A summary of IP and patent news around the world.
Senate Patent Reform Bill Delayed Yet Again
A bi-partisan Senate bill aimed at curbing abuse of the U.S. patent system has been handed another setback today, with Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announcing that, for the fourth time, consideration of the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act will be postponed. What is stuck at the moment is the details. The two-week recess could provide enough time to get things in order. GIven that the bill is sponsored by both parties, barring complication, the act could clear committee by early May. Read more.
US Patent Office Goes International
Looking to reduce costs in the international patent system, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has established a new division intended to facilitate collaboration between the United States and other countries on patents, the agency announced last Thursday. The Office of International Patent Cooperation aims to improve international patent rights acquisition and help U.S. companies better protect their intellectual property abroad—and profit from it. Mark Powell, who most recently worked on global collaboration issues in the PTO Office of Policy and International Affairs, will lead the new division. Read more.
Foreigners Hold Half of All U.S. Patents Annually
Recent statistics from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and new independent surveys suggest much of America’s innovation is not home-grown: Many of the country’s best and brightest ideas come from noncitizens. In 2013, 51 percent of the 303,000 patents filed in the U.S. were of foreign origin, according to the USPTO. That’s a decrease of one percentage point compared to 2012, but about equal to the percentage of foreign patents granted every year for the past decade. To get some perspective, in 1963, only 18 percent of patents originated from foreign sources. Read more.
Phones in courtroom biggest hitch in smartphone patent trial
So far, one of the biggest problems for a federal judge overseeing a patent battle between the world’s largest smartphone makers isn’t about stolen ideas. It’s getting the roomful of smartphone devotees to turn off their devices. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh has become increasingly frustrated during the first few days of the trial because the many personal Wi-Fi signals interfere with a network the judge relies on for a real-time transcript of the proceedings. The phones also ring, buzz and jingle and can be used to take photos, a serious violation of court rules. Read more.
Hoping to draw attention to university patents with dwindling shelf lives, on March 31 Penn State launched the Intellectual Property Auction Website. The site — the first of its kind among American universities — gave corporations, public organization and private citizens alike the chance to bid on licensing rights for approximately 70 patents created in the university’s School of Engineering. Read more.