Wednesday, May 31, 2017

SCOTUS: First sale doctrine applies to patents, too. It's about time!

Apparently the “first sale” doctrine does apply in trademark cases, since the Supreme Court has ruled that Lexmark can’t require customers to return print cartridges or prohibit them from disabling a microschip that allows resale.  Jess Bravin writes on the ruling for the Wall Street Journal.

The opinion is here.  The case is Impression Products vs Lexmark International.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Uber, Lyft hit by patent troll

Electronic Frontier Foundation has an interesting “stupid patent of the month” story, this time about litigation against Uber and Lyft.  This matters to me as a consumer, as I do depend on Uber to get around DC Metro’s shrinking of weekend hours.  The story is by Vera Raineri, link.
The patent  in question is an “automated dispatch and payment honoring system: for taxis, and now for ride hailings services, link here from a company named Hailo.  The patent dates back to 1997, when the Internet was just getting going.  EFF says that the dispatching technology existed before.  It is very expensive to litigate questionable patents in court, but it is sometimes possible to get USPTO to review them.