTA into a 21st Century Trade Agreement
The United States, Mexico, and Canada have reached an agreement to modernize the 24-year-old NAFTA into a 21st century, high-standard agreement. The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will support mutually beneficial trade leading to freer markets, fairer trade, and robust economic growth in North America.
The United States, Mexico, and Canada have reached an agreement on a modernized, high-standard Intellectual Property (IP) chapter that provides strong and effective protection and enforcement of IP rights critical to driving innovation, creating economic growth, and supporting American jobs.
Key Highlights: Protections for United States Innovators and Creators
The new IP Chapter will:
- Include 10 years of data protection for biologic drugs and a robust scope of products eligible for protection.
- Require full national treatment for copyright and related rights so United States creators are not deprived of the same protections that domestic creators receive in a foreign market.
- Continue to provide strong patent protection for innovators by enshrining patentability standards and patent office best practices to ensure that United States innovators, including small- and medium-sized businesses, are able to protect their inventions with patents.
- Include strong protection for pharmaceutical and agricultural innovators.
- Require a minimum copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years, and for those works with a copyright term that is not based on the life of a person, a minimum of 75 years after first authorized publication.
- Require strong standards against the circumvention of technological protection measures that often protect works such as digital music, movies, and books.
- Establish appropriate copyright safe harbors to provide protection for IP and predictability for legitimate enterprises that do not directly benefit from the infringement, consistent with United States law.
- Provide important procedural safeguards for recognition of new geographical indications (GIs), including strong standards for protection against issuances of GIs that would prevent United States producers from using common names, as well as establish a mechanism for consultation between the Parties on future GIs pursuant to international agreements.
- Enhance provisions for protecting trademarks, including well-known marks, to help companies that have invested effort and resources into establishing goodwill for their brands.
Key Achievement: Most Comprehensive Enforcement Provisions of Any Trade Agreement
For the first time, a trade agreement will require all of the following:
- Ex officio authority for law enforcement officials to stop suspected counterfeit or pirated goods at every phase of entering, exiting, and transiting through the territory of any Party.
- Express recognition that IP enforcement procedures must be available for the digital environment for trademark and copyright or related rights infringement.
- Meaningful criminal procedures and penalties for unauthorized camcording of movies, which is a significant source of pirated movies online.
- Civil and criminal penalties for satellite and cable signal theft.
- Broad protection against trade secret theft, including against state-owned enterprises.
Key Achievement: Strongest Standards of Protection for Trade Secrets of Any Prior FTA
In particular, the Chapter has the most robust protection for trade secrets of any prior United States trade agreement. It includes all of the following protections against misappropriation of trade secrets, including by state-owned enterprises: civil procedures and remedies, criminal procedures and penalties, prohibitions against impeding licensing of trade secrets, judicial procedures to prevent disclosure of trade secrets during the litigation process, and penalties for government officials for the unauthorized disclosure of trade secrets.
The new Digital Trade chapter contains the strongest disciplines on digital trade of any international agreement, providing a firm foundation for the expansion of trade and investment in the innovative products and services where the United States has a competitive advantage.
Key Highlights of the Digital Trade Chapter
The new Digital Trade chapter will:
- Prohibit customs duties and other discriminatory measures from being applied to digital products distributed electronically (e-books, videos, music, software, games, etc.).
- Ensure that data can be transferred cross-border, and that limits on where data can be stored and processed are minimized, thereby enhancing and protecting the global digital ecosystem.
- Ensure that suppliers are not restricted in their use of electronic authentication or electronic signatures, thereby facilitating digital transactions.
- Guarantee that enforceable consumer protections, including for privacy and unsolicited communications, apply to the digital marketplace.
- Limit governments’ ability to require disclosure of proprietary computer source code and algorithms, to better protect the competitiveness of digital suppliers.
- Promote collaboration in tackling cybersecurity challenges while seeking to promote industry best practices to keep networks and services secure.
- Promote open access to government-generated public data, to enhance innovative use in commercial applications and services.
- Limit the civil liability of Internet platforms for third-party content that such platforms host or process, outside of the realm of intellectual property enforcement, thereby enhancing the economic viability of these engines of growth that depend on user interaction and user content.
Beckman Coulter Diagnostics and the University of California, Irvine have issued a press release announcing their new collaboration. The press release states, in part:
"We are honored that Beckman Coulter Diagnostics has selected UCI as a strategic innovation partner," said Richard Sudek, Ph.D., chief innovation officer and executive director at UCI Applied Innovation. "This is a new type of industry collaboration which aims to significantly change how industry and universities partner together. We look forward to teaming up with Beckman Coulter to increase the speed and quality of how UCI discoveries make it to market."
"We are excited to tap into the broad expertise of UCI researchers as we focus on identifying innovative solutions to clinical unmet needs," said Fiona Adair, Ph.D., vice president of strategy and innovation at Beckman Coulter Diagnostics. "We believe this type of academic-industry partnership can lead to development of innovative diagnostic technologies to improve healthcare. UCI Applied Innovation is a place where valuable new ideas are incubated. In turn, we can provide promising students, researchers, and entrepreneurs industry-specific feedback and mentorship opportunities. We will have a Beckman Coulter office at the Cove @ UCI Applied Innovation for seamless collaboration with academic units as well as to integrate into the innovation ecosystem."
This level of collaboration is an industry model of synthesizing research, commercial expertise and clinical needs to produce beneficial results. As a first step, Beckman Coulter will fund Proof of Product grants to help UCI innovations bridge the gap between the lab and early commercialization. Through these grants, Beckman Coulter will determine a specific focus area for university entrepreneurial teams.
Additionally, Beckman Coulter will also seek eligible UCI graduate students to enter its competitive talent onboarding program, in which they'll get the opportunity to work across multiple divisions of the company.
"The partnership with UCI represents a landmark in Beckman Coulter's strategic initiative to drive translational innovation and extend the company's leadership in clinical diagnostics." said John Blackwood, senior vice president and general manager of products and services at Beckman Coulter. "Beckman Coulter is engaging with academic partners that excel in applying the latest technology to develop superior solutions for better patient outcomes. UCI maintains an ecosystem of innovation that facilitates academic-industry partnerships and we are excited about the opportunity to leverage UCI's research expertise for the benefit of patients around the world."
Hat tip to Technology Transfer Central.
Monday 8 October 2018
The legal services market in the United States contracted since the Great Recession. However, there have been reports of a rebound. CBRE, a commercial real estate firm, has released a report concerning legal services and real estate in the United States. Part of the report concerns rethinking how square footage in law firms can be used more efficiently, including increasing collaboration space. Another part of the report examines legal services employment—attorney employment--across the United States.
The top five major legal services employment markets are 1) New York City; 2) Los Angeles; 3) Miami; 4) Chicago; and 5) Washington DC. San Francisco is ninth. The report states that there has not been much growth in most of the top ten major legal services employment markets except for Los Angeles (experiencing low double digit growth between 2015 and 2017) and San Francisco. The report states that this is likely due to the growth in the media and tech industries. In the highest growth markets category, Austin and Atlanta were the leaders in attorney growth. Austin added more than 10%. Austin is well-known for its tech industry. According to the report, the cities of Austin, Atlanta and Kansas City added 10% or more growth in attorney positions since 2015. The report also discusses the cities with largest decline in law degrees awarded.