Giving start-ups a
Google this week attracted attention for launching a
programme for start-ups to receive patents from Google,
reports TechCrunch. The technology website clarified that
non-organic means those bought from third parties rather than
Google has named it
the Patent Starter Program. The offer is only open to the
first 50 eligible start-ups, and companies must commit to
joining the LOT Network, of which they will get two years of
free membership. Eligible companies must also have had revenues
of between $500,000 and $20 million in 2014.
Successful applicants will be sent within 30 days a list of
up to five families of patents, of which it can select two.
Google will keep a non-exclusive licence to all the divested
explained its motivations for the programme: "We are big
fans of the LOT Network program, which we think of as a great
longterm way to help fight against patent trolls. So,
encouraging smaller companies to join the LOT Network is just
something that we think makes great sense. Further, being able
to help support smaller companies and developers by providing
them patents with the expectation that such companies and
developers will grow and further contribute to a responsible
patent system seems like a pretty good idea to us."
The agreement includes a stipulation that if the acquired
assets are used to sue others, the company "will owe Google and
Having their say on
David Kappos in
an article on The Hill website this week laid out his
opposition to covered customer stay provisions in legislation
being considered in the US Senate and US House of
Customer stay allows a manufacturer to take on accusations
of patent infringement in court, protecting retailors,
consumers and other covered customers from their own lawsuits,
which would be stayed until the patent owner or manufacturer
have sorted out their dispute.
"The 'customer stay’ language in the pending
legislation could ravage intellectual property rights, while
ironically causing more patent litigation instead of less,"
wrote Kappos. "Not the kind of 'two-for’ we need
for our patent system right now."
Kappos said the language in front of Congress uses a hazy
definition of customer that encompasses everyone from the
end-user of a technology to commercial entities high up the
chain. The bills also have a rigid application of "stay" by
making it mandatory for judges.
"If the current 'customer stay’ language
becomes law, the maker of a patent-infringing product could
easily evade accountability by arranging a network of overseas
manufacturers to construct the infringing components, and then
assemble the pieces. Such supply-chain positioning is easily
manipulated," said Kappos.
In this scenario, when the patent owner sues the product
maker each manufacturer could take turns asking for stays, says
Kappos, in far-flung venues and with different, more
complicated rules than the patent owner faces when just suing a
company that sells an infringing product.
He said customer stays do make sense in cases where
so-called mom-and-pop stores are unfairly targeted by someone
abusing the patent system, but he pointed out courts already
have the discretion to grant stays.
Kappos’ piece was criticised by Matt Levy on
the Patent Progress site, although he did not name Kappos by
saying in a blog post that "his op-ed is pure fantasy, and
it’s written by someone who should know
Levy said Kappos’s scenario ignores the actual
language in the House and Senate bills, which are identical for
The customer stay only applies to a "retailer or end user".
A "retailer" is defined as "an entity that generates its
revenues predominately through the sale to the public of
consumer goods or services, or an affiliate of such entity, but
shall not include an entity that manufactures or causes the
manufacture of a covered product or covered process or a
relevant part thereof". An "end user" shall "include an
affiliate of such an end user, but shall not include an entity
that manufactures or causes the manufacture of a covered
product or covered process or a relevant part thereof".
Levy said both of these definitions clearly exclude "product
gets tech support
Silicon Valley companies including Google, Facebook, Dell,
HP and eBay
have given their support to Samsung in its appeal over
damages awarded to Apple for patent infringement.
A coalition of companies
filed an amicus brief in support of an en banc rehearing of
the case, saying the ruling will have "significant detrimental
consequences for the continued development of useful modern
technologies" if it stands.
The brief said: "If allowed to stand, that decision will
lead to absurd results and have a devastating impact on
companies who spend billions of dollars annually on research
and development for complex technologies and their
IP blogger Florian Mueller analysed the brief
in a detailed blog post on FOSS Patents.
"The greatest strength of that amicus brief is that it
provides examples that, under Judge Koh's and the Federal
Circuit panel's reasoning, would all result in a potential
disgorgement of unapportioned infringer's profits," said
Mueller. "It mentions the numerous components in a 'smart
television’ set, and notes that the aspects that
could be covered by design patents include 'even the shape of a
single icon within an application’."
Oracle and Google rematch in spring 2016
Mueller at FOSS Patents also revealed the latest in the spat
between Oracle and Google. The companies filed
a joint status report on Thursday, in which they both
suggested the next Android-Java copyright trial should take
about 10 days and occur in spring 2016.
However, Oracle suggested a date of April 4 2016 whereas
Google suggested May or June.
Mueller commented: "Throughout this litigation, Google has
been attempting to stall, a fact that apparently didn't go
unnoticed by the judge. However, it has played this smart,
trying to maintain at least some credibility, and I guess
that's why it doesn't propose an even later trial date."
A divided Trademark Trial and Appeal Board panel this week
sustained the opposition to the mark GOTHAM BATMEN for general
business networking referral services,
reports The TTABlog.
The panel found the marks confusingly similar to DC
Comics’ registered mark BATMAN.
The Board said: "Because Opposer’s BATMAN mark
is famous and it has been licensed for use on a myriad of
products, countless individuals have been exposed to
Opposer’s BATMAN mark and to its use on or in
connection with collateral products, including t-shirts and
baseball balls and bats. Under these circumstances, individuals
familiar with Opposer’s BATMAN marks and their
associated goods and services, when confronted with
Applicant’s mark in connection with softball games
and networking services, will consider such activities to be
sponsored by or affiliated with Opposer."
Judge Taylor dissented, saying that DC Comics had not met
its burden to prove fame.
Also on the blog this week
Tell MARQUES about yourself and win a bottle
Join Managing IP's upcoming Asia
In our news and analysis this week:
Federal Circuit says TTAB must take
third-party registrations into account more
WilmerHale adds partner in LA
Federal Circuit says biosimilar applicants can
decline patent dance
ARIPO DG speaks out on the Banjul Protocol and
Interview: Fernando dos Santos on PAIPO and
Q&A: Nokia’s Richard Vary on
CJEU judgment in Huawei v ZTE
Court quashes UK private copying
Fake clothes, shoes and accessories cost EU
companies €26bn a year - report
PTAB petitions hit 2015 high in June
Data: PTAB petitioners, patent owners and law
firms in the first half of 2015
Huawei v ZTE – analysis from across
Online copyright pirates face 10 years in
prison under UK plans
Unitary Patent and UPC: progress report part
Unified Patent Court: where will it