According to the joint EPO-IEA report summarizing patent trends in the hydrogen economy (summarized here), technologies related to storage, distribution, and transportation of hydrogen are among the most critical challenges for large-scale deployment. Standardized infrastructure for hydrogen trade is essential to allow the market to function and flow.Read More
In a fractured decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held on June 28, 2023 that two key provisions of the Lanham Act that prohibit trademark infringement do not extend to conduct that occurs outside the United States. Although all nine justices agreed that the Lanham Act does not apply extraterritorially, the Justices split five-to-four on the proper extraterritoriality framework. Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito stated that extending the Lanham Act to conduct that occurs outside the United States is “wrong,” even if the conduct creates a likelihood of confusion in the United States, and that the contrary rule “would give the Lanham Act an untenably broad reach that undermines our extraterritoriality framework.” In contrast, Justice Sonia Sotomayor argued in an opinion concurring in the judgment that the majority decision “significantly waters down protections for U.S. trademark owners”, and called for “Congress to correct the Court’s limited reading of the Act.” Abitron Austria GmbH v. Hetronic Int’l, Inc., 600 U.S. _ (2023).Read More
The U.S. Supreme Court will consider if the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) refusal to register the trademark “Trump too small” violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.Read More
In a decision closely watched by the visual arts community and content creators alike, the U.S. Supreme Court held on May 19, 2023, that pop artist Andy Warhol’s orange silkscreen portrait of the musician Prince (“Orange Prince”), adapted from photographer Lynn Goldsmith’s original photograph of Prince, was not “fair use” under copyright law. Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. v. Goldsmith, 598 U.S. _ (2023).Read More
The USPTO on April 21, 2023 proposed a variety of changes to the pre-institution requirements and briefing process for post-grant proceedings, including both IPRs and PGRs. Among the proposed changes are broad amendments to the discretionary denial frameworks, which are intended to provide clarity, curb abusive litigation tactics, and generally align procedure with the objectives of the AIA. The deadline for submitting comments and suggestions related to these rules is June 20, 2023. The proposed rules provide valuable insight into the future of post-grant proceedings before the PTAB. An overview of these changes is outlined below, and additional details follow.
- Parallel Proceedings – The USPTO is considering changes to the Fintiv framework, including the elimination of current factors 1, 2, and 5, a requirement for a Sotera stipulation, and a grace period that would exempt petitions filed within 6 months of service of the complaint from being discretionarily denied under this rule.
- 325(d) Framework – The USPTO is considering a rule that would reign in the application of discretionary denial under 325(d) by limiting its application to art or arguments that had been “previously addressed,” or actually evaluated by the patent office as articulated on the record, such as in a rejection, notice of allowance, or examiner interview. Mere citation in an IDS will no longer meet the standard. Prior art will only be considered “substantially the same” where it contains the same teaching relied upon in the petition, and that teaching was addressed by the patent office.
- Serial Petitions – The USPTO is considering replacing the existing framework for serial petitions with a rule that will deny any serial or follow-on IPR petition filed by: (1) the same petitioner; (2) a real party in interest to that petitioner; (3) a party with a significant relationship to that petitioner; or (4) a party who previously joined an instituted IPR filed by that petitioner. There will be an exception where the earlier petition was not resolved on the merits of the petition, or where exceptional circumstances are shown.
- Prior Adjudications – The USPTO is contemplating stricter requirements where a prior final adjudication by a district court or in a post-grant proceeding upheld the validity of claims that substantially overlap the challenged claims, essentially requiring the petitioner (1) either has standing to challenge the validity of the patent in district court or intends to pursue commercialization, (2) was not a real party in interest to the party who unsuccessfully challenged the claims, and (3) meets the heightened burden of compelling merits.
- Micro and Small Entities – The USPTO is mulling changes that would protect under-resourced entities by denying institution where the patent owner (1) claimed micro or small entity status at the time of filing; (2) did not exceed a gross income cap in the calendar year preceding filing of the petition; and (3) was commercializing a product covered by the challenged claim at the time of filing.
- For-Profit Entities – The USPTO is contemplating a rule that would deny any IPR or PGR petition by a for-profit entity that has not been sued or threatened with infringement of the challenged patent, is not otherwise practicing in the field of the challenged patent, and is not in “substantial relationship” with an entity to which the rule would not apply.
The USPTO has also proposed changes to the disclosure requirements, what constitutes compelling merits, and termination by settlement filing requirements. An in-depth discussion of each suggested change is included below.Read More
Hydrogen production technology, according to the joint EPO-IEA report summarizing patent trends in the hydrogen economy (summarized here), accounts for the largest percentage of patenting activity since 2011 among the three primary stages of the hydrogen value chain (i.e., (i) production, (ii) storage, distribution, and transformation, and (iii) end-use industrial applications). Trends show a shift in hydrogen production from carbon-intensive methods to technologies that do not rely on fossil fuels. The bulk of recent increased patent activity is directed to electrolysis development, while patent activity related to production from biomass and waste has decreased.Read More
The European Patent Office (EPO) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) recently published a joint report summarizing innovation and patent trends within the hydrogen economy.1 The report is based on global patent activity since 20012 and is intended to help governments and businesses understand which parts of the hydrogen value chain appear to be making progress and which parts may be lagging behind.3 The report dives deep into specific technologies, lists the most active applicants in select technologies, and attempts to identify the impact of different governmental programs in specific sectors, with a goal of trying to help focus future innovation efforts.Read More
Some of the largest false advertising jury verdicts were recorded in 2022. This, coupled with increased inflationary pressures will likely lead to an uptick in false advertising suits given that such pressures will impact consumer spending habits, leading to increased scrutiny of competitor advertising practices—particularly in the social media space.Read More
In CareDx, Inc. v. Natera, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that CareDx’s patent claims to methods of detecting organ transplant rejection were invalid as patent ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101.1 Affirming the district court, the Federal Circuit determined that CareDx’s claims “are directed to a natural law together with conventional steps to detect or quantify the manifestation of that law,”2 relying on “admissions” in the patents themselves that the claims recited only “conventional” techniques.’Read More
On 21 June 2022, the United States Patent and Trademark office (USPTO) issued interim guidance on how the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) should exercise its discretion when determining whether to institute a post-grant proceeding.Read More