2018年2月14日 星期三

不公平行為造成壟斷的管轄權爭議 - Xitronix Corp. v. KLA-Tencor Corp (Fed. Cir. 2018)

本篇案例是個司法議題,在此僅筆記,並沒有多餘的見解。
Xitronix Corp. v. KLA-Tencor Corp (Fed. Cir. 2018)

案件資訊:
原告/上訴人:XITRONIX CORPORATION
被告/被上訴人/專利權人:KLA-TENCOR CORPORATION, DBA KLA-TENCOR, INC., A DELAWARE CORPORATION
系爭專利:US8,817,260(專利權人:Kla-Tencor Corporation

本案緣起原告Xitronix主張Kla-Tencor Corporation取得系爭專利是基於對PTO蓄意欺瞞的行為("It alleges KLA intentionally made false representations to the PTO on which the examiner relied during prosecution.")("inequitable conduct"),地方法院在簡易判決時,認為即便審查歷史錯誤陳述先前技術的狀態,但是審查答辯所提出的言論仍是被公平地檢驗,不會視為錯誤陳述事實

本案接著上訴CAFC,即便涉及「欺瞞PTO」的專利基本議題,CAFC判決在本案中「Walker Process壟斷」的議題並不符美國專利法中規定上訴法院的管轄權,本次判決為根據「Gunn v. Minton, 568 U.S. 251 (2013)」最高法院判決而翻轉了CAFC於2008年案例「In re Ciprofloxacin Hydrochloride (Cipro) Antitrust Litigation, 544 F.3d 1323 (Fed. Cir. 2008)」有關法院立場的判決。

「是否地區法院(包括地方法院、聯邦法院)法律適用Walker Process壟斷議題?」

Walker Process壟斷」為典型由被告在專利侵權訴訟中提出的主張,而多數這類議題都會上訴CAFC,且專利侵權議題是CAFC的管轄範圍;但是,此案例中Walker Process壟斷」的討論對是源自PTO欺瞞的不正當行為,所關聯的管轄權是依據28 U.S. Code § 1338(a),使得管轄權在此案被轉向地區法院。

即便訴訟雙方都認為CAFC對此案有管轄權,都提出意見,但這些意見都沒有影響「Gunn v. Minton, 568 U.S. 251 (2013)」的最高法院意旨:美國各州法律稱專利案件中的弊端並非根據聯邦專利法的管轄權。

"in Gunn, the Supreme Court held that a state law claim alleging legal malpractice in the handling of a patent case does not “arise under” federal patent law for purposes of exclusive federal jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1338(a)."

主要原因就是,這些爭議並非專利法的實質議題,與專利是否有效、侵權,而僅涉及原專利權人是否有錯誤陳述的議題,專利不會因此成為有效或無效,其中涉及的「Walker Process 壟斷」議題可以由地區法院判決,也不會破壞整個體制。

"Because Federal Circuit law applies to substantive questions involving our exclusive jurisdiction, the fact that at least some Walker Process claims may be appealed to the regional circuits will not undermine our uniform body of patent law."

於是,CAFC仍決定將上訴議題轉換到第五聯邦巡迴法院(United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit)(28 U.S. Code § 1295)。根據Patently-O專家表示,這顯示州法院與聯邦法院之間的平衡性。




所述「Walker Process壟斷」議題源自美國1965年最高法院對於「Walker Process Equipment, Inc. v. Food Machinery & Chemical Corp., 382 U.S. 172, 176–77 (1965)」的意見:因為欺瞞PTO獲取專利的權利主張違反「Sherman Act聯邦反壟斷法」

"the Supreme Court held that enforcement of a patent procured by fraud on the PTO may be a federal antitrust violation under the Sherman Act."

- 「Walker Process monopolization」:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walker_Process_Equipment,_Inc._v._Food_Machinery_%26_Chemical_Corp.

判決書:http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/16-2746.Order.2-7-2018.1.PDF(備份:https://app.box.com/s/51r7bc3ypmxtuld8x4ije46dvm7wyf4k

[相關法條]
28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(1)規範聯邦法院上訴法院管轄權,其中第(a)(1)款規範美國聯邦巡迴上訴法院(CAFC)的專屬管轄權:CAFC為美國地方法院終判的民事上訴法院,包括為關島地區法院(Guam)、維京群島地區法院(Virgin Islands)與北馬里亞納群島地區法院(Northern Mariana)等的民事最終判決的上訴法院。


28 U.S. Code § 1295 - Jurisdiction of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

(a)The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit shall have exclusive jurisdiction—
(1)
of an appeal from a final decision of a district court of the United States, the District Court of Guam, the District Court of the Virgin Islands, or the District Court of the Northern Mariana Islands, in any civil action arising under, or in any civil action in which a party has asserted a compulsory counterclaim arising under, any Act of Congress relating to patents or plant variety protection;
...

28 U.S. Code § 1338 - Patents, plant variety protection, copyrights, mask works, designs, trademarks, and unfair competition

(a)
The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action arising under any Act of Congress relating to patents, plant variety protection, copyrights and trademarks. No State court shall have jurisdiction over any claim for relief arising under any Act of Congress relating to patents, plant variety protection, or copyrights. For purposes of this subsection, the term “State” includes any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
...


my two cents:
我覺得,此案可能是特例,因為過去仍有許多涉及「不公平行為」產生不合理壟斷的議題在CAFC法院解決,或許有更深層面的司法考慮(反壟斷法、Sherman Act!)。日後應會對最高法院判例「Gunn v. Minton, 568 U.S. 251 (2013)」、CAFC「In re Ciprofloxacin Hydrochloride Antitrust Litigation, 544 F.3d 1323 (Fed. Cir. 2008)」案作出一些研究。

我不是學法律的,但長期來看美國法院的判決、議題討論,都覺得這個充滿「智慧」的層層規範,或說制約,其中邏輯與判斷(即便有些也覺得不合理)都是另我讚嘆。

- 「Walker Process monopolization」:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walker_Process_Equipment,_Inc._v._Food_Machinery_%26_Chemical_Corp.

- Wikipedia有關「美國法院」的記載:https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/美国联邦上诉法院
"美國的50個州、首都華盛頓特區同其境外領土被劃分為13個審判區域,設有13個巡迴上訴法院。其中11個巡迴法院由數字命名,其餘兩個法院分別是哥倫比亞特區巡迴上訴法院和美國聯邦巡迴上訴法院。"

過去有關1295條報導參考:http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2017/01/phigenix-v-immunogen-fed-cir-2017.html(上訴的立場)

有關「反壟斷法」的相關報導:http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2016/05/transweb-v-3m-fed-cir-2016.html

參考資料:
https://patentlyo.com/patent/2018/02/federal-circuit-walker-process-claims-do-not-arise-under-us-patent-law.html

Ron

2018年2月13日 星期二

專利用詞「device」討論 - Saffran v. Johnson & Johnson (Fed. Cir. 2013)

本篇討論專利用詞「device」,案例為Saffran v. Johnson & Johnson (Fed. Cir. 2013)。

device」就是裝置嘛!?偏偏就是有文章。編按,與其說是討論"device"怎麼解釋,還不如說是討論解釋專利範圍時,特定用語將可能受限於說明書、圖式、審查歷史的主張,況且本案中處處都限定「device」為何,無法說服人可以更寬廣地解釋這個東西。

案件資訊:
原告/被上訴人:BRUCE N. SAFFRAN, M.D., PH.D. ("Saffran")
被告/上訴人:JOHNSON & JOHNSON AND CORDIS CORPORATION ("Cordis")
系爭專利:US5,653,760
本案緣起東德州地方法院判決被告
Cordis侵權成立,經被告上訴後,CAFC判定地方法院錯誤解釋專利範圍,重新解釋專利範圍,並判定侵權不成立。

系爭專利US5,653,760關於一種管理大分子分布的技術,這是一個治療骨折的裝置,特別針對有破碎式骨折的狀況,通過抑制小分子而助長大分子,Claim 1界定一種彈性固定裝置,用在治療人類或動物組織損害的用途,裝置包括有孔的彈性材料層,可以折成立體的樣子,其中第一主要表面放在受損組織旁,第二主要表面放在受損組織相對位置上,其中有個「釋放手段」,可以將材料"具有方向性地"通過立體結構釋放到受損組織的一旁。

1. A flexible fixation device for implantation into human or animal tissue to promote healing of a damaged tissue comprising:
a layer of flexible material that is minimally porous to macromolecules, said layer having a first and second major surface, the layer being capable of being shaped in three dimensions by manipulation by human hands,
the first major surface of the layer being adapted to be placed adjacent to a damaged tissue,
the second major surface of the layer being adapted to be placed opposite to the damaged tissue,
the layer having material release means for release of an at least one treating material in a directional manner when said layer is placed adjacent to a damaged tissue,
the device being flexible in three dimensions by manipulation by human hands,
the device being capable of substantially restricting the through passage of at least one type of macromolecule therethrough.


Claim 8界定治療受損骨頭的方法,裝置部分的描述與Claim 1一樣。

8. A method of treating a damaged tissue to promote repair comprising:
a) providing a device including, a layer of flexible material that is minimally porous to macromolecules, said layer having a first and second major surface, the layer being capable of shaping in three dimensions by manipulation by human hands,
the first major surface of the layer being adapted to be placed adjacent to the damaged tissue,
the second major surface of the layer being adapted to be placed opposite to the damaged tissue,
the layer having material release means for release of an at least one treating material in a unidirectional manner when said layer is placed adjacent to the damaged tissue,
the device being flexible in three dimensions by manipulation by human hands,
the device being capable of restricting the through passage of at least one type of macromolecule therethrough,
b) placing the device adjacent to a damaged tissue,
c) whereby the placed device results in directional presentation of the at least one treating material.
專利實施的樣子如下,將材料噴塗在受損的骨頭上,所謂的裝置,相對於習知可自由進出的孔洞,可以具有方向性地遞送藥劑,可以水分子呈現在治療的區域上。


被告侵權物為CordisCypher®,這是一種支架,其中具有微聚合物層的金屬網包覆在支架上,但根據網路上的資料顯示在2011年已經停產(地院判決那年),即便訴訟在2013年贏了。


在地院訴訟過程,解釋專利範圍時,作出以下幾個解釋:

(1) 對於請求項中「device」作出解釋:認為「device」這個在申請專利範圍「前言」中的用語僅是提出一個作為請求項內容限制的名稱("a device having the limitations called out by the body of the claim"),意思是,系爭專利範圍中的"device"不是有形體的裝置,而是指出專利範圍的名稱(代名詞)。

"The district court first addressed the term “device,” which it viewed as nonlimiting preamble language that “merely gives a descriptive name to the set of limitations in the body of the claim.”"

(2) 將申請專利範圍中「到大分子的微孔("minimally porous to macromolecules")」解釋為實質上不透水的大分子("substantially impermeable to macromolecules")。

(3) 將「在一個方向釋放治療材料的手段("means for release of at least one treating material in a directional manner")」以手段功能用語解釋,說明書對應的結構特徵是「化學鍵與鏈結」。

"“means for release” is “to release a drug preferentially toward the damaged tissue” and
defined the corresponding structures disclosed in the ’760 patent’s specification as “chemical bonds and linkages.”"

如此,地院判決"蓄意"侵權成立,以及判決一個為數不小的損害賠償。

案件經上訴到CAFC,解釋專利範圍的議題圍繞在「device」與「release means」的解釋。

這裡討論「device」的解釋:

「device」出現在系爭專利的每個請求項中,被告根據說明書內容,主張「device」並非如地院解釋僅為「前言」中涵蓋專利範圍的一個描述用語而已,而是指一個有形有體的連續薄片(continuous sheet),這個薄片(sheet)是用來隔離傷口附近大分子,並說明沒有覆蓋的網孔的支架(如上被告物品圖示)不能防止大分子進出。加上系爭專利審查過程也為了要區隔先前技術的「開放式網孔支柱("open mesh stents",這也剛好是被告產品的特徵)」而強調這個「device」就是一個可以隔離大分子的連續薄片。

顯然,解釋系爭專利「device」受限於說明書內容(包括圖式)與答辯歷史,無法擴及僅是功能性描述的專利特徵,而需要限定在有形有體的連續薄片上。

"We conclude that Saffran’s statements during prosecution of the ’760 patent limit “device” to a continuous sheet."

"... construe the term “device,” as used in the claims of the ’760 patent, to mean a continuous sheet andto exclude stents having open mesh holes."

根據CAFC查驗系爭專利審查歷史,確認系爭專利答辯時曾作出「device」為一薄片的解釋,並且被告產品並非連續薄片,有支架網孔。CAFC結論,同意被告主張,經過以上元件與相關專利範圍解釋,侵權不成立。

判決書:

http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/12-1043.Opinion.4-1-2013.1.PDF(備份:https://app.box.com/s/fs04fdfgqnl4kvt4btm23xdfh5eafj2v

my two cents:
本案例的資訊是來自工業技術研究院「從美國訴訟淺談專利撰寫答辯及請求項用語解釋研討會」的議程所揭示的內容。

Ron

2018年2月12日 星期一

申請專利範圍的寫作概念 - WIPO資料(3)

[WIPO "Patent Claim Drafting"筆記(申請專利範圍的寫作概念)]

重點:

  1. 所謂「發明(invention)」,常常是發明人腦海所構思的事物,沒有物質實體(no physical substance)。
  2. 所謂「實施例(embodiment)」,則是發明的實體(physical form)。
  3. 所謂「申請專利範圍(claim)」,用以保護至少一個實施例,但是,最好的申請專利範圍則是保護一個發明。
  4. 這個圖初步表示了發明、實施例與申請專利範圍的關係:
  5. WIPO提出一個例子:
    發明:具有把手的杯子。
    實施例:具有把手的紅色杯子。
    申請專利範圍:一個具有把手的杯子,涵蓋不僅是紅色杯子的實施例。

  6. 然而,申請專利範圍的有效性(validity)與保護商業實施的專利範圍(patent scope)之間需要一個平衡點。
  7. 專利說明書需要支持申請專利範圍。
  8. 申請專利範圍撰寫技巧可參考另一篇WIPO講義(報導):http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2018/02/wipo2.html
  9. 申請專利範圍的前言、連接語以及內容:
    特別提示:有些專利實務(某些司法判決)認為前言並不影響專利範圍,也沒有必要去描述專利用途,中庸的看法是,看前言的描述是否產生對專利範圍的影響,如果有,則將讀入專利範圍。
    對於連接詞,如何定義連接詞,除了一些公認的寫法外,說明書的內容也會左右解釋。


  10. 申請專利範圍是否加入元件編號是上一篇WIPO筆記的討論之一,這裡說明申請專利範圍可以加入圖式元件的編號(reference numbers),但不用於限縮專利範圍,僅用於瞭解專利範圍。並可在說明書中加入與這段相當的聲明(我認為可以不用):"Not typically treated as limiting the claims, but rather to make the claims easier to understand."。
  11. 提到幾個申請專利範圍的形式:
    (1) Jepson type(兩段式)
    (2) means plus function
    (3) Markush claim(常用於生技、化學類專利範圍)
    (其他可參考:http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2018/02/wipo1.htmlhttp://enpan.blogspot.tw/2018/02/wipo2.html
  12. (some quick quizzes)
文件:
http://www.wipo.int/edocs/mdocs/aspac/en/wipo_ip_kul_17/wipo_ip_kul_17_5.pdf
(備份:https://app.box.com/s/x4cy7sojbeoqq1bt55swdt8vsndi2pbd

Ron

USPTO OED

OED應該是許多取得律師、代理人資格的人很熟悉的事情,規範專利律師、代理人的註冊、執業、費用...。



這個表格很有趣,讓我們知道各大事務所、企業如何僱用專利律師、專利代理人,可初步瞭解美國相關產業的狀況,值得一提的是,榜上企業有IBM與Qualcomm

https://patentlyo.com/patent/2018/02/firms-with-the-most-registered-patent-attorneys-and-agents.html



資料來源:USPTO OED(Office of Enrollment and Discipline,https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/organizational-offices/office-general-counsel/office-enrollment-and-discipline-oed

參考資料:
https://patentlyo.com/patent/2018/02/firms-with-the-most-registered-patent-attorneys-and-agents.html

Ron

2018年2月10日 星期六

申請專利範圍的寫作技巧 - WIPO資料(2)

筆記

[WIPO "Claim Drafting Techniques"(申請專利範圍的寫作技巧)筆記]

讀後筆記:

  1. 撰寫專利說明書之前,先寫出申請專利範圍。(編按,我的經驗是,在某種類型需要一邊寫、一邊理解,並一邊勾勒專利範圍的情況時,我會先從說明書先寫;若先寫申請專利範圍,也需要在撰寫說明書時,一面思考修改專利範圍的可能)
  2. 這裡建議先寫專利範圍,並回饋發明人,確保正確理解發明。
  3. 這裡提到一種「描述式專利範圍("picture" claim)」的初稿方式,也就是先將發明通過申請專利範圍描述出來,這時可能並非「最廣」或是「最精準用語」的專利範圍,而是拿來溝通與預備真正撰寫範圍,確認後,再以準確的專利用語將專利範圍寫出來。
  4. 可以在與發明人會談時將這個「描述式專利範圍」勾勒出來。(編按,可在初次與發明人討論發明內容後,以這樣描述式的方式(或許是更為精簡的用語,但是並非最佳狀態)將專利範圍初步討論清楚,達成雙方共識,對撰寫與後續校稿十分有幫助)
  5. 如果能以「兩段式(WIPO/EP)」專利範圍的思緒釐清習知特徵與發明特徵,這有助於申請專利範圍的撰寫。
  6. 這裡建議撰寫說明書的順序是:請求項、圖式與說明書。(編按,我常常的作法是:圖式、請求項、說明書;有時會圖式、說明書與請求項同步撰寫)
  7. 當然,先決定出申請專利範圍,之後繪圖與寫說明書,似乎是最有效率的作法。
  8. 撰寫說明書時,應反覆審視申請專利範圍,確認每個專利用語有適當地描述與定義。
  9. 說明書需要足夠的內容讓發明相關領域的技術人員可以理解並據以實施。
  10. 說明書需要支持申請專利範圍的解釋、用語一致。
  11. 說明書需要有足夠內容,足以在審查答辯時給予支持與限制條件,以迴避先前技術的阻礙。
  12. 以多樣範圍的方式撰寫專利範圍,使之具有最廣與窄的專利範圍。
  13. 附屬項範圍常常是從獨立項「減法」移除的特徵。
  14. 撰寫申請專利範圍,需要一些創意。
  15. 申請專利範圍應以清楚、簡明呈現發明。
  16. 小心使用「相對用語」,如大、小、左、右、長、短、快、慢、厚、薄等。
  17. 「相對用語」用於不同元件的關係描述,如A比B短。
  18. 申請專利範圍內用語由說明書定義,或是相關領域已經定義好的。
  19. 避免「負面表示」,除非這樣描述很明確,如「非實心」的輪胎。
  20. 應以「正面表示」,如「空心」的輪胎。
  21. 要以「負面表示」專利特徵,應該是明確的,而且想要排除某種特徵,例如:非黑色的表面、不包括金、銀的金屬(但這仍是太廣)。
  22. 說明書描述多樣的實施例,並能以申請專利範圍保護他們。
  23. 多樣的實施例常帶來較廣的專利範圍解釋。
  24. 寫完申請專利範圍時,再審視是否可以刪除一些不必要限制。(編按,這有時需要他人協助,如發明人、In-house工程師)
  25. 可能的話,申請專利範圍其中一項應該要涵蓋(大於)已知可能侵權的態樣。
  26. 可以使用多種類別的專利範圍,例如在同一技術概念下,有裝置、方法與系統等類型的專利範圍。(編按,這種佈局常見於軟體方法專利)
  27. 發明的類別:
  28. 列舉幾個範例:
    (1) 治療方法:

    (2) 醫藥用途:
  29. 至少有一項範圍可以將對應產品讀入,方便專利標示(patent marking)。

文件:
http://www.wipo.int/edocs/mdocs/aspac/en/wipo_ip_phl_16/wipo_ip_phl_16_t9.pdf
(備份:https://app.box.com/s/xm9v2hg270crmp7h9dpq15erhrhluga0

Ron

2018年2月9日 星期五

英國專利筆記 - claim, abstract and software

英國,常寫為UK,就是大英國協、聯合王國(United Kingdom),原名為「大不列顛及北愛爾蘭聯合王國(United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)」,或稱不列顛(英語:Britain)。雖有愛爾蘭獨立的議題,英國的主權仍及於大不列顛島、愛爾蘭島東北部分及一系列較小島嶼,鄰接的北愛爾蘭為獨立國家。



因為英國(即便是脫歐後)為歐洲專利局的一員,可以同時享受(或說限制)歐洲專利局進入英國的專利申請案,以及直接進入英國的專利申請案,所以,雖然應該大部分規定都會趨於一致,但應該仍有差異,這裡討論一些有關申請專利範圍的撰寫規定。

直接切入「專利」主題,就從政府網頁https://www.gov.uk」開始,找到「Business and self-employed」連結,進入「Patents, trade marks, copyright and designs」選項,其中資料很多,可以找到「Detailed guidance」中的「Patents」。其實其中有很多主題,如:「Apply for a patent」、「Patenting your invention」、「Search patent decisions」...等。

其中有不少有興趣的主題,如:「Patents: Manual of Patent Practice」、「Patents Formalities manual」、「Search patent decisions」等,本篇筆記以申請專利範圍討論為主。

專利實務手冊:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/668760/MOPP-Jan18.pdf

這裡提到不少解釋專利範圍的司法判例:

  1. 解釋專利範圍,審查委員應以申請專利範圍定義的發明實質,不是僅根據請求項的文字而已。
    "When determining if an invention falls foul of the exclusions, it is critical that the examiner consider the substance of the invention rather than the form of claim provided, by looking beyond the strict literal wording of the claims. For example, when a claim is directed to a computer program, the examiner must look at what the computer program will do when run, as established in paragraph 49 of Astron Clinica Ltd & Ors v The Comptroller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks [2008] EWHC 85, RPC 14."
  2. 發明係以請求項的中心概念而定,整體來看,應並非限定在單一實施例中,而可涵蓋到其他並未排除的實施方式。
    "It is not the nature of a single embodiment of an invention which is important when determining whether it is excluded, but the nature of the central idea or invention which is embodied in the claims. To determine this, the invention claimed should be assessed and construed as a whole to see whether it comprises an advance that lies in a non-excluded field. However, as Floyd J observed in paragraph 23 of Kapur v Comptroller-General of Patents [2008] EWHC 649 (Pat), if there are embodiments of a claim that fall within excluded subject matter, the fact that the claim is wide enough to encompass embodiments that are not excluded under s. 1(2) will not be sufficient to save it. The exclusion “will still bite to the extent that excluded subject matter is claimed."
  3. 案例支持電腦軟體專利的可專利性,若電腦軟體執行的方法可核准專利,儲存在媒體中的相關程式也可專利,申請專利範圍中具有一個通常的電腦有時是必要的,但不能僅是一些程序與載體而已。
  4. 單純的商業模式(business model)並不能獲准專利。使用電腦行使商業方法,電腦本身可以帶來快速與運算,這可能是一些技術效果,但仍不予這類技術可專利性。
    "The business method cases can be tricky to analyse by just asking whether the invention has a technical effect or makes a technical contribution. The reason is that computers are self evidently technical in nature. Thus when a business method is implemented on a computer, the patentee has a rich vein of arguments to deploy in seeking to contend that his invention gives rise to a technical effect or makes a technical contribution. For example the computer is said to be a faster, more efficient computerized book keeper than before and surely, says the patentee, that is a technical effect or technical advance. And so it is, in a way, but the law has resolutely sought to hold the line at excluding such things from patents."
  5. 電腦程式界定的軟體方法若具有技術貢獻,已經超越程式本身,為可專利標的。並且,實現軟體方法需要一些習知的電腦硬體,但不會因此具有可專利性。
    "In Halliburton Energy Services Inc's Applications [2012] RPC 129, HHJ Birss QC emphasised that “[a] computer programmed to perform a task which makes a contribution to the art which is technical in nature is a patentable invention and may be claimed as such.” Therefore, a computer program that provides a technical contribution will not fall under the exclusion, as it is more than a computer program as such. Although an invention involving a computer is undoubtedly "technical", the mere presence of conventional computing hardware does not of itself mean the invention makes a technical contribution (and so avoids the computer program exclusion) as such hardware will typically not form part of the contribution (see 1.21.1)."
  6. 一個發明,不論是在電腦以外,或是使用電腦解決了技術問題,不會視為電腦軟體本身,
    "An invention which either solves a technical problem external to the computer or solves one within the computer was not considered to fall under the computer program exclusion. The particular invention involved improving the operation of a computer by solving a problem arising from the way the computer was programmed (in that case, a tendency to crash due to conflicting library program calls). The court considered that this could be regarded as solving a technical problem within the computer, if it leads to a more reliable computer. Thus, a program that results in a computer running faster or more reliably may be considered to provide a technical contribution, even if the invention addresses a problem in the programming of the computer. The court concluded that such a technical contribution rendered the claim in this case patentable."
  7. 這裡列舉電腦軟體可專利的要件(評估可專利的條件):
    "i.whether the claimed technical effect has a technical effect on a process which is carried on outside the computer (from Vicom)
    ii. whether the claimed technical effect operates at the level of the architecture of the computer; that is to say whether the effect is produced irrespective of the data being processed or the applications being run (from IBM T 0006/83, IBM T 0115/85, Merrill Lynch, Symbian)
    iii. whether the claimed technical effect results in the computer being made to operate in a new way (from Gale)
    iv. whether the program makes the computer a better computer in the sense of running more efficiently and effectively as a computer (from Vicom, Symbian; as reworded in HTC v Apple)
    v. whether the perceived problem is overcome by the claimed invention as opposed to merely being circumvented (from Hitachi T 0258/03 – note that the problem in question must be a technical problem)"
專利形式手冊:https://www.gov.uk/guidance/formalities-manual-online-version
  1. 取得申請日,申請專利範圍與摘要(甚至摘要並非是專利進入審查的要件,但都會要求補件)並非必要,但要有完整的說明書與費用,申請專利範圍與摘要可以於最早申請日後12個月內,或是申請日後2個月內(最長者)提出,使得可以進入審查與檢索程序。
  2. 以上期限可以請求延長兩個月,甚至可以提出其他延長期限的理由。
  3. 可以提出新的請求項內容,使得有兩套專利範圍。
  4. 如果在專利申請案公開後提出新的請求項內容,仍可以作為審查時的申請專利範圍。

其他重點:
  • 申請專利範圍結構:獨立項、附屬項。
  • 請求項中不得記載"preferably", "for example", "more particularly"等用語。
  • 請求項應記載足夠的內容與元件關聯性,並具有可實施性。
  • 若有多項獨立項,若涵蓋了多個類別(apparatus, use, process, product等),則會被檢驗,並要求提出「僅包括一類」的補充版本,但如成對的特徵(接收器、發射器;插頭、插座)仍可在同一案提出,另外,相同物質的不同用途也可於同一案提出申請。
  • 申請專利範圍應避免多個無關發明、多個獨立請求項(僅能有一個獨立項,除了上述情況)、無法理解而過於複雜的請求項、過多替代方案與選擇的範圍、附屬項無法限定於所依附的獨立項。
英國專利檢索:



補充:(以下內容是因與同事討論議題得出)

問題:英國專利案是否要在申請專利範圍與摘要的元件後加入「元件編號」,也就是對照圖式與說明書的元件編號(element reference)?

根據以上專利實務手冊中的規定,可以在「摘要」中自由地以括號置入圖示中的元件編號,也就是,這並非強制規定。

"It should be clearly apparent from the abstract what the or each accompanying figure represents. To aid identification of features mentioned in the abstract, relevant reference numerals which appear in the selected figure(s) should be freely used in the abstract. Numerals which appear only in other drawings should normally not be used, although exceptionally, a numeral which is considered necessary for an understanding of the abstract but appears only in these other drawings, may be referred to. Such reference should be bracketed, eg (29, Fig 16), without any additional wording such as "see" or "not shown". When this expedient is adopted it should be ensured that reference numerals which do appear in the abstract drawing(s) are without brackets."

參考範例:
GB2552702,優先權同樣為GB,因此應為直接申請英國的申請案,請求項中並未見「元件編號」:


GB2552635


以下為從EPO進入英國案範例,看來,請求項就有加入元件編號(但仍有許多例外):
GB253405


GB2534245,本篇摘要有元件編號,但請求項沒有:


GB2513798


GB2507933

Claims:
1. computer system (300, 400), comprising: 
- a device register (320, 410) for creating and 
registering one or more device objects (322, 324, 326, 412), wherein at least one device object of the one or more device objects is configured for communicating with a network connector (404) of a sensor appliance (306, 308, 310, 402)via a network connection (312, 414), wherein the device object is configured for exposing at least one parameter (364, 366, 368, 908, 910) of the sensor appliance by declaring its capabilities ; 
- an aggregation model (334, 422) for aggregating the at least one parameter of the at least one device objects;
- a set (340, 416) of wiring definitions descriptive of raised events created by changes or updates in the at least one parameter; and 
- a wiring broker (328, 420) for updating the aggregation model in accordance with the raised events. 
2. The computer system of claim 1, wherein the computer system further comprises a memory (318) for storing machine executable instructions, wherein execution of the instructions cause a processor to: 
a. connect (100, 200, 500) a network connectable device (306, 308, 310, 402) to a network (312, 414) using the network connection; 
b. visualize the network connectable device on a user interface (362) using an abstraction layer (322, 324, 326, 412), wherein the network connectable device is any one of the following: a sensor, an actor, a multifunction device, and an internet service; c. register (102, 202, 502) the device with the abstraction layer and declaring its capabilities using the device register by connecting the device with the user interface using the abstraction layer; 
d. wire the network connectable device using the 
abstraction layer for implementing a user defined controller logic with a coherent system of decoupled devices, wherein said abstraction layer provides the infrastructure to receive/poll for status changes of sensors and trigger status change of actors, wherein said abstraction layer is device and/or service independent by using a software abstraction layer. 


小結:
有關英國claims撰寫是否要加入元件編號(reference numbers),我查了一下,如果看到「有元件編號」,大概是EP進入UK案;如果沒有,應該就是直接進入UK的專利案。所以,答案應該是「可以」,但非「強制」。

(updated on Feb. 9, 2018) 從同事由代理人詢問的答案是,針對英國專利申請案,摘要可以加入元件編號,目的是便於理解,但非強制,但不建議在請求項中加入元件編號,因為這沒有任何好處

資料參考:
https://www.gov.uk/
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/manual-of-patent-practice-mopp/section-14-the-application
https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/英国

Ron

2018年2月8日 星期四

申請專利範圍的格式與形式 - WIPO資料(1)

筆記

[WIPO "Patent Claim Format And Types Of Claims"筆記]

重點:
  1. 各請求項應以一個單句("single sentence")完成,除了句尾用句點結束,其他用逗點、分號等標點。
  2. 請求項識別符,如Claim 1。
  3. 請求項撰寫於專利說明書尾段(WIPO)。
  4. 請求項的內容:前言連接語內容
  5. 前言:請求項標的:apparatus, device, article, composition, method, process...。
  6. 前言:請求項標的應與發明名稱一致。
  7. 前言:可引述發明的目的,如:an apparatus for cooking...。
  8. 連接語:開放式:comprising, including, containing, characterized by...。
  9. 連接語:封閉式:consisting of...。(補充:如果以封閉式撰寫請求項,其中有百分比成份的描述,應最後相加為100%,否則為不明確)
  10. 請求項內容:要解釋不同元件之間的關係。
  11. 兩段式請求項("improvement claims", "Jepson type"):前言描述習知技術;連接語:"wherein the improvement comprises", "characterized in that", "characterized by";內容:描述新穎特徵。
  12. 功能手段用語(means-plus-function):請求項描述以結構特徵執行的功能,但其解釋則是被司法判決所左右,請求項中的手段功能用語必須充分地描述由結構特徵執行。
  13. 善用"a", "an" "the", "said"來建立前述基礎("antecedent basis")。
  14. 請求項元件可以括號標示圖式編號。
  15. 請求項可以"wherein", "whereby", "such that"以進一步定義特徵、功能關係。
  16. 「多元件(multiple elements)」請求項,也就是申請專利範圍不會僅有一個元件(附屬項為依附前述請求項,無此疑慮)。
  17. 請求項形式:(1)裝置;(2)方法;(3)用途("use claim");(4)成份("composition claim");(5)方法界定產品("product by process");(6)生技("biotechnology claim");(7)軟體("software claim");(8)綜合式("omnibus claim");(9)設計。
  18. 用途請求項(Swiss type):
  19. "The use of substance X as an insecticide ..."
    "The use of a transistor in an amplifying circuit ..."
    (醫藥類)"The use of compound XYZ in the manufacture of a treatment for malaria ..."
  20. 方法界定產品("product by process"):有些國家判定為產品專利,有些則是判定為方法專利。因此撰寫時需要判斷是否一定要用這個寫法。
    "A metalic salt obtained by a process comprising the steps of ..."
  21. 軟體("software claim")請求項的形式:
    (1) "A computer-readable storage medium storing instructions that when executed by a computer cause the computer to perform a method for using a computer system to [function], the method comprising: ..."
    (2) "A memory for storing data for access by an application program being executed on a data processing system, comprising ...
    a data structure stored in the memory, the data structure including information resident in a database used by the application program and including: [steps]."
  22. 綜合式("omnibus claim")請求項:引用說明說或圖示說明,但不是所有專利局都接受這樣的寫法,建議同一件專利中還是要搭配其他形式的請求項範圍。
    (1) "an apparatus for harvesting corn as described in the description."
    (2) "a juice machine as shown in figure 4."
文件:http://www.wipo.int/edocs/mdocs/aspac/en/wipo_ip_phl_16/wipo_ip_phl_16_t5.pdf
(備份:https://app.box.com/s/1fu1ax8lat8mlid5ws9g42w8akcx2o52


[補充] 「method」申請專利範圍一般認知是要以多個「Ving」為首的步驟元件撰寫,這沒錯,也是通用方式,但這個寫法完全是因為要符合「文法」,因為整個請求項(claims)就一個動詞:「We/I Claim(s):」因此,後面描述都不能有「原型動詞」,不過,這仍視「preamble」如何撰寫而定,如果有了「to」在前,後面自然就接了「原型動詞」。

列舉幾例「用原型動詞」寫步驟的專利,但說實在的,這不是主流的寫法。

US 9609017
1. A method for mitigating distributed denial of service attacks executable by a system comprising one or more traffic manager computing devices, client devices and server devices across one or more networks, the method comprising steps to:
obtain by a first processor network information relating to a received request from a requesting device, the obtained network information comprising a plurality of network parameters associated with the requesting device, wherein the obtaining further comprises determining when additional network information is required to assign a rating;
determine by a second processor a rating for the network parameters based on an associated weight value when the additional network information is determined not to be required to assign the rating, wherein the network parameters are separately assigned with associated weight values;
determine by a third processor an action to take with respect to the request based on a comparison of a determined rating and a threshold rating, wherein the determining further comprises assigning one or more classification policies to a section of a range in the threshold rating; and
execute by a fourth processor a determined action comprising adjusting one or more quality of service parameters to a connection associated with the requesting device, wherein the quality of service parameters comprise one or more of an error rate, a bit rate, or a transmission delay.

如果標的不是「method」,而是system或是computer readable medium...,也有這樣的寫法:

US 7606149
13. A computer readable medium encoded with computer software, executed by a processor to perform steps to:
monitor at an interface, a plurality of active communication sessions, each active communication session between at least two endpoints; 

detect at an interface, at least one quality-impacted communication session out of the plurality of active communication sessions; 

generate by the processor, a first alert for each detected quality-impacted communication session out of the plurality of active communication sessions until a first throttling number of quality-impacted communication sessions is detected out of the plurality of active communication sessions; and 
upon detecting the first throttling number of quality-impacted communication sessions, generate by the processor, a second alert for each group of additional second number of quality-impacted communication sessions detected out of the plurality of active communication sessions.

Ron