Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Service for prisoners becomes target of EFF's "Stupid Patent of the Month" award


Read Daniel Nazer’s report for Electronic Frontier Foundation, “Stupid Patent of the Month”, here.    It is a claim by Securus to patent an administrative procedure to procure third-party payment for a prisoner’s phone privileges after he or she is booked into jail.  I’m reminded of a stand-up comic in Minneapolis 15 years ago, whose favorite line was “stay out of the penitentiary”.

The article refers to Alice v. CLS Beck, and expresses disappointment that the federal circuit has sometimes overrules a “common sense standard”.
   
It’s also interesting that family members can come under pressure from sales persons to provide help to people in the pokey.

Monday, November 16, 2015

East Texas economy depends on patent trolls


Software innovators and app developers especially will enjoy this Washington Times op-ed (commentary) by Chuck Muth, “Draining the swamp of patent trolls: Creating business for lawyers is not what the Founders intended”, link here.

The video below from Reason TV minces no words about the problem for defendants of frivolous patent lawsuits.
 


The article describe how the town of Marshall Texas supports its local economy on patent litigation. Patent law allows litigation to be filed in any community where a product or service is sold. Local rules make the area an expensive place for defendants to litigate (in an area of the country otherwise bragging about low cost of living).  The applicable buzzwords are “venue reform” and “forum shopping”.  This problem definitely should suit the plate of a GOP-controlled Congress.
 
I lived in Dallas from 1979-1988, did have a lingering real estate issue in the 90s, and Texas is an unusually easy place to start litigation, because of the vestiges of the days of “good old boy” mentality – pretty much as in the original TV series “Dallas”.  My attorney there used to say “It’s dumb”.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bizarre patent case involves dental data; federal circuit rules progressively


In a bizarre and obscure but important patent case, the Federal Circuit in Washington DC has ruled that the International Trade Commission cannot regulate the importation of “data” under patent law.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation article by Vera Ranieri is here.  The case is interesting to me personally because it involved “dental data” which might be related to the placement of implants.  My own recent treatment in 2013 involved use of a company in Belgium to deliver the digital templates to the surgeon.

The case was “International Trade Commission” v. “Align Technology”.  Much of the issues concerned whether dental data constitutes “articles” under a 1920s law.