The U.S. Senate has confirmed Edmond E. Chang as a district judge for the Northern District of Illinois. Chang had served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois since 1999. He was the Chief of Appeals for the Criminal Division for the last five years. He previously worked at Sidley Austin in Chicago, and served as a law clerk to Judge Marvin Aspen in the Northern District and Judge James Ryan on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. Judge Chang’s confirmation leaves the Northern District with three vacancies on the bench.
Welcome to the Northern District bench Judge Chang.

Continue Reading Senate Confirms Edmond Chang as District Judge for the N.D. Illinois

Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Illinois Appellate Court Justice Sharon Johnson Coleman as the Northern District of Illinois’s next district judge. From 1996 until 2008, Justice Coleman served as a judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Between 1993 and 1996, she held the position of Deputy State’s Attorney and Bureau Chief for the Public Interest Bureau of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. From 1989 to 1993, Justice Coleman served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois. From 1984 until 1989, she was an Assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County. Justice Coleman received her J.D. in 1984 from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis and her B.A. in 1981 from Northern Illinois University.
Welcome to the Northern District of Illinois bench Judge Coleman.

Continue Reading Welcome to the Northern District of Illinois Judge Coleman

As promised, the new Patent Reform Acts were introduced in Congress this week — click here for the Senate bill and here for the House bill. While I have not yet done a comprehensive review, I understand that the bills are largely similar. Here are some highlights of the bills:
They move from the current first to invent system to the international norm, first to file.
Expanded reexamination and a new period of post-grant review.
Damages provisions require that the specific contribution over the prior art be considered and allow consideration of licensing terms for similar noninfringing substitutes. As Dennis Crouch points out, for alternatives in the public domain the comparable license could be free.
Specifically allows for Federal Circuit jurisdiction of interlocutory claim construction appeals where the district court approves the appeal.
Federal Circuit judges would no longer be required to live within fifty miles of the District of Columbia.
The venue provisions are changed to narrow possible venues.
There is plenty of commentary in the blogosphere. Here are some of the best:
271 Patent Blog (giving highlights, noting changes from the last version and do not miss Peter Zura’s blog makeover);
Patent Docs (discussing the Senate press conference announcing the Senate bill and noting BIO’s response to the bills); and
Patently-O (giving highlights and noting changes from the most recent attempted reforms) and here (reposting comments from Google’s Head of Patents and Patent Strategy, Michelle Lee).

Continue Reading Patent Reform Act of 2009

I have several smaller IP-related items today, none of which warranted a single post:
The Wall Street Journal reported last Friday that the Patent Reform Act (S. 1145) will likely not reach the Senate floor — click here for the story. It was widely reported throughout the first quarter that the bill was expected to be brought to the full Senate by March or April of this year. The WSJ reported that the Act’s move out of the Judiciary Committee stalled because of a stalemate over the Act’s controversial damages provision.
Virtually Blind hosts a Blawg Review #156 focused on, no surprise, all thinks virtual and Second Life.
The John Marshall Law School is hosting a free presentation by Southern Methodist University Law School Professor Shubha Ghosh tited IP as CP: Competition Policy Norms in Intellectual Property Law. Click here for registration information.
The final edition of the 2008 Chicago IP Colloquium is this afternoon from 4:10 – 5:50 pm. The presentation will be by Professor Mark McKenna of the Saint Louis University School of Law about his paper Testing Modern Trademark Law’s Theory of Harm. It looks like it will be another excellent IP discussion.
The Lewis & Clark Law School has a new podcast up with Chicago-Kent College of Law’s Associate Dean and Director of the Program in Intellectual Property Law Graeme B. Dinwoodie. Professor Dinwoodie speaks about developing trademark defenses.

Continue Reading IP News & Presentations

Tomorrow I will be back to case analysis, but there is some Northern District news and some excellent IP and litigation blog posts worth reading, here they are:
Ninth Annual Pro Bono and Public Interest Awards — The Northern District and the Federal Bar Association are seeking nominations for excellence in pro bono and public interest work. Nominations should be based upon work performed in civil cases before the Northern District which are no longer pending. Send nominations by March 28 to:
Amy Rettberg, Executive Law Clerk
Chambers of the Chief Judge James F. Holderman
219 South Dearborn Street, Suite 2548
Chicago, Illinois 60604
Patent Reform is Moving Forward — The Senate is preparing to vote on the Patent Reform Act after its spring recess (yes, it is spring already in DC). Here is some additional coverage of the Act’s status:
271 Patent Blog — looking at the latest amendments to the Act.
Maryland Intellectual Property Blog — looking at the latest amendments and questioning whether proponents have the sixty votes necessary for cloture, thereby avoiding a filibuster.
Patent Docs — taking sides, but asking you to call your Senators regardless of which side you take.
Check out the newest entry to Chicago’s law blog scene, the Lean & Mean Litigation Blog. It is not IP-focused, but it is an interesting read for any commercial litigator or litigant.
William Patry at Patry on Copyright has an interesting post about the difficulties of serving corporate entities based upon a District of the District of Columbia case involving a pro se plaintiff. The best advice, of course, is to hire counsel because if you do not get the party served properly, you have no case.
The Seventh Circuit affirmed Judge St. Eve’s ground breaking opinion in the CLC v. Craigslist case. The Seventh Circuit held that an ISP is exempt from cases based upon user content when the case attempts to treat the ISP as a publisher of the content. This is considerably narrower than most of the other circuits, which have held that Section 230 exempts ISPs from essentially all suits based upon user content. For more coverage, check out the WSJ Law Blog (which erroneously elevates Judge St. Eve to the Seventh Circuit), Internet Cases, and the Technology & Marketing Law Blog (very detailed analysis of Judge Easterbrook’s opinion).

Continue Reading Northern District & IP News: Pro Bono & Patent Reform

The Patent Reform Act is on the Senate’s calendar and is expected to be voted on in February. The version voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee is different than the version passed by the House. Experts expect that, instead of forming a joint committee to resolve the differences which generally requires a second vote by both chambers, the House will vote on any version of the Patent Reform Act passed by the Senate.
That means that it is time to take a close look at the Senate version of the Patent Reform Act. The damages and venue provisions continue to be some of the most significant and hotly-contested. And it is no surprise that the various stakeholders are making their positions heard loudly again. I considered analyzing each provision of the current Senate bill, but Patent Docs beat me to it and did an excellent job:
First to file
Several other blogs are also keeping a close eye on the stakeholders and the sausage-making aspects of the Patent Reform Act, among the best:
271 Patent Blog
IP Biz
Patent Barristers
Maryland IP Law Blog (and here regarding the increased internet coverage of Patent Reform during February)

Continue Reading Patent Reform: It’s Baaaaaaaaack!

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Judge Filip’s nomination as Deputy Attorney General has cleared one of its final hurdles — click here for the story. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) agreed to remove a hold placed on Judge Filip’s confirmation vote after Attorney General Michael Mukasey answered Senator Durbin’s questions regarding the legality of interrogation techniques. According to a Chicago Tribune story (click here for the story), Judge Filip is expected to be confirmed by the Senate. Of course, that is not surprising since the Senate previously confirmed him to become a federal district judge.

Continue Reading Judge Filip to Get Senate Confirmation Vote

The Chicago Tribune has had a few IP-related articles this week. First, the Tribune reported – click here for the story — that the House is about to take up a bill that would allow an abbreviated approval process for generic versions of biotech drugs, commonly known as biosimilars or biogenerics, similar to abbreviated new drug applications. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved a similar bill in June, called the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2007.
Second, the Tribune reported – click here for the story – about a new book, “The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell’s Secret,” by Seth Shulman — which argues that Alexander Graham Bell, one of America’s most famous patentees, stole his most famous invention, the telephone, from his rival Elisha Gray. And Shulman argues that he was aided by attorneys and a corrupt patent examiner. The book is due out January 7. It looks like it could be an interesting read.
Third, the Tribune reported – click here for the story — that the Federal Circuit reversed in part the Western District of Wisconsin’s April 2007 decision which held that Google’s AutoLink and AdSense feature did not infringe HyperPhrase’s patents. The Court upheld Judge Shabaz’s decision that AdSense did not infringe the patents and remanded the case for further proceedings regarding whether the AutoLink feature infringed two of the patents in suit. Click here for a copy of the Federal Circuit decision.

Continue Reading Tribune on Patents