Ray Van Dyke teaching a Class on Patent Law

 

As noted, as Co-Chair of the Intellectual Property Section for the Bar Association of Montgomery County (BAMC), I am pleased to report that the IP Section is having a continuing series of presentations on the fundamentals of intellectual property law  at the Bar headquarters in Rockville, Maryland.  See: http://montbar.site-ym.com/?62

With the increasing value of intellectual property in today’s economy, as well as the ongoing controversies, non-IP professionals, whether attorneys, scientists, business people, and interested citizens, all want to better understand the workings of these legal principles and tools. The first meeting was an overview of all IP rights.

The next meeting, December 1, 2015, will address the current issues and controversies involving patents, e.g., the so-called troll movement and ongoing legislative efforts in that regard.  At the last meeting, on November 11, 2015, the basics of patents were discussed, along with the historical and societal underminings of patents in society, partoicularly in the United States with the strong support of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and other Founders, as well as Abraham Lincoln, a President well-versed in technology and greatly appreciative of the American system of patent law and the advantages accorded.  Sadly, many of those advantages are being undermined by the rash of legislation, including the AIA.

Copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets will be covered in 2016.

As the speaker, I can say that the material will cover not only the law, but will include anecdotes about famous cases and inventors, putting the material into the context of the times.  My materials have been collected and coalesced over the last 16 years as part of an in-depth course I teach at SMU to engineers, business people, teachers, students and other interested parties.

If anyone has any questions about the course and these meetings, please do not hesitate to contact me.

For attendees, I require an RSVP so that I can gauge the audience and handle logistics. So, if learning a little about IP law is of interest, this series of presentations will do the trick. I look forward to meeting you there!

Ray Van Dyke, Co-Chair, Intellectual Property Section, BAMC

202.378.3903  vandyke@acm.org

Ray Van Dyke Teaches Intellectual Property Basics in Rockville, Maryland November 11, 2015

As Co-Chair of the Intellectual Property Section for the Bar Association of Montgomery County (BAMC), I am pleased to report that the IP Section is having a series of presentations on the fundamentals of intellectual property law  at the Bar headquarters in Rockville, Maryland.  http://montbar.site-ym.com/?62

With the increasing value of intellectual property in today’s economy, as well as the ongoing controversies, non-IP professionals, whether attorneys, scientists, business people, and interested citizens, all want to better understand the workings of these legal principles and tools. The first meeting was an overview of all IP rights.

The next meeting, November 11, 2015, will be directed to the basics of patents, with the more detailed issues, legislation and controversies covered in in more detail in a subsequent meeting on December 1, 2015.  Copyrights and trademarks will be covered in 2016.

As the speaker, I can say that the material will cover not only the law, but will include anecdotes about famous cases and inventors, putting the material into the context of the times.  My materials have been collected and coalesced over the last 16 years as part of an in-depth course I teach at SMU to engineers, business people, teachers, students and other interested parties.

If anyone has any questions about the course and these meetings, please do not hesitate to contact me.

For attendees, I require an RSVP so that I can gauge the audience and handle logistics. So, if learning a little about IP law is of interest, this series of presentations will do the trick. I look forward to meeting you there!

Ray Van Dyke, Co-Chair, Intellectual Property Section, BAMC

202.378.3903  vandyke@acm.org

Ray Van Dyke Teaches Intellectual Property Basics in Rockville, Maryland Starting October 6, 2015

As Co-Chair of the Intellectual Property Section for the Bar Association of Montgomery County (BAMC), I am pleased to report that the IP Section plans a series of presentations on the fundamentals of intellectual property law for this Fall, Winter and Spring at the Bar headquarters in Rockville, Maryland.  http://montbar.site-ym.com/?62

With the increasing value of intellectual property in today’s economy, as well as the ongoing controversies, non-IP professionals, whether attorneys, scientists, business people, and interested citizens, all want to better understand the workings of these legal principles and tools.

The first meeting, October 6, 2015, will be a survey of the various IP rights to be covered in more detail in subsequent meetings, beginning on November 11 and December 1 and in 2016.

As the speaker, I can say that the material will cover not only the law, but will include anecdotes about famous cases and inventors, putting the material into the context of the times.  My materials have been collected and coalesced over the last 16 years as part of an in-depth course I teach at SMU to engineers, business people, teachers, students and other interested parties.

If anyone has any questions about the course and these meetings, please do not hesitate to contact me.

For attendees, I require an RSVP so that I can gauge the audience and handle logistics. So, if learning a little about IP law is of interest, this series of presentations will do the trick. I look forward to meeting you there!

Ray Van Dyke, Co-Chair, Intellectual Property Section, BAMC

202.378.3903  vandyke@acm.org

Alice Doesn’t Patent Here Anymore

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice decision and the Patent Office’s draconian rule making implementing that case have had and are having a devastating effect on software-implemented innovation in America – even though Justice Thomas made no mention of software in his opinion.  Supreme Court words have that effect.

Soon afterward the decision, perfunctory 35 U.S.C. 101 rejections from the USPTO were created and now pervade the practice, attacking anything that includes software.  Various task forces within the intellectual property bar communities are still trying to assess the damage. Speaking with the Patent Office examiners in the software and business method art units, they say that their hands are tied so to speak by these harsh rules.  To be fair, the USPTO was forced to implement these rules by White House decree.

Alas, we have seen all of this before.  At the birth of the software industry in the Sixties and early Seventies, the Supreme Court then cast a negative shadow on the eligibility of any software-implemented innovations.  Indeed, Gottschalk v. Benson (1972) set the tone for software patenting – no.  Subsequent decisions by the Court echoed this view, and even though the Court upheld a software patent in 1981, the anti-software patenting die was cast – until 1998 that is when the floodgates were opened by the Federal Circuit’s State Street Bank case.

America is clearly the leader in software development.  We originated modern coding and our multitude of software products demonstrate this.  The explosion of the Internet created entirely new paradigms of business, and innovators and entrepreneurs tried to obtain patents on much of the new terrain.  Aided by the Federal Circuit’s positive view toward software-implemented innovation (but not abstraction), the software industry grew since companies could protect their code products.  Now, large corporations have developed from these industries, and upstart software developers of today out to change the established paradigm are unwanted.  Unsurprisingly, lobbyists from some of these same large corporations have been decrying the patent system, wanting to make changes to patent law to prevent any further garage-inventors from succeeding. To them, the patent system needs perpetual reform to cripple the future.

The Justices in Alice, a unanimous decision, thought that they were doing their part to curb the rampant abuses by those greedy patent trolls and reign in the Federal Circuit too.  But words have consequences.  Alas, just as the Court’s decision in 1972 had a chilling effect on the patenting of new technologies, so, too, the Alice case is destroying the chances of many innovators to succeed against the competition.  Incredible new technologies are being developed, many on the edge of abstractness – and thus running afoul of Alice.  Advances in personalized medicine and many, many other amazing new technologies are out there in the minds of visionaries, who are not always in corporations. With the new anti-software patent bias it is hard to protect and foster such ideas into new industries.

American ingenuity and gumption are part of our collective history. The Supreme Court and the USPTO are playing with our nation’s prosperity by their actions, words and rules.  Congress, instead of acting at the behest of anti-troll lobbyists to craft even more anti-patent system legislation, further tilting the playing field toward the large corporations, should be working hard to protect American innovation and the jobs and industries generated.  Alice used to patent her new innovations.  Now, she and so many other visionaries don’t see the point, and don’t work to invent here anymore.

Raymond Van Dyke, http://www.rayvandyke.com, vandyke@acm.org

Ray Van Dyke Teaches Course on Intellectual Property at SMU

Next week at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, I reprise my course on intellectual property. Excerpts from the course description are set forth below and available online at  http://lyle.smu.edu/~matula/IPIT/

Dr. David Matula and I have taught the class since 2000, and I am honored to teach the class again on January 16 and 17, 2015. The Course is open to everyone and I hope to see those that can attend next week. Engineers, scientists, corporate and business people, faculty and students have praised the class, and 2015 will be no exception! My presentation includes all the basics on IP, current developments, and purposes of IP to our society (and the past).

I hope to see you there!

Ray, vandyke@acm.org

COURSE DESCRIPTION

What is intellectual property? Why should I patent my innovation? How do I draft my claims?  This course will address the importance of technology and intellectual property in America, the fundamentals of patent, copyright, trademark and trade secrets for the lay person, and the real world application of those rights.

Fair use, open source, and alternatives will be described and interpreted.

Current developments and changes are also covered. In particular, the America Invents Act of 2011, the most monumental change to patent law since 1836, will also be discussed, and the significant effects on universities, small inventors and companies highlighted. Supreme Court, Legislation and other developments that affect these rights will also be covered in this popular and engaging presentation.

TOPICS TO BE COVERED BY THE COURSE INCLUDE:

  • History and Philosophy of Intellectual Property Rights and their role in the information age
  • Intellectual property’s impact on information system design and development
  • The inventor’s role in recognizing a patentable idea
  • Analysis of ground breaking industry patents
  • Impact of Emerging Technologies on Intellectual Property

DETAILS ON LOCATION AND CREDIT

Computer Science & Engineering Department

Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering
Presents

 15th Annual Short Course on Intellectual Property and Information Technology

January 16 & 17, 2015:  Friday 9:am-5:pm, Saturday 9:am-1:pm

Palmer Conference Center for Engineering Leadership

Caruth Hall, Rm. 406

3145 Dyer Street, Dallas, TX  75205

Short course fee:  $200 (group rates available)

SMU Students:  Credit – one hour:  Register for CSE 5111/7111

Non-credit complimentary SMU student registration available (contact beth@lyle.smu.edu)

IP in 2014: The Good, the Bad and the Idiotic

For those in the Washington, DC area, I am giving a talk at INCA (http://www.dcinventors.org/) next Monday evening. INCA, which stands for the Inventors Network of the Capital Area, is a nonprofit educational organization whose members are interested in patents, the innovation process, product design, marketing, licensing, prototyping and other product development issues. I am a proud member of INCA.

Hope to see you there!

Ray Van Dyke, vandyke@acm.org, www,rayvandyke.com

Breaking Bad Patents

Breaking Bad Patents

In AMC’s Breaking Bad, high school chemistry teacher Walter White, although starting out as a protagonist, descends into depravity and ruin.  Clearly, not all high school chemistry teachers are Walter Whites.  Similarly, not all scientists, innovators and patent owners are evil. Yet Congress, at the urging of lobbyists, is ready to label many innovators and patentees as “patent trolls,” categorically unworthy of participating in the patent process and subject to stiff penalties.

It seems that patents are always in the news.  The reason is their value and the market power involved.  A patent is a limited, exclusionary government grant designed to protect an inventor from infringers — i.e., copyists and others who desire to take advantage.

Patents represent one way the little guy with an idea can succeed in today’s economy.  Indeed, the U.S. Founding Fathers recognized the value of a patent system to foster innovation and incorporated it in the Constitution.  For more than two centuries, the U.S. patent system, like a faithful and sturdy machine, has been operating to protect American innovation and propel the country forward.

However, the patent system — the poster child of capitalism — can be controversial.  In the 1840s, the sewing machine patent wars created controversy. Likewise, Morse’s telegraph, Bell’s telephone, Edison’s inventions and the Wright Brothers’ flying machines all generated controversy in their day, triggering a hue and cry against the patent system.  Today, we have the smartphone patent wars, due entirely to the quest for market dominance — and this controversy too will pass.

In response to cries for patent reform, Congress passed the America Invents Act of 2011, which was recently enacted. It was meant as a response to the so-called patent trolls, also termed “patent assertion entities,” or PAEs.  The Act includes numerous new U.S. Patent Office governmental proceedings designed to challenge patents — e.g., oppositions and reexaminations — on top of the existing mechanisms to challenge and invalidate patents.

Through these various proceedings, dubious patents can be overturned without the necessity of resorting to a trial.  In the congressional hearings for the AIA, numerous corporations proclaimed the need for the Act.  Now, the U.S. Patent Office has hired hundreds of judges to oversee these new proceedings, and patent attorneys across the country have had to tell their clients about the brand new provisions, some of which overturned more than 210 years of patent law.

Even though the ink on the AIA is hardly dry, Congress is poised to enact rather serious legislation to curb so-called patent abuse, which the AIA was designed to do.  Also, the Federal Trade Commission is once again engaged in studying the patent system.  What is going on? Various large corporations and their lobbyists, although instrumental in pushing the AIA through, want more — far more than they got legislatively.

The fear, however, is that the proposed new measures, designed to kill trolls, may destroy what few advantages the small inventor and small companies may have to enforce their rights.  For example, there is a fee-shifting provision in a current bill that would shift attorney fees onto an unsuccessful troll.  Although penalizing a troll sounds OK, who is the troll?  Answer: anyone given the label.

“Trolls,” as the term is now understood, include those not practicing their invention — e.g., someone who has no business — only a patent.  Under this definition, universities are trolls.  Small inventors driven out of the market by a larger entity are trolls.  Nonetheless, there are bad actors out there, and there are bad patent lawsuits.  However, the AIA and its patent-challenging provisions are the mechanism that should come into play — not new legislation.

There is also a challenge against new technologies, primarily software.  To critics, all software patents are unpatentable as being too abstract even though the Supreme Court and numerous judges have elucidated guidelines to address this.

Further, software is an American specialty.  Is the U.S. to allow this national resource to go unprotected, allowing everyone to copy?  Just as the telegraph, the phone, electricity, flight, plastics, and other disciplines became subject to patenting — and controversies — software will in time join the technologies of yesterday and be supplanted by the technologies of tomorrow, which will hopefully be patentable as well.  Singling out software for exclusion from patenting is both short-sighted and asinine.

The AIA is not perfect, but it is a creature of pretty much the same lobbyists who are now crying for more.  The American patent system is strong, but it is not indestructible.  American invention is strong, and this national resource must not be hindered.

As Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said, “Innovation never comes from the established institutions. It’s always a graduate student or a crazy person or somebody with a great vision.”

If the U.S. government curtails patents enough, undermines the patent system, or otherwise disincentivizes innovators, the nation will suffer.

Demonizing inventors as greedy or evil — equating innovators with Walter White or other bad characters — undermines the Founding Fathers’ hopes for the U.S.  The AIA was an unpleasant pill that the patent system had to swallow; let’s let it work before forcing more unpleasantries on inventors.

One thing is certain: Heisenberg is dead.


Raymond Van Dyke is a patent practitioner and educator in Washington, D.C.

– See more at: http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/Breaking-Bad-Patents-79079.html#sthash.KAZwwGs3.dpuf