Tag Archives: History

When Presidents Signed Patents

Patent_CollageOn Presidents Day, it is my pleasure to share with you the Beem Presidential Patent Collection. The collection comprises historic original patents and an original copyright, dated between 1800 and 1843, signed by U.S. presidents (also British monarchs), U.S. secretaries of state, and U.S. attorneys general. Also in the collection are original letters signed by … 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

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

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

Federal Circuit Judicial Clerkship Experience

It is a wonderful experience to serve as law clerk to a judge. It’s fun to meet other law clerks, judges, and members of the bar. Clerks get to know each other in a variety of ways, forming friendships that can last a lifetime. Here is a photo from Archives Courtesy of Federal Circuit Historical Society showing the law … Continue Reading

Fear of Patents Incited by Lobbyists

Patent law promotes the progress of technology by rewarding inventors who patent their inventions. From the beginning, the Constitution empowered Congress to pass a Patent Act, and President George Washington called for it in his first State of the Union address. Congress acted affirmatively in 1790, with periodic updates ever since. As Abraham Lincoln said, the patent system adds … Continue Reading

Patent System under Attack: Interview with USPTO Director Michelle Lee

This morning, my fellow leaders of the Chicago Intellectual Property Law Association (IPLAC) and I met with Michelle K. Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and several of her fellow USPTO executives, including the impressive Dr. Christal Sheppard, Director of the Detroit Office. Director Lee has excellent qualifications. Unfortunately, as discussed below, … Continue Reading

#HIMSS15 Health IT, IP & Software Patent

As I write these words, I stand among 41,000 health information technology (HIT) professionals gathered in Chicago for  HIMSS15. As an intellectual property (IP) lawyer, I am here because my clients are here. If you’re at HIMSS15, you are probably engaged in electronic health records (EHR) software, hardware and/or medical devices. Your organization is likely to be active … Continue Reading

Science vs. Technology: Volta vs. Watt and Edison

Today’s Google doodle honors Alessandro Volta (whose name will be remembered forever in connection with the volt, a unit of power) on his 270th birthday. Volta is credited with the invention of the first electrical battery in 1799. The doodle has been criticized as misleading because it portrays electric lights more commonly associated with Thomas … Continue Reading

History and Future of U.S. Patent System

As I write these words, I am inspired and surrounded by original autographs of seven of America’s eight early presidents. Their signatures appear on 200-year old original patents displayed on the walls of my offices. See Beem Presidential Patent Collection. “If a country can be said to possess a soul, then America’s is the patent … Continue Reading
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