Saturday, January 18, 2014

Vague patents encouraged by the CAFC?

As to the Nautilus/Biosig case, Max Cherney writes:

The case is interesting for the [Supreme] Court because it tackles a long-time precedent that tolerates such vague patent claims, according to the EFF. The vague patents are a problem because the practice, encouraged by the Federal Circuit Court, results in patents so broad that with a little bit of lawyering they can be stretched to cover technology discovered after the original claim was made, they explained in their brief. The patents are especially prevalent in the software industry, and are one of patent trolls’ favored legal implements. It’s also probably why—as in the Akamai vs. Limelight case—Google and others have encouraged the Supreme Court to review the case.

See The Supreme Court Is Taking on Copyright and Patents with Three Important Tech Cases

Joe Mullin wrote of the issues under 35 USC 112 P 2:

The Biosig inventor told the US Patent Office a patent should still be allowed, because he described something that the earlier application didn't: a design that involved a "spaced relationship" between the electrodes.

That phrase wasn't really defined in the patent, however. The district court judge who heard the case found that Biosig's attempts to define the term were all over the place. The competing definitions were internally inconsistent "gibberish," noted Nautilus lawyers. That rendered the patent indefinite and invalid in the judge's view.

On appeal, a panel of Federal Circuit judges ruled otherwise. Unless the patent was "insolubly ambiguous," it was the lower court judge's job to give definition to those unclear claims through the process of claim construction. The appeals court defined the claim and allowed the case to go forward.

See Supreme Court looks to rein in top patent court with two new cases


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