Patent pirates?
New rules for patent pirates.

Extraordinary protection

Since 2007, wanton patent infringers have enjoyed extraordinary legal protection from awards of “enhanced” damages under section 284 of the Patent Act.

Last week, the Supreme Court stripped away three of the protections. The changes will make good patent cases better. But it won’t convert weak ones into strong ones.
Continue Reading Patent Cases Just Got Scarier

DelayEn banc court sidesteps high court

In Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 1962, 1974 (2014) (post here), the Supreme Court ruled that the defense of laches — unreasonable delay in bringing suit — does not preclude recovery of damages for copyright infringement during the usual statute of limitations period (three years under the Copyright Act). Does the same rule apply to patent cases?

The en banc Federal Circuit held last week, by the smallest of margins (6-5), that Petrella does not govern cases under patent law. Defendants may thus cite a patent holder’s delay in filing a lawsuit as a ground for reducing or barring damages within the six-year pre-suit period that patent law generally allows.
Continue Reading Laches Can Limit Patent Damages, En Banc Federal Circuit Rules

Time to InventThe shock of the new

A lot turns on who invents a thing first. Billions maybe.

Patent law requires newness. The mandate can cause patent death even in the case of almost-but-not-quite “prior art”. If the older stuff “anticipates” the new thing, it renders the invention unpatentable.

A recent decision by the Federal Circuit highlights the anticipation question. 
Continue Reading In Patent Law, Weeks Count

IMG_0195Antitrust v. patent

The extraordinary risk in antitrust cases has prompted courts to erect ever-higher hurdles to them. Extending a trend that began decades before, the Supreme Court used a sprawling antitrust case — Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly (2007) — to toughen the test for pleading a claim. It warned about the high costs

Light BulbAnother patent just failed the Supreme Court's airy test for unpatentable "abstract ideas".

A whiter shade of pale

Patents that define ways to make money through commerce on the Internet never have gotten much respect.

In the last year, a series of rulings by the Federal Circuit and the Supreme Court bled much of the remaining color out of the "business

Shutterstock_199059257

Measuring patent damages — and excluding reexam evidence

The Federal Circuit again tightened the criteria for setting damages awards in patent infringement cases. But, in a bit of good news for infringement plaintiffs, it lent further support to the general inclination of district courts to exclude evidence of non-final results of patent reexaminations by the U.S. Patent

Idea lightbulb

Abstract ideas

Section 101 of the Patent Act allows patents on "any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof". 35 U.S.C. 101. But, the Supreme Court has held, it does not make laws of nature, natural phenomena, or abstract ideas patentable. Ass'n for Molecular Pathology

Shutterstock_127074176Broad patents

You could get really rich if you had a patent on something like "a device that can make and receive wireless phone calls". That would cover every wireless phone, dumb and smart, that ever existed. It would include the satchel phone that Blawgletter's friend Darrell Gest carried around in his ratty pickup back