2016年6月30日 星期四

裝置固有達成的"新用途"為顯而易見 - MPEP 2112.02

實例:
電路元件都有自己固有(inherent)的功能,電路元件組合也會產生固有的功能,不會因為放在哪裡有所不同,除非有其他電路加入,或是加入一個控制邏輯。因此,審查委員要核駁一個電路(或說裝置)執行的流程(process)時,只要找到可以對比該電路的前案,即可證明該電路執行的流程不具新穎性,或顯而易知,無須再針對該流程提出引證前案。

截錄OA案例:


一件專利申請案,請求項標的有兩組,一個是方法,一個是電路,如果審查委員認為方法不見得僅能用該電路實現,以及電路不見得僅能實施該方法,就可能發出限制要求,要求申請人選擇其一進行後續審查。

若「該方法僅能由該電路實現」,或是「該電路僅能實現該方法」,就"可能"不會接獲限制要求,同時,可能會接獲如此OA範例的內容,如果電路(或說裝置)與方法是相依且互相支撐,就如MPEP 2112.02規範的固有原則(principles of inherency),先前技術與系爭案請求項/說明書所界定的電路(或裝置)一樣,即表示先前技術電路/裝置"固有"執行該方法

"when the prior art device is the same as  a device described in the specification for carrying out claimed method, it can be assumed the device will inherently perform the claimed process."

反之亦然,如果先前技術已經記載該方法,也就表示已經揭露該電路/裝置。

根據MPEP 2112.02規定,第(I)條表示,只要裝置(先前技術)在一般操作下實現該方法(專利申請案),先前技術的裝置即揭露了該方法。如此表示,當審查委員檢索到同樣的先前裝置,則無須證明已揭露專利方法,就可作出核駁意見。

第(II)條表示,舊的架構與組合(如化學成份)的新與非顯而易見的用途"可以"被專利。也就是,若發明人在舊的結構的未知特性上開發出新的用途(new use),為可專利標的(might be patentable,語氣十分不確定)。情況是,若所述的用途基於舊的結構或組合的特性(固有特性),則即便是"新的用途(法院不認為這是新用途)",仍無法專利,不具新穎性。

因此重點還是「新的裝置、新的組合」較為可能專利,若基於舊的裝置或組合,除非可以證明,相對較難克服新穎性或進步性不足的問題。

MPEP 2112.02 PROCESS CLAIMS (摘錄)

I. PROCESS CLAIMS — PRIOR ART DEVICE ANTICIPATES A CLAIMED PROCESS IF THE DEVICE CARRIES OUT THE PROCESS DURING NORMAL OPERATION
Under the principles of inherency, if a prior art device, in its normal and usual operation, would necessarily perform the method claimed, then the method claimed will be considered to be anticipated by the prior art device. When the prior art device is the same as a device described in the specification for carrying out the claimed method, it can be assumed the device will inherently perform the claimed process. In re King, 801 F.2d 1324, 231 USPQ 136 (Fed. Cir. 1986) (The claims were directed to a method of enhancing color effects produced by ambient light through a process of absorption and reflection of the light off a coated substrate. A prior art reference to Donley disclosed a glass substrate coated with silver and metal oxide 200-800 angstroms thick. ...
II. PROCESS OF USE CLAIMS — NEW AND UNOBVIOUS USES OF OLD STRUCTURES AND COMPOSITIONS MAY BE PATENTABLE
The discovery of a new use for an old structure based on unknown properties of the structure might be patentable to the discoverer as a process of using. In re Hack, 245 F.2d 246, 248, 114 USPQ 161, 163 (CCPA 1957). However, when the claim recites using an old composition or structure and the “use” is directed to a result or property of that composition or structure, then the claim is anticipated. In re May, 574 F.2d 1082, 1090, 197 USPQ 601, 607 (CCPA 1978) (Claims 1 and 6, directed to a method of effecting nonaddictive analgesia (pain reduction) in animals, were found to be anticipated by the applied prior art which disclosed the same compounds for effecting analgesia but which was silent as to addiction. The court upheld the rejection and stated that the applicants had merely found a new property of the compound and such a discovery did not constitute a new use. The court went on to reverse the obviousness rejection of claims 2-5 and 7-10 which recited a process of using a new compound. The court relied on evidence showing that the nonaddictive property of the new compound was unexpected.). ...
Ron

2016年6月29日 星期三

歐洲專利局長對於英國脫歐的說法


歐洲專利局長Battistelli在6/24英國公投脫歐成立後,說明這不會影響英國仍屬歐洲專利成員的資格,也不影響歐洲專利在英國的權利。

換句話說,英國當初並未加入歐元,但政治與經濟上加入歐洲共同體,這次英國脫歐成立是政治切割,也不影響歐洲專利在英國的權益,英國仍是EPO的一員。

至少他是樂觀地看待,並且期待歐洲統一專利制度盡快實現。

新聞稿:http://www.epo.org/news-issues/news/2016/20160624.html

my two cent:
脫歐公投原本是假議題,卻變成對時局不滿的政治民粹的結果,但也表示一定的人民期待,因此制度繼續走下去的同時,不一定也會考量其他需要與歐洲切割的議題,包括專利制度。不過歐洲專利制度已經行之有年,會員各國專利制度也很倚賴歐洲專利局,不容易斷然切割,並且英國比較沒有製造業,市場也不大(不如美、歐),如果連專利都獨立,想見申請案也會降下很多。

不過,就憤怒的其他歐洲會員國來說,或許...不見得會讓英國仍保有其他歐盟相關組織的資格。也就是不會讓英國選軟的要,又不盡義務,想走就走。

補充,英國脫歐已經是公開的秘密,這是算是逮到機會,以下為BBC提供的參考圖表,表示英國接著脫離歐盟的程序。


Ron

2016年6月28日 星期二

設計接續案的修正討論 - In re Owens (Fed. Cir. Mar. 26, 2013)

(補資料)In re Owens對於設計專利而言是個十分重要的案例,也影響著美國以外其他國家對於設計專利的態度。

可以從Google找到許多有關本案例In re Owens的前輩文章,本篇僅從我的角度與直接讀取CAFC判決報導。

In re Owens案例資訊:
設計專利申請號:29/253,172 (filed Feb. 2, 2006)
BPAI案號:Ex parte Owens, No. 2010-5622
上訴CAFC案號:2012-1261

系爭案'172為另一設計申請案29/219,709 (filed Dec. 21, 2004)的延續案,根據判決文中的圖式可看到子案'172的設計,差異就在子案產生的新事物(new matter),增加幾條線,形成了母案沒有的表面形狀。

母案獲准為D531,515,接續子案不少,但看來最終獲准有兩件。


設計關於瓶子,看來是香水/香精瓶/水霧氣等的,從原始專利權人/申請人P&G集團特性來判斷,是生活用品中的一種容器。



判決中介紹設計專利範圍也從母案'709開始,2004年申請的'709明顯是有部分主張的設計,系爭案為2006年提出的接續案'172,如下圖:


從圖示保護範圍來看,法院列舉出幾個設計特徵點:
(1)接近瓶蓋前後的小月牙形區域;(2)沿著瓶肩的窄三角形區域;以及(3)瓶身的五邊形中心面板的上方部位。

USPTO:
在USPTO審查過程中,核駁'172案,核駁理由是從母案'709到子案'172所加上的虛線(broken line),如此發現了"全新"的「梯形面(“trapezoidal”-shaped surface)」,如下圖(左圖為系爭案'172,右圖為母案'709)的左圖瓶身多了幾筆線,產生了所述的梯形面。


判決文中指出所述的新事物,如此USPTO以不符112(1),並以申請人先前所販售瓶子認為系爭案為顯而易見的技術,不符103(a),核駁系爭案:


BPAI:
申請人於是提出訴願,案件由BPAI審理,爭點在是否'172案可以主張'709案優先權,也就是一般設計者可否從'709表達足夠得到'172的設計?BPAI同樣也認為系爭案'172的瓶身表面上切分得到的梯形面為新事物,仍作出核駁意見。

CAFC:
將'172與'709比對可知,其實加入的表面特徵是"不主張專利範圍的部分",看來是"虛線"。根據MPEP 1503.02規定,申請人仍可以在設計案圖式中已存在的線尾端加入「直的虛線」,不會被認為是新事物。

"However, the parties also agree that a design patentee may, under certain circumstances, introduce via amendment a straight broken line without adding new matter, even “where no corresponding boundary line is shown in a design application as originally filed.” MPEP § 1503.02."

MPEP 1503.02 DRAWING
...
 Where no boundary line is shown in a design application as originally filed, but it is clear from the design specification that the boundary of the claimed design is a straight broken line connecting the ends of existing full lines defining the claimed design, applicant "may" amend the drawing(s) to add a straight broken line connecting the ends of existing full lines defining the claimed subject matter where such amendment complies with the written description requirement of 35 U.S.C. 112(a) (or for applications filed prior to September 16, 2012, 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph). Additionally, any broken line boundary other than a straight broken line "may" constitute new matter prohibited by 35 U.S.C. 132 and 37 CFR 1.121(f).
...

所述「直的虛線("straight broken line")」理論上不會影響專利範圍,並非是主張的範圍。不過,當有不主張的邊界線(unclaimed boundary line)切割了主張的區域(claimed area),表示申請人利用不主張的邊界線調整了專利函蓋得範圍,使得與其母案有了些微但非重要的差異。不過這些修正,這些線條仍應符合可以主張優先權的接續案的揭露規定

"In other words, when an unclaimed boundary line divides a previously claimed area, it indicates that the applicant has disclaimed the portion beyond the boundary while claiming the area within it. Where permissible, unclaimed boundary lines allow the patentee to adjust his patent coverage and encompass embodiments that differ slightly but insignificantly from the originally-filed design. However, like all amendments made during prosecution, these lines must comply the written description requirement to receive the benefit of priority under § 120."

爭議仍在「所加入的線是不主張專利範圍的虛線」,就專利範圍來看,這沒有增加新事物。對於「設計」來說,要滿足接續案的要件,就是要繼承母案揭露的內容,因此設計的外觀、裝飾、花紋等視覺效果都應該一致。根據BPAI的意見,母案並未將瓶身表面上五邊形中區隔出梯形的部位。

CAFC意見著重在是否申請人Owens可以加入不主張範圍的虛線條(unclaimed boundary line)而能繼承母案的好處(35 U.S.C.§120)。即便是如上述MPEP的規定,也是"可以"新增,但是至少視覺上已經讓'172案遭遇許多困擾(何必呢?)。

在判決結論處,CAFC/USPTO顧問教導我們一些設計案修正原則:要在設計接續案中新增不主張權利的邊界線(unclaimed boundary lines)時,所繼承的母案應要有此明確的邊界,才能滿足揭露規定。也就是,所述「不主張範圍的邊界線影響了是否可以主張前案優先權的資格」。

因此,系爭案因為新增新事物,使得與其母案「斷鏈」,而被相關先前販售的物品揭示,為顯而易見的設計。


my two cents:
這樣看來,自In re Owens開始,USPTO/BPAI/CAFC建立了設計接續案的新增虛線的修正標準。

本案例也給大家一個方便的標準,除非想要挑戰審查委員,否則不用再討論是否加入線條會有新事物,就是不能加入母案所未揭示會影響外觀的邊界線條,即便是虛線也不行(建議不不要)。

本篇一再重複的觀念是,延續案要主張母案的好處,應符合112(1)揭露規定,母案應足夠支持延續案的專利範圍(由相關領域技術人員判斷),發明案是,設計案更是在視覺上(即便是未主張的範圍)仍要與母案一致。

CAFC判決文:
http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/cafc/12-1261/12-1261-2013-03-26.html
檔案:http://cases.justia.com/federal/appellate-courts/cafc/12-1261/12-1261-2013-03-26.pdf?ts=1411158673
(備份:https://app.box.com/s/d70pof0f4rhuxmqendcgftwaz9mkqvyc

資料參考:
http://www.naipo.com/Portals/1/web_tw/Knowledge_Center/Industry_Economy/publish-202.htm
作者:葉雪美╱經濟部智慧財產局專利一組專利高級審查官╱台科大專利研究所兼任助理教授

智慧局發表文章:
https://www.tipo.gov.tw/public/Attachment/5112317583232.pdf
解析美國設計專利圖式修正之審查基準與政策,作者:葉雪美


http://patentlyo.com/patent/2013/03/in-re-owens.html

Ron

2016年6月27日 星期一

優先權失格後的連鎖效應案例討論 - Worlds, Inc. v. Activision Blizzard, Inc., (D. Mass. Mar. 13, 2014)

本案例討論優先權基礎案失格後會造成後續申請案面臨困擾的問題,特別是最早申請案為臨時申請案(provisional application)。


案例:Worlds, Inc. v. Activision Blizzard, Inc., (D. Mass. Mar. 13, 2014)
專利權人/原告:Worlds, Inc.
侵權被告:Activision Blizzard, Inc.
系爭專利:U.S. Nos. 7,181,690 (“‘690”), 7,493,558 (“‘558”), 7,945,856 (“‘856”),
8,082,501 (“‘501”) and 8,145,998 (“‘998”)

緣起,被告經告上法院後,請求專利無效的簡易判決,結果法院簡易判決「專利無效」,關鍵在於優先權。

系爭專利為優先權日早於1995年的虛擬實境技術,以下列舉幾件,這些專利皆屬於一個家族,除了'690案,其他皆溯及1995年的臨時申請案(60/020296),而正式案則是溯及臨時案到期前最後一天的1996年母案(08/747420,U.S. Patent No. 6,219,045 (“the ‘045 patent”),但'045案卻未主張臨時案優先權日)。


7,181,690 (“‘690”)

Claim 1關於一個方法,可以讓使用者與其他使用者以虛擬的人(avatar)在虛擬空間互動,在每個終端裝置上接收各使用者虛擬人的位置,並判斷而顯示在自己的裝置上。
1. A method for enabling a first user to interact with other users in a virtual space, wherein the first user and the other users each have an avatar and a client process associated therewith, and wherein each client process is in communication with a server process, wherein the method comprises:
(a) receiving a position of less than all of the other users' avatars from the server process; and
(b) determining, from the received positions, a set of the other users' avatars that are to be displayed to the first user,
wherein steps (a) and (b) are performed by the client process associated with the first user.
7,493,558 (“‘558”)
Claim 4關於儲存程式的機器可讀取媒體,相關程式讓使用者可以在虛擬空間內互動,程式功能包括監視每個客戶端程序、客戶端程序與伺服器端程序傳輸、接收到伺服器程序,包括得到其他使用者位置,以及判斷並顯示每個人的位置在自己的裝置。
4. A machine-readable medium having a program stored in the medium, the program enabling a plurality of users to interact in a virtual space, wherein each user of the plurality of users is associated with a different client process on a different computer, wherein each client process has an avatar associated with said each client process, and wherein said each client process is configured for communication with a server process, wherein the program comprises instructions for:
(a) monitoring, by said each client process, a position of the avatar associated with said each client process;
(b) transmitting, by said each client process to the server process, the position of the avatar associated with said each client process;
(c) receiving, by said each client process from the server process, the positions of avatars in a set associated with said each client process, wherein the set associated with said each client process does not include at least one avatar of the avatars associated with the client processes of the plurality of users, the at least one avatar not being associated with said each client process; and
(d) determining from the positions received in step (C), by said each client process, avatars that are to be displayed to the user associated with said each client process.

7,945,856 (“‘856”)

Claim 1也是關於多人在虛擬空間互動的方法。
1. A method for enabling a first user to interact with second users in a virtual space, wherein the first user is associated with at first avatar and a first client process, the first client process being configured for communication with a server process, and each second user is associated with a different second avatar and a second client process configured for communication with the server process, at least one second client process per second user, the method comprising:
(a) receiving by the first client process from the server process received positions of selected second avatars; and
(b) determining, from the received positions, a set of the second avatars that are to be displayed to the first user;
wherein the first client process receives positions of fewer than all of the second avatars.

根據以上系爭專利的優先權資訊來看,除了'690外,其餘主張侵權的系爭專利都溯及1995年的臨時申請案(60/020296),以及1996年母案(08/747420,獲准為US 6,219,045),'690案並未主張1995年優先權,以及這件1996年正式案母案'045也未主張1995年優先權。

法院列出被告所繪製的各系爭專利在此家族"斷鏈"的優先權關係:


其實,選擇是否採用臨時申請案優先權日的決定仍在於申請人,不是多麼特別的事,只是,如果申請人忽略自己產品上市時間可能就在這些爭議期間內,就可能導致一連串專利失效的問題。本案中原告Worlds Inc.在1995年公開兩個軟體產品:Worlds Chat與Alpha World,這兩件產品正是系爭專利「虛擬聊天室」的技術,而且軟體證實已公開在以上各系爭專利主張優先權的正式案母案'045申請日前超過一年

根據美國專利法102(b)(舊制)規定,提供在專利申請前一年已公開的優惠期,對於此案來說,專利是否有溯及1995年臨時申請案成為關鍵,特別是早於1996年的母案適用2000年以前專利法規定:


結果,在當年專利法規定,當專利並未在專利中交代其優先權關聯,或是在ADS表示,無法主張相關優先權。


雖然有部分系爭專利有揭示與最早臨時申請案的關聯,不過由於「整個家族」都是繫屬這個最早母案'045,使得當此母案與最早臨時申請案「斷鏈」時,全部優先權主張都失格。這個決定乍看有些問題,不過,法院的描述就頗具說服力,理由是,雖然有些系爭專利有揭示與最早臨時案的關聯,但是這些後續案申請日都並未在最早臨時案提出後一年內,也無法直接主張最早臨時案優先權日

"None of these patents were filed “within 12 months after the date on which the provisional application was filed” and thus cannot claim the Provisional Application’s priority date under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e)."

以下就是地方法院的決定:


但,如果專利權人提出修正(誤繕)呢?法院認為,法院不能去修正專利的錯誤,特別是基於過去明顯的行政上的失誤。
"Absent evidence of culpability or intent to deceive by delaying formal correction, a patent should not be invalidated based on an obvious administrative error."

而且,法院認為專利權人訴求USPTO作出修正確認,也不會改變法院的無效認定。


即便專利權人Worlds Inc.主張在系爭專利過程中已經提到上述臨時申請案,但是卻未透過修正或是補足ADS的要求滿足規定,因此被判為專利範圍主張技術因為申請前超過一年已公開,專利無效

在美國專利法第282條「專利有效假定」的規定中,如果要證明專利無效,要提出清楚且有說服力的證據。以上時間點就是有力的證據

35 U.S.C. 282    PRESUMPTION OF VALIDITY; DEFENSES.

  • (a) IN GENERAL.—A patent shall be presumed valid. Each claim of a patent (whether in independent, dependent, or multiple dependent form) shall be presumed valid independently of the validity of other claims; dependent or multiple dependent claims shall be presumed valid even though dependent upon an invalid claim. The burden of establishing invalidity of a patent or any claim thereof shall rest on the party asserting such invalidity.
  • ...

但是有個「轉折」,使得本案可能在日後會有不同的變化。


my two cents:
本案,在法院作出的意見中,似乎還是讓專利權人看到了曙光,只要將這個「明顯失誤」的錯誤更正過來,或許就可以重新主張專利侵權,只是本案走到這樣,法院(司法系統)不能更正USPTO(行政系統)的錯誤

本案例討論優先權基礎案失格後會造成後續申請案面臨困擾的問題,這個問題同樣也可能發生在優先權案為正式申請案(non-provisional application)的情況。

臨時申請案因為可以早期取得申請日的好處而被廣為應用,特別是在AIA法案後僅考量有效申請日的改革,使得臨時申請案更被重視。但是,除了文件需要備外,臨時案常常也是最常被忽略其中揭露是否完整的申請案,補救措施如:臨時案能更完整就盡量完整,能夠圖文並茂,就盡量提出;要不然,建議可以多件臨時申請案互補彼此揭露的問題,正式案就主張複數優先權。

臨時申請案(provisional application)因為僅須符合「可據以實施(35U.S.C.112)」的基本揭露規定,連同圖示、文字,在沒有嚴格格式要求下可以快速取得最早申請日,成為申請人專利佈局時的重要策略之一,甚至可知許多企業都在早期用多件臨時案佈局,之後才以一或多件正式申請案(non-provisional application)提出申請,主張申請前一年內的多件臨時案優先權,甚至繼續追加CA、DIV、CIP案等。

不過...,如果臨時案失格,例如不符合揭露規定而失去成為優先權基礎案的資格時,後續正式專利申請案除了會少掉最多一年的優先權日的審查基準日好處外,更可能面臨自己揭露內容阻礙後續申請案新穎性的疑慮。

判決文:
https://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/massachusetts/madce/1:2012cv10576/143034/124
(pdf: https://cases.justia.com/federal/district-courts/massachusetts/madce/1:2012cv10576/143034/124/0.pdf?ts=1394793636

參考資料:
http://www.finnegan.com/zh-CHT/resources/articles/articlesdetail.aspx?news=689ecbad-2c0b-48fe-ac09-87bdee3ae0cb

Ron

2016年6月23日 星期四

多重附屬項筆記 - about Claims

目前各大專利局的規定中,都可接受多重附屬項(multiple dependent claim)的附屬項形式,這是一種重要的請求項撰寫方式,也是"節費"的好用方式之一。不過也有差異,例如美國為此要多收規費台灣中國韓國等不對多重附屬項多收費,但不允許多重附屬項為另一多重附屬項直接或間接的依附對象;而歐洲日本可以接受多重附屬項依附另一多重附屬項,不多收費用。

參考資料:
http://en.aigipat.com/patent/articles/detail_82_0.html
https://www.jpaa.or.jp/english/patent/unique_jpo_practices.html

本部落格過去的報導:
[日本專利,有中華民國規定]之附屬項記載(About Claim XL)(http://enpan.blogspot.com/2011/10/about-claim-xxxx.html
[日本專利]補帖筆記(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2014/12/blog-post_3.html
[美國專利,有英國範例]About claims XI - MPEP Section 608.01(n)(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2008/10/about-claims-xi-mpep-section-60801n.html
[德國專利]筆記(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2013/11/blog-post_4.html
[歐洲專利]簡介I(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2008/08/blog-post_05.html
[韓國專利]實務整理一(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2011/10/u.html

中國對於「多重附屬項」規定在專利法實施細則:
第二十二条
第二十二条  发明或者实用新型的从属权利要求应当包括引用部分和限定部分,按照下列规定撰写:(一)引用部分:写明引用的权利要求的编号及其主题名称;
(二)限定部分:写明发明或者实用新型附加的技术特征。
从属权利要求只能引用在前的权利要求。引用两项以上权利要求的多项从属权利要求,只能以择一方式引用在前的权利要求,并不得作为另一项多项从属权利要求的基础

這裡補充PCT的規定。
來源:Regulations under the PCT (as in force from July 1, 2015) 
http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/pct/en/texts/pdf/pct_regs.pdf

重點:"Multiple dependent claims shall not serve as a basis for any other multiple dependent claim."

6.4 Dependent Claims
(a) Any claim which includes all the features of one or more other claims (claim in dependent form, hereinafter referred to as “dependent claim”) shall do so by a reference, if possible at the beginning, to the other claim or claims and shall then state the additional features claimed. Any dependent claim which refers to more than one other claim (“multiple dependent claim”) shall refer to such claims in the alternative only. Multiple dependent claims shall not serve as a basis for any other multiple dependent claim. Where the national law of the national Office acting as International Searching Authority does not allow multiple dependent claims to be drafted in a manner different from that provided for in the preceding two sentences, failure to use that manner of claiming may result in an indication under Article 17(2)(b) in the international search report. Failure to use the said manner of claiming shall have no effect in a designated State if the manner of claiming actually used satisfies the national law of that State.

Ron

2016年6月22日 星期三

最高法院同意IPR程序中採用BRI原則 - Cuozzo v. Lee

CUOZZO SPEED TECHNOLOGIES, LLC v. LEE, UNDER SECRETARY OF COMMERCE FOR
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND DIRECTOR, PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE


前情提要:CUOZZO案帶出的BRI專利範圍解釋標準討論(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2016/05/cuozzobri.html

當2012年AIA實施後,PTAB受理的IPR程序中採用最廣且合理的原則解釋專利範圍,不過這個解釋原則算是造就IPR無效專利成功率很高的理由之一,因此也是被檢討的對象之一,不過,再如何檢討,都比不上一個最高法院的意見。

[上訴議題]「IN RE CUOZZO」就是要解決兩個議題:
  • 是否上訴法院(指CAFC)認為PTAB可在IPR程序中採用最廣且合理解釋專利範圍的標準是錯的?
  • 是否上訴法院認為無法重審PTAB啟始決定(institution decision)是錯的?

[本次決定]繼之前專利權人與USPTO局長在最高法院審理前口頭辯論,最高法院在6/20/2016作出決定:
  1. 最高法院同意PTAB在IPR程序中最專利範圍採用「(參照說明書內容)最廣且合理的解釋(broadest reasonable interpretation (BRI))」;("a patent claim “shall be given its broadest reasonable construction in light of the specification of the patent in which it appears.")
  2. 最高法院決定對於PTAB在IPR程序中作出的「啟始決定(decision to institute)」本身是無法提出上訴到CAFC。("The determination by the Director whether to institute an inter partes review under this section shall be final and nonappealable")
最高法院做出以上意見的根據就是既然已經有法條規定,就按照法條規定去運作,如果法條規定模糊,就是各行政單位制定規則的權力,法院不會企圖影響。

以上第(1)條為依據35 USC §316(a)(4)的決定,但顯然這條並沒有說什麼,但是就是國會立法授權給主管機關主管可以制定規則。
35 U.S.C. 316 Conduct of Inter Pares Review
...
(a) Regulations. - The Director shall prescribe regulations-
...
(4) establishing and governing inter partes review under this chapter and the relationship of such review to other proceedings under this title;.

以上第(2)條為依據35 USC §314(d)的決定,此條規定強烈地使用"should be" final ...。
35 U.S.C. 314 Institution of inter partes review
...
(d) NO APPEAL.--The determination by the Director whether to institute an inter partes review under this section shall be final and nonappealable.

BRI規範於MPEP 2111中,其中規範智慧局審查專利範圍時應對照說明書內容給予最廣且合理的解釋。

MPEP 2111    CLAIM INTERPRETATION; BROADEST REASONABLE INTERPRETATION

CLAIMS MUST BE GIVEN THEIR BROADEST REASONABLE INTERPRETATION IN LIGHT OF THE SPECIFICATION
During patent examination, the pending claims must be “given their broadest reasonable interpretation consistent with the specification.” The Federal Circuit’s en banc decision in Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303, 1316, 75 USPQ2d 1321, 1329 (Fed. Cir. 2005) expressly recognized that the USPTO employs the “broadest reasonable interpretation” standard:
...

最高法院的責任是為大眾解釋法規中不明確之處,給予統一見解,因此也不能夠無理地推翻過去的決定,對於事實的部分往往是"發回重審",因此即使上訴人提出各種證據與請求,程序上,最高法院仍是依照國會制定的法律以及尊重國會賦予主管機關制定規則的權力,包括解釋專利範圍的原則、由主管機關做出的起始決定等。

在決定專利無效的權責中,如PTAB,請願人應提出,或PTAB審查官對於IPR案件應要求請願人能夠提出系爭專利無效的優越證據("preponderance of the evidence");而在地方法院則是應該提出清楚而具說服力("clear and covincing evidence")的證據,兩者很有可能有不一致的決定。即便如此,根據最廣而合理的原則解釋係爭專利範圍時,能夠保護大眾利益,並且能夠驅使申請人提出較窄的專利範圍,可避免過度過廣的專利範圍,以讓大眾可以正確理解專利範圍。


my two cents:
這樣,算是USPTO勝訴,也是原來提出IPR的Garmin的小小勝利,雖之後爭議都與Garmin無關。不過,卻非是全部專利範圍無效,而是被啟始的claims 10, 14, 17(US 6,778,074)。

爭議涉及各個政府部門制定規則的權力("rulemaking authority"),最高法院算是尊重整個專利系統的運作(35 U.S.C. 314(d)),尊重USPTO的行政權,作出的決定也不容易再被翻轉,因此IPR自然是可以繼續以過去的模式運作,採用最廣而合理的原則解釋專利範圍,也不難預測IPR"專利無效"率仍是頗高的狀態,而PTAB作出的啟始決定也不能成為上訴的議題。

相關專利法可參考:
http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2013/01/iprinter-partes-reexamination35usc314.html

最高法院判決文:
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/15-446_ihdk.pdf

參考資料:
http://patentlyo.com/patent/2016/06/supreme-affirms-office.html
http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2016/06/20/supreme-court-cuozzo-speed-technologies/id=70241/

過去相關連報導:
Ron

2016年6月21日 星期二

美國專利過期恢復筆記

筆記

有一些先前筆記可參考:
經恢復的專利案(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2009/03/blog-post_958.html
恢復的案例(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2009/03/blog-post_30.html

資料來源(請參考其中Reinstate an Expired Patent內容):http://www.uspto.gov/patents-maintaining-patent/maintain-your-patent

如果維持費(專利年費)沒有及時繳付,專利權人想要恢復專利權的話,可能需要提出請願(petition)與費用。

除了費用外,所提出的請願書應載明「非蓄意延遲付費("unintentionally delayed payment")」的理由。

情況一:
如果未繳費過期在24個月內,可使用電子送件(web-based ePetition in EFS-Web),當請願程序符合所有要求,這會立即被處理與同意恢復專利權,因此「符合要求」是很重要的。查詢「ePetition Quick Start Guide (pages 44-47 )」可以得到電子請願的指南。

情況二:
如果未繳費過期已超出24個月,請願程序應採用另一表格(SB/66),並付費,但是達到這個要求並不會保障同意恢復請願,並可以採用電洽專利局(571-272-3282),以能達到恢復專利權的目的。

"Web-based ePetition Quick Start Guide"檔案:
http://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/patents/process/file/efs/guidance/epetition_QSG.pdf


pages 44-47




Form SB/66(http://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/sb0066.pdf):


Ron

2016年6月20日 星期一

美國臨時案的翻譯筆記

筆記

問題:『美國臨時案若非英文,何時應該提出翻譯,或是這是否是強制規定?』

簡單答案是,如果不主動提出,官方會發通知。

答案:雖有幾個翻譯時機(提出正式案的同時、臨時案失效前、審查前、接獲OA時),不主動提譯本似乎也沒有太大問題,不過若不主動提翻譯以及正確翻譯的聲明,而由審查委員主要要求(通知)時,會需要繳交一筆官方費用;審查委員要求提出臨時案的翻譯時,一般是因為有先前技術落於臨時案申請日與正式案申請日之間。提出譯本同時,應隨附譯本與臨時案內容一致的聲明。

若臨時專利申請案並非以英文提出,則有以下幾個提出翻譯本的時機(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2010/05/ppa.html):
時機一:提出相對臨時案的正式申請案的時間。
時機二:在臨時案有效期間(臨時案申請日後一年內)提出譯本。
時機三:實際審查前提出譯本(被通知)。
時機四:接獲官方意見後(被要求)。

編按:在查詢不少日、韓、法、德大企業提出美國臨時申請案作為佈局的案件時,發現這些非英語系國家的多數臨時申請案都是用英文提出,似乎也是降低翻譯費用或是各種後續困擾的機率。這應該有許多種可能,其一是研發人員原本就是用英文進行、費用考量,也可能會提出臨時申請案的案件可能多數先考量美國市場,或在美國研發,因此早就準備好英文文件!

重點:
  • provisional申請案若以非英文提出,應提出翻譯,若沒有主動提出,官方會通知提出翻譯與翻譯正確的聲明。
  • Provisional之後提出正式申請案,在正式案懸宕時收到官方提出譯本的通知,此時申請人應:按時提出譯本與聲明;已於臨時案時提出翻譯與聲明;提出「刪除前臨時案關聯」。否則正式案會被拋棄。
  • USPTO官方意見也會提示,若非英文臨時申請案後有正式申請案時,若官方沒有發出翻譯通知,申請人仍應主動提出譯本與正確翻譯的譯本。
範例:
本篇為Sony專利案,臨時申請案非英文。


Cover sheet。


日文臨時申請案。


官方提示。


官方提出Missing Parts通知。


申請人確認譯本與聲明。


臨時案英文翻譯(歸檔於provisional application)。


[摘述MPEP 211/211.01(a)中有關翻譯的段落]
MPEP 211 Claiming the Benefit of an Earlier Filing Date Under 35 U.S.C. 120 and 119(e)

37 CFR 1.78 Claiming benefit of earlier filing date and cross-references to other applications.
  • (a)(5) If the prior-filed provisional application was filed in a language other than English and both an English-language translation of the prior-filed provisional application and a statement that the translation is accurate were not previously filed in the prior-filed provisional application, the applicant will be notified and given a period of time within which to file, in the prior-filed provisional application, the translation and the statement. If the notice is mailed in a pending nonprovisional application, a timely reply to such a notice must include the filing in the nonprovisional application of either a confirmation that the translation and statement were filed in the provisional application, or an application data sheet (§ 1.76(b)(5)) eliminating the reference under paragraph (a)(3) of this section to the prior-filed provisional application, or the nonprovisional application will be abandoned. The translation and statement may be filed in the provisional application, even if the provisional application has become abandoned.
  • (d)(7) Where benefit is claimed under 35 U.S.C. 120121365(c), or 386(c) to an international application or an international design application which designates but did not originate in the United States, the Office may require a certified copy of such application together with an English translation thereof if filed in another language.

MPEP 211.01(a)   Claiming the Benefit of a Provisional Application

If benefit is being claimed to a provisional application which was filed in a language other than English, (A) an English language translation of the provisional application, and (B) a statement that the translation is accurate, are required to be filed in the provisional application. If the translation and statement were not filed in the provisional application, the applicant will be notified in the nonprovisional application and given a period of time within which to file the translation and statement in the provisional application, and a reply in the nonprovisional application confirming that the translation and statement were filed in the provisional application. See 37 CFR 1.78(a)(5). In the alternative, applicant may delete the benefit claim to the provisional application from the Application Data Sheet (ADS) or, for applications filed before September 16, 2012, from the ADS or the first sentence(s) of the specification, as appropriate. See MPEP § 601.05(a)or (b), as appropriate, for additional details on the requirements for a corrected or supplemental ADS. In a pending nonprovisional application, failure to timely reply to such notice will result in the abandonment of the nonprovisional application. Form paragraph 2.38 may be used to notify applicant that an English translation of the non-English language provisional application is required.

¶ 2.38    Claiming Benefit to a Non-English Language Provisional Application
This application claims benefit to provisional application No. [1], filed on [2], in a language other than English. An English translation of the non-English language provisional application and a statement that the translation is accurate must be filed in provisional application No. [3]. See 37 CFR 1.78. The [4] required by 37 CFR 1.78 is missing. Accordingly, applicant must supply 1) the missing [5] in provisional application No. [6] and 2) in the present application, a confirmation that the translation and statement were filed in the provisional application. If 1) and 2) are not filed (or if the benefit claim is not withdrawn) prior to the expiration of the time period set in this Office action, the present application will be abandoned. See 37 CFR 1.78.

資料來源:USPTO


本部落格其他參考:
http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2010/05/ppa.html

Ron

2016年6月16日 星期四

美國最高法院案例的損害賠償討論 - Halo v. Pulse (June 13, 2016, Supreme Court)

本篇討論專利制度最重要的一個環節 -- 損害賠償(damage),損害賠償(懲罰仿冒)與促進創新需要平衡點,於是就創造出一些遊戲規則、判斷方法,本案例Halo v. Pulse關於美國最高法院給予專利權人更多主張損害賠償的彈性,美國專利法損害賠償規定在35 U.S.C. 284,可參考部落格文章:http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2012/04/blog-post_11.html(請求損害賠償的規定)。

此案例涉及的前例如:
Octane Fitness v. Icon Health (Supreme Court 2014),其中討論35 U.S.C. 285中訴訟費用的例外情事,可參考過去報導:http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2014/05/octane-fitness-v-icon-health-supreme.html

蓄意侵權的判決 - 有關豁免主張 - In re Seagate Technology, LLC, (Fed. Cir. 2007)案例討論(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2015/01/in-re-seagate-technology-llc-fed-cir.html),在Seagate案例中可得到蓄意侵權的要件:蓄意侵權應由疑似侵權者證明有「客觀的不在乎(輕忽)(objective recklessness)」的事實。(編按,似乎翻為"不在乎"比較可以反映所謂的"故意")

基本上,損害賠償的認定本來就是個複雜的步驟,過去有許多案例討論,侵權判斷本身都有主觀認定的問題,更遑論損害賠償費用判斷,其中主要還是在於法院法官的主觀判斷(裁量權),加上是否有足夠的證據證明損害賠償的起算點、金額與加罰倍數,也就是侵權被告何時得知有系爭專利的存在?是否成立蓄意侵害?是否嚴重到可以加強損害賠償(enhanced damage)的程度?

HALO ELECTRONICS, INC. v. PULSE ELECTRONICS, INC., ET AL.案例討論:

賠償判斷:
根據美國專利法第284條規定法官認定(裁量權)損害賠償時最高可增至3倍,對此,CAFC係採用兩部分測試法("Seagate test"),第一,專利權人應明確證明被告侵權者有侵權的客觀事實,以及第二,專利權人應明確證明被告侵權者已知其侵權的風險。

但是這個測試法被最高法院駁回,認為與美國專利法第284條規定相左。

在美國專利法第284條規定賠償金可達3倍的"加強損害賠償"規定是在1793年的專利法確立的,之後在歷次修法這都成為爭點之一,不過都仍存在法條內,直到CAFC於2007年作出的"Seagate"案中的兩部分測試法,即成為目前法律上判斷是否要適用284條中加強損害賠償的判斷依據。

根據CAFC前例,判斷加強損害賠償時,先看被告侵權者是否有如Seagate test中第一步中的客觀輕忽的證據,之後依照主觀的知識判斷是否加強損害賠償。

歷史:
在本案中,專利權人HaloPulse提告,專利涉及一種電子封裝的技術,Halo在2002年提出侵權告訴前,曾發信通知可提供專利授權,但被告的工程師認為Halo的專利無效,Pulse即繼續販售被告侵權物。

在2007年,HaloPulse提告,地院陪審團判斷侵權成立,且有極高機率為蓄意侵權,地院法官則認為侵權成立,但並不構成蓄意侵權,因為被告並不滿足客觀的不在乎(輕忽)(objective recklessness)。本案經上訴後,CAFC同意地院裁決。

最高法院意見:
不論是以上述"Seagate test"兩部分測試用在284條或285條,最高法院都否決,認為只要證明被告侵權者為「主觀惡意(subjective bad faith)」,就足以作出損害賠償。(細節則仍屬於法院裁量權)同理,只要證明被告侵權者有「主觀蓄意(subjective willfulness,故意或知悉)」,即可判斷加強損害賠償,而不需要確認侵權行為是否為客觀輕忽(objectively recklessness)。


在以上考量下,除非可以證明有客觀的不在乎(輕忽),原則上法院(地方法院判斷賠償時)不會判為加強賠償,但客觀的輕忽也非加強賠償的要件,當侵權者為蓄意(故意或知悉)時,不論是否有輕忽,仍可判為加強賠償(可達三倍賠償金)。

結論:
美國專利法第284條賦予地方法院有加強損害賠償的裁量權,最高法院認為,前述"Seagate test"不當限縮了地方法院的裁量權,於是,因為本案Halo v. Pulse(還有另一案Stryker Sales Corporation v. Zimmer, Inc.)是依照"Seagate test"作出的判決,因此撤銷判決,並發回重審。


my two cents:
編者:雖各級法院對於某些判斷有不同的意見,但是整體上,每一級法院的判斷都有參考價值,畢竟每件訴訟都有獨特的爭議點、證據與事實,因此,各級法院的判斷不是一級否認一級的表面結果而已,其中都有特別的判斷邏輯與依據,值得整體來看。

例如,最高法院判決引述CAFC的"Seagate"判決,認為構成加強損害賠償要先證明被告為「蓄意侵權(willful infringement)」,其中有兩個客觀因素(值得參考):

(1)專利權人應清楚提出侵權行為的高度客觀證據,不用考慮侵權者的心態。
"First, “a patentee must show by clear and convincing evidence that the infringer acted despite an objectively high likelihood that its actions constituted infringement of a valid patent,”without regard to “[t]he state of mind of the accused infringer.”"

(2)當建立被告客觀的輕忽(objective recklessness)後,專利權人應清楚證明被告明顯已知侵權的風險,以上兩個條件成立後,法院(指地方法院)可以裁量是否判決加強損害賠償。
"Second, after establishing objective recklessness, a patentee must show—again by clear and convincing evidence—that the risk of infringement “was either known or so obvious that it should have been known to the accused infringer.” Seagate, 497 F. 3d, at 1371. Only when both steps have been satisfied can the district court proceed to consider whether to exercise its discretion to award enhanced damages."

Patently-O作者舉出多位法官同意地方法院判斷損害賠償時對以下判斷具有其裁量權,都算統一見解,值得參考:
(1)得知專利的存在不足以構成蓄意侵權。
(2)沒有取得律師諮詢並不能證明被告客觀的輕忽/不在乎/不顧後果(recklessness)。
(3)所謂「加強賠償」並非用以補償專利權人、侵權賠償,或是訴訟費用。

2016年6月15日 星期三

請求項解釋、請求項差異化原則不適用討論 - Indacon v. Facebook, App. (Fed. Cir. 2016)

Indacon v. Facebook, App. (Fed. Cir. 2016)案件資訊:

原告/上訴人/專利權人:INDACON, INC.,
被告/被上訴人:FACEBOOK, INC.
系爭專利:US 6,834,276

緣起,本案經Indacon提出侵權訴訟,認為被告Facebook社群網路的內容連結架構"linking..."侵害Claims 1-4, 8-11,地方法院在專利範圍解釋後,認為侵權不成立,原告於是上訴CAFC,其中主要爭議在系爭請求項中幾個用語的解釋,如"alias", "custom link", "custom linking relationship", "link term"等。

系爭專利關於一種資料庫系統與資料採集與閱覽方法,讓使用者選擇其中資料,提供索引搜尋資料,根據請求項1界定的系統範圍,具有資料庫選擇模組(選擇檔案)、連結模組(提供自訂連結)、資料庫索引產生器(產生可搜尋索引)與搜尋模組(執行搜尋條件)。
1. A data acquisition and perusal system, comprising:
a database selection module that enables selection of a plurality of files for inclusion into at least one selectable database;
a link module that enables custom links to be defined between selected terms of selected files of the at least one database;
wherein the link module enables association of any link term with any of the plurality of files in the at least one selectable database; and
wherein the link module enables at least one alias term to be defined for the any link term to enable a link to be established between the at least one alias term and the any of the plurality of files;
a database index generator module that enables generation of a searchable index of the data contained in the at least one selectable database, including the custom links, the generator module enabling only valid custom links to be added to the searchable index; and
a search module that enables a search of the searchable index to be performed according to a search criterions.
請求項8方法中,根據搜尋條件找到檔案、選擇檔案,其中包括資料庫中相關資訊,定義自訂連結的關係,經確認後,產生可搜尋索引。
8. A data acquisition and perusal method for finding, storing and retrieving useful information, comprising the steps of:
locating a plurality of accessible files according to a selected search criteria;
selecting a plurality of the located files containing relevant information for automatic inclusion into at least one selectable database;
defining custom linking relationships between selected terms and designated files of the selected database;
wherein said link definition step includes defining at least one alias term for at least one of the selected terms to establish linking relationships between the at least one alias term and one of the designated files;
verifying the validity of the custom linking relationships;
generating a searchable index of the data contained in the selected database including the custom linking relationships so that the searchable index includes only valid custom linking relationships; and
searching the searchable index according to a selected search criterion to locate words and phrases in the data and accurately highlighting the located terms and phrases.
爭議從「claim construction」開始,解釋請求項中用語時,會參考內部證據(說明書、審查歷史)與外部證據,說明書是最重要的依據之一。

用語解釋:
"alias"
"alias"中文為"別名",在此案中主要是讓被搜尋的檔案有個方便搜尋的"別名",因為每種物品除了正式名稱外,還會有慣用名稱,或是俗稱等,如果要建立較好的搜尋資料庫,需要設計"別名"。如系爭專利中的範例:
"For example, the user may define the terms “grape”, “tomato”, “raspberry”, etc., as aliases of a link term “vine fruit”. Each alias is treated in a similar manner as its corresponding link term."

不過,爭議在"alias"與"alias term"是否可以涵蓋"圖形"連結?根據說明書的描述與審查歷史證據,"alias"與"alias term"是個文字用語,僅涵蓋文字,是個搜尋用語,本身並不是「超連結(hyperlink)」,地院如此裁決,CAFC法院同意。

"custom link"、"custom linking relationship"、"link term"
"custom link"是自訂連結的意思,讓使用者連結到選擇的檔案,"custom linking relationship"表示檔案與顯示的連結的關係,"link term"為使用者選擇要顯示為連結的用語。

以上用語為系爭專利本身自定義的用語,如Facebook爭辯,這些用語並沒有一般意思,因此只能由說明書來解釋,無法提供更廣的解釋。

如其中"link term",根據說明書內容,連結模組致使任一link term與任一檔案的關聯,並以超連結呈現,表明所有的連結都是如此,這個限制也見於審查歷史中。再由請求項中資料庫索引產生器插入自訂連結,建立連結路徑。
"The link module enables association of any selected link term with any of the plurality of files in the selectable database."

對以上「全部皆為自訂文字超連結」等較為限縮的專利請求項解釋,原告Indacon提出「請求項差異化原則(doctrine of claim differentiation)」反駁地院意見,理由是「附屬請求項2, 9, 14, 15 (updated on July 4, 2016)」撰寫範圍提到連結關係包括連結到一或多個文字字串的情況,或是建立選擇檔案的所有連結,藉此來擴張請求項1或8或其他項的專利範圍。
2. A data acquisition and perusal system, comprising:
a database selection module that enables selection of a plurality of files for inclusion into at least one selectable database;
a link module that enables custom links to be defined between selected terms of selected files of the at least one database;
wherein the link module enables designation of a pattern that corresponds to one or more text strings, and wherein the link module is operable to link instances of the one or more text strings in the selected files with other of said selected files having identification data that matches the text strings;
a database index generator module that enables generation of a searchable index of the data contained in the at least one selectable database, including the custom links, the generator module enabling only valid custom links to be added to the searchable index; and
a search module that enables a search of the searchable index to be performed according to a search criterion.
14. A method of linking, indexing, and searching a plurality of selected source files, the method comprising:
enabling users to create custom links between two or more of the plurality of selected source files;
enabling designation of a link term and designation of one of the plurality of selected source files to be linked to the designated link term;
automatically generating links between all instances of the link term within the plurality of selected source files and the designated file;
enabling identification of a plurality of alias terms to be associated with the designated link term; automatically generating links between all instances of the alias terms in the plurality of selected source files and the designated file;
generating a searchable index of the plurality of selected source files;
incorporating any user-created custom links into the index; and
searching the searchable index according to a search criterion to locate words and phrases in the plurality of selected source files.
不過,法院點出,這些專利範圍皆為獨立請求項,沒有如附屬項差異化原則的效果,更重要的是,雖有請求項差異化原則,仍不能藉此超過專利說明書內容的解釋範圍,以及超越審查歷史的證據。


"we have declined to apply the doctrine of claim differentiation where, as here, the claims are not otherwise identical in scope."

"although claim differentiation is a useful analytic tool, it cannot enlarge the meaning of a claim beyond that which is supported by the patent documents, or relieve any claim of limitations imposed by the prosecution history."

結論:CAFC同意地院專利範圍解釋,並判決侵權不成立。

有關請求項差異化原則:
"「專利附屬項」的功能之一至少表示「與獨立請求項」有不同範圍,也就是直接提昇了獨立請求項的解釋範圍,至少表示發明人不希望獨立範圍並非限制到附屬項的範圍,這也是表明發明人的發明意圖"

請求項差異化原則(Doctrine of Claim Differentiation)相關報導:


my two cents:
我認為,本案法官看來有些過份限縮專利範圍解釋,不過整個客觀證據仍支持這個判決。撰寫專利範圍時,「附屬項」確有其重要性,因為附屬項的角色可以表示發明人對於被依附項(如獨立請求項)的範圍有更廣的意圖,間接讓專利範圍解釋可以廣一些。

本案系爭專利敗筆之一就是專利範圍都以獨立項來表示。

資料參考:
http://patentlyo.com/patent/2016/06/claim-limits-differences.html

CAFC判決:http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/15-1129.Opinion.6-2-2016.1.PDF
判決備份:https://app.box.com/s/d0j8icsripz357l8amp7f4snd5z0zbac

Ron

2016年6月14日 星期二

本部落格網頁瀏覽量已經越過70萬

感謝各位網友、讀者、同事、同業捧場,本部落格自開台以來「網頁瀏覽量(page views)」已經越過70萬,不論多寡,都是一個可以紀念的整數。(本來在等說可不可以抓到"700,000"這個數字,用內部管理頁來等,不會無謂加入自己的page view,但仍不小心只能看到"700,003")

目前狀況是,本部落格已公開文章有1683篇(~6/14/2016),尚未公開未完成的草稿約50篇。使用Feedly(我自己使用的RSS訂閱軟體)訂閱本部落格的人約123人(這離國外知名專利部落格差很遠),顯然語文是與國際接軌的重要障礙。

就統計數字來看,每個月平均有14000-15000網頁瀏覽量,平均每天約500網頁瀏覽量(但以Google Analytics統計的瀏覽人數來看,每天約250-280左右),常見週末掉到100-200網頁瀏覽量,平常上班日多半在400-700網頁瀏覽量,少數曾有增到800以上。(這些網頁瀏覽量並未排除我自己的page view,每天恐怕有0-50次不等!這也是我自己的資料庫)

所有文章中自開台到現在最多的網頁瀏覽數為「美國專利期限計算器」,其次為「Michael Jackson的舞鞋專利」,接著為「日文專利全文下載」、「日本專利新檢索系統」與「美國專利法改革整理 II」。公開的文章愈久,page view也會愈多,因此依此來看這個順序僅是一般參考,並不代表重要性。

順便看了一下目前連線來源所在城市,頗為有趣,除了無法得到位置的最大宗數目以外,其餘依照排序為:竹東、竹北、中壢、桃園、內湖、鼓山、香港、彰化市。





Ron

長期需求卻沒有成功解決的案例討論

過去報導(解決長久以來的需要(long-felt need)):
http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2013/11/long-felt-need.html

Apple v. Samsung的大戰中有涉及secondary consideration等進步性的輔助性答辯:
http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2016/03/cafc.html

摘錄CAFC判決文中回應Apple輔助性考量的內容:
http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/15-1171.Opinion.2-24-2016.1.PDF

其中,由於Apple的使用者介面方面的專利多半是改良使用者操作電子裝置的方便性與直覺式操作,確實在技術性上的答辯會吃虧,因此轉向進步性的輔助性考量,如解決長期沒有解決的問題、業界的讚賞、對手的仿冒,以及商業上的成功。

[重要]沒有人有需求解決這類問題,不算Long-Felt Need:
Apple v. Samsung案中,CAFC法官認為以提出長期以來存在的問題的解決方案證明發明非顯而易見,應提出產業界確實有要解決這些問題但是卻失敗的證據,認為Apple雖提出直覺操作裝置的介面,但是卻沒有提出業界有此需要解決問題的證據,因此認為Apple提出的內容並不足以證明有此長期存在的問題。


[重要]當地方法院裁決Samsung對Apple的US8,046,721('721,滑動解鎖)專利侵權成立,光這件專利就判3百萬美元賠償(蓄意侵權),當Samsung上訴CAFC後,考量顯而易見性中的輔助性考量("Secondary consideration",如:"commercial success, long felt but unsolved
needs, and the failure of others"),首先,需要建立「專利特徵」與「輔助性考量」之間的關聯性

"For such evidence to be probative of nonobviousness, a patentee must demonstrate a nexus between the patented features and the particular evidence of secondary considerations."

7. A portable electronic device, comprising:
a touch-sensitive display;
memory;
one or more processors; and
one or more modules stored in the memory and configured for execution by the one or more processors, the one or more modules including instructions:
to detect a contact with the touch-sensitive display at a first predefined location corresponding to an unlock image;
to continuously move the unlock image on the touch-sensitive display in accordance with movement of the detected contact while continuous contact with the touch-sensitive display is maintained, wherein the unlock image is a graphical, interactive user-interface object with which a user interacts in order to unlock the device; and
to unlock the hand-held electronic device if the unlock image is moved from the first predefined location on the touch screen to a predefined unlock region on the touch-sensitive display.

8. The device of claim 7, further comprising instructions to display visual cues to communicate a direction of movement of the unlock image required to unlock the device.

對'721是否為顯而易見以及輔助性考量的爭辯自然要參考先前技術,Samsung提出'721專利的先前技術可參考過去報導(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2016/03/cafc.html),即便遭遇Apple對於"teach away"、"考量人類直覺"、"操作複雜度"、"前案結合的動機"等答辯理由,因為這些先前技術都設計在觸控面板的技術上,讓相關技術領域的人可以輕易完成,已經建立顯而易見性的初步證據("prima facie case of obviousness")。


[重要:Long-Felt but unresolved need]
Apple提出頗有參考價值的意見。Apple對'721是否非顯而易見的答辯中,認為過去的手機已經嘗試用很洩氣的方式解決如何「開啟/解鎖手機」,因為觸控顯示器常常容易被"觸發",比如放在口袋中不知不覺就被觸按("accidental activation of features on touch screen phones"),這是個明顯應該要解決的問題。但先技術如Nokia Neonode也嘗試提出解決方案,Apple答覆說Nokia的方式並不直覺。

CAFC法官提出過去有「以解決長期存在的需要而證明非顯而易見」的前例,但卻要提出證據證明「別人的失敗」,但就Samsung提出的前案來看,不能說這個長期存在的問題並未被解決(Nokia手機對此問題並非失敗)

"The idea behind this secondary consideration is that if a particular problem is identified by an industry but left unsolved, the failure to solve the problem (despite the incentive to do so) supports a conclusion of nonobviouness."


Apple雖轉向顯而易見性的輔助性考量答辯,但一般來說,不夠強大的輔助性考量仍是難以克服強大的顯而易見性的初步證據("weak secondary considerations generally do not overcome a strong prima facie case of obviousness"),依照法院前例,即便有商業成功、業界讚賞與解決長期需求的實質證據,仍"不足以"克服強大的顯而易見的初步證據

"Where a claimed invention represents no more than the predictable use of prior art elements according to established functions, . . . evidence of secondary indicia are frequently deemed inadequate to establish non-obviousness."

法院作出以下意見:


[其他]
CAFC法官認為Apple並未證明'721專利相對於前案有比較"直覺",也沒有證明業界對此問題的解決方案為失敗的證據;雖Apple提出賈伯斯在第一次呈現iPhone滑動解鎖時報章雜誌充滿讚賞為'721專利非顯而易見的證據,但法官認為這些"Apple Fans"並非法律上足夠的證據;即便證據顯示Samsung研發手機時以iPhone與滑動解鎖為範本,但仍參考以上先前技術,仍不足以證明'721為非顯而易見;對於銷售成功,iPhone真的成功,但無法證明消費者是因為"滑動解鎖"而買iPhone,即便Apple有提出相關研究,但證據也不是直指成功銷售的iPhone手機。

結論:
US8,046,721('721,滑動解鎖)專利為顯而易見

my two cents:
總歸一句話,當證據剩下Secondary Consideration的理由時,都不足以克服「先前技術所建立的顯而易見性的初步證據」,意思是,當先前技術夠強時,輔助性的考量不容易克服進步性不足的問題。

[MPEP 716.04]
以下MPEP規定顯示,要證明解決長期存在的問題,需要(這是編者綜合整理):(1)釐清問題;(2)證明沒有解決問題;(3)他人嘗試解決問題的失敗;(4)專利發明就是解決這個長期存在的問題;(5)不比技術特徵(證明解決問題的失敗不是看技術如何,而是看過去的方案是否在市場上失去興趣或是失去賞識(lack of interest or lack of appreciation))。

MPEP 716.04   LONG-FELT NEED AND FAILURE OF OTHERS

I.    THE CLAIMED INVENTION MUST SATISFY A LONG-FELT NEED WHICH WAS RECOGNIZED, PERSISTENT, AND NOT SOLVED BY OTHERS

Establishing long-felt need requires objective evidence that an art recognized problem existed in the art for a long period of time without solution. The relevance of long-felt need and the failure of others to the issue of obviousness depends on several factors. First, the need must have been a persistent one that was recognized by those of ordinary skill in the art. In re Gershon, 372 F.2d 535, 539, 152 USPQ 602, 605 (CCPA 1967) (“Since the alleged problem in this case was first recognized by appellants, and others apparently have not yet become aware of its existence, it goes without saying that there could not possibly be any evidence of either a long felt need in the . . . art for a solution to a problem of dubious existence or failure of others skilled in the art who unsuccessfully attempted to solve a problem of which they were not aware.”); Orthopedic Equipment Co., Inc. v. All Orthopedic Appliances, Inc., 707 F.2d 1376, 217 USPQ 1281 (Fed. Cir. 1983) (Although the claimed invention achieved the desirable result of reducing inventories, there was no evidence of any prior unsuccessful attempts to do so.).
Second, the long-felt need must not have been satisfied by another before the invention by applicant. Newell Companies v. Kenney Mfg. Co., 864 F.2d 757, 768, 9 USPQ2d 1417, 1426 (Fed. Cir. 1988) (Although at one time there was a long-felt need for a “do-it-yourself” window shade material which was adjustable without the use of tools, a prior art product fulfilled the need by using a scored plastic material which could be torn. “[O]nce another supplied the key element, there was no long-felt need or, indeed, a problem to be solved”.)
Third, the invention must in fact satisfy the long-felt need. In re Cavanagh, 436 F.2d 491, 168 USPQ 466 (CCPA 1971).

II.    LONG-FELT NEED IS MEASURED FROM THE DATE A PROBLEM IS IDENTIFIED AND EFFORTS ARE MADE TO SOLVE IT

Long-felt need is analyzed as of the date the problem is identified and articulated, and there is evidence of efforts to solve that problem, not as of the date of the most pertinent prior art references. Texas Instruments Inc. v. Int’l Trade Comm’n, 988 F.2d 1165, 1179, 26 USPQ2d 1018, 1029 (Fed. Cir. 1993).

III.    OTHER FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE PRESENCE OF A LONG-FELT NEED MUST BE CONSIDERED

The failure to solve a long-felt need may be due to factors such as lack of interest or lack of appreciation of an invention’s potential or marketability rather than want of technical know-how. Scully Signal Co. v. Electronics Corp. of America, 570 F.2d 355, 196 USPQ 657 (1st. Cir. 1977).
See also Environmental Designs, Ltd. v. Union Oil Co. of Cal., 713 F.2d 693, 698, 218 USPQ 865, 869 (Fed. Cir. 1983) (presence of legislative regulations for controlling sulfur dioxide emissions did not militate against existence of long-felt need to reduce the sulfur content in the air); In re Tiffin, 443 F.2d 344, 170 USPQ 88 (CCPA 1971) (fact that affidavit supporting contention of fulfillment of a long-felt need was sworn by a licensee adds to the weight to be accorded the affidavit, as long as there is a bona fide licensing agreement entered into at arm’s length).

Ron