Supreme Court Google-Oracle Ruling: The Highlights

After more than a decade of litigation, the Supreme Court of the United States concluded that Google’s use of Oracle’s software code was fair use.

The dispute centered on use of Oracle’s Java programming language’s application programming interfaces (APIs) and source code, which was used in early versions of Google’s Android operating system. Oracle sued Google, arguing that the APIs were copyrightable. In response, Google asserted a defense of fair use.

Below we share the highlights from the Court’s long-awaited opinion.

A Victory for Fair Use

The Court found in ... Read More ›

Posted in: IP Litigation

Federal Circuit Invalidates Means-Plus-Function Claims for Computer-Implemented Inventions

Functional claim language—which defines an invention by what it does rather than what it is—can be a powerful claim drafting tool when used carefully. For example, functional language may be advantageous for computer-implemented inventions that are characterized with reference to logical components instead of physical hardware. 35 U.S.C. § 112(f) (formerly § 112¶ 6) expressly permits the use of functional claiming and is traditionally invoked by the phrase “means for” followed by a functional modifier. But even when the term “means” is not used, other terms that ... Read More ›

Posted in: Patents

Royalties Over Lupus Treatment Terminated by Patent Disclaimer 

GLAXO GROUP LIMITED and HUMAN GENOME SCIENCES, INC. v. DRIT LP (Delaware Supreme Court, March 3, 2021, N16C-07-218).

Sophisticated parties will be held to the agreements they negotiate, and the implied covenant of good faith will not negate an unrestricted contractual right.

Background
Lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus, is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s own immune system turns on it and destroys healthy tissue. Patients suffering from Lupus have “intense B-cell activation.” That is, their immune systems are overcharged, and one type of immune cell, the ... Read More ›

Posted in: Patents

Breaking Up is Hard: Protecting Your Intellectual Property When an Employee Leaves

It is March, and while love celebrated on Valentine’s Day may be in the air for many, breakups are inevitable. In the case of a breakup between an employer and an employee, the departure of an employee with access or knowledge of the employer’s intellectual property (IP) can put the employer at risk for IP theft or exposure. Disputes over IP ownership can have significant negative impact on a company’s value, growth potential, and reputation, even if the company ultimately comes out the victor. Therefore, it is critical to have a well-defined and consistent exit process for ... Read More ›

Posted in: Misc

Practical Considerations For Protecting IP At The Employee On-Boarding Stage

Greater flexibility in remote working environments for employees has led to an increase in the revolving door of new and departing employees and greater challenges for employers to keep up with on-boarding and exiting procedures to protect corporate intellectual property (IP) rights. Such intellectual property rights typically include patents which protect inventions; trademarks which protect a company’s brand and reputation; copyrights which protect works of authorship and creativity; and trade secrets which protect a company’s confidential or propriety ... Read More ›

Identifying and Avoiding Pitfalls in Intellectual Property Agreements

Intellectual property (IP), like other forms of property, is an asset that can be subject to contractual obligations and agreements between multiple parties. Due to the unique nature of IP as compared to physical assets, the provisions governing IP agreements also have unique characteristics. Parties to these agreements must take special care to ensure that the scope of the agreements are clearly defined, in addition to making each party’s obligations explicit. IP agreements can come in a variety of forms, such as license agreements, assignment agreements, and joint ... Read More ›

Posted in: Patents

Fourth Amendment to China Patent Law Will Have Major Impact on Patent Enforcement

On October 17, 2020, the Chinese Legislature passed the Fourth Amendment to the China Patent Law, which will take effect on June 1, 2021. The Fourth Amendment marks the first major change in Chinese patent law since 2008. These changes will have a major impact on both prosecution and enforcement. Key amendments include those related to patent terms, damages, and licenses. Below is a summary of a few of these key amendments.

New Article 20 adds a “Good Faith” provision which reads, in part, “patent rights shall not be abused to harm public interests or the legitimate rights and ... Read More ›

Posted in: Patents

Adding Value to Your Company Through Data Privacy: Three Guiding Principles to Strengthen a Brand

Data Privacy Day occurs annually on January 28. Launched in the U.S. and Canada in 2008 by the National Cybersecurity Alliance, the Data Privacy Day campaign raises awareness about internet safety and data privacy concerns.

A survey conducted in 2018 by the Pew Research Center found 79% of Americans are “not too or not at all” confident that a company will admit to having made a mistake or accept responsibility for the implications of compromised personal data. (See “Americans and Privacy: Concerned, Confused and Feeling Lack of Control Over Their Personal Information”Read More ›

Non-Disclosure Agreement Lessons from SiOnyx LLC v. Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. (Decided December 7, 2020)

What if someone told you not all clauses in a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) are created equally? This was one of several lessons that could be drawn from Sionyx LLC v. Hamamatsu Photonics K.K., 981 F.3d 1339 (Fed. Cir. 2020) which involved an NDA that contained several clauses, some of which ended up being more important than others.

At the beginning of their engagement in or around 2006-2007, SiOnyx was a startup and Hamamatsu was an established manufacturer interested in the technology that SiOnyx was developing. The parties entered into an NDA to allow them to share confidential ... Read More ›

Judiciary Responds to Cybersecurity Breach: New Procedure Enacted to Safeguard Highly Sensitive Documents

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts announced new security procedures to protect confidential filings on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. The changes come in the wake of a massive cybersecurity breach identified in December 2020. The breach involved a known compromise of third-party provider products, and has affected a number of federal agencies, including the Departments of Energy, Commerce, State, and Treasury. The Judiciary uses an impacted product for IT network monitoring and management and; consequently, its online filing system has been jeopardized.

In ... Read More ›

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