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Author: William Reid

The Indefiniteness of Father’s Day Fun – Triton Tech of Texas v. Nintendo of America

In Triton Tech Of Texas, LLC v. Nintendo Of America, Inc.[1] the Federal Circuit affirmed a ruling by the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington that Triton’s U.S. Patent No. 5,181,181 (“’181 Patent”) was invalid for indefiniteness. The case revolved around the claims of the ‘181 Patent and the use of a Wii RemoteTM with a computer. The patent had claims reciting an input device that provided information to the computer about cursor movement much like a conventional mouse, except that the information provided by the ‘181 device was related to movement in three dimensions. The claimed input device included acceleration sensors, rotational rate sensors, an analog-to digital converter, buffer memory, and an “integrator means associated with said input device for integrating said acceleration signals over time to produce velocity signals for linear translation along each of … first, second and third axes.”[2]

Recent Trends in Fluid Catalytic Cracking Patents, Part III: Cyclones

This is the third article in a review of recent patents in the area of Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC). The first article reviewed patents on catalyst additives, and demonstrated that relatively few patents had recently issued on FCC additives (e.g., gasoline sulfur reduction catalysts), likely reflecting the current use of gas oil hydrotreaters and naphtha hydrotreaters/desulphurizers, which reduce the need for such additives. The second article reviewed patents related to zeolites, and demonstrated that trends in this area reflected an emphasis on the mesoporosity of those zeolites. The current article covers recent patents relating to cyclones.

Recent Trends in Fluid Catalytic Cracking Patents, Part II: Zeolites

This is the second article in an ongoing review of recent patent trends in the area of Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC). In the last installment, we reviewed patents on catalyst additives and demonstrated that relatively few patents had recently issued on FCC additives (e.g., gasoline sulfur reduction catalysts), likely reflecting the current use of gas oil hydrotreaters and naphtha hydrotreaters/desuphurizers, which reduce the need for such additives. The current article covers recent patents relating to zeolites. Review of these patents indicates that the most active area of research regarding zeolites, at least from the standpoint of companies obtaining patent protection, is in the area of zeolite mesoporosity (zeolite pore diameters in the range of 2 to 50 nm).

Recent Trends in Fluid Catalytic Cracking Patents, 2012-13

Last year, we reviewed the 2012 patents in the area of Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) specifically related to the FCC process. The original intent, of course, had been to also summarize the 2012 patents for FCC catalysts and equipment. Unfortunately, that goal met the same fate as several of my New Year’s resolutions. A year’s passage, however, has brought sufficient wisdom not only to grasp the trend in my New Year’s resolutions, but to realize I now have two-year’s patents to review in those areas.

Filing in the Fast Lane: The Patent Prosecution Highway Can Get You From “A” to “B” Quicker (and Cheaper!)

On September 24, 2013, the world’s five largest Intellectual Property Offices, the so called IP5: the USPTO, the Japan Patent Office, the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China, the Korean Intellectual Property Office, and the European Patent Office, agreed to launch an IP5 Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot program in January 2014. This is just the latest example of the increasing popularity of PPH-type programs already in use in the United States and around the world. In view of the support these programs enjoy, both at the USPTO and foreign Offices, it’s likely they are here to stay. This is a very positive development for companies that file patents, since review of a company’s global filing strategy with an eye toward making use of the patent prosecution highway could yield big benefits.

Claim Construction and Patent Profanity

What do a 370Z® Roadster, a pair of LeBron X’s and a Dream Angels Ruffle Babydoll have in common? In Parallel Networks, LLC, v. Abercrombie & Fitch Co., No. 2012-1227 (Federal Circuit, January 16, 2013), the companies who market them, (Nissan North America, Inc., Nike, Inc., and Victoria’s Secret Direct Brand Management, LLC, respectively), along with seventy-four other defendants, won a patent infringement case at the Federal Circuit involving U.S. Patent No. 6,446,111 of Lowery (“the ‘111 patent”). The case spotlights claim construction, and demonstrates use of the specification in interpreting the claims. In particular, it serves as a reminder of the danger posed by the presence of patent profanity in the specification.

Recent Trends in Fluid Catalytic Cracking Patents, 2012: Part 1

Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) remains a vital unit in refinery operations due to its shear impact on overall refinery profitability. Because of its importance, operation of the FCC must shift to meet changing market demands for particular fuel specifications, or to maximize particular products, such as diesel fuel. Research and development in equipment, catalysts and process are expected to shift to further these goals, with companies who invest research dollars in these areas often seeking to protect such investment by obtaining patent protection.

Clarity on the Obvious

In Eurand v. Mylan, No. 2011-1399, -1409 (Federal Circuit, April 16, 2012), the Federal Circuit provided some useful analysis in dealing with hindsight methodology and obvious-to-try theories. The case involved U.S. Patent Nos. 7,387,793 and 7,544,372 of Aptalis Pharmatech, Inc. (“Aptalis”), directed to extended-release dosage forms of muscle relaxants (cyclobenzaprine hydrochloride).