- The Upshot of Google v. Oracle: An Absurd Ruling Will Lead to Absurd Results – This recent decision in copyright law may transform how copyrights in software are viewed and force copyright owners to be more secretive with their code.
- Federal Circuit Appears Unswayed by Patent Board Bias Attack – In oral argument, a majority of the panel seemed skeptical of New Vision’s argument of bias towards institution of IPRs by the PTAB.
- Justices Asked To Revisit “Life Issues” In Tinder’s IP Alice Win – The Supreme Court was asked to reconsider the Federal Circuit’s decision in NetSoc LLC v. Match Group LLC over concerns of the application of Alice to NetSoc’s patent.
Here’s the latest.
The Upshot of Google v. Oracle: An Absurd Ruling Will Lead to Absurd Results
The software industry may undergo drastic change after the Supreme Court’s decision in Google v. Oracle America that Google’s use of Oracle’s computer code was fair use. Gene Quinn criticizes the holding in light of the large financial benefit resulting from Google’s intentional copying of the code. While the Supreme Court distinguished declaring and implementing code to limit the holding, Quinn fears that the holding may be applied broadly due to the lack of clarity around the distinction. With companies able to rely on fair use when using another’s code, this outcome may result in a changed business model.
“Companies must now keep their software code secret and never release code to the public unless they are willing to give up all rights in it,” Zeidman said. And that is the reaction you would expect, to the extent possible, which will result in less sharing and less ability to copy.
Quinn also worries about the characterization of Google’s use of the code on a smartphone as opposed to a desktop as transformative and its potential tension with the Court’s precedent on patent eligibility. Overall, the decision may weaken software copyrights going forward according to Quinn.
For more information, see our coverage.
Federal Circuit Appears Unswayed by Patent Board Bias Attack
New Vision Gaming & Development argued to a skeptical panel on Friday that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board is constitutionally flawed due to an allegedly flawed structure. Perry Cooper recaps the arguments where New Vision called the structure for bonuses for PTAB judges based on the number of cases reviewed “essentially a pay-for-play system.” However, Judge Taranto was not as convinced by New Vision’s characterization of the PTAB as a business.
Judge Richard G. Taranto pushed back on Dowd’s use of the “business” label. “It’s kind of a nice, helpful word from your perspective, but it seems to me it by itself doesn’t actually say anything at all about the concrete operations,” he said.
The Justice Department, arguing for the Patent Office, disagreed with New Vision’s position.
“It’s always easy to allege that somebody has some kind of incentive because everything an agency does indirectly affects the agency, and in some sense, the agency staff,” she said. “You can always draw some kind of chain of reasoning.”
By arguing that the PTAB’s bonus structure makes the board unconstitutional, New Vision hopes to vacate the PTAB’s ruling invalidating its patent as covering ineligible subject matter.
Justices Asked To Revisit “Life Issues” In Tinder’s IP Alice Win
NetSoc has petitioned the Supreme Court to review the Federal Circuit’s possible creation of a per se rule invalidating social networks implemented by a computer. Britain Eakin summarizes the petition that stems from the Federal Circuit affirmance invalidating NetSoc’s patent under the first step of the Alice test. NetSoc argues that its patent covering a social network to facilitate people in life issues was invalidated due to the faulty premise that social networks are a longstanding practice.
“This Court’s two-step test for examining patent eligibility of alleged ‘abstract ideas’ was never intended as a per se rule rendering unpatentable all ideas or concepts related to the implementation of a social network because, at some level, all inventions ’embody, use, reflect, rest upon, or apply laws of nature, natural phenomena, or abstract ideas,'” NetSoc said.
NetSoc argued that its patent met a new and useful end at the time of issuance, so the lower court wrongly dismissed the case. Furthermore, the dismissal prevented the record from developing further to support NetSoc’s position.
“Such factual determinations are important in the eligibility analysis which is a reason early dismissals on eligibility grounds without a well-developed record should be rare,” NetSoc said.
For more information, see our coverage.