Category Archives: Litigation

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East Texas Patent Litigation, Part 3: Essentials for Victory

Man in suit addressing jurors in courtroomIn this third and final part of my current series on East Texas patent litigation, I will discuss essentials for victory in Texas intellectual property (IP) trials, again, based on my exclusive interview with noted blogger and Texas lawyer Michael C. Smith. Contrary to popular impression, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of … Continue Reading

East Texas Patent Litigation, Part 2: How to Win!

Capitol Building, Austin-TexasIt takes skill to win a patent case. You must marshal the evidence so judge and jury will follow you to the right conclusion. See Abraham Lincoln School of Patent Litigation. Lincoln, born in Kentucky and called to the bar in Springfield, Illinois, knew how to try a case quickly. Juries could relate to him. He was real. Abraham … Continue Reading

Why patent defendants hate East Texas (Part 1)

Texas Law Legal System ConceptWhy do patent defendants say such bad things about the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas? I asked this question of Michael C. Smith, the noted lawyer and blogger from Marshall, Texas. To prime the pump, I noted Texas Monthly calls his hometown “the intellectual property equivalent of a speed trap, a … Continue Reading

Of patents and prizes, or are your engineers smart enough to invent?

Businesswoman Has Won A TrophyLet’s say you own a business that makes something, whether it’s a software product or a hardware device. Your success depends on filling your customers’ needs better than anyone else. You innovate to make your products better, faster, cheaper. You solve your customers’ problems. That’s what your engineers and coders do. But you’re stuck on … Continue Reading

Would you rather win a Nobel Prize or a Patent?

Alfred Nobel Prize centennial US stamp 2001Which would you pick: The Nobel prize or a patent? If you’re like me, your instinctive reaction is to choose the Nobel. Its scarcity, prestige, and certainty of financial reward are unequaled. In this article, we’ll compare the merits of the Nobel award with the value of patents. Alfred Nobel himself will be our primary case … Continue Reading

How long should a patent claim be?

Hand Holding Wooden Folding  RulerHouse counsel for a large software company has written an open letter to me titled Pursuit of Extremely Short Patent Claims. He has thrown down the gauntlet in a public forum. Here’s what he said to me, followed by my response. … Continue Reading

Three Takeaways from Computer Chip Patent Wars

Circuit womanOn April 25, 1961, Robert Noyce, then of Fairchild, was issued U.S. Patent 2,981,877 for the first silicon-based integrated circuit. The earlier-filed patent application of Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments (TI) was still in the queue at the U.S. Patent Office. In the end, Intel would become Fairchild’s heir and boast annual sales of over $50 billion, leaving … Continue Reading

How Young Turks Can Help Build Your IP Portfolio

37th Vodafone Istanbul Marathon 2015Are you protecting your company’s patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property (IP) internationally? If not, you’re missing out! The Young Turks of IP, literally in Turkey and figuratively elsewhere, can help you to advance your company’s business interests through better, stronger IP protection. Here’s what’s at stake, with 7 tips on how and when to protect your … Continue Reading

What everyone should know about Apple slide-to-unlock patent vs. Samsung

Slide To UnlockIn the last inning of the Apple-Samsung game of smartphone hardball, Samsung slid into home. Apple failed to make the tag. “Samsung is safe!” cried the umpires. The inning was umpired by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which held Apple’s slide-to-unlock U.S. Patent 8,046,721 invalid. See Apple v. Samsung (Fed. Cir. Feb. 26, 2016). … Continue Reading

How to get lucky in basketball and in patent cases

Flaming basketballLuck, resources, or skill: Which factor is most important in basketball? In patent cases? In basketball, one counts on a bit of luck as the ball rolls around the rim. Talented players are the key resources. For skill, look at the coaches. In patent cases, judges and juries are drawn randomly. The top resources—and the biggest liabilities—in patent cases are the facts. The skill … Continue Reading

How to Profit from Patents While Apple, Samsung Weigh In At Supreme Court

Money making idea. Light bulb with Dollar symbol.The Supreme Court has granted Samsung’s appeal of a $500 million dollar judgment rendered on the latter’s infringement of Apple’s smartphone (iPhone) design patent. If your company owns patents, you may wonder: What effect will Apple-Samsung have on your patent program? More practically, how can you and your company make money on your patents starting now, in the “incubation period” of … Continue Reading

Billion Dollar Lego Patent

Lego logo on boxFifty-eight years ago today, Kirk Godtfred of Lego filed his patent application on the basic building block, literally, of Lego’s billion dollar private fortune. Now, here’s the thing: A patent filed 58 years ago is long expired. The then-standard-17-year term ended in 1978. So how is it that Lego is still the only game in town?… Continue Reading

What should you patent?

WheelhouseIn this part 2 of a series on 4 W’s of patent, we will consider the what of patent, specifically, the reasons to focus on patenting inventions that are “in your wheelhouse.” In this article, we will address three “what” questions: What is a patent? What kinds of inventions should you patent? (Are they in your … Continue Reading

More Words, Less Patent Clarity

Absolute ClarityThe Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has announced that in her zeal to prevent substandard patents from issuing, she will insist on clarity of the record. Every word of every patent will have to be defined. And every word stated in the patent process—in the give and take (or “prosecution”) between applicant… Continue Reading

Some Kind of Patent Trial

Beem Goes to CourtPatent jury trials reached their zenith in the mid-1990s. The stakes remain high, though the drama has faded. Now, even if it’s called a trial, what you get is “some kind of hearing,” as Judge Henry Friendly once called it in his seminal lecture and law review article. Some kind of hearing: That’s all you can expect in … Continue Reading

Patent World Convenes at IPO in Chicago

This week the world of corporate intellectual property (IP) converged in Chicago for the Annual Meeting of the Intellectual Property Owners (IPO) Association. A record 1150 IP lawyers and patent and trademark attorneys attended from the U.S., Europe, Asia, Canada, Latin America,  Australia and Africa. See attached photo (from left to right): Ray Ricordati, Renata Righetti, Richard Beem, … Continue Reading

Samsung loses bid for rehearing in $500 MM patent award to Apple

In my recent blog post, I reported that Samsung, backed by Google and other tech giants, was seeking rehearing of the Federal Circuit’s decision affirming some $500 million in damages to be paid by Samsung to Apple for design patent infringement. Hundreds of breathless reporters wondered whether Samsung would succeed in… Continue Reading

Patents: Buy, Sell, or Practice? What Google Learned May Surprise You!

Google has made a big splash with its patent purchase program. It says it wants to keep patents out of the hands of those who might be tempted to assert them against Google. That sounds fair enough, but there is more at stake than meets the eye. Google is trying desperately to build a large patent portfolio. … Continue Reading
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