Category: Technology

High Court Bites Spider-Man Patent

A patent endows its owner with “superpowers,” but “only for a limited time,” held the U.S. Supreme Court in Kimble v. Marvel (June 22, 2015). The time-honored formula for action is “ready, aim, fire!” Here, as in many less-than-perfect business/legal cases, the parties reversed the last two steps. To their credit and profit, at least […]

Beem Asks USPTO for Better Quality Patent Examination

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has proposed a new patent quality initiative. See Director’s Blog and Federal Register. In response, I have submitted a formal comment, Tracking Number 1jz-8ipa-7jnk, as set forth below. I contend that any discussion of quality patents should take into account the need for

Fear of Patents Incited by Lobbyists

Patent law promotes the progress of technology by rewarding inventors who patent their inventions. From the beginning, the Constitution empowered Congress to pass a Patent Act, and President George Washington called for it in his first State of the Union address. Congress acted affirmatively in 1790, with periodic updates ever since. As Abraham Lincoln said, the patent system adds […]

Quick and Easy Intellectual Property (IP) Audit

To conduct a quick, easy, and effective intellectual property (IP) audit, start with the business, not with IP or legal considerations. IP has little value apart from the business. Legal issues have no meaning apart from the business. How does your company make money? Identify key products, revenues, and margins. Relationships. Customers. Key people. Market leadership. Competitors. Vulnerability. […]

Patent System under Attack: Interview with USPTO Director Michelle Lee

This morning, my fellow leaders of the Chicago Intellectual Property Law Association (IPLAC) and I met with Michelle K. Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and several of her fellow USPTO executives, including the impressive Dr. Christal Sheppard, Director of the Detroit Office. Director Lee has excellent qualifications. Unfortunately, as discussed below, […]

#HIMSS15 Health IT, IP & Software Patent

As I write these words, I stand among 41,000 health information technology (HIT) professionals gathered in Chicago for  HIMSS15. As an intellectual property (IP) lawyer, I am here because my clients are here. If you’re at HIMSS15, you are probably engaged in electronic health records (EHR) software, hardware and/or medical devices. Your organization is likely to be active […]

Build Your Patent Portfolio: Preparation, Prosecution, Appeals

Are you General Counsel, Patent/IP Counsel, or an executive of a company that owns valuable proprietary technology? If your company or your client files patent applications, you’re probably encountering rejections. You may be wondering how to deal with the cases at hand and how to improve your strategy, procedures and execution for preparation and prosecution of patent applications. […]

Obtain Allowance of Software Patent under Alice and Guidelines

Last summer’s Supreme Court decision in Alice v. CLS Bank has had a dramatic effect on the patentability of business method and computer software inventions. In Alice, the Court declared that claims directed to abstract ideas must be analyzed under the framework for determining the patent subject matter it established in the Mayo  and Myriad cases. […]

Science vs. Technology: Volta vs. Watt and Edison

Today’s Google doodle honors Alessandro Volta (whose name will be remembered forever in connection with the volt, a unit of power) on his 270th birthday. Volta is credited with the invention of the first electrical battery in 1799. The doodle has been criticized as misleading because it portrays electric lights more commonly associated with Thomas […]

History and Future of U.S. Patent System

As I write these words, I am inspired and surrounded by original autographs of seven of America’s eight early presidents. Their signatures appear on 200-year old original patents displayed on the walls of my offices. See Beem Presidential Patent Collection. “If a country can be said to possess a soul, then America’s is the patent […]