Patent News and Views

Lexology: Pending patent legislation—round two of patent reform

A brief synopsis of the proposed legislation and the potential impact it could have on companies by Bernard Knight from McDermott Will & Emery

January 16 2014

The U.S. Congress is once again poised to enact a new round of patents reforms. It is important to know the potential impact the legislation could have on your intellectual property portfolio and to be prepared to act.

On the heels of the recently enacted America Invents Act, the United States Congress is once again interested in patent reform. Now the focus is on abusive patent litigation, specifically the activities of “patent trolls.”

On December 5, 2013, the House of Representatives passed the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309) by an overwhelming vote of 325–91, just six weeks after it was introduced. The Senate also has its own version of the legislation (S. 1720; the Senate version, or Leahy-Smith Bill). The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the proposed legislation on December 17, 2013, entitled “Protecting Small Businesses and Promoting Innovation by Limiting Patent Troll Abuse,” and should soon release its version of the bill.

The pending legislation will affect the ability of all companies to enforce and protect their valuable patent rights. In their current forms, both the House bill and the Leahy-Smith bill are not limited to patent trolls, but apply to all patent litigation.

Read "Pending patent legislation—round two of patent reform" at


4A's/ANA New Joint Initiative to Collect & Share Marketing-Related Patent Assertion Information 

The 4A's and ANA are pleased to announce the Patent Assertion Information Aggregation and Dissemination Program (PAID). PAID is a collaboration platform which will help agencies, and marketers monitor and thereby better assess patent risk through information sharing associated with marketing-related patent assertion activities.

Patent assertion entities (PAEs) are creating undue risk in the advertising industry by asserting patents that read on commonly used advertising technology and processes, and demanding costly settlements. The 4A's and ANA have been endeavoring to address this problem in several ways including: (1) operational practices to help monitor and management PAE risk and (2) systemic reform to curtail abuses of the USA patent system.

About PAID
Under the PAID program, ANA and 4A's will collect basic information on patent assertions against members, in a confidential manner. The information will be aggregated and combined with more general information relating to patent assertions that are relevant to marketing activity and frequently utilized digital functions.

The associations have retained the services of patent experts from K&L Gates and Reed Smith who will provide periodic Patent Assertion Landscape Summary (PALS) information updates to association members. PALS information updates will provide association members with a strategic advantage in monitoring and assessing patent assertion demands by PAEs.

We urge all 4A's members to participate in the ANA/4A's PAID patent assertion information collection program. Information related to the 4A's/ANA Patent Assertion Information Aggregation and Dissemination Program can be viewed HERE.

SPAN (Stop Patent Abuse Now)
This summer the 4A's, ANA and other marketing-related groups (MMA, DMA, NRF) created an industry coalition, SPAN (Stop Patent Abuse Now), which is advocating for new laws and regulatory reforms that can inhibit abusive practices of PAEs. There are currently a number of potentially promising patent assertion reform initiatives under consideration. SPAN activities and discussion related to patent reform is available via the 4A's website (Patent Trolling) and the Legislative & Regulatory section of the 4A's Patent Web site.

If you have questions about patent assertion activities or want to understand more about 4A's patent initiatives please contact either Tom Finneran,,  or Dick O'Brien,


Rackspace steps up fight against 'patent trolls'

Grant Gross at TechWorld writes,

"Cloud hosting provider Rackspace is striking back against patent holder Rotatable Technologies, a Texas company that has filed patent infringement cases against more than a dozen companies in the past year.

Rackspace on Friday filed a challenge to a 2001 Rotatable patent for selectively rotating windows on a computer display, using a relatively new patent challenge method created in the America Invents Act, patent reform legislation the US Congress passed in 2011.

Earlier this month Rackspace teamed up with Brocade to challenge two other companies it accused of being 'patent trolls'."

Read the rest of the article at here:

Also worth checking out:

Rackspace's blog posts on patents and patent trolls:


Interview with co-sponsor of the SHIELD Act

"This morning, Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced the SHIELD Act, which would create a "loser pays" system for some types of patent litigants. The bill is meant to stymie companies that do nothing more than file patent lawsuits. Ars spoke with DeFazio at CES 2013 in January, when this bill was still in the formative stages, to get some background about how the bill developed, and the problems the Oregon representative hopes it will solve."

Read the whole interview at Ars Technica: Troll hunter: meet the Oregon lawmaker who may fix the patent mess.


Judge Denies Injunctive Relief in Microsoft, Motorola Patent Suit

From the article at

"A Seattle judge has dismissed Motorola Mobility's request for an injunction on Microsoft Crop. (MSFT) products just because they could infringe standard essential patents. The ruling comes after a week of hearings in November on the long-running case over how much a patent holder can charge for technology considered part of an industry standard. Federal Judge James Robart on Friday ruled that since both sides have agreed to license the technology, no injunction is necessary."

Article here:

At GrokLaw: Donald Knuth's 2009 letter against software patents

From Wikipedia:

Knuth has been called the "father" of the analysis of algorithms, contributing to the development of, and systematizing formal mathematical techniques for, the rigorous analysis of the computational complexity of algorithms, and in the process popularizing asymptotic notation.

In addition to fundamental contributions in several branches of theoretical computer science, Knuth is the creator of the TeX computer typesetting system, the related METAFONT font definition language and rendering system, and the Computer Modern family of typefaces.

A prolific writer and scholar, Knuth created the WEB/CWEB computer programming systems designed to encourage and facilitate literate programming, and designed the MMIX instruction set architecture.

Groklaw article:

The letter (pdf):

The Letter text below:

Donald E. Knuth
Professor Emeritus of
The Art of Computer Programming

Computer Science
[address, phone]

24 April 2009

Alison J. Brimelow
President, European Patent Office
80298 Munich, Germany

Dear Ms Brimelow,

A friend in Europe just told me that you are interested in "amicus curiae" letters to explain why so many computer scientists around the world have long been alarmed about patent trends, and that you hope to receive them by 30 April. I hope this letter reaches you in time; I could not send it by FedEx, having no complete address.

Enclosed is a copy of a letter that I wrote to the US Patent Commissioner in 1994; I believe it is self explanatory. Also enclosed is the transcript of a talk I gave at the Technical University of Munich in 2001, where I gave a somewhat more nuanced view of extremely unusual cases in which algorithms or even mathematical constants might conceivably be patentable in my view. [The latter remarks occur near the end of a rather long lecture; I have highlighted the relevant information, on page 324, for your convenience.]

Basically I remain convinced that the patent policy most fair and most suitable for the world will regard mathematical ideas (such as algorithms) to be not subject to proprietary patent rights. For example, it would be terrible if somebody were to have a patent on an integer, like say 1009, so that nobody would be able to use that number "with further technical effect" without paying for a license. Although many software patents have unfortunately already been granted in the past, I hope that this practice will not continue in future. If Europe leads the way in this, I expect many Americans would want to emigrate so that they could continue to innovate in peace.


Donald E Knuth
Professor of The Art of Computer Programming


Apple vs. Samsung: An Interactive Design Perspective

"We know that brand is important. Many different types of marks are protectable and defended with strong resolve throughout the history of business. We take these brands very seriously. So with that understanding we, as user interface designers, need to ask ourselves: Is our work a valuable face on the products and services that we design? Is a user interface the potential equivalent of a brand mark that one can register for IP protection?" Read interaction design veteran Dave Malouf's take at Core 77 - "Rumble in the Patent Jungle"

Patent troll targets Minecraft on copy protection

From Boing Boing:

"Filed in 2001 and awarded in 2005, Uniloc's patent describes a system for "preventing unauthorized access to electronic data" which involves communication between a portable device and a license registration authority. Uniloc claims that this patent gives it rights to software that verifies licensing on the Android operating system"

Article at Boing Boing By Rob Beschizza

"A Patent Lie: How Yahoo Weaponized My Work" - Andy Baio

"While most of the tech world was partying at South by Southwest in Austin yesterday, Yahoo announced it was filing a lawsuit against Facebook for allegedly infringing on 10 patents from their 1,000+ patent warehouse.

I’m no fan of Facebook, but this is a deplorable move. It’s nothing less than extortion, expertly timed during the SEC-mandated quiet period before Facebook’s IPO. It’s an attack on invention and the hacker ethic."

Read the rest of the article at Wired.

"Meet The 10 Patents Yahoo Is Using To Sue Facebook" - PaidContent

Yes, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) went there today—claiming in a lawsuit that it, not Facebook, is the real king of social networks. The company points to ten patents that it says cover features like messages, advertising and privacy settings. We’ve provided here abstracts of those patents for your reading pleasure. You can also click through to see the whole patent yourself or else check out our attempt at a plain English translation of the patent lawyers’ gobbledy-gook. Based on our reading, Yahoo may now own all of Silicon Valley or else the US patent system is even more dysfunctional than we imagined. And now, without further ado, meet Yahoo’s would-be Facebook killers:"


Read the rest at PaidContent