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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September 2013 — Hamilton Beach Brands v. Sunbeam Products -- Outsourcing of Product Manufacturing Leads to a Loss of Patent Rights

Precedent of the Supreme Court, and cited in this case by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”), holds that a disqualifying “offer for sale” occurs under pre-AIA Section 102(b) when the claimed invention is: 1) the subject of a “commercial” offer for sale; and 2) “ready for patenting”. No actual sale need occur, and the offer need only be one in which the offeree could form a binding contract by acceptance.  Actions of foreign parties, offering products for sale to those in the US, may also constitute a disqualifying offer for sale.
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