Machine Learning Patentability in 2019: 5 Cases Analyzed and Lessons Learned Part 2

Introduction

This article is the second in a five-part series. Each of these articles relates to the state of machine-learning patentability in the United States during 2019. Each of these articles describe one case in which the PTAB reversed an Examiner’s Section-101 rejection of a machine-learning-based patent application’s claims. The first article of this series described the USPTO’s 2019 Revised Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance (2019 PEG), which was issued on January 7, 2019. The 2019 PEG changed the analysis provided by Examiners in rejecting patents under Section 101[1] of the patent laws, and by the PTAB in reviewing appeals from these Examiner rejections. The first article of this series also includes a case that illustrates the effect of reciting AI components in the claims of a patent application. The following section of this article describes another case where the PTAB applied the 2019 PEG to a machine-learning-based patent and concluded that the Examiner was wrong. Continue Reading

Machine Learning Patentability in 2019: 5 Cases Analyzed and Lessons Learned Part 1

Introduction

This article is the first of a five-part series of articles dealing with what patentability of machine learning looks like in 2019. This article begins the series by describing the USPTO’s 2019 Revised Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance (2019 PEG) in the context of the U.S. patent system. Then, this article – and the four following articles – will describe one of five cases in which Examiner’s rejections under Section 101 were reversed by the PTAB under this new 2019 PEG. Each of the five cases discussed deal with machine-learning patents, and may provide some insight into how the 2019 PEG affects the patentability of machine-learning, as well as software more broadly. Continue Reading

Intellectual Property Outlook: Cases and Trends to Follow in 2020 — PART 2

PART 2: EFFORTS TO CLARIFY PATENT ELIGIBILITY UNDER § 101

In this four-part series, we take a look forward at the cases, legislation, and other trends that are likely to have a significant impact on intellectual property law and practice in 2020. The first part of the series – looking at IP issues currently pending before the Supreme Court – can be found here.

In this second part of the series, we look at possible developments in the law of patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Since the Supreme Court’s decisions in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., 566 U.S. 66 (2012), and Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, 573 U.S. 208 (2014), patent eligibility has likely been the single most confounding and controversial issue in the area of patent law. In this article, we consider:

  • The current state of patent eligibility since the decisions in Mayo and Alice;
  • Efforts to get the Supreme Court to address § 101 again;
  • The growing trend of avoiding § 101 issues through artful pleading;
  • Whether courts will return to a modified version of the “machine-or-transformation” test as a way to ensure patentability of “physical” inventions; and
  • Potential legislative “fixes” to patent eligibility. Continue Reading

Intellectual Property Outlook: Cases and Trends to Follow in 2020 – PART1

PART 1: IP ISSUES CURRENTLY PENDING BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT

In the first part of our series, we briefly summarize the intellectual property issues that the Supreme Court has already agreed to address in 2020. In particular, we provide a brief overview and key takeaways for the Supreme Court’s consideration of:

  • Whether adding “.com” to a generic mark creates a protectable trademark;
  • The scope of appeals from IPR proceedings;
  • The ability to copyright software interfaces;
  • Requirements for recovering an infringer’s profits in trademark cases;
  • State sovereign immunity from copyright infringement claims; and
  • Copyright protection for state law annotations.

Continue Reading

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Patents – Will the Patent Office Change the Rules?

The number of patents for inventions based on artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning continues to grow rapidly. Some of these inventions relate to AI technology per se, and some relate to the use of AI in specific applications, including many in healthcare, financial services and blockchain, among other industries. The USPTO has addressed various aspects of intellectual property issues with these technologies in various ways, including in an event it hosted entitled “Artificial Intelligence: Intellectual Property Policy Considerations (January 2019).” Due to some of the unique issues with these technologies, the USPTO is considering whether it should make any changes to how it handles examination of these applications. As part of this analysis, the USPTO issued a request for public comments on protection and examination of these inventions. Last fall, the USPTO issued a Federal Register Notice, 84 Fed. Reg. 166 (Aug. 27, 2019) entitled, “Request for Comments on Patenting Artificial Intelligence Inventions.” Soon after, the USPTO issued another Notice, 84 Fed. Reg. 210 (Oct. 30, 2019) entitled, “Request for Comments on Intellectual Property Protection for Artificial Intelligence Innovation,” which expanded the scope of its inquiry (from just AI patents) to further cover copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property rights impacted by AI. In a third notice, the PTO extended the comment period until January 10, 2020.

If you are focused on developing technology that uses AI, machine learning or deep learning, now is the time to weigh in if you want to influence the discussion. We will continue to follow this issue and provide updates. If you have questions on patents or other legal issues in these areas, please contact us.

Intellectual Property in the Cannabis Industry – Protecting Innovations And Products, Part I (Trade Secrets)

This post originally appeared as an article in Cannabis Business Executive on December 5, 2019.

A cannabis product business is no simple venture. Cannabusinesses have to innovate to remain competitive just like any other company, but in an industry plagued by complex and changing federal and state regulations of marijuana (aka cannabis). At the heart of every innovation lies potentially protectible intellectual property (IP) rights and that is no different in the cannabis industry. In our two-part article, we provide cannabis entrepreneurs with an overview of the IP protections available to them for their innovations. In Part I, we discuss trade secret protection. In Part II, we will cover patent protection. In both parts, we will address choosing between trade secret and patent protection. Continue Reading

Left Empty Handed: Valve Shut Down on Written Prior Art, Highlighting Importance of System Art

System art is of increasing importance in patent disputes despite being frequently overlooked or “left for later” in many cases.  A recent decision in the Ironburg Inventions v. Valve Corp. case highlights the importance of system prior art, particularly as IPR success rates have dropped from their high points in 2012-15. Continue Reading

3 Steps in Furtherance of Avoiding Devastating Spoliation Sanctions in Trade Secret Misappropriation Litigation

Preservation of electronically stored evidence (ESI) may be critical in trade secret cases. When a dispute revolves around whether a defendant accessed and/or transmitted the plaintiff’s trade secret material maintained in an electronic file, the file’s metadata can have evidentiary importance. Similarly, the defendant may have an interest in the plaintiff’s own disclosures of the alleged trade secret because such disclosures may negate its status as a trade secret (e.g., by showing the plaintiff did not take reasonable steps to keep it secret). The defendant may also want to focus on preserving documents that show that it independently developed the alleged trade secret information. Continue Reading

Patent Attacks Against Open Source Intensify!

We previously reported on how popular open source has been under attack from patent assertion entities. The attacks continue. The GNOME Foundation recently acknowledged that it was sued for patent infringement by Rothschild Patent Imaging LLC. The allegedly infringing product is Shotwell, a free and open source personal photo manager. Neil McGovern, Executive Director for the GNOME Foundation says “We have retained legal counsel and intend to vigorously defend against this baseless suit.” The suit alleges infringement of a single patent 9,936,086 titled “Wireless Image Distribution System and Method.” Continue Reading

Today’s Special: Validity Goulash – Serving Up 101 in the Mechanical Arts

A divided Federal Circuit, in a precedential opinion, upheld a lower court’s finding that the claims of US Patent No. 7,774,911 ineligible for patenting under Section 101 because the claims are directed to a law of nature. The ‘911 patent claims relate to methods of manufacturing vehicle driveshaft assemblies. Continue Reading

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