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This week in Other Barks & Bites: The Federal Circuit affirms a win for Sierra Wireless at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in a precedential ruling on Friday; Google launches a program to watermark AI-generated images; the CAFC affirms a PTAB ruling that invalidated a patent that claimed technology related to Meta’s News Feed; and an economic consultancy firm releases a report that argues rule changes to the IPR system could cost the U.S. economy nearly half-a-billion dollars.
Sisvel Appeal of Sierra Wireless PTAB Win Shot Down by CAFC
On Friday, September 1, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued a precedential opinion affirming a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decision that two Sisvel patents were unpatentable as anticipated and/or obvious. The court agreed with the PTAB that Sisvel’s proposed amended claims were broader than the original claims and clarified that it was reviewing the Board’s analysis of the substitute claims under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) standard of review, rather than for substantial evidence.
USPTO Issues New Examination Guide to Combat Trademark Filing Scams
On Wednesday, August 30, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued an examination guide for examining attorneys and post-registration examiners. The guide clarifies the steps these attorneys and examiners need to follow to evaluate the domicile information of trademark applicants and owners. The USPTO wrote, “the domicile address requirement is crucial to our efforts to fight the unprecedented increase in trademark filing scams we’ve experienced over the last few years, primarily originating overseas.” According to the USPTO, it has uncovered thousands of foreign applicants using fake U.S. addresses in applications or stealing U.S. attorneys’ credentials and address information.
CAFC Grants Win to Meta in News Feed Patent Dispute
On Wednesday, August, 30, in an opinion authored by the embattled Judge Pauline Newman, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) ruling that invalidated a USC IP Partnership patent with claims on technology that could recommend users relevant websites. USC IP Partnership accused Meta, formerly known as Facebook, of infringing on the patent through the use of its News Feed feature. However, in the nonprecedential ruling, the CAFC ruled the patent covered an abstract idea and “abstract ideas are not eligible for patenting, for abstract ideas are part of the “basic tools of scientific and technological work.””
Report Claims New USPTO Rules on IPR Could Result in Large Economic Losses
On Tuesday, August 29, The Perryman Group released a report detailing the potential economic costs of the USPTO’s proposed rulemaking changes to the inter partes review (IPR) system and the criteria set out in Apple v. Fintiv. According to the economic consultancy, recent rulemaking and legislation would increase discretionary denial of IPR proceedings. “As a consequence, the economic efficiency benefits associated with the IPR process would be substantially diminished,” wrote The Perryman Group. The firm’s estimate is that the rule would result in a $482 million decrease in U.S. GDP.
OpenAI Files Motion to Dismiss Parts of Authors’ Copyright Infringement Lawsuits
On Monday, August 28, OpenAI asked a California district court to dismiss parts of a pair of lawsuits filed by authors accusing the generative AI company of using their books to train datasets. The AI company wants what it refers to as “ancillary claims” dismissed which include “vicarious copyright infringement, violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, unfair competition, “negligence,” and unjust enrichment.” OpenAI also said that the authors’ lawsuits “misconceive the scope of copyright, failing to take into account the limitations and exceptions (including fair use) that properly leave room for innovations like the large language models now at the forefront of artificial intelligence.”
Apple and USPTO Settle Smart Keyboard Trademark Lawsuit
On Thursday, August 31, Apple and the USPTO filed a joint motion to settle a dispute over the USPTO’s 2018 rejection of a trademark for a smart keyboard. After the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board affirmed the rejection, Apple appealed to a Virginia district court where the two sides have now announced the settlement. The USPTO rejected the smart keyboard trademark because it was a generic term.
Sony Fends Off Challenge from Bot M8 to Revive Two Patents Ruled Invalid by PTAB
On Wednesday, August 30, the CAFC affirmed a PTAB ruling that found two Bot M8 patents unpatentable in a nonprecedential ruling. Sony successfully challenged two gaming device patents by arguing that the patents were obvious due to prior art. Bot M8 argued the PTAB ruling was based on an erroneous error construction of “fault inspection program”, but the CAFC remained unpersuaded by the argument.
Google Launches SynthID to Identify AI-Generated Images and Label Them with Watermark
On Tuesday, August 29, Google’s AI subsidiary, announced the beta launch of SynthID which will identify AI-generated images and watermark them. The company wrote, “this technology embeds a digital watermark directly into the pixels of an image, making it imperceptible to the human eye, but detectable for identification.” The company said they were making the tool to help the human user more easily recognize AI-generated images, a task becoming increasingly difficult.
Roku Wins Lawsuit to Throw Out Universal Electronics’ Patent
On Monday, August 28, the CAFC upheld a PTAB decision to invalidate two patents from Universal Electronics for obviousness. In 2018, Universal Electronics accused Roku of infringing on a variety of its patents related to universal remotes. Since then, the PTAB and CAFC have ruled in favor of both sides on different patent issues. The three- judge panel including Judge Pauline Newman found that a person of ordinary skill would have been motivated to combine various elements within the patents.
This Week on Wall Street
Adani Group Associates Accused of Using ‘Opaque Investment Funds’ to Profit Off of Stock Price
On Thursday, August 31, an investigative group released a report with new accusations against the Adani Group including the use of “opaque investment funds” to allow those close to the company to profit off the company’s stock price. The accusations may put the Adani Group in trouble with the law for insider trading. The report from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) shared the documents it obtained with The Guardian and The Financial Times.
CNN Names Mark Thompson Chief Executive and Chairman
On Wednesday, August 30, CNN announced Mark Thompson as the media organization’s new chief executive. Thompson was formerly the chief executive for The New York Times and director-general of the BBC. “There isn’t a more experienced, respected or capable executive in the news business today than Mark, and we are thrilled to have him join our team and lead CNN Worldwide into the future,” said David Zaslav, chief executive officer of Warner Bros. Discovery. CNN fired its former chief executive Chris Licht in June after a tumultuous time at the organization.
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