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03.11.10

Patents Roundup: Microsoft, Apple, Nokia, Monsanto, Pfizer, and ACTA

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Patents at 2:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: This is a list of news items of interest to Free software supporters

Ex-Sun Chief Dishes Dirt On Gates, Jobs (covered yesterday)

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs wanted to sue Sun

Ex-Sun boss punts Apple-Microsoft-world ‘tried to sue me’ missive

Judge puts Apple-Nokia case on hold (this case was covered in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9])

A JUDGE has put the Apple and Nokia legal battle on hold.

The move is to give the feds a chance to investigate the matter, which involves patent infringement claims from both Nokia and Apple.

US judge Puts Apple-Nokia Legal Battle on Hold

A US federal judge has put the Apple-Nokia legal battle on hold, until the feds get their chance to investigate into the whole matter that seems to have tangled itself to no end. The federal agency will scrutinize the details of the case, which involves patent infringement claims.

Nokia files a mobile device power patent (hardware patent, but Nokia favours software patents too)

Microsoft battles an alleged patent troll (more on VirnetX in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6])

SOFTWARE BULLY Microsoft threw its toys out of the pram in court yesterday at the beginning of the jury trial against Virnetx.

According to the Seatle PI, the Vole said that Virnetx only existed to sue it and would collapse if the court case failed.

In his opening statement, Virnetx attorney Douglas Cawley told the jury that the inventors of an automatic vitual private network (VPN) technology for the CIA, SAIC employees Edmund “Gif” Munger and Bob Short, obtained patents and shopped around, trying to get companies to purchase their technology.

Blu-ray licensing cartel starts operation

AFTER HAVING LAUNCHED exclusively by a few companies, Blu-ray is about to be licensed to the world plus dog but don’t expect prices to drop.

[...]

Interested parties are also free to negotiate separate license agreements, rather than taking a single portfolio license, with each of the four companies, which have committed to provide such licenses for their respective essential patents under fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms and conditions., the outfit said.

‘Soy far, soy good’ for Argentine importers (Glyn Moody adds that “Monsanto [is] slapped down by EU on GM soya”; also see [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8])

It’s available in various official European Union languages, including Latvian, but not in English. Still, with the help of his friends, the IPKat has been able to piece together the deeper inner meaning of Advocate General Mengozzi’s Opinion in Case C-428/08 Monsanto Technology LLC v Cefetra BV and others, a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling from the Dutch Rechtbank ‘s‑Gravenhage.

Right: Monsanto’s latest genetically modified bean?

From the talented Stephanie Bodoni (Bloomberg) the IPKat learns that the Advocate General is advising the Court of Justice to rule that Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed company, can’t rely on a European patent for its Roundup Ready soybeans as it seeks to block imports of soy meal from Argentina. This is because the European patent for the trait that makes soybeans resistant to some herbicides doesn’t extend to soy meal made from the patented seeds.

Argentina, the world’s third-biggest soybean exporter after Brazil and the US, is one of the few countries where Monsanto does not hold a patent on the herbicide-resistant seeds. However, a ruling that Monsanto’s European patent is enforceable would let it block those imports.

The USPTO-Pfizer collaboration to change India’s laws on patents and test data (this is essentially murder with patents)

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has a joint program with Pfizer to fund and manage seminars in India on “misconceptions of evergreening” and “the importance of regulatory data protection and patent linkage.” KEI has submitted a FOIA request to USPTO on this topic, and received a small installment of documents on Friday. Attached to this blog are 4 pages of documents that we received from two meetings held in Mumbai, India on September 9, 2009. Ten journalists and 15 NGOs attended the meetings. The USPTO and Pfizer each paid $3,190 for the days events ($6,380 total).

USTR pressures Taiwan on pricing and reimbursement of pharmaceuticals and medical devices

US Government Working With Pharma Companies To Raise Drug Prices In Other Countries

Then, over in India, it appears that the USPTO is putting on co-branded events with Pfizer about drugs, health care and patents. Along with this, Love points to growing concerns from folks in India about a project between George Washington University and various pharmaceutical companies to “train” Indian politicians and judges on the importance of patents in pharma. Except, of course, that’s very much in dispute. Many studies have shown that patents on pharma do more harm than good — especially in countries with big healthcare issues.

If You’re Going To Sue For Patent Infringement, It Helps To Say What Actually Infringes

Last year, we wrote about a guy, Greg Bender, who holds a patent (5,103,188) on a “buffered transconductance amplifier,” that he’s decided is infringed upon by pretty much any electronics device.

Vaguely Identified Devices in Patent Complaint Fails Twombly

Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a complaint contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” If a complaint fails to satisfy Rule 8, it “must be dismissed” under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). To survive a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”

KEI looks at USTR letter to Wyden, and conflicts between ACTA and patent reform (thus the great relevance of ACTA to Free software)

On January 6, 2010, Senator Ron Wyden sent a letter to the USTR asking a number of questions about the U.S. negotiating objectives in ACTA. On February 28, 2010, USTR responded. The USTR response focused mostly on the official U.S. “asks,” rather than the state of the negotiating text, which also reflects also the views of other parties. For this reason, the USTR letter to Wyden only tells part of the story about what ACTA may do.

On March 1, 2010, a European Union document leaked discloses several key sections of the ACTA text, including those relating to damages, injunctions, provisional measures and the Internet. This note highlights a few issues in the USTR letter to Wyden, in the context of what is known so far about the ACTA negotiating text.
Patents included in ACTA

USTR is now acknowledging, for the first time, that the U.S. has asked that patents be included in ACTA. In briefings in 2009, USTR said the US only wanted ACTA to cover trademarks and copyrights, and that it was the position of the European Union to include patents and other types of intellectual property. The leaked EU analysis reported the US had supported including “all intellectual property” in the civil enforcement sections of ACTA, and this is now finally acknowledged by USTR. It is unclear why the USTR had said the opposite in several briefings to Congress and the NGOs in 2009.

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