January 2015 — Full Disclosure Required to Avoid Inequitable Conduct

Patent applicants are required to disclose any publication or other publicly available information that could affect the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s determination of whether the applicants’ invention is novel and not obvious (i.e. material to patentability).  Failure to fully disclose such information by the applicant is known as inequitable conduct which may result in a patent being held invalid and unenforceable despite otherwise being patent worthy. 
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October 2014 — Copyright Law: Digital Transmission Rights after Aereo

Aereo, Inc. is an internet-based company that allows its customers to stream, to their internet-enabled devices, live feeds of free over-the-air television broadcasts.  Aereo does not pay television broadcasters for the rights to transmit the broadcasters’ copyrighted content.  The Supreme Court held that this portion of Aereo’s services was similar to a cable television transmission and as such infringed upon the television broadcaster’s copyright.  In light of this decision, Aereo has suspended its service and is now arguing that it is a cable company to take advantage of the lower statutory fees paid to broadcasters by cable companies.    
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June 2014 — An Exceptional Standard: Lowering the Bar for Awarding Fees in a Patent Infringement Lawsuit

The Supreme Court has recently overturned the current standard for awarding attorneys’ fees to a prevailing party in a patent infringement lawsuit.  In that case, Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., the Court unanimously agreed that the strict standard of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) unnecessarily limited the ability of the trial court judge to award such fees.
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April 2014 — New Procedures for Determining Patent Eligible Subject Matter

The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently released new guidelines to aid its patent examiners in determining whether or not the subject matter of a patent claim is eligible for patent protection.
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March 2014 — Foreseeability Does Not Bar Doctrine of Equivalents

In Ring & Pinion Service Inc. v. ARB Corporation Ltd., the Federal Circuit found that a substitute that was foreseeable at the time patent application was filed could be covered under the DOE. No. 2013-1238, slip op. (Fed. Cir. Feb. 19, 2014). Thus, even though the patent owner could have foreseen the substitute, there is no requirement that the patent application specifically claim that substitute.
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