In the Spotlight

CPIP Hosts Sixth Annual Fall Conference at Antonin Scalia Law School in Arlington, Virginia

On October 11-12, 2018, CPIP hosted its Sixth Annual Fall Conference, IP for the Next Generation of Technology, at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University, in Arlington, Virginia.

After the breakthrough technology that gave us the mobile technology revolution of the past fifteen years, another leap forward in technology is about to break out into consumer products and services. Our conference addressed how IP rights and institutions can foster and support this technological advance, whether it is in the development of the Internet of Things (IOT), the use of Big Data, the deployment of 3D printing, continued advances in streaming media, or in the myriad new business models that will arise from these technological and commercial innovations.

All of this will be fostered by and will benefit from stable and effective property rights in innovative technologies and creative arts. Contrary to the tread-worn claims that new technological developments make IP rights unnecessary, this conference considered how IP helps creators, inventors, the creative industries, and the innovation industries move forward.


CPIP Scholars to Federal Circuit: Misapplication of Section 101 Undermines the Innovation Industries

On July 6, 2018, CPIP Founder Adam Mossoff and CPIP John F. Witherspoon Legal Fellow David Lund filed an amicus brief on behalf of 12 patent law scholars in American Axle v. Neapco Holdings, a case currently on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The brief was joined by CPIP Senior Scholars Chris Holman, Kristen Osenga, and Ted Sichelman.

The invention at issue in the case is a method of manufacturing engine components, which the district court found to be a “law of nature” and thus patent-ineligible subject matter. The amici argue that the district court improperly applied the Mayo-Alice test under Section 101 of the Patent Act in reaching this conclusion.

In particular, the amici note that claims assessed under Section 101 must be analyzed “as a whole” to ensure that the individual claim terms are not construed in isolation, as the district court did in this case. They point out how this case perfectly represents the problem of over-restrictiveness in patent-eligibility doctrine being created by the courts today that has resulted in legal uncertainty and undermined the innovation industries relying on reliable and effective patent rights.

To read the amicus brief, please click here.

CPIP Scholars Join Amicus Brief Urging Supreme Court to Take Patent Case Testing Limits of CBM Reviews

On June 25, 2018, CPIP Senior Scholars Adam Mossoff and Kristen Osenga joined an amicus brief written on behalf of 15 law professors by Professor Adam MacLeod, a CPIP Thomas Edison Innovation Fellow for 2017 and 2018 and a member of CPIP’s growing community of scholars.

The brief, which was filed in Return Mail Inc. v. United States Postal Service and United States, asks the Supreme Court to grant certiorari in order to correct the erroneous decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit below holding that the federal government can challenge the validity of issued patents in covered business method (CBM) reviews before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

The brief concludes:

The power to initiate a proceeding before the Board which implicates patent rights and liberties to use innovations is a significant right. Because the sovereign is immune from lawsuits and liability for infringement, it lacks the power that Congress has conferred upon infringers to contest the validity of a patent in a covered business method proceeding. The Federal Circuit wrongly conferred upon the Postal Service both the powers of a sovereign and the powers of a private right-holder who is charged with infringement, even as it excused the Postal Service from the legal disadvantages of both of those offices. We encourage the Court to grant the petition for certiorari and reverse the Federal Circuit’s decision below.

To read the amicus brief, please click here.

CPIP & WIPO Host Summer School on Intellectual Property at Scalia Law

On June 11-22, 2018, CPIP partnered with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to host the WIPO-CPIP Summer School on Intellectual Property at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University, in Arlington, Virginia.

This unique summer program brought together 75 students, professionals, and government officials from 30 different countries to work with leading law and policy experts and gain a deeper knowledge of IP to advance their careers. The program consisted of lectures, case studies, simulation exercises, and group discussions on selected IP topics, including the real-world value, use, and role of trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights, and patents both in the United States and globally.

To visit our event website, please click here.

CPIP, Lemelson Center, & USPTO Host Panel Discussion: Two Centuries of American Innovation and 10 Million Patents

On June 20, 2018, CPIP, the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, and the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) co-hosted a panel discussion at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History entitled Two Centuries of American Innovation and 10 Million Patents.

Signed by President George Washington, the first US Patent was issued in 1790. On June 19, 2018, the USPTO issued patent number 10,000,000. These ten million utility patents represent two centuries of breakthroughs that transformed the United States into the world’s innovation leader even as inventors from around the world have sought US patent protection.

Panelists discussed the importance of patents to the work of inventors and explore how, over the past 200 years, inventions have moved from basements, garages, and university, government, and industrial labs to everyday use. Yet, throughout this history, women and minorities have been dramatically underrepresented in the invention and innovation ecosystem. The panel discussed what is changing about who invents and what is needed to unleash greater creativity across the United States and worldwide.

Attendees heard from inventors, gained insights on the patent system, saw rare original materials from the national collections, and joined us as we celebrated ten million US patents.

To visit our event website, please click here.

New CPIP Policy Brief: An Unwise Move to Discriminate Against Pharmaceutical Patents

On June 7, 2018, CPIP published a new policy brief entitled An Unwise Move to Discriminate Against Pharmaceutical Patents: Responding to the UN’s Guidelines for Pharmaceutical Patent Examination.

The brief, written by CPIP Senior Scholar and UMKC Professor of Law Chris Holman, analyzes the UN’s recent Guidelines for Pharmaceutical Patent Examination, which are influential in the policy debates regarding the role of patented pharmaceuticals in public health. Professor Holman critically examines the Guidelines, pointing out that they “put a thumb on the scale in favor of generic medications” while failing to adequately consider “the development and incremental improvement of innovative pharmaceutical products.”

To read the policy brief, please click here.

CPIP and ITIF Release Innovate4Health Report on Role of IP in Solving Global Health Challenges

On April 24, 2018, CPIP and the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) released our joint report: Innovate4Health: How Innovators Are Solving Global Health Challenges. The report details 25 important healthcare innovations that are being created by and for people in the developing world, where some of the most urgent challenges remain. Each of these innovations is supported by a strong intellectual property system, and many would not be viable without the security provided by these rights.

The video from our release event this past Tuesday can be found here and is embedded below. The full Innovate4Health report can be found here. The individual stories can also be found here on the project’s Medium website.

To read the report, please click here.

CPIP Scholars Ask Federal Circuit to Protect Innovation in the Life Sciences

On April 20, 2018, a group of CPIP scholars—Chris Holman, David Lund, Adam Mossoff, and Kristen Osenga—filed an amicus brief in Natural Alternatives International v. Creative Compounds, a case currently on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The amici ask the appellate court to correct the district court’s misapplication of the patent-eligibility test under Section 101 of the Patent Act since it threatens innovation in the life sciences.

The plaintiff-patentee, Natural Alternatives International or NAI, provides nutritional products, including proprietary ingredients and customized nutritional supplements, to its clients. NAI owns several patents relating to beta-alanine, a non-essential amino acid that delays the onset of muscle fatigue. The district court held that the claims were ineligible subject matter under the two-step Alice-Mayo test: the claims were directed to a natural phenomenon and lacked an inventive concept containing more than conventional, routine activity.

The amici point out that the district court’s overly-restricted view of patent-eligibility doctrine will dissuade the research and development of natural products that are beneficial for mankind. They note that the district court glossed over several predicate factual questions and failed to properly consider the claims as a whole. They conclude that the continued misapplication of the Section 101 analysis has resulted in legal uncertainty, undermining the innovation industries that rely on stable and effective patent rights.

To read the amicus brief, please click here.