Congress: Reform Those Patents

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| As the largest holder of U.S. patents, we feel it is our responsibility, and
| the right time, to speak out forcefully in favor of reform. We are trying to
| do our share by unilaterally publishing a first-ever corporate policy aimed
| at promoting patent transparency and quality. We also initiated, and with
| others in the private sector, are working with the U.S. Patent & Trademark
| Office to ensure that citizens have a voice in the patent review process.
| But these voluntary efforts, along with recent wise Supreme Court decisions,
| are not enough.
| Progress, not perfection, is the goal. It was so from Eli Whitney's time, and
| is true today. Congress finally has an historic opportunity to address the
| thorniest of modern challenges, to secure America's continued role as the
| leading innovator in the global economy.

Also amongst the headlines:

USPTO Reaffirms 1-Click Claims 'Old And Obvious'

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| "After USPTO Examiner Mark A. Fadok rejected Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' 1-Click
| Patent claims as 'old and obvious,' Amazon canceled and refiled its 1-Click
| claims in a continuation application as it requested an Oral Appeal, a move
| that smacked of a good old-fashioned stalling tactic. But the move may have
| backfired, as Fadok has just completed his review of the continuation app and
| concluded that all of the refiled 1-Click claims should be rejected,
| providing explanations of why the Board of Patent Appeals was wrong to
| reverse his earlier decision after listening to Amazon's lawyers in
| September. In October, USPTO Examiner Matthew C. Graham rejected most of the
| 1-Click claims as part of the reexam requested by LOTR actor Peter Calveley,
| a decision that attorneys for Amazon are currently trying to work around with
| some creative wordsmithing. Can't see how all of this means 'less work for
| the overworked Patent and Trademark Office.'"

U.S. appeals court hands Google patent case setback

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| The appeals court ruled that Google's immensely profitable AdSense did not
| infringe on Hyperphrase's patents. It handed down a split decision on
| AutoLink, agreeing that Google did not infringe, as claimed, on one of the
| Hyperphrase patents.

Patent Problems Resolved Between Vonage, AT&T

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| All Vonage wanted to do was to capitalize on the ability to make cheap, voice
| ^^^^^^^^^^
| over Internet phone calls. Unfortunately, in their haste to deliver a working
| product, the company received complaints that it had trod upon the technology
| owned by other firms.


Consumer and Public Interest Groups Back New U.S. Patent Rules That Would
Curtail Abusive Behavior By Applicants

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| A coalition of consumer advocacy and public interest groups today filed legal
| papers supporting new U.S. Patent Office (USPTO) rules that would curtail
| abusive behavior by patent applicants and improve patent quality. *
| In a friend-of-the-court brief filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria,
| VA., the groups urged that an injunction blocking the proposed rules be
| lifted and they be implemented immediately. *
| The proposed new regulations ask applicants to justify the need for more than
| two continuations per application and assist the USPTO in performing initial
| technological research on applications that contain an excessive number of
| claims. *

Top Ten Patent Trolls of 2007

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| 3. Acacia. I didn't start tracking Acacia carefully until the summer. But
| still, on my blog I have reported on over two dozen lawsuits brought by
| Acacia this year, against more than 235 defendants. That's in addition to the
| over 200 lawsuits Acacia filed in previous years against hundreds and
| hundreds of defendants. And that's not including the two lawsuits (at least)
| Acacia has filed in December against 20 more defendants (yes, Acacia, I'm
| watching you). Acacia's business model, as a publicly traded company, is to
| accumulate patents and sue as many companies as possible in order to extract
| licenses. They have a market cap of over 275 million - that pays for a lot of
| lawsuits. Unlike other trolls, Acacia tends to not focus on one court in
| particular, although they have sampled the Eastern District of Texas more
| this year than in the past. * * * * *

Yahoo Patent Troll

Who is the world's biggest patent troll?

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| In two consecutive days, The Wall Street Journal presented two different
| answers. The first is not surprising: Intellectual Ventures, the brainchild
| of ex-Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold. It's now out "to raise as much as
| $1 billion to help develop and patent inventions, many of them from
| universities in Asia." *

Playing Microsoft Patent Poker

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| This time though, while Ballmer slinks away to try to con … convince people
| that Microsoft Unified Communications somehow offers people more than what
| Cisco's VOIP (voice over IP) been offering customers for years, a patent
| attack finally launches at Linux. Specifically, IP Innovation, a subsidiary
| of Acacia Technologies Group, has filed a patent infringement claim against
| Linux distributors Novell and Red Hat. * *
| So was it just timing, or was it something more? Let's take a look at the
| players. *

Friday Patent Litigation News

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| Reader Anthony Sabatini of New York writes to tell me that the auto-text
| patent asserted by Acacia subsidiary AutoText in Cleveland might be invalid
| in light of the Control Data Corp CDC6600 console system developed two
| decades earlier. *
| [...]
| Finally, IP Innovation and Technology Licensing Corp. -- in other words,
| ACACIA -- filed a lawsuit in Marshall against Google, accusing Google's
| search engine and Google Earth of infringing two patents. This is the same
| Acacia sub that sued Red Hat and Novell over Linux, with the same lawyers -
| Johnny Ward and Eric Albritton. But these are different patents. The patents
| asserted against Google are 5,276,785 and 5,675,819, which Acacia got from
| Xerox. Nice going, Xerox. * * *

Acacia and Niro File Another Multi-Defendant Lawsuit on JPEG-on-a-Website
Patent, Bringing Total to 16 Companies Sued

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| Assuming it files one per month for the next 39 months until the patent
| expires, then what Acacia is really seeking is $600M from US industry for the
| JPEG-on-a-website patent. My guess is they’ll sue many more companies than
| that, and seek up to a billion dollars – which, assuming a 33% contingency
| fee (which is low, probably), amounts to a cool $100 million per year for the
| Niro firm. * *
| And people wonder why he’d like to shut down websites critical of Acacia and
| other patent trolls. The real question is what does he want from you and me,
| for our photo blogs, our personal websites. His statements to IP Law 360 only
| referred to companies. *
| The other real question is how many companies will spend millions in
| attorneys fees to fight rather than pay the $500K or $1M or $2M that Acacia
| is demanding. That's the sad state of patent litigation these days. *

Most of Chinese New Patents Are Garbage

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| On November 27, 2007, the Innovative National Construction and Intellectual
| Property Symposium was held in Beijing. Representatives from a variety of
| industries spoke at the event; most of them expressed their worries and
| frustrations with China’s IPR protection framework. Mr. Fu Shaoming, head of
| the IPR unit from Foxconn, China’s largest electronics OEM firm, claimed in
| his speech that 90% of China's new and practical patents are de facto garbage
| and should be discarded. * * *