Fintech Patents Update – A Patent For Administering An Investment Fund

February 12th, 2013


New Developments Expected Soon in Business Method and Computer Software Patents


February 12, 2013

By:  John R. Harris

Patents on classical business methods are apparently “not dead yet,” to borrow a phrase from Monty Python, and in some respects may be “getting better.” But new legal developments in the area of financial technology and service (fintech) patents are expected in the near future.

Fintech patents can provide significant competitive advantages.  As reported in the Wall Street Journal on February 4, 2013, Vanguard Group supposedly pioneered the idea of

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Patent Office to Explore Ways to Improve Quality of Software Patents

January 4th, 2013

by: John R. Harris

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is apparently feeling public pressure to address the perception that it is issuing too many low quality patents on software-related inventions. A number of high-profile events such as the patent lawsuits between Apple and Samsung on smartphones, articles in business magazines and by law professors criticizing the patent system, and the emergence of so-called “patent trolls” have raised the public’s awareness about software patents.

The whole notion of granting patents on inventions that are primarily implemented in software is a complex legal and philosophical quagmire. Major criticisms of

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Unified Patent Court Approved in Europe

December 13th, 2012

by Daniel Sineway

The European Parliament has approved a Unified Patent Court (UPC) that should offer greater consistency and treatment of patents across the EU member countries. Under the current system, after a European patent application is approved, the patent must be “registered” in each country in which patent rights are desired. And, if a lawsuit arises, each individual country typically has jurisdiction to proceed over the merits of any patent infringement suit brought there.

Under the new regime, patents will no longer be required to be ratified in each country of interest, and one set of tribunals will decide

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Does Your Company Have a Branding Guide?

November 14th, 2012

Trademark Usage and Branding Guides Help Protect Brands and Trademarks

By: John R. Harris

Successful companies are careful to select good, memorable, protectable trademarks. After good marks are screened and chosen, these companies then use them consistently in branding and image-building campaigns. A successful campaign cements the company’s brands on products and services in the minds of their customers. What could be more famous these days than the marks of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, just to mention a few?

Trademarks and brands are closely related concepts. Trademark law is effectively the “law of branding.” A company with good brands needs to

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New Crowdsourcing Initiative on Patents

September 21st, 2012


USPTO and Stack Exchange / Ask Patents Encouraging Third Parties to Participate in Review of Patent Applications

 By:  John R. Harris
September 21, 2012

On September 20, 2012, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and Stack Exchange, the popular network of question-and-answer sites on various topics, announced a new crowdsourcing initiative to encourage people to come up with and submit information in pending patent applications of interest.

The “Ask Patents” Stack Exchange site can be found here.

This initiative encourages technical subject-matter experts to take advantage of a new provision in the

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Judge in Oracle v. Google Case Rules that APIs are Not Copyrightable

June 1st, 2012

by John R. Harris

On May 31, 2012, Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order stating that APIs (application programming interfaces) are not copyrightable  (Oracle America, Inc. v. Google Inc., Case No. 10-03561 WHA, “Order re Copyrightability of Certain Replicated Elements of the Java Application Programming Interface”).

Click here to view the ruling in the case.

The very first sentence of the ruling concisely summarizes the legal issue:

This action was the first of the so-called “smartphone war” cases tried to a jury.  This

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Patent Reforms from AIA Going Into Effect – Comments on New Rules Available

May 29th, 2012

by John Harris

The U.S. patent system is moving inexorably towards adopting a number of new rules and regulations designed to implement the patent reform law “Leahy-Smith America Invents Act” (AIA). All provisions of this patent reform law, such as “first inventor to file”, will go into effect on March 13, 2013 (some are already in effect). Certain new rules will be ready to go before that date, however.

People interested in these so-called “reforms” to the patent system, how the system might work under the new law, and how to adapt to the new laws, may want

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