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Michael Loney

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  • Thu, 24 July 2014

    Demand letters bill last hope for patent reform this Congress

    A slimmed down patent reform bill clamping down on demand letters appears the final hope for legislation to get passed in this Congress. But some patent reform supporters are worried a small bill would make it even harder to pass comprehensive reform in the future while others say a pause in efforts to get reform passed is no bad thing

  • Sat, 19 July 2014

    Seth MacFarlane, Eli Lilly, Sherlock Holmes, Aereo, IP spending – the week in IP

    A dispute over the vulgar teddy bear character in Ted, the US Copyright Office’s response to Aereo, IP spending hitting $8.5 billion, Canada’s criticism of a NAFTA challenge by Eli Lilly, and Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate looking to the Supreme Court for help were among the intellectual property stories hitting the headlines this week

  • Fri, 11 July 2014

    Aereo, USPTO, Thomas Pink, Victoria’s Secret, Tesla, TPP – the week in IP

    Aereo claiming it is a “cable system”, the Obama Administration reportedly backtracking on appointing a USPTO director, a landmark for women barristers in UK courts, Tesla being sued for trade mark infringement in China, and two letters criticising the TPP were among the intellectual property stories hitting the headlines in the past week

  • Fri, 04 July 2014

    Rader’s good-bye, Microsoft and Canon deal, Lindsay Lohan lawsuit, BP denied – the week in IP

    Randall Rader saying farewell to the Federal Circuit, Microsoft and Canon agreeing a patent cross-licensing deal, Lindsay Lohan suing a video games maker, Judge Lucy Koh banning the use of the term “patent troll”, and BP being denied a colour trade mark in Australia were among the intellectual property stories hitting the headlines in the past week

  • Fri, 27 June 2014

    Reactions to US Supreme Court ruling 6-3 against Aereo

    On June 25 the Supreme Court held that internet service Aereo infringes broadcasters' copyright by performing their works publicly. We have collected some of the best responses from Twitter and the web

  • Fri, 27 June 2014

    Aereo, Marvel, .wine, Jones Day, Pitbull, damages report – the week in IP

    A copyright lawsuit over Pitbull’s song “Timber”, a new patent litigation damages report, EFF calling Jones Day a trade mark bully, an IIPI amicus brief in support of the heirs of cartoonist Jack Kirby, and disgreement over .wine at ICANN were among the intellectual property stories hitting the headlines this week

  • Tue, 24 June 2014

    Interview: Protecting the World Cup trade marks

    While hundreds of millions of people are gripped watching football’s 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil this month, the head of FIFA’s trade mark registration team is already busy working on the next one taking place in four years’ time

  • Tue, 24 June 2014

    Snap reaction to Supreme Court’s Alice v CLS opinion

    It was short. It was not a blockbuster decision. It was a missed opportunity. It is to be applauded. It did not do great damage. Nor did it do much good. These are some of the responses to the Supreme Court’s eagerly-awaited 21-page opinion in Alice Corporation v CLS Bank, released on June 19

  • Tue, 24 June 2014

    Alice v CLS reaction from around the internet

    The US Supreme Court delivered its opinion in the key patent case Alice v CLS Bank on June 19. We have collected some of the best reactions from Twitter and the web through Storify

  • Sat, 21 June 2014

    Sherlock Holmes, Redskins, IKEA, Philip Morris, Smokey Robinson – the week in IP

    The Supreme Court's long-awaited decision in Alice v CLS, a Sherlock Holmes copyright ruling, Philip Morris' parody T-shirt dispute, the Wall Street Journal slamming "lowly patent clerks", the shut-down of the IKEAHackers website, and Smokey Robinson's copyright fight with his ex-wife were among the intellectual property stories hitting the headlines this week

  • Wed, 18 June 2014

    Supreme Court’s POM ruling will impact more than food and drink

    IP practitioners say that the Supreme Court’s POM Wonderful v Coca-Cola ruling is unlikely to spark a flood of food and beverage labelling lawsuits but may have wider implications elsewhere

  • Mon, 16 June 2014

    iFone win, Lego image dispute, Hitler copyright controversy, new patent troll study – the week in IP

    Mexico’s intellectual property office ruling in favour of iFone, Lego asking the UK government to remove images, German legal scholars debating whether Mein Kampf should be studied or suppressed when its copyright expires and a study claiming patent trolls restrict venture capital investment were among the intellectual property stories hitting the headlines in the past week

  • Fri, 13 June 2014

    Marks waiting to break sound barrier in Canada

    Canada is becoming more active in registering non-traditional marks, with sound marks the first to be permitted. But many brand owners are waiting to see how courts interpret these marks before applying for them

  • Tue, 10 June 2014

    The options for alternative patent licensing compared

    A recent report laid out the quickly-evolving options for alternative patent licensing from defensive patent aggregators such as Allied Security Trust (AST), RPX and Unified Patents as well as patent pledges from firms including Twitter and Google

  • Fri, 06 June 2014

    Fees shifted in three cases following SCOTUS Octane decision

    Five district court opinions have so far applied the fee shifting standard that the Supreme Court laid out in its Octane Fitness decision in April, with three of the opinions ruling in favour of fee shifting.

  • Fri, 06 June 2014

    Beastie Boys’ copyright win, Hatch calls for USPTO director, Hershey’s sues pot co-op, dispute over “Mormon”, Harper Lee kills lawsuit – the week in IP

    Monster Beverage being ordered to pay the Beastie Boys $1.7 million, Orrin Hatch slamming the Obama administration for not appointing a USPTO director, Hershey’s suing a marijuana cooperative, .xyz becoming the number one gTLD, and Harper Lee ending a copyright lawsuit against a museum were among the intellectual property stories hitting the headlines this week

  • Wed, 04 June 2014

    Impact of SCOTUS 2014 patent verdicts already being felt

    So far this year, the US Supreme Court has released five decisions in patent cases. The ramifications of these are already being seen, with one example being the shifting of fees in a case as a result of the Octane decision

  • Wed, 04 June 2014

    Things are not as bad as they seem at the Federal Circuit

    Chief Judge Sharon Prost may have wished she brought a tin hat with her for her first day in her new role at the Federal Circuit on Monday. With cruel timing, the Supreme Court chose June 2 to unleash a harsh smack down of the appeals court over which she now presides

  • Tue, 03 June 2014

    SCOTUS rejects CAFC’s insolubly ambiguous test and expansion of inducement doctrine

    The US Supreme Court has rejected the Federal Circuit’s insolubly ambiguous test in Nautilus v Biosig and its expansion of the inducement doctrine in Limelight Networks v Akamai Technologies, with Justice Samuel Alito having some harsh words for the court of appeals

  • Fri, 30 May 2014

    Spherix shares rise then fall, .club takes number one gTLD slot, Apple requests retrial, Marines go on trade mark offensive – the week in IP

    Apple requesting a retrial with Samsung, shares in Spherix surging then plummeting, the .club domain name becoming the number one gTLD, the Marines increasing trade mark filing, and a potential thawing in Disney’s attitude to copyright infringement were among the intellectual property stories hitting the headlines this week

  • Sat, 17 May 2014

    Apple and Google drop litigation, top US copyright suit filer revealed, Samsung/Rockstar dispute continues – the week in IP

    Apple and Google dropping all patent litigation against each other, an erotic movie studio filing more than a third of US copyright lawsuits, a German court ruling Jesus Christ does not own copyright on a 1975 book, Samsung failing to have a Rockstar lawsuit dismissed in Texas, and the Senate trying to mark-up a patent reform bill for a sixth time were among the intellectual property stories hitting the headlines in the past week

  • Wed, 14 May 2014

    US patent litigation up 12.4%, with trolls the top 10 plaintiffs

    A new report from Lex Machina underlines how quickly patent litigation is increasing, and reveals the districts with the biggest caseloads, the top plaintiffs and the most popular targets for litigation (no prizes for guessing which firm is sued the most)

  • Tue, 13 May 2014

    USPTO wants to lower most trademark filing fees

    The USPTO has proposed to reduce fees for trademark filings that are done electronically. Deborah Cohn, Commissioner for Trademarks at the Office, explained during the UPSTO Users session yesterday that the aim is to lower costs and promote efficiency for customers.

  • Mon, 12 May 2014

    INTA Annual Meeting to return to Asia in 2020

    In yesterday’s Opening Ceremonies, Etienne Sanz de Acedo, INTA CEO, highlighted the Association’s rapidly growing initiatives in Asia. He said that 2,739 attendees from Asia-Pacific were registered for this year’s Annual Meeting, making up almost 32% of all attendees.

  • Sun, 11 May 2014

    US trademark case and TTAB trends explained

    A session on Wednesday will give attendees analysis of the most important US trademark cases in the past year. Michael Loney looks at some of the cases that might be discussed.

  • Sun, 11 May 2014

    Five best practices for trademark teams during M&A

    A panel tomorrow will provide practical advice on dealing with trademarks during mergers and acquisitions. Michael Loney discusses five of the top tips.

  • Sun, 11 May 2014

    Get your INTA networking up to speed

    In the Exhibit Hall this year you can find many items of interest from around the world. These include Russian dolls, traditional Chinese outfits, Ecuadorian chocolate, Vietnamese figurines and pirates of the Caribbean. Cuddly toys also appear popular among exhibitors this year. You can even win some at one stand if you manage to throw a sticky ball at a target. At INTA’s stand you can view samples of some counterfeit goods, including fake designer jeans and purses.

  • Thu, 08 May 2014

    Did SCOTUS clear the way for patent reform? Don’t hold your breath

    The US Supreme Court stepping in to overhaul the definition of when a case is so exceptional that fees should be shifted has raised expectations that patent reform can now quickly proceed

  • Tue, 06 May 2014

    US patent litigation report: lawsuits subside, but TQP steps up

    Eighty-seven new patent cases were filed in US district courts last week, according to figures from Docket Navigator. This was down greatly on the 291 new cases the week before when concerns about a patent reform provision being debated in Senate caused lawsuit filing to sharply increase

  • Fri, 02 May 2014

    Fifth US patent reform delay, Alibaba’s pre-IPO patent spree, UK Patent Box attracts Pfizer, MPHJ Vermont setback, at home with Kim Dotcom – the week in IP

    Senator Patrick Leahy delaying mark up of patent reform for a fifth time, World IP Day celebrations, Alibaba buying patents ahead of its IPO, the UK Patent Box attracting Pfizer, a federal court sending the Vermont attorney general’s lawsuit against MPHJ back to state courts, and Kim Dotcom’s new political party were among the stories hitting the headlines in the past week

  • Thu, 01 May 2014

    The new BPTO president’s backlog challenge in Brazil

    Brazil is taking steps to reduce its big backlog of patent and trade mark applications under the new president of the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (BPTO), as well as overhauling some of its intellectual property regulations including new guidance on famous and well-known trade marks

  • Sat, 26 April 2014

    Patent lawsuit spike, Maltesers dispute, Google/Foxconn patent deal, Pfizer’s India criticism – the week in IP

    An unusual amount of US patent infringement lawsuits, Mars suing Hershey’s for trade mark infringement over its Malteser product, Foxconn selling communication technology patents to Google, and Quentin Tarantino’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Gawker Media being dismissed were among the stories hitting the headlines in the past week

  • Fri, 18 April 2014

    Canada IP criticism, Megaupload lawsuits, Tennessee troll reform, Scotch trade mark, Jay-Z ruling – the week in IP

    32 US lawmakers lambasting Canada’s IP standards, record labels and movie studios suing Megaupload, Tennessee passing patent troll legislation, Australia granting trade mark protection to Scotch, and a judge ruling in favour of Jay-Z were among the stories hitting the headlines in the past week

  • Fri, 11 April 2014

    Apple opts out of new IV fund, four governments protest .wine, USPTO has record week, Google fights to get Glass trade mark – the week in IP

    The investors in Intellectual Ventures’ new patent acquisition fund, China approving Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s devices business with conditions, four countries requesting ICANN reconsider the .wine gTLD, the EC president visiting OHIM, and Google’s attempt to get a trade mark on the word glass were among the stories hitting the headlines this week

  • Tue, 08 April 2014

    In defence of the USPTO’s Myriad guidelines

    The USPTO stepped into a minefield last month when it issued guidance following the Supreme Court’s Myriad decision. Many IP practitioners reacted with horror to what they saw as dangerous guidance that could mean drugs that are derived from natural products are not patentable. It is possible to feel some sympathy for the USPTO’s position, however

  • Mon, 07 April 2014

    Why the Partnership for American Innovation is needed – Kappos

    The Partnership for American Innovation was set up in response to an alarming increase in anti-IP sentiment and expects to grow its membership, according to David Kappos, who is advising the coalition

  • Sat, 05 April 2014

    SCOTUS takes another patent case, Marvell verdict increased, UK progressing on plain packaging, Lenovo buys NEC patents – the week in IP

    The Supreme Court hearing arguments in Alice v CLS and granting review of Teva v Sandoz, Lenovo buying more than 3,800 of NEC’s patent families, Carnegie Mellon’s damages being increased 31%, the UK making progress towards a plain packaging ban, and the USPTO creating a new international cooperation office were among the stories hitting the headlines this week

  • Thu, 03 April 2014

    Canada braced for “bedlam” after surprise Trade-marks Act changes

    IP observers in Canada are warning of uncertainty and increased expense for trade mark owners after the country’s government announced sweeping changes to the Trade-marks Act late on Friday March 28

  • Fri, 28 March 2014

    Microsoft/Dell licensing deal, Leahy bill hearing delayed, USPTO issues 700,000th design patent – the week in IP

    A new Android patent deal for Microsoft, the Senate mulling further provisions for patent reform, InterDigital reportedly agreeing to FRAND terms for its patents in China, the Wu-Tang Clan’s novel approach to releasing music, and the USPTO's 700,000th design patent were among the IP stories hitting the headlines this week

  • Thu, 27 March 2014

    IP practitioners “horrified” by USPTO guidelines on Myriad

    This month’s USPTO guidance for determining subject matter eligibility in claims resulting from laws of nature in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Myriad decision has caused high concern among IP practitioners, according to a life science panel at the US Patent Forum in Washington DC on March 25

  • Thu, 27 March 2014

    Federal Circuit braced for PTAB “tsunami”

    Concern is growing about how Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) trials will affect the relationship between the USPTO and Federal Circuit, according to speakers on a panel at the US Patent Forum in Washington DC on March 25

  • Thu, 27 March 2014

    Managing IP North America Awards 2014: the winners

    Awards were presented to the leading national and regional firms in US and Canada, as well as the outstanding IP litigators by state, at a ceremony at the Willard InterContinental in Washington DC on March 25

  • Wed, 26 March 2014

    The limits of US states’ action against patent trolls

    The clampdown against patent trolls at state level continues to gather pace. But could the actions of Attorneys General lead to confusion, inconsistency and unfairness?

  • Fri, 21 March 2014

    Bill to ensure USPTO keeps user fees has “a chance” of passing

    A bill introduced last week that would ensure that the USPTO keeps all of the user fees it collects has a good chance of being passed, according to observers

  • Fri, 14 March 2014

    Google demands Garcia rehearing, Pfizer patent invalidated, EU kicks up stink over cheese, US patent litigation plummets - the week in IP

    Google filing a petition for a rehearing of Innocence of Muslims case, Pfizer having a blockbuster patent invalidated, US patent litigation filings slowing and the EU looking to clamp down on the use of cheese names were among the intellectual property stories hitting the headlines this week

  • Fri, 07 March 2014

    Oscars selfie debate, top patent troll targets, Batmobile copyright fight – the week in IP

    A debate about who owns the copyright on the Oscars selfie, the top targets for patent trolls, India cranking up patent filing fees and a lawsuit over the Batmobile were among the intellectual property stories hitting the headlines this week

  • Tue, 04 March 2014

    White House executive actions viewed with scepticism

    The White House unveiled three executive actions on February 20, which it hailed as important in strengthening the patent system. IP observers seem less convinced, however

  • Tue, 04 March 2014

    US jury-determined RAND rate to influence wifi patent licensing disputes

    A decision in a US district court in California last week in Realtek Semiconductor Corp v LSI Corp could have a big impact on litigation related to reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) rates

  • Fri, 28 February 2014

    “A search for adjectives”: SCOTUS Justices grapple with fee shifting

    It was an important day in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, with arguments being heard in two cases that could change the rules for fee shifting in patent disputes

  • Fri, 28 February 2014

    “Innocence of Muslims” copyright decision condemned

    A Ninth Circuit decision in Garcia v Google has shocked copyright practitioners, who warn its impact could be vast. Judge Alex Kozinski this week ruled that the film “The Innocence of Muslims” violated actor Cindy Garcia’s copyright, and that Google must remove it from YouTube

  • Fri, 28 February 2014

    Senate troll bill introduced, Betty Boop back in court, $2bn lawsuit against Apple rejected– the week in IP

    A new Senate anti-troll bill, Betty Boop being back in court, an end to the Candy Crush trademark saga, a rejection of a $2 billion patent lawsuit against Apple, and a Simpsons actor’s copyright dispute were among the intellectual property stories hitting the headlines this week

  • Wed, 26 February 2014

    US states declare war on patent trolls

    US state attorneys general are taking aim at patent trolls. One has passed legislation to curb abusive demand letters and another has announced a settlement with a notorious troll. But limitations exist to how much can be achieved at state level, as well as concerns about confusion and overreach, reports Michael Loney

  • Wed, 26 February 2014

    Future of fee shifting in balance at Supreme Court

    The Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in two complementary cases that have wide-reaching ramifications for fee shifting, patent trolls and the patent reform legislation in Congress

  • Tue, 25 February 2014

    Failure in Apple/Samsung talks shows limits of mediation

    The deadline of February 19 for Apple and Samsung to mediate their patent dispute has passed without agreement. The two parties will be back in a Californian court at the end of March

  • Fri, 21 February 2014

    USPTO’s “staggering incompetence”, NSA parody settlement, Nicki Minaj wig dispute – the week in IP

    A USPTO patent granted to a disgraced scientist, an NSA settlement with an online retailer over parody t-shirts and a lawsuit brought against Nicki Minaj claiming $30 million of losses from stolen wig designs were among the intellectual property-related stories hitting the headlines this week

  • Fri, 14 February 2014

    Apple/Samsung mediation fails, EU rules on unregistered design rights, IV cuts staff by 5% – the week in IP

    An EU ruling on unregistered design rights, Intellectual Ventures cutting its staff by 5% and HTC and Nokia settling all patent litigation between each other were among the IP developments in the news this week

  • Fri, 07 February 2014

    Average price of US patents fell 37% in 2013 – study

    The average and median price paid for US patents fell in 2013 compared with 2012, according to an analysis by patent brokerage and valuation services firm IPOfferings

  • Fri, 07 February 2014

    IV and Google mistrial, Cisco/IBM patent licensing deal, Red Bull locks horns over trade mark - the week in IP

    A mistrial in IV's case against Google, Samsung and Cisco unveiling a patent licensing deal, and a judgment in a Red Bull trade mark dispute were among the IP developments in the news this week

  • Tue, 04 February 2014

    USPTO’s Michelle Lee comes bearing good news, leaves mixed response

    Michelle Lee hit a strikingly upbeat tone in her first speech since being appointed deputy director of the USPTO. This was not enough for some, who accused her of being on a “very short leash” while decrying the continued absence of a director above her

  • Mon, 03 February 2014

    Acacia slams “witch hunt” against NPEs

    A member of Acacia Research Group’s management team has hit out at what he says is the “witch hunt that seems to be underway against non-practising entities” and criticised the US president for a lack of understanding about patents

  • Fri, 31 January 2014

    Prince, Google, Victoria’s Secret, boxing and flexing your muscles – the week in IP

    Bootleg recordings, the sale of Motorola Mobility, a fight over Pink, litigation strategies and the Queensbury case were among IP developments in the news this week

  • Thu, 30 January 2014

    Is the US IP system really the world’s best?

    The Global Intellectual Property Centre is out with its 2nd International IP Index, and its findings may raise a few eyebrows

  • Wed, 29 January 2014

    Supreme Court’s Medtronic reversal will embolden licensees

    The Supreme Court’s unanimous overturning of the Federal Court decision in Medtronic v Mirowski Family Ventures will remove uncertainty over which party has the burden of proof in patent licensing disputes and may lead to further challenges to licensed patents from licensees

  • Fri, 24 January 2014

    The week in IP - Qualcomm buys HP patents, Candy trade mark leaves bad taste, Rockstar drops suit against Huawei

    A selection of intellectual property stories from around the world that grabbed headlines this week

  • Fri, 17 January 2014

    AIA forces changes in invention capture and review procedures: study

    The America Invents Act has prompted many companies to make changes in their invention capture and review procedures and public disclosure polices, according to a study released by IP advisory firm ipPerformance

  • Fri, 17 January 2014

    The week in IP – Record EPO applications, Cronut gets trade mark, Marvin Gaye’s estate in Blurred Lines settlement

    A selection of intellectual property stories from around the world that grabbed headlines this week

  • Thu, 16 January 2014

    2014 looking like a bad year to be a patent troll

    Patent trolls came under a lot of fire near the end of last year, as the US House of Representatives debated the Innovation Act and the Senate readied its own legislation to tackle patent abuse. The focus on patent trolls has intensified further so far this year

  • Tue, 14 January 2014

    New York AG "patent troll" settlement touted as model for other states

    New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman has announced a settlement with MPHJ Technology Investments that has been described as a model for other states to follow when taking on patent trolls

  • Tue, 14 January 2014

    Qualcomm, Apple and Google soar up patent assignee rankings

    Technology firms are rising quickly up the ranking of firms with the most patents granted in the US, according to new data published by IFI Claims Patent Services.

  • Fri, 10 January 2014

    Supreme Court agrees to hear two patent cases

    The US Supreme Court today granted review for two patent cases, one copyright case and one trade mark case. The cases are Limelight Networks v Akamai Technologies, Nautilus v Biosig Instruments, ABC v Aereo and POM Wonderful v Coca-Cola

  • Fri, 10 January 2014

    A big day at the Supreme Court for patent case watchers

    The fate of a number of high-profile US patent lawsuits will be made clearer today. The Justices of the Supreme Court are scheduled to meet for a private conference and will consider some important patent cases

  • Fri, 10 January 2014

    The week in IP - Coinye West, USPTO rejects R-word, Samsung and Apple CEOs to discuss patent dispute

    A selection of intellectual property stories from around the world that grabbed headlines this week

  • Thu, 09 January 2014

    Concerns mount over Alice v CLS Bank case at Supreme Court

    One of the most watched patent cases this year will be the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Alice v CLS Bank. Observers hope this will at last provide some certainty around interpreting Section 101 after more than four decades of confusion. They will likely be disappointed

  • Tue, 31 December 2013

    Ex-AIPLA president continues client confidentiality quest

    Jeffrey Lewis may have finished his term as president of AIPLA in October but he is determined to continue to push for change on attorney-client privilege

  • Thu, 19 December 2013

    Patent reform to pass this Congress – former Leahy adviser

    Patrick Leahy this week has been trying to convince his fellow senators of the need to pass patent reform. But the Democratic Senator from Vermont, who serves as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been doing it without his former top adviser on IP issues

  • Wed, 18 December 2013

    Consistent damages law would deal with trolls

    Applying the existing US damages law consistently would go a long way to reducing the troll problem, it was argued during a web seminar entitled Patent Trolls & Damages held by Managing IP in association with LexisNexis

  • Thu, 12 December 2013

    Lee's USPTO appointment causes a stir

    As of January a former Google employee will be in charge of the USPTO, with Michelle Lee becoming deputy director with no director above her. The appointment has sparked concerns, as well as questions about whether legally she can be appointed at all

  • Fri, 06 December 2013

    Innovation Act passed intact by US House of Representatives

    The Innovation Act was passed by the House of Representatives in a 325-91 vote yesterday, despite some heated opposition. It survived amendments that would have removed provisions moving to a loser-pays system and diluted the covered stay provisions

  • Wed, 04 December 2013

    The points to watch in Oracle v Google’s appeal hearing

    Two technology giants – and two colourful lawyers – are to clash today, when the appeal hearing Oracle v Google gets underway at the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC

  • Mon, 02 December 2013

    Goodlatte bill critics urge caution

    With a vote on the Goodlatte bill scheduled for December 4, observers are concerned that progress is moving too fast on patent reform in the House of Representatives and complain that interested stakeholders have not had a fair chance to have their say.

  • Thu, 28 November 2013

    USPTO now a “crisis situation” after Rea leaves

    The top two positions at the USPTO are now vacant, with no word on when they will be filled

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