A few of the patent blogs over the last week or so have been reporting a decline in patent litigation in the US, sourced from analysis done by LegalMetrics. But is it so? I’m not so sure… (more…)

An interesting press release from IBM yesterday, reported in today’s Australian here. and in the New York Times here (there’s a story in WSJ, too, but it’s subscriber only). In essence, IBM has announced 3 ways it is working with the USPTO, Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), members of the open source software community and academia to improve patent quality. Fascinating projects that put ‘peer development’ of knowledge and tools into practice.

[update: in addition to the above sources, it’s worth dropping by Groklaw for more on these initiatives]

More over the fold. (more…)

2005 was one of those years where the IP developments just kept coming. Kazaa, Fair Dealing/Fair Use, a TPM law inquiry, Stevens v Sony, the occasional patent judgment, another government inquiry. And that’s just the Australian stuff. We also of course had stuff like the Grokster judgment, developments in the Blackberry litigation … more treaty-making. It was hard keeping up. Matt Rimmer has done a run down over here.

Instead of doing my own round up, I thought it might be fun to list up the things that are still to come in Australian IP. Just so I can feel exhausted before we even really start the year. So, over the fold, my round up of developments to expect, and issues to come, in Australian IP law. (more…)

You know it’s time to start blogging again when you realise you are talking back at the television (although at least I refrained from yelling at the tv…). Sometimes I wonder whether I’m doomed to keep blogging for so long as US-Australia FTA IP issues keep periodically hitting the headlines.

Why was I displaying this mild form of insanity? Last night, the FTA, and pharmaceutical prices issues hit the 7:30 Report (transcript not yet available), building on a story that hit the newspaper sites yesterday. (more…)

Earlier this month I posted Part 1 of “What is region coding?”, which described the technology, commercial rationale, and economic effects of this system. This posting is Part 2, and considers the legal implications of region coding, with a focus on developments in the United States and Australia. (more…)

The Los Angeles Times has a short editorial on patent proliferation [registration probably required], which notes that government researchers in New Delhi are accumulating a database of items “that are common knowledge in that country, including yoga positions and traditional Indian medical practices”. (more…)

A number of the more influential media have recent articles on the NTP vs RIM BlackBerry saga. The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker have more or less pro-RIM stories, while The Economist has a somewhat pro-NTP story.

There’s a fair bit more to this story than is usually reported. Leaving aside the two perennials (the appropriateness of allowing patent claims for independent invention that did not actually copy the patentee’s method, but independently recreated it; and the appropriateness of ‘patent troll’ tactics — which may really be an argument about the standard for laches or estoppel against a patentee) there are two meatier issues. (more…)

This edition of “What is…?” describes the regional coding systems used by the entertainment industry, with a particular emphasis on DVDs. This article will explain the technology behind region coding, describe how the system is enforced, and speculate on the commercial reasons for the system. It will then consider the economic effects of region coding and its possible legal implications, including a discussion of recent litigation in which region coding has been at issue.

This posting contains Part 1, which provides an introduction to how region coding works from both technological and legal perspectives, as well as the commercial justifications for region coding and its possible economic effects. Part 2 considers the legal issues raised by region coding, in the context of both competition/antitrust law as well as the anti-circumvention provisions that have been adopted as part of copyright law in both Australia and the United States. (more…)

The New York Times has has two interesting stories I haven’t been able to post due to pressure of work.

The first is Roche Tells Indonesia That It Can Produce Tamiflu Without a License. Apparently, Roche does not have a patent in Indonesia for the drug; I wonder why? This forecloses the possibility Kim previously noted, of the country compulsorily licensing the patent in the event of a bird flu outbreak, as is its right under international IP law.

The second is a little pure geekiness,
Writing the Fastest Code, by Hand, for Fun: A Human Computer Keeps Speeding Up Chips. If ever a person was aptly named for his occupation, it might be Mr Goto [if you don’t get the nerd joke, perhaps see here]. Mr Goto handwrites optimisation code that speeds up supercomputers, and is currently used by 4 of the world’s fastest 11 supercomputers. Not only that, but his code beats the machine-generated code of his main competitor. Kind of neat, for something started as a hobby about a decade ago. His website is here.

(via Troppo Armadillo)

I blogged the other day about the patent research exception, and specifically, the new ACIP report recommending (like the ALRC before it) a new exception for research use of patented inventions. Timely, then, to note this study by the American Association for the Advancement of Science on the effect of patents on research. (more…)

Interesting news indeed this morning, with a consortium of IBM, Sony, Philips, Novell and Red Hat announcing the formation of a company the Open Invention Network, a company for sharing Linux-related patents, for free. (more…)

The Advisory Council on Intellectual Property, ACIP, today released its final report in its Review on Patents and Experimental Use. In short, like the ALRC, they have recommended the creation of a specific experimental use exception. (more…)

Two trade-related IP stories for this morning, c/o the Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest. (more…)

There’s been a fair bit of discussion in the last little while over ‘breaking’ the Tamiflu patents. Actually, of course, what we are talking about is not ‘breaking’ patents, as such, but rather, applying exceptions to patent protection, which are well-established both in Australian law, and in international law (via Article 30 of TRIPS, affirmed by the Doha Declaration). This would involve compulsory licensing of the patents – the patentee gets paid, but has no ‘right of veto’ and in effect loses some of the benefits of the monopoly. The debate heightened when Taiwan announced it would be using its rights under international law to have Tamiflu manufactured. (more…)

Another interesting case that the US Supreme Court might be hearing: FTC v. Schering-Plough. It’s all about the competition law aspects of settlement of patent disputes between pharmaceutical ‘innovator’ companies and generic manufacturers. (more…)

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