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Patent
South Texas College of Law Houston
Katz, Paul N.

Patent Law Outline
Professor Katz—Spring 2008
Principles of Patent Law (2d): Schechter, Thomas
 
Key
PATENT CODE
KEY ELEMENT
Exception
CASES
Modern View
Traditional / Historic View
Policy
 
 
Chapter 1: Introduction to the Law of Patents…………………………………………………………………… 1
Chapter 2: Patent Eligibility……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 4
Chapter 3: Utility……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 8
Chapter 4: Novelty…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 10
Chapter 5: Nonobviousness……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 17
Chapter 6: The Patent Instrument………………………………………………………………………………………… 23
Chapter 7: Patent Prosecution………………………………………………………………………………………………. 29
Chapter 8: Patent Infringement…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 35
Chapter 9: Remedies For Patent Infringement…………………………………………………………………….. 42
Chapter 10: Patent Litigation……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 44
Chapter 11: Patent Assignments and Licenses…………………………………………………………………….. 47
Chapter 12: Patent Law in International Perspective……………………………………………………….. 49
Chapter 13: State Law Issues: Trade Secrets and Federal Preemption…………………………….. 52
Chapter 1: Introduction to the Law of Patents
 
–          Brief Overview of Patents
o   Patent Act of 1790
§ First congressional rules regarding patent law
§ Wholly federal, statutory subject
o   Patent Act of 1952
§ Present patent statutes
·         Title 35 of U.S.C
§ Codified common law decisions of the judiciary
o   Three General Types of Patents: 
§ (a) Utility
§ (b) Design
§ (c) Plant
–          Patent Law Norms
o   Required à new, novel, and non-obvious
§ Inventor must file patent application w/ U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO)
§ Can not get patent on something already in the public domain
o   The Right to Exclude
§ Patents confer the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering to sell, importing the protected invention
·         Legal monopoly
§ Bound by territorial jurisdiction
o   Intangible Property
§ A patent does not create a right in a material object
·         But rather establishes a “private regulation” that prevents other from unauthorized use of the invention
§ Patent is only a negative right—to exclude others from using
o   Exhaustion of Rights
§ Once a patent owner makes an unqualified sale of a physical product embodying his invention, owner cannot prohibit the subsequent resale or repair of the particular product
§ Any patent rights in that specific physical product are “exhausted” by the initial sale
o   The Public Domain
§ Requirements that an invention be new and non-obvious to qualify for patent protection ensure that he patent system does not withdraw subject matter from the public domain
o   One Patent Per Invention
§ Only one patent issues per invention
·         Policy: if one invention fails, other invention under patent would also be invalid
§ More costly b/c of fees, but prevents confusion and uncertainty
o   Patent Award to the First Inventor
§ “First-to file” v. “First-to-invent”
·         USA first-to-invent
·         Rest of world first-to-file
§ First-to-Invent Doctrine
·         First inventor awarded a patent even though a rival may have been 1st to prepare a patent application and submit it to the PTO
§ Provisional Patent Application
·         Gives holder a year to file for non-provisional
·         Can be in any language as long as it know to somebody
o   The Claims Define the Patented Invention
§ Must explain what the patent does
§ Written description that does not “hide the football”
·         Must be full disclosure
§ Claim
·         Most important part of the patent
·         Describes what exactly the patent does
·         Precisely defines the particular subject matter that has been patented
o   Pitfalls
§ Estoppel may apply when prosecutor makes statement in one jurisdiction and patent application in a foreign jurisdiction
§ Dispose of True Inventor
·         Patent may be invalid if wrong inventor listed on the patent
o   E.g., husband patent’s wife’s invention
·         Only U.S. concerned with the identity of the inventor
§ Verify the validity of the patent (clients lie)
·         Ensure maintenance fees to the patent paid 
·         Three maintenance fees which rise in price
§ Patent à ticket to federal court to challenge infringement
·         That is when the validity/strength of the patent is determined
§ Patent good for 20 years from effective filing date
§ Broadening Claims
·         Fewer words signify broad rights to the invention
§ Double Patenting
·         Type 1: Can’t claim multiple patents for the virtua

A series of acts to get something done
o   E.g., software program, recipe to create stainless steal
·         Better to have a claim that includes a system that incorporates the process
o   E.g., rolling code garage door chip v. garage door opener that includes chip
·         Commonly Divided into Two Types
o   (a) “Method of Using” Claims
o   (b) “Method of Making” Claims
·         Ultimate Question of Patentability
o   Whether the process achieves a useful, concrete, and tangible result that is new, novel and non-obvious      
o   Dominant v. Subservient (Blocking) Patents
§ Blocking patentee cannot practice her invention w/out permission from dominant patentee
§ Likewise dominant patentee cannot practice blocking patent without permission
·         The answer, cross-license
o   Scientific and Mathematical Principles
§ Math algorithms and scientific principles are abstract concepts and are not patentable
§ But a practical application of an abstract concept, algorithm, principle may be patented
·         E.g., an inventor could not patent the broad optical principles that allow the generation of lasers, but could patent a way to generate a laser beam
o   The Physical Transformation Requirement
§ Processes were traditionally required to achieve a physical transformation to be patentable
·         E.g., patentable: making glass from sand; not patentable: technique of memory enhancement
§ AT&T Corp. v. Excel Comm. (Fed. Cir. 1999)
·         Completely laid to rest the notion that a process must achieve a physical transformation to be patentable
·         AT&T claimed a method for a phone co to determine whether both the caller and the recipient are AT&T subscribers
·         Held: physical transformation is not an absolute requisite for patentability
o   Process Claims for New Uses
§ § 101(b): Four Itemized Statutory Categories
·         (1) Processes
o   “Cookbook”: list of steps you use to produce something
·         (2) Machines
o   Traditionally, cts required that patent be mechanical/electrical
o   I.e., physical thing you could touch
·         (3) Manufactures
o   Catch-all: anything that is a man-made object
o   E.g., golf balls, donuts