Posts tagged ‘patents’

USC News Spotlights Clinic Work in Supreme Court on Patent Policy

Yesterday, USC News spotlighted the work of the IP & Tech Clinic’s own Mikhail Brandon ’14 and Michelle Lee ’15, who filed two briefs in the Supreme Court this year as well as a comment with the Federal Trade Commission.  Read the story here.

You can read our own blog posts about the Clinic’s work this year on patent issues here, here, and here.

Clinic files second amicus brief on behalf of app developers in the U.S. Supreme Court

Yesterday, the USC IP & Tech Clinic filed another amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the case of Alice Corporation v. CLS Bank concerning the problems with overly broad and abstract patents. The Clinic, again representing the Application Developers Alliance, teamed up with Public Knowledge to co-author the brief to discuss the harmful consequences of the Federal Circuit’s inconsistent and sometimes formalistic approaches to patent subject matter eligibility, leading to flawed patents that cover basic concepts and ideas—the building blocks of innovation.  The brief shows that the central claim in the patent at issue can be implemented in just seven lines of computer code.  This demonstration shows that the claim, despite complex-looking language, covers nothing more than basic concepts dealing with third-party escrow systems.  We then go on to recommend that the Court clarify the law of patent eligibility with three simple pieces of guidance.


It was a pleasure to partner with the brilliant Charles Duan and Anna Sallstrom at Public Knowledge on this brief.  We hope that the Supreme Court will reaffirm that subject matter eligibility remains a substantive test, and not one that can be circumvented with clever draftsmanship.

Clinic files Public Comment with the FTC on Behalf of ADA regarding patent trolls

This afternoon the USC IP & Tech clinic filed a public comment on behalf of the Application Developers Alliance (ADA) regarding the proposed information collect on Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs). In the public comment, the Clinic supports the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) initiative to collect this information and encourages the FTC to utilize its statutory authority to ameliorate the harmful information imbalance in the current patent system. From the Comment [pdf]:

PAEs are victimizing countless ADA members through a variety of unfair, deceptive,
anticompetitive, and frustratingly opaque business practices. PAE holdup has become so common that PAEs now represent the principal threat to the continued growth and success of the app economy. But while app developers and many others have repeatedly been the targets of these business practices, which they believe to be widespread, there is no way to expose or examine them on a systemic basis. An FTC investigation, made pursuant to its § 6(b) authority, is the best and perhaps only way to obtain empirical data about PAE activity across the entire patent ecosystem.

Clinic Joins ADA and Other Law Schools to Help Startups Battle Patent Trolls

Today the Application Developers Alliance (ADA) announced that it will be partnering with the USC Intellectual Property and Technology Clinic and other law schools nationwide to form the Law School Patent Troll Defense Network.

From the announcement:

The Law School Patent Troll Defense Network ( is a consortium of law school clinics that will provide free legal representation to small app developers and other entrepreneurs that have been threatened or sued by patent trolls. Clinics participating in the Network may also represent the Alliance in major patent cases affecting developers and the app community.

Clinic files amicus brief in U.S. Supreme Court

Wildtangent v. Ultramercial

Today the USC IP & Tech Clinic filed a brief on behalf of the Application Developers Alliance asking the Supreme Court to grant certiorari in the case of WildTangent v. Ultramercial. This is a case about whether a claim on using advertising as a substitute for currency, combined with eleven conventional steps and preformed on the internet via a “facilitator” can be eligible for patent protection. The Federal Circuit said yes. In the brief we argue that with this ill-advised decision, the Federal Circuit has immeasurably worsened critical flaws in the patent system that are already deeply affecting application developers. From the brief [pdf]:

“With this decision, the Federal Circuit has worsened critical flaws in the patent system that deeply affect application developers. Unlike other innovators, app developers work exclusively with software, and most are small businesses with little capital. As overly broad software patents have proliferated in recent years, non-practicing patent assertion entities have launched a wave of litigation and intimidation that has made it extremely difficult for many app developers to  operate. The Federal Circuit’s decision in this case exacerbates these problems by adding to its deep internal divisions over the proper threshold for patent eligibility. Furthermore, by announcing an overly permissive standard for eligibility, the Federal Circuit has immeasurably worsened the patent litigation crisis for app developers and small innovators everywhere.”

UPDATE: Stamped brief here.



Clinic files comments with USPTO on patent fees

Last week, the USC IP & Tech Clinic filed comments in the US Patent and Trademark Office urging them to rethink their approach to patent review fees.

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