On Tuesday, September 16 the John Marshall Law School is putting on an impressive conference looking at the legacy of the Federal Circuit’s Chief Judge Markey. For those that never had the opportunity to know or experience Judge Markey, here is part of Judge Michel’s tribute to Judge Markey in the Legal Times after he passed in 2006:
Leadership for Howard Markey began with setting a vigorous example. He simply heard more appeals, wrote more opinions, gave more speeches, drafted more articles, taught more law school classes, and judged more moot courts than any other member of the court. And he did so despite all his administrative duties. Meanwhile, he chaired both the board of directors of the American Inns of Court and the Committee on Codes of Conduct of the Judicial Conference of the United States. He traveled constantly and sat with every regional circuit court, the first and only judge to do so.
Despite a life in overdrive, he was the happiest and funniest man I ever met, routinely reeling off five or six successive jokes without pausing to recollect, or even to breathe. Family members report that he had a perfect memory, an asset especially helpful to a tireless storyteller, which he was.
(Click here for a link to the article and more on Judge Markey). If Judge Michel’s description of Markey is not enough to get you to the event, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will be giving the keynote address. I have had the privilege of hearing Justice Scalia speak a couple of times. He is an excellent speaker and should not be missed.
Click here for John Marshall’s conference brochure and here for Patent Docs’ description of the event, they are a seminar sponsor. The registration deadline is this Friday, September 12. I hope to see you there.

Continue Reading Legacy of Federal Circuit Chief Judge Markey

Here are several stories worth checking out, but that did not warrant a separate post:
PA Tracer’s monthly patent filings report is out. The Northern District had nine new cases filed in July. That is reasonably busy for the deep summer, but nothing compared to the Eastern District of Texas’s 25 new patent cases — click here to read PA Tracer’s post.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a story recently about on Judge St. Eve — click here to read it.* The story discusses many traits that are obvious to those who have practiced before her. Judge St. Eve is very punctual and efficient, and she has absolute control of her courtroom, which she maintains with a civility and kindness that are impressive. The article also speculates, using unnamed colleagues and media as sources, that Judge St. Eve will eventually be on Supreme Court short lists. Here’s hoping she stays in the Northern District a long time before getting called up to One First Street.
Chicago Lawyer Magazine did a nice profile on Chicago IP lawyer Carol Genis of Bell, Boyd & Lloyd. Click here to read it. The article largely focuses on how Genis develops strong bonds of trust and friendship with clients.
Duane Valz, Vice President & Associate General Counsel of Yahoo!’s Global Patent Strategy, is discussing approaches for patenting Internet-related ideas in a webinar on Wednesday, September 3 from 1:30 – 3:00 CT — click here for more information.
* Hat tip to the WSJ Law Blog for pointing out the story here.

Continue Reading IP Legal News

Last week’s Olympic edition Blawg Review focused on the medals. Building on that, this week I discuss the elements of a world record swim. If you were watching last week, instead of blogging, you saw 20 of them in the Olympic pool; seven by Mr. Phelps.
Practice
Nothing is more critical than preparation. A big part of preparation is tightening your stroke and cutting out unnecessary motion. Reese Morrison, at the Law Department Management blog, discusses blunt suggestions for trimming legal bills.
Endless hours in the pool alone are not enough, you need a good coach. Business development coach Cordell Parvin provides an excellent three part series at his Law Consulting Blog – one, two, and three – on persistence, an important element of any Olympic training program. In an Olympic caliber display of persistence, Drug & Device Law had an exhaustive post discussing and classifying each medical device preemption case since the landmark Supreme Court decision in Riegel v. Medtronic, Inc., 128 S. Ct. 999 (2008).
You also need a support network to help you get through all of the pool time. Bruce Allen, at Marketing Catalyst, teaches us how to avoid the cocktail conversation you cannot escape from at a networking event. At Copyblogger, John Morrow explains that content is no longer king in the blogosphere, you need friends. And he teaches you how to get them. At BlawgIT, Brett Trout – who is a fighter, not a swimmer – has an interesting post about how to work together as a community to thwart webjackings (the hijacking of a website). And Mediation Channel’s Diane Levin discusses the social side of blogging, and reading blogs.
Of course, if you do not have time to practice you will never set the record. So, you need a job, or at least some cash. On that note, Harmful Error posts the great news that loan forgiveness programs were expanded this week for legal aid lawyers, state prosecutors and public defenders.
The Suit
The clothes make the man (or the woman). This year the go-to duds were Speedo’s LZR suits. Patent Librarian Michael White tells us that, no surprise, Speedo patented the LZR. IPKat expands on swimming patents, providing a broader view of Olympics-related patents.
Genes
As a guy who swam for a lot of years and practiced hard throughout, I can tell you not everyone has what it takes to set world records. The closest I came was getting beat by an Olympian and world record holder. Of course, you might be less impressed by my loss if you knew that at the time his Olympic medals were four or five decades old, and I was 19. At Idealawg, Stephanie West Allen discusses the traits that make entrepreneurs entrepreneurial.
Mental Focus
One of the big stories on Phelps this week was how he thinks of nothing but not losing during a race. At Litigation & Trial, Maxwell Kennerly tells us that you have to know when you are sweating the details more than your client would want by over emphasizing proof-reading. Of course, even Kennerly agrees that some details matter.
Knowing the Rules
You have to know the rules. Turn wrong or break the rules for your stroke and beating a record by ten seconds will not matter. At the Legal Juice, John Mesirow reports that kids at the Lake County Florida library are allowed to rent R-rated movies because they believe it is an unconstitutional delegation of authority for the Motion Picture Association of America’s guidelines for determining obscenity. I am sure kids from all over that area are flocking to the Lake County library because the rules are on their side, at least for now.
Filewrapper reports on a Federal Circuit decision holding that copyright infringement, and not just breach of contract, when the terms of an open source license governing the copyrighted material are breached. For more on this major decision in the IP world, check out: BLT; Law Pundit; and Patently-O.
Seattle Trademark Lawyer Mike Graham shows the consequences of not following the rules using two Western District of Washington opinions.
Ethan Lieb, guest blogging at Freakonomics, argues that we need to change the rules requiring unanimous juries. And the WSJ Law Blog discusses a judge and a juror who clashed over jury nullification.
The Start
A bad start is hard to recover from, especially when you are chasing the fastest time ever. Evan Schaeffer shows how to open well at trial at the Illinois Trial Practice Weblog, and he links to Trial Theatre’s opening statement quiz.
Turns
Coming off the wall in a turn is the fastest a swimmer goes during a race. So, you need good turns. IntLawGrrls discuss how to turn around the conflict between Georgia and Russia (sorry the turns section was tough).
Legal Literacy discusses Whole Foods’ turned around (or recalled) beef and looks behind the scenes at how it happened and Whole Foods’ impressively quick response.
The Finish
Do you do an extra stroke or do you glide in hard? Always a tough question, but the .01 seconds the decision costs you can mean the race and the record.
At his E.D. Texas Weblog, Michael Smith reports that while the E.D. Texas started out as a rocket docket, particularly for patents, it has now slowed down and let many other districts catch it with a time to trial of 24 – 30 months.
The Law and Magic Blog reminds us that we cannot always win, and that trying to rig the system to guarantee wins – he is talking about the stock market, but it holds true for the pool – is dangerous work.
At the IP ADR Blog, Victoria Pynchon praises several Perkins Coie attorneys who went the distance for their pro bono clients at Gitmo and earned the clients’ respect for providing them an able defense.
** Images provided via a Creative Commons license by A. Dawson or Andre from Flicker. **
Next week’s Blawg Review will be at fellow LexBlog site, the Texas Appellate Law Blog.
Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions on how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

Continue Reading Blawg Review #173

Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Elecs., No. 06-937, 553 U.S. ___ (2008).
The Supreme Court concluded its latest review of the patent laws Monday when Justice Thomas delivered the Court’s succinct, unanimous decision in Quanta v. LG. Client obligations this week prevent me from providing a detailed analysis today. But, no surprise, there is plenty of commentary out there already. For more about decision, check out:
* 271 Patent Blog
* Agricultural Law
* FileWrapper
* IP Thinktank
* Patent Docs
* Patently-O
* WSJ Law Blog

Continue Reading Quanta v. LG: Patent Exhaustion

The Winter 2008 edition of the John Marshall Review of Intellectual Property Law has been published and is available online by clicking here. It includes several interesting articles, including:
An argument for making stage directions copyrightable, Jennifer J. Maxwell, Making a Federal Case for Copyrighting Stage Directions: Einhorn v. Mergatroyd Productions, 7 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 393 (2008); and
John W. Osborne, Justice Breyer’s Bicycle and the Ignored Elephant of Patent Exhaustion: An Avoidable Collision in Quanta v. LGE, 7 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 245 (2008), arguing that the Supreme Court should chart its own course regarding patent exhaustion, instead of adopting the parties’ positions in Quanta v. LG (click here for more on the case in the Blog’s archives):
The Federal Circuit held in LGE v. Bizcom that patent exhaustion could be disclaimed by contract. But patent exhaustion is reflective of the scope of patent rights granted by statute. A statutory grant of rights should not be expandable by private contract. The Supreme Court should thus reverse in Quanta v. LGE.
The confusion regarding patent exhaustion evident in the Federal Circuit’s LGE v. Bizcom decision can be entirely eliminated by strict adherence to the Supreme Court’s Univis Lens decision. Univis Lens makes clear that the sale of an article embodying the essential features of a patent claim results in the exhaustion of that claim.261 This conclusion applies equally to any type of patent claim, i.e., component, apparatus, composition, system, combination, method, or process claims. Identifying the essential features of a patent claim, i.e., the patentably distinct features, clarifies the exhaustion analysis, results in predictability, and eliminates the confusion between the doctrines of exhaustion and implied license.

Continue Reading Patent Exhaustion & Copyrighting Stage Directions

Brian Higgins’s Maryland IP Law Blog post about the progeny of In re Seagate, 497 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2007), inspired me to do follow up posts identifying Northern District cases discussing recent major IP decisions — click here for my post on injunctions after eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C., 126 S.Ct. 1837, 164 L.Ed.2d 641 (2006). There have been a number of obviousness decisions in the Northern District since KSR Int’l Co. v. Teleflex Inc., __ U.S. __, 127 S.Ct. 1727 (2007). Here they are:*
Abbott Labs. v. Sandoz, Inc., No. 05 C 5373, 2007 WL 1549498 (N.D. Ill. May 24, 2007) (Coar, J.). — Holding that the Court’s pre-KSR analysis need not be reconsidered in light of KSR because an element was missing from the prior art, regardless of what standard was used.
Herman Miller, Inc. v. Teknion Corp., No. 05 C 2761, 2007 WL 2230042 (N.D. Ill. Jul. 30, 2007) (Gettleman, J.). — Noting that, in light of KSR, plaintiff issued a statement of non-liability and certain patents were removed from the suit.
Lexion Medical, LLC v. Northgate Techs., Inc., No. 04 C 5705, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jun. 8, 2007). — Holding that the pre-KSR jury’s decision would not have changed if given a KSR obviousness instruction.
These opinions suggest that KSR is not changing obviousness law in the Northern District much. I suspect that is not true. Once we have a larger sample of cases, including more where the initial analysis was not done pre-KSR, we will see more patents held invalid based upon obviousness.
* A brief note on methodology: this was not a thorough study and does not include cases that granted or denied injunctions without discussion. For a more complete list of post-KSR decisions nationwide, go to the Fire of Genius.

Continue Reading Obviousness Post-KSR

Brian Higgins’s Maryland IP Law Blog post about the progeny of In re Seagate, 497 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2007), inspired me to do follow up posts identifying Northern District cases discussing recent major IP decisions. The first looks at cases discussing eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C., 126 S.Ct. 1837, 164 L.Ed.2d 641 (2006). Here they are:*
Black & Decker Inc. v. Robert Bosch Tool Corp., No. 04 C 7955, 2006 WL 3446144 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 29, 2006) (St. Eve, J.). — Granting a permanent injunction in a case between competitors.
Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Lear Corp., No. 05 C 3449, 2007 WL 1017751 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 30, 2007) (Moran, J.). — Granting a preliminary injunction in a case between competitors and holding that in eBay the Supreme Court limited the automatic presumption of irreparable harm based upon infringement.
For further analysis of post-eBay decisions, check out my post about Michael Smith’s analysis (click here) and my post discussing Ray Nimmer’s thoughts on the potential for compulsory licensing regimes because of eBay (click here).
* A brief note on methodology: this was not a thorough study and does not include cases that granted or denied injunctions without discussion. For a more comprehensive list of decisions nationwide (updated through the end of 2007) go to the Fire of Genius.

Continue Reading Injunctions Post-eBay

A handful of unrelated IP stories from Chicago, where most have been focused on snow & the primaries this week:
The Chicago Tribune reported — click here for the story — that a yearly $5,000 scholarship has been established in the name of Allen J. Hoover, a patent attorney at the law firm of Wood Phillips, who was killed in Wood Phillips’s offices in December 2006. The scholarship will be given to a third-year DePaul University law student focusing on intellectual property law. Hoover was a DePaul alum. At least some good can come from such senseless violence.
The University of Chicago Faculty Blog discussed patent exhaustion and the recent LG v. Quanta Supreme Court oral argument in this post, as part of an ongoing discussion about “New Servitudes” — licenses that attempt to control a purchaser’s rights in software, digital music, etc. (click here to read Professor Van Houweling’s initial post and click here to get the current version of her New Servitudes article at SSRN). Van Houweling’s analysis of the oral argument may not be as deep (note sarcasm) as my analysis of Justice Breyer’s cycling analogy, but it is quite interesting and she edges closer than most to predicting an outcome:

Continue Reading Chicago-area IP News

In a recent post on the University of Houston Law Center Faculty Blog (another LexBlog site), Ray Nimmer asks whether the Supreme Court’s recent eBay v. MercExchange permanent injunction decision will lead to compulsory licensing. Nimmer discusses two alternatives when a permanent injunction is not granted after a patent infringement finding:
One response is simply to assess damages as to past infringement, leaving any future use of the patent for a voluntary agreement of the parties (a license) or a subsequent infringement suit for the subsequent infringements. That is clearly the preferable option, although it does raise limited issues of judicial economy.
A second alternative is to permit subsequent use by the defendant subject to the payment of a reasonable royalty imposed by the court. This is a form of compulsory licensing that rewards the wrongdoer, unless the remedy has been requested by the patent owner. Nevertheless, a panel of the Federal Circuit indicated that such a remedy may be appropriate. One wonders why.
Nimmer concludes that courts should not impose compulsory licensing for future infringement absent substantial public policy reasons:
The preconditions should be both an opportunity to negotiate a license and, failing a bargain, a request by both parties for the court to impose a royalty as part of the remedy for infringement. A patent creates a right to exclude and, where the patent owner prefers to exercise that right, it should not be forced into a licensing arrangement resulting from a case in which it prevailed on the infringement claim. There may be some cases in which vital public policy interests justify this result, but those cannot be grounded simply in the fact that the court denied a permanent injunction or the parties have not agreed to license terms. A remedy should not penalize the person to whom the remedy is awarded.

Continue Reading Will eBay v. MercExchange Lead to Compulsory Licensing?

The blogs are full of commentary about yesterday’s Supreme Court patent exhaustion argument. But no one is declaring a winner. Instead, like my earlier post, people are focusing on trends in the Justices questions. Here are some of the best commentaries:
Amster, Rothstein & Ebenstein has a guest post all over the blogs — read it at Patently-O, 271 Patent Blog, and Philip Brooks’ Patent Infringement Updates.
Anticipate This!
I/P Updates — quoting Chief Judge Roberts: “We’ve had experience with the Patent Office where it tends to grant patents a lot more liberally than we would enforce under the patent law.” Ouch.
ScotusWiki — This is a companion to the well-known SCOTUSblog (which does not have any commentary about the argument posted yet). ScotusWiki does not provide any commentary, but it is a great resource for information about this case, and any other Supreme Court case.
Troll Tracker — predicting a 5-4 or 6-3 reversal of the Federal Circuit (although only “leaning” that way and only predicting a “slight” reversal) and, similar to my post, picking up on Justice Breyer’s cycling theme, but without professing a love for the sport.

Continue Reading Quanta v. LG: Commentary Roundup