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Apple versus Samsung: Samsung’s ‘out’ to escape infringement

By David French

This post goes right to the very heart of a patent and what a patent can and cannot do in the marketplace. And it has a twist, if you are prepared to bear with the analysis to the end.

In my prior post on the subject, I referred to an important hearing held on Dec. 6 this year before Trial Judge Lucy H. Koh. During the hearing, Samsung tried to limit the scope of the consequences of the $1-billion jury decision that arose out of the trial held in August. Among the numerous matters discussed, Apple asked that the jury’s award be increased by an extra one third of a billion dollars as “punitive damages.” The judge can also reduce the amount of the damages awarded if the jury has been unreasonable. Other issues were discussed, but the judge reserved her decision.

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Apple versus Samsung – Every patent owner’s dream

By David French

On August 24, 2012 a California jury issued a decision awarding just more than $1 billion to Apple against three Samsung Electronics companies. This ranks among the top patent awards in U.S. history.  But the case is not over. The final decision, once settled by the judge, will be subject to appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington. In other mega-patent cases this court has been proactive in terms of adjusting decisions, even those supported by a jury verdict.

On December 6, 2012 an important hearing before trial judge Lucy H. Koh will occur. Samsung has the right and will request the court to render a judgment notwithstanding the verdict issued by the jury, requesting dismissal of the action. This type of procedure is permitted and has occurred in the past, particularly where the jury’s conclusions are so unreasonable as to be perverse. But this is not likely to happen, subject to one new twist: one of the jurors who led the jury in its debates did not fully disclose his special interest and knowledge about patents when questioned before being allowed to join the jury.

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Trademarks for small businesses in little towns

By David French

I visited a wine tasting opening event for a make-it-yourself wine business in Shawville, Québec recently. While reclining in comfort, I considered the question: “Do intellectual property rights matter for small businesses in little towns?” IP rights refer to patents, trademarks, copyrights, secrets and a few other subtle types of non-tangible property rights. Everybody’s always interested in patents because they think patents are a ticket to getting rich. But this happens so rarely that I would like to skip to the most important IP right: trademarks.

What is a trademark? Before answering this question, there is a key issue that is worth considering: After you spend all your money on advertising and promotion, including printing letterhead and handing out business cards, what do you have left in terms of value? The answer is people’s impressions and memory of you and your business. And how are people going to remember you and your business? That is where a trademark comes in.

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How to make better inventions: Part 2

By David French

This is the conclusion of a two-part series. Part one introduced patent searching and how inventors can use the “prior art wall” to their advantage.

Whether or not a prefiling patent novelty search establishes that the road is clear for you to attempt to obtain patent rights, there is tremendous value to be obtained by just carrying out the search. In my last post, I explored this premise and started down the path to demonstrate how you can conduct a search of documents that are online at the U.S. Patent Office.

To recap, I shared tips for searching with key words using this page on the U.S. PTO website. As an example, the search was focused on an improved garden rake. Documents relating to rakes were located by initially entering the words “rake” and “handle.” I also suggested that searching can be conducted using the classification system available in the U.S. PTO website, which is what I will explain here today.

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How to make better inventions: Part 1

By David French

This is part one of a two part series. Part two will be published next week.

I recently had an extended discussion with someone which resulted in the conclusion that there is more to patenting than just getting patents. We started with a discussion of the business value of a patent and then addressed the business value of patenting. Here is the concept.

If you are going to start the patenting process, it is absolutely essential that you do some searching.  Searching is essential because you can only patent an aspect of your own idea that is new.  There is no point in filing a patent application if you cannot identify a feature that is new. So a patent novelty search is about searching for bad news: defining the boundaries of the forbidden territory that you cannot claim because it is delimited by the “Prior Art Wall.”

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