Posted on

Patent Office Responds to Senators’ Questions About Representation of Women in the Patent Bar

The Patent Office recently sent a reply to a group of senators asking about the gender diversity of the patent bar, the patent agents and patent attorneys licensed to practice before the Patent Office. The Patent Office’s letter provides some new data confirming the disparity between men and women in the patent bar, while promising to consider some changes to the degree and coursework requirements to sit for the licensing examination for the patent bar. To become a patent attorney or patent agent, a person must qualify for and pass the patent examination. Sitting for the exam requires a technical background that fits detailed rules promulgated by the Patent Office falling into three categories. Category A, the most common, permits qualification by holding a bachelors degree in a listed major, such as molecular biology or civil engineering. Those with only an advanced degree in a listed subject or a similar…

Read more

Posted on

NantWorks, LLC v. Niantic, Inc.: Reconciling Transactions Between Players of an Online Video Game is not Patent-Eligible

In Nantworks v Niantic., the Northern District of California held that peer-to-peer online transaction reconciliation that uses a physical location of one of the participants is an abstract idea that is not patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. No. 20-cv-06262 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 4, 2021). Plaintiff NantWorks asserted U.S. Patent No. 10,614,477 against Niantic. The ‘477 patent is directed to reconciling transactions between two players of a computer-based video game based on the first player’s physical location. Niantic’s Pokemon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite augmented reality mobile games allow for player-to-player exchange of in-game currency and items, and NantWorks alleged that this exchange feature infringed claim 20 of the ‘477 patent: A reconciliation system, comprising: at least one processor communicatively coupled with at least one memory storing instructions that, when executed by the at least one processor, cause the at least one processor to: determine, within a…

Read more

Posted on

Does a “Plurality A, B, and C” Require More than One A, More than one B, and More than One C?: An Interpretation of Disjunctive and Conjunctive Phrases

SIMO Holdings v. Hong Kong uCloudlink Network (Fed. Cir., Jan. 5, 2021) is a precedential opinion that touches on an interesting claim interpretation topic regarding disjunctive and conjunctive phrases.  Independent claim 8 is at issue: 8. A wireless communication client or extension unit comprising a plurality of memory, processors, programs, communication circuitry, authentication data stored on a subscribed identify module (SIM) card and/or in memory and non-local calls database, at least one of the plurality of programs stored in the memory comprises instructions executable by at least one of the plurality of processors for: enabling an initial setting of the wireless communication client or the extension unit and a remote administration system; establishing a data communication link to transmit information among the wireless communication client or the extension unit, and the remote administration system; establishing a local authentication information request in response to a local authentication request by a local…

Read more

Posted on

Simio, LLC v. FlexSim Software Products, Inc.: Important Precedent for § 101 Patent-Eligibility of Software (or Lack Thereof)

The Federal Circuit ended 2020 with a precedential opinion holding that patent claims directed to providing a graphical user interface for controlling a software object’s behavior were patent-ineligible under the Alice/Mayo test and 35 USC § 101. Simio, LLC v. FlexSim Software Products, Inc., No. 2020-1171 (December 29, 2020; opinion by Chief Judge Prost, joined by Judges Clevenger and Stoll). The court held claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,156,468 were “directed to the abstract idea of using graphics instead of programming to create object-oriented simulations,” and that this abstract idea is patent ineligible. Claim 1, the only independent claim of the ’468 patent, recites: A computer-based system for developing simulation models on a physical computing device, the system comprising: one or more graphical processes; one or more base objects created from the one or more graphical processes, wherein a new object is created from a base object of the one…

Read more

Posted on

Adjectives in Claim Construction

Comcast Cable Communications v. Promptu Systems Corporation (Fed. Cir., Jan. 4, 2021) is a nonprecedential opinion but nevertheless still provides an example of claim construction based on a modifying adjective.  The Appellant appealed the IPR final-written decision in which the PTAB held Appellant failed to prove that the challenged claims of US7,260,538 would have been obvious.  The claim term “command function” was at issue.  Claim 1 is representative: 1.  A method for providing voice recognition processing at a cable television head-end unit for a plurality of voice controlled television cable set-top boxes in a cable television network, comprising the steps of: a television remote control receiving user-activated indication of a voice command; receiving said voice command through a microphone associated with said television remote control; said television remote control wirelessly transmitting a signal representing said voice command to a cable set-top box; said cable set-top box transmitting a signal representing…

Read more