Not So Fast, One-Click-Patent . . . : Last month, Amazon scored a big victory when the
Federal Court of Canada overturned the Patent Commissioner's decision to refuse a patent to Amazon.com for its “one click” business method patent (link). On Monday the federal Department of Justice filed the Notice of Appeal that challenges the Federal Court's ruling (link).
Anti-Gene-Patent Fever Spreads to Australia - On May 12, 2009, the ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed a now-famous lawsuit in the U.S. charging that patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer are unconstitutional and invalid. The lawsuit was filed against the USPTO, as well as Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation, which hold the patents on the genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2. The lawsuit charges that patents on human genes violate the First Amendment and patent law because genes are "products of nature" and therefore can't be patented.
In June of this year, a similar lawsuit was filed in Australia challenging the validity of a patent directed to BRCA1 (known as Patent 686,004) which is held by companies including Myriad Genetics Inc and Melbourne-based Genetic Technologies Ltd. The lawsuit is spearheaded by national consumer organization Cancer Voices Australia and a Brisbane woman with breast cancer, and both argue that biotech "monopoly" on cancer genes is unlawful (link).
Celebrating the Bayh-Dole Act (Officially) - on November 16, 2010, the House passed H.CON.RES.328 "Expressing the sense of the Congress regarding the successful and substantial contributions of the amendments to the patent and trademark laws that were initially enacted in 1980 by Public Law 96-517 (commonly referred to as the 'Bayh-Dole Act') on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of its enactment."
One Year Later: Round Rock Research LLC - In December 2009, former Kirkland & Ellis litigator John Desmarais helped form NPE Round Rock Research LLC and bought 4,500 patents from Micron Technology Inc. Licensing and litigation efforts began tout de suite, and shortly thereafter a rumor was floated that the patents were part of a $280 million patent licensing deal with Samsung. In addition to Samsung, Round Rock is rumored to be in current negotiations with Sony, Apple and Nokia. On top of that, Round Rock is currently involved in litigation against HTC.
So who is behind Round Rock and how are they doing? Joff Wild From IAM magazine has been sleuthing about and had the following report from his blog:
My information, which comes from an excellent source, is that [Round Rock] was organised through a company called Gemas Capital Inc, which was established in June 2009 by Zahid Rahimtoola, who is the chief financial officer of IP Value. In 2009 Round Rock signed a deal with IP Value to help commercialise its patent portfolio. IP Value's two investors are both financial heavyweights - General Atlantic and Goldman Sachs; though whether they backed Round Rock is not known. Whoever did is laughing all the way to the bank if what I have been told is correct. Apparently, they have recouped their money already.
Peter is a patent attorney practicing with a general-practice firm in the Chicago area. He handles a diverse intellectual property practice in the electrical, computer and software fields for leading technology companies located throughout the world, as well as for local and national start-ups and business ventures. He works closely with established and emerging-growth companies to implement successful patenting and litigation strategies. He is also a former patent examiner with the USPTO, and sincerely hopes you won't hold that against him.
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