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- Art Gollwitzer, Partner, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
Professor Tom W. Bell, Chapman University, Fowler School of Law, participated in a Teleforum conference call on the topic, "Copyright Originalism." Professor Bell's new book, Intellectual Privilege: Copyright, Common Law, and the Common Good, argues that copyright in the United States has mutated into something the Founders would have hardly recognized, much less approved of. He so admires their version of copyright that he convinced the Mercatus Center to publish Intellectual Privilege under what he calls the "Founders' Copyright," allowing the public to enjoy his book under terms that replicate the effect of the original Copyright Act, passed in 1790. Christopher Newman, Associate Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law, joined to offer his comments and questions.
While other fields of law are trying to anticipate the future ramifications of the widespread use of drones, robots, and self-driving vehicles, financial markets have already confronted the fact that – for about five years now – automated trading programs have made the majority of all trades in equities and commodities. Automation has substantially reduced the cost of trading, but it has also had profound effects on the structure of financial markets, and has raised questions about its facilitation of allegedly abusive practices. A 2013 documentary, “Ghost Exchange,” and a 2014 best-selling book, Michael Lewis’s Flash Boys, focused public attention on the effects of high-frequency trading (HFT) on market integrity and stability, and helped precipitate a series of aggressive enforcement investigations as well as rulemaking initiatives at financial regulatory agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Our experts reviewed the state of the debate over HFT, and possible paths forward.
The question in Limelight v. Akamai Technologies was whether the Federal Circuit erred in holding that a defendant may be held liable for inducing patent infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(b) even though no one has committed direct infringement under Section 271(a).
In an opinion delivered by Justice Alito, the Court held unanimously that a defendant is not liable for inducing infringement when no one has directly infringed under Section 271(a) or any other statute. The decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was reversed and the case remanded.
The questions in Nautilus v. Biosig Instruments were (1) Whether the Federal Circuit’s acceptance of ambiguous patent claims with multiple reasonable interpretations – so long as the ambiguity is not “insoluble” by a court – defeats the statutory requirement of particular and distinct patent claiming; and (2) whether the presumption of validity dilutes the requirement of particular and distinct patent claiming.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Ginsburg, the Court unanimously rejected the Federal Circuit’s “insolubly ambiguous” standard and held instead that a patent is invalid for indefiniteness if its claims, read in light of the patent specification and prosecution history, failed to inform those skilled in the art about the scope of the invention. With respect to the presumption of validity, the Court determined that in this case it ultimately did not affect the particularity requirement. The decision of the Federal Circuit was vacated and the case remanded for consideration under the standard articulated by the Supreme Court.
To discuss the case, we have Aaron M. Panner, Partner, Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel, P.L.L.C and Thomas G. Saunders, Partner, WilmerHale.
On June 19, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International. The question in the case is whether, for purposes of obtaining a patent, claims to computer-implemented inventions – including claims to a computer-implemented system for mitigating settlement risks – are directed to patent-eligible subject matter within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. § 101, as interpreted by the Supreme Court.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Thomas, the Court held unanimously that the claims at issue were drawn to the abstract idea of intermediated settlement, and that merely requiring generic computer implementation failed to transform that abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention. The Supreme Court therefore affirmed the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Justice Sotomayor filed a concurring opinion, joined by Justices Ginsburg and Breyer.
To discuss the case, we have Prof. Adam Mossoff, Professor of Law and Co-Director of Academic Programs and Senior Scholar at the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, George Mason University School of Law.