New Year’s Resolution…Make A New Invention.

If you have dreamed about becoming an inventor, but thought it wasn’t possible to compete against the big boys, this is your chance.

NASA and other top research institutions are releasing some of their patented ideas for you to play with and come up with new inventions and ideas.

Marblar is a product development platform that lets users generate ideas for commercial uses of scientific discoveries that have lain dormant and unused from universities and research institutions world wide.

Samsung

Marblar is basically crowdsourced science.  By making these patents available to anyone, the site has already generated thousands of new products in its first year with only 30 patents.  Increasing the number of available patents to play with and by commercially partnering with companies like Samsung that give the inventor(s) a share in the royalties from what they develop is the next move in a winning combination.

Speaking from experience, opening patents up for other to commercialize isn’t done all that often, but the results are usually tremendous.

You can sign up here, to begin your road to becoming a rich and famous inventor!

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Samsung Facing Patent Infringement Suit From Taiwan University

Samsung Electronics Co.’s latest smartphone, the Galaxy S4, offers an innovative feature — users can erase people from photos taken with the device. A commercial for the phone shows a mother fixing a photo of her son receiving his diploma after another graduate jumps in the frame.  While the technology is a strong selling point, Samsung may have to fight to keep it.

The company is facing a patent infringement lawsuit from National Cheng Kung University. The school, based in Taiwan, alleges that the devices infringe its patent for “Image-Capturing Device and Method For Removing Strangers From An Image.” The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued the patent in 2008.

National Cheng Kung University filed the patent lawsuit in Texas Eastern District Court. It seeks a permanent injunction to stop Samsung from infringing on the patent, as well as unspecified monetary damages.

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Both parties have been active participants in the so-called “Smartphone Wars.” National Cheng Kung University has filed several lawsuits against Apple Inc. in the same Texas court. In a suit filed last year, the school alleged that Apple’s “voice activated assistant capabilities otherwise known as Siri” infringed upon patents held by a university research team. Last month, it filed another infringement suit involving Apple’s Face Time product.

Samsung, of course, is also no stranger to patent litigation with Apple. The two companies have been battling across the globe for the past several years, with each claiming a measure of success. Samsung recently won a victory before the U.S. International Trade Commission, which ruled that several older Apple devices infringe Samsung patents. 

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Some Samsung Devices Banned.

The Apple-Samsung patent war keeps grinding on with no end in sight.  Samsung’s latest request to continue to ship some older Android devices to the US market was rejected by the Obama administration.

Apple_v_Android

Score a rare win for Apple.

The Samsung devices have been found to violate at least two of Apple’s patents:

It isn’t clear which Samsung products will be banned. However, more recent Samsung devices will not be banned.  Most likely this will only affect lower end models that aren’t that popular anyway.

Normally, the executive branch does not get involved in decisions by the US International Trade Commission (ITC), and even more rarely veto’s an ITC action. But recently the White House vetoed the ITC’s ban on some older iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G, and iPad 2 3G devices after Apple lost to Samsung in a different patent infringement suit.

With the continuing tit-for-tat patent battles that continue to define the strange supplier/supplee relationship, who knows when and how this will finally end.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

The Ongoing Samsung v. Apple Patent Saga

The epic patent battle between Samsung Electronics and Apple continues to create headlines.  However, Apple’s blockbuster jury award is in jeopardy after Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court Northern District of California determined that jurors erred in calculating damages.

Koh reduced the record $1.05 billion jury award by more than 40 percent and scheduled a new trial to reassess damages. This is a significant victory for Samsung, which will now get another day in court.

A California jury previously determined that Samsung infringed Apple’s patents for its iPhone and iPad devices. At the latest hearing, both sides disputed the amount of damages awarded. In this round, Samsung came out on top, at least on some products.

“The court has identified an impermissible legal theory on which the jury based its award and cannot reasonably calculate the amount of excess while effectuating the intent of the jury,” Koh said in her ruling. The specific issue involved the calculation of damages for the infringement of utility patents. “The jury’s award was apparently based on Samsung’s profits, which is an impermissible type of compensation for utility patent infringement,” Koh explained.

As a result, the two sides must go back to drawing board on 14 of the products covered by the award. The damages on other products will stand. Since a brand new trial will be held, the final damages number could be either higher or lower than the original award.

As this case highlights, many IP cases do not end with a jury verdict. Through post-trial motions and the appeals process, litigants can continue to challenge prior rulings and, in some cases, ultimately prevail.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need help with any Intellectual Property issue, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just advice regarding how best to protect your ideas and your brand, contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Mid-Year Recap of the Top IP Cases to Watch for 2013

Overall, 2013 is shaping up to be a big year in intellectual property law. There are several key cases to watch in the areas of trademark, copyright, and patent law.

Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc.: The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to delve back into the scope of patentable subject matter, as it applies to medical genetics. The primary question before the Supreme Court is whether isolated genes are “products of nature” that are ineligible for patent protection or products of human intervention and ingenuity.

The result is: genes are a product of nature and cannot be patented.

Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons: This copyright infringement case was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012, but a decision will be issued in 2013. The lawsuit addresses the tension between the first-sale doctrine and the Copyright Act’s ban against importing a work without the authority of the copyright owner. While the case involves foreign textbooks made and legally acquired abroad and then imported into the United States, the Supreme Court’s decision is expected to impact the larger, million-dollar “gray market” for goods, upon which companies like Costco and eBay rely.

The result: in a 6-3 decision, the Court held that the first-sale doctrine applies to copies of copyrighted works lawfully made abroad.

American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo: New technology will continue to test the limits of the Copyright Act in 2013. The Second Circuit is poised to decide whether start-up company, Aereo, has infringed the copyrights of networks, including ABC and Fox Television, by taking broadcast television signals and retransmitting them over the Internet to its subscribers. Because the decision could shake up how consumers get their television, the media and technology industries are closely watching the case.

Currently:  Aereo 2, ABC 0, waiting for the Court to decide.

Apple v. Samsung: The ongoing litigation between Apple and Samsung is just one example of the so-called “software patent wars” that dominated 2012. With lawsuits still pending in California and across the globe, the two tech giants will likely continue to dominate legal headlines.

Currently: Bickering back and forth enough to annoy the judge in the case.  Likely not to go to trial this year.  Samsung has asked for a new trial due to problems with the original trial which could make cell phones obsolete before these two get a verdict.

In addition to these cases, there are a number of regulatory changes in the works, most notably the official conversion to a first-to-file patent system under the America Invents Act.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need help with any Intellectual Property issue, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just advice regarding how best to protect your ideas and your brand, contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Round corners.

In the seemingly never ending litigation between Apple and Samsung, I get a lot of questions about the $1.5B award in the only win Apple has had during all these legal battles.

Apple Inc. was granted a design patent for the rounded corners of its iPad tablet device, Patent D670,286 for “The Ornamental Design For A Portable Display Device.” However, from the drawings submitted in connection with the patent application, it is fairly clear that the patent is intended to cover the rounded rectangular shape of the tablet’s face.

Although it may seem strange to patent the corner shape of an electronic device, U.S. patent law provides for granting design patents to any person who has invented any new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. The subject matter of a design patent application may relate to the configuration or shape of an article, to the surface ornamentation applied to an article, or to the combination of configuration and surface ornamentation.

Unlike traditional patents, design patents only protect the appearance (ornamentality) of the article and not structural or utilitarian features.  In this case, Apple was granted protection for the rounded corners of the iPad which have no effect on how the device functions.

Although the design patent is yet another weapon in Apple’s fight against rival tablets, it is important to highlight that the patent only protects Apple from those who may try to mimic the look of the iPad and not its functionality.

How Can I Help?

As you can see, the way something looks can be as protectable as how it functions.  If you have a design you would like to patent, or you know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman