2017年5月27日 星期六

以專利權人據點決定管轄法院 - 美國最高法院TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Food Group Brands LLC決定

本篇名為「以專利權人據點決定管轄法院 - 美國最高法院TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Food Group Brands LLC決定」,本篇在5/22/2017作出決定,馬上就在很多報導。

其實,不管過程如何,結論最重要,這也是大家比較關切的,應該很少人會去關心過程吧!結論涉及Supreme Court的Syllabus的最後,否決CAFC決定

"Held: As applied to domestic corporations, “residence” in §1400(b) refers only to the State of incorporation.  The amendments to §1391 did not modify the meaning of §1400(b) as interpreted by Fourco. "

最高法院同意被告移審請求,將侵權訴訟審理移到其企業根據地的法院審理。如此,將來專利訴訟審理法院將可隨被告請求移到"居住地"/“企業據點",而不再讓原告指定/挑選對其有利的法院。

當大家都已經作出專業的報導時,本部落格就來寫寫故事。

本案最高法院資訊:
侵權被告/請願者:TC Heartland LLC
專利權人/回應者:Kraft Food Group Brands LLC

本案討論專利侵權審判的管轄法院(patent venue statute),28 U. S. C. §1400(b)規定專利侵權民事訴訟應在「被告」居住所在地的法院審理,或是,在被告專利侵權發生所在地以及被告事業體所在地的法院審理,也就是說,專利侵權審判法院會有兩個選擇:被告居住第的法院,或是侵權行為發生的法院

1957年的最高法院Fourco Glass Co. v. Transmirra Products Corp., 353 U.S. 222 (1957)案例(https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/353/222/case.html)的決定表示侵權被告只能在居住所在地的法院審理/管轄。其中否決28 U. S. C. §1400(b)中規定的被告"居住地"應更廣地根據當年28 U. S. C. §1391(c)來解釋,也就是當年最高法院對於居住地的解釋更為狹隘。

國會當年沒有修改28 U. S. C. §1400(b),反倒修改28 U. S. C. §1391(a),(c)成現在的樣貌(如下摘錄),28 U. S. C. §1391(a):專利侵權等民事訴訟應在被告所在地,或是侵權行為發生與企業實體的所在地;28 U. S. C. §1391(c):侵權審理的管轄法院在(1)自然人永久居住地;(2)被告實體(如個人)的所在地,或原告事業所在地;(3)非居民可以在任一法院審理。

顯然,不論是原告或是被告,對「主場優勢」都很在意。

地方法院與CAFC階段:
本案緣起Kraft Food Group Brands LLC於2014年在District Court of DelawareTC Heartland LLC提出侵權告訴,認為TC Heartland LLC販售的水中添加劑侵害其專利權。被告Heartland提起原告起訴的法院在法院聯邦民事訴訟法規定下"缺乏個人管轄權"的請願,要求撤銷告訴,或者移往Southern District of Indiana審理。

被告TC Heartland LLC主張該公司在Delaware並未有據點,僅有產品輸入而已,並有少量的營業額,於2013年的收入僅佔該公司2%。

地方法院引用前例「Beverly Hills Fan Co. v. Royal Sovereign Corp., 21 F.3d 1558, 1571 (Fed. Cir. 1994)」,認為Delaware法院(自己)具有此訴訟的審理權,否決被告引用美國國會於2011年修改的28 U. S. C. §1391答辯。法官認為即便修法,在以上被告引用2011年版28 U. S. C. §1391,1391看似否決了一件CAFC過去案例VE HoldingVE Holding案例中,仍對法院管轄範圍有較廣的解釋,28 U. S. C. §1391(c)是用解釋28 U. S. C. §1400,並非限定公司居住地,因此否決被告請願(2015年)。


另,即便是由Delaware法院審理,但因為2013年在當地僅2%的收入,是否Delaware法院僅佔2%管轄權?法院回應,在其案例Beverly Hills Fan判決中,若被告在訴訟審理的法院所在地「足夠最小的接觸("sufficient minimum contacts")」,仍符合該地審理的規則。(編按,要不然一個專利侵權訴訟需要到各侵權發生地都提出告訴 ;不過這也使得訴訟原告可以"挑選"提告的法院)


案件進入CAFC,CAFC否決TC Heartland LLC請願(denied a petition for a writ of mandamus),引用28 U. S. C. §1391(c)解釋28 U. S. C. §1400(b)中的居住地(resides),認為被告根據28 U. S. C. §1391(c)解釋所在地在Delaware(不論其企業總部所在)。

地院與CAFC否決被告主張,被告TC Heartland LLC上訴最高法院。

最高法院階段:
根據前情,CAFC法官引用28 U. S. C. §1391(c)解釋28 U. S. C. §1400(b)對於法院審理權的規定,使「被告居住地」有較寬的定義,因此駁回被告請願。

有關審理或管轄法院在美國是個古老的議題,在現行28 U. S. C. §1400(b)之前的法律規定由被告居住地(過去使用"inhabit")、被告事業所在(營運所在)以及侵權發生地的法院審理侵權訴訟。現行其實沒有太大改變,使用"reside"。



在最高法院議題下的回應者(也就是原告Kraft Food Group Brands LLC)在District Court of Delaware提出專利侵權訴訟,被告TC Heartland LLC企業建立是根據Indiana Law,總部也在Indiana,只是侵權產品進入Delaware,被告/請願者要求將審理法院轉到District Court in Indiana,其中引用1957年最高法院案例Fourco相對狹隘的管轄權解釋。


針對被告引用最高法院前例Fourco對於「被告居住地("reside")」嚴格的解釋而認為其據點並非在Delaware,應撤銷訴訟的觀點,原告/回應者指出28 U. S. C. §1391(c)在當年的修法解釋28 U. S. C. §1400(b)的"where the defendant resides",審理法院應有更寬鬆的定義。

最高法院根據Fourco,不認為28 U. S. C. §1391(c)的“For all venue purposes”定義28 U. S. C. §1400(b)的法院管轄範圍,當初修法並未有此意圖。





"Held: As applied to domestic corporations, “residence” in §1400(b) refers only to the State of incorporation.  The amendments to §1391 did not modify the meaning of §1400(b) as interpreted by Fourco. "

如此,將來專利訴訟審理法院將可隨被告請求移到"居住地"/“企業據點",而不再讓原告指定/挑選對其有利的法院。

[相關法條]

28 U.S. Code § 1400 - Patents and copyrights, mask works, and designs (https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/28/1400)

(a)
Civil actions, suits, or proceedings arising under any Act of Congress relating to copyrights or exclusive rights in mask works or designs may be instituted in the district in which the defendant or his agent resides or may be found.
(b)
Any civil action for patent infringement may be brought in the judicial district where the defendant resides, or where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business.

28 U.S. Code § 1391 - Venue generally (https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/28/1391)

(a)Applicability of Section.—Except as otherwise provided by law—
(1)
this section shall govern the venue of all civil actions brought in district courts of the United States; and
(2)
the proper venue for a civil action shall be determined without regard to whether the action is local or transitory in nature.
...
(c)Residency.—For all venue purposes—
(1)
a natural person, including an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States, shall be deemed to reside in the judicial district in which that person is domiciled;
(2)
an entity with the capacity to sue and be sued in its common name under applicable law, whether or not incorporated, shall be deemed to reside, if a defendant, in any judicial district in which such defendant is subject to the court’s personal jurisdiction with respect to the civil action in question and, if a plaintiff, only in the judicial district in which it maintains its principal place of business; and
(3)
a defendant not resident in the United States may be sued in any judicial district, and the joinder of such a defendant shall be disregarded in determining where the action may be brought with respect to other defendants.
...

my two cents:
從前述歷史可知,28 U. S. C. §1400(b)對於管轄法院基於「被告居住地("judicial district where the defendant resides")」的解釋(或是被告侵權發生與其事業據點),跟修正後28 U. S. C. §1391(a),(c)對於「管轄法院相對寬鬆」的認定似乎環環相扣,然而本次法院將此連結切斷

如此,將來訴訟法院恐怕不是原告挑選的就算。

本次最高法院判決:
https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/16pdf/16-341_8n59.pdf
(備份:https://app.box.com/s/7mlmxjedzbs3rdus3m9jyp2hqmmlhggj

本案CAFC判決:
http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/16-105.Order.4-28-2016.1.PDF
(備份:https://app.box.com/s/0vguhmivtm8wleokojnngnn16mtsony9

本案District of Delaware的判決:
http://cases.justia.com/federal/district-courts/delaware/dedce/1:2014cv00028/54005/198/0.pdf?ts=1457443099
(備份:https://app.box.com/s/er8w0e1l18yt7xljwkktq86c1povmtdn

資料參考:
http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2017/05/22/scotus-reverses-federal-circuit-tc-heartland-patent-venue/id=83506/
https://patentlyo.com/patent/2017/05/supreme-court-reins-patent.html
http://iknow.stpi.narl.org.tw/Post/Read.aspx?PostID=13057

Ron

2017年5月24日 星期三

世界上最具創新力的經濟體 - WIPO舊聞

(雖是舊聞,但還是有些意思)

WIPO在2016年的報導中列出根據82個指標列出全球128個實體中的25個世界上最具創新力的經濟體:


值得注意的是,中國第一次進入前25名(香港已在第14名),為第25名。

台灣沒有在排行內,應該是被歸屬於中國;台灣雖小,新竹園區群聚效應卻也被列為討論,與美國矽谷與印度的Bangalore齊名。


另有各區域排行,我國雖不列入評比,但所處的區域看來是「Southeast Asia and Oceania」,這區排行最厲害的為新加坡,其次是韓國,再是香港。

這些排行是根據(Global Innovation Index 2016)的調查,當中有完整的排行:

(節錄部分)

這個評比架構可以看出評量的指標(indicators),如政治環境、商業環境、教育支出、研發支出、基礎建設、永續概念、投資、市場規模、創新知識能力等:


各等級實體在各方面比較:


各國之間在這幾年的此消彼漲,瑞士一直是領先:


既然是專利部落格,剪出有關專利的內容:

  • 專利(申請量、專利量、新型/發明的量)確實是創新力(innovation)的指標之一,因為可以量化,所以相對客觀,應該也很重要。
  • 為了克服純粹數量(專利申請數量)來評斷創新力,將大學價值、科學產出與專利一併考量。
  • 當一個國家產出更多的科學或工程畢業生或專利時,會被其他國家視為競爭威脅而不是機會。
  • 智慧財產相關的統計反應其研發的程度。
  • 專利文獻列為一個國家知識輸出的來源之一,其他包括遠距教學與科學文獻。
  • 從專利的「共同擁有」的資訊還可以看出不同國家之間的科技研發合作的關係,這跟國際化有關。
  • 專利量自然是個重要量化的資訊,另外,還有外國人申請與本國人申請的關係也可看出一個國家的發展狀況。
  • 專利申請的國別,也就是專利家族,的狀況可以看出技術涵量,以及是否國際化,成為重要指標之一。
  • 專利引用資訊可以看出專利的重要性,如美國與英國的學校專利引用量成為重要指標。
    (黑色為大學專利排行、灰色為專利家族至少兩個國家、橘色表示引用專利數)
  • 專利數量成為國家是否進步與創新的重要指標,如中國,雖非整體富裕國家,卻在此是領先指標。


my two cents:
過去有專利就是競爭力的講法,看來也是。
專利家族(申請國家數量)成為國家創新力的衡量,頗為有意思。
專利給予的資訊從本篇報導來看很多樣化。
專利文獻成為知識輸出的來源之一,這...我們的責任更重了!

資料來源:
Global Innovation Index 2016: Switzerland, Sweden, UK, U.S., Finland, Singapore Lead; China Joins Top 25(http://www.wipo.int/pressroom/en/articles/2016/article_0008.html

Global Innovation Index 2016:
中文版:http://www.wipo.int/edocs/pubdocs/zh/wipo_pub_gii_2016.pdf
英文版(完整版):http://www.wipo.int/edocs/pubdocs/en/wipo_pub_gii_2016.pdf

Ron

克服102(a)(1)(2)的核駁理由 - MPEP 706.02(B)(1)

筆記

在AIA之後,「可以用發明人自己在前的揭露資料排除"中間"的引證案」。
(所述"中間"指有效申請日之前、在前揭露之後;所述「在前的揭露」包括美國國內外優先權案、母案、一般揭露等)

MPEP 706.02(b)(1)揭示克服根據「35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) 或 102(a)(2)」的核駁意見的方式(我的筆記):

(A)
專利申請案可以通過「主張比申請在前的先前技術更早的母案申請日優先權(35 U.S.C. 120,CA, CIP, DIV)」來排除此先前技術的阻礙。此節所述「專利申請案」並未在申請時主張在前申請日申請案的優先權(期限規定在 37 CFR 1.78),因此需要(1)聲明需要先前申請案才能滿足專利可實施性;或(2)提出非蓄意延遲主張先前申請案優勢的請願。

(B)
專利申請案可以主張比先前技術更早的臨時申請案(provisional application)的優先權日來排除先前技術的阻礙,同樣需要(1)聲明需要先前申請案才能滿足專利可實施性;或(2)提出非蓄意延遲主張先前申請案優勢的請願。

(C)
專利申請案可以通過主張比先前技術更早的「國外專利申請案優先權(需要翻譯為英文)」來排除先前技術的阻礙,仍需要(1)聲明需要先前申請案才能滿足專利可實施性;或(2)提出非蓄意延遲主張先前申請案優勢的請願。

(D)
根據AIA的35 U.S.C. 102(b)的新穎性排除條款,專利申請案可以藉由提出「比先前技術更早的由"相同發明人、共同發明人或直接或間接從發明人得到的"參考文獻或揭露內容」的宣誓或聲明來排除先前技術的阻礙,而此在前的揭露內容仍應公開在專利申請日有效申請日前一年內,否則仍會失去102(b)提供的新穎性優惠期。

(E)
通過建立「共同擁有、共同研發合約」來克服專利申請案前先前技術的阻礙。

有關102(b)(2)(c)可參考先前部落格文章:有關102(a)(2)例外條款102(b)(2)的筆記 - MPEP 2154.02(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2017/05/102a2102b2-mpep-215402.html


[參考法條]

706.02(b)(1)   Overcoming a 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) or 102(a)(2) Rejection Based on a Printed Publication or Patent

In addition to persuasively arguing that the claims are patentably distinguishable over the prior art or amending the claims to overcome the prior art rejection, a rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) or 102(a)(2) can be overcome by:
  • (A) Submitting a benefit claim under 35 U.S.C. 120 within the time period set in 37 CFR 1.78 by providing the required reference to a prior application in a corrected application data sheet under 37 CFR 1.76 and by establishing that the prior application satisfies the enablement and written description requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112(a), or filing a grantable petition to accept an unintentionally delayed benefit claim under 37 CFR 1.78. See MPEP §§ 211et seq. and 706.02; or
  • (B) Submitting a benefit claim under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) within the time period set in 37 CFR 1.78 by providing the required reference to a prior provisional application in a corrected application data sheet under 37 CFR 1.76 and by establishing that the prior application satisfies the enablement and written description requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or filing a grantable petition to accept an unintentionally delayed benefit claim under 37 CFR 1.78. See MPEP §§ 211et seq. and 706.02; or
  • (C) Submitting a claim to priority under 35 U.S.C. 119(a) - (d) within the time period set in 37 CFR 1.55 by identifying a prior foreign application in a corrected application data sheet under 37 CFR 1.76 and by establishing that the prior foreign application satisfies the enablement and written description requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or filing a grantable petition to accept a delayed priority claim under 37 CFR 1.55. See MPEP §§ 213 - 216. The foreign priority filing date must antedate the reference and be perfected. The filing date of the priority document is not perfected unless applicant has filed a certified priority document in the application (and an English language translation, if the document is not in English) (see 37 CFR 1.55(g)); or
  • (D) Filing an affidavit or declaration under 37 CFR 1.130 to establish that an applied reference or disclosure that was not made more than one year before the effective filing date of the claimed invention is not prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a) due to an exception listed in 35 U.S.C. 102(b). Under 37 CFR 1.130(a), an affidavit or declaration of attribution may be submitted to disqualify a disclosure as prior art because it was made by the inventor or a joint inventor, or the subject matter disclosed was obtained directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor. Under 37 CFR 1.130(b), an affidavit or declaration of prior public disclosure may be submitted to disqualify an intervening disclosure as prior art if the subject matter disclosed had been publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor or another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or joint inventor (1) before the date the intervening disclosure was made on which the rejection is based, or (2) before the date the subject matter in the U.S. patent, U.S. patent application publication, or WIPO published application on which the rejection is based was effectively filed. See MPEP §§ 717 and 2155; or
  • (E) Establishing common ownership or establishing evidence of a Joint Research Agreement to overcome a 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) rejection or a 35 U.S.C. 103 rejection based on prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) by establishing entitlement to the 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C) exception. See MPEP §§ 717.02 and 2154.02(c).

-------------------------------------------------
37 CFR 1.130: AFFIDAVIT OR DECLARATION OF ATTRIBUTION OR PRIOR PUBLIC DISCLOSURE UNDER THE LEAHY-SMITH AMERICA INVENTS ACT
...
(b) Affidavit or declaration of prior public disclosure. When any claim of an application or a patent under reexamination is rejected, the applicant or patent owner may submit an appropriate affidavit or declaration to disqualify a disclosure as prior art by establishing that the subject matter disclosed had, before such disclosure was made or before such subject matter was effectively filed, been publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor or another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor. An affidavit or declaration under this paragraph must identify the subject matter publicly disclosed and provide the date such subject matter was publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor or another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor.
...


參考資料:USPTO, BITLAW

Ron

2017年5月22日 星期一

Twitter傳訊服務的專利侵權爭議與101 - EasyWeb v. Twitter (Fed. Cir. 2017)

當35 U.S.C. 101相關可專利議題案例愈來愈多,"不願節外生枝"的法官看案子的角度也可能會有個大致相同的標準,使得101判斷變得"直覺",很多藏在背後的判斷邏輯也可能愈來愈簡化。當然,如果要有很棒的論述也是有,可以查閱本部落格有關101標籤的文章:http://enpan.blogspot.tw/search/label/101

本篇案件資訊:
原告/上訴人:EASYWEB INNOVATIONS, LLC
被告/被上訴人:TWITTER, INC.
系爭專利:US7,032,030; US7,596,606; US7,685,247; US7,689,658; US7,698,372

本案緣起EasyWeb在地院對被告Twitter提出侵權告訴時,被告提起專利無效(可專利性,35 U.S.C. §101)與侵權不成立的簡易判決請願,地院作出專利無效與侵權不成立的決定。

這幾件系爭專利為同一家族專利,溯及1999年的臨時申請案,如US 7,032,030,關於發布訊息的技術,可以讓使用者方便地在網路上傳遞訊息,申請專利範圍第1項界定一種即時訊息(IM)的系統,這類技術在當年是針對「傳真」的技術提出低價與方便使用的解決方案。

界定專利範圍時,當年也是習慣以means表示一個系統的專利請求項,其中包括有傳送者帳戶,當中的功能手段用語為以「系統」為主的功能,包括經網路接收訊息的手段、識別傳送者的手段、轉換格式的手段、儲存訊息的手段、接收取得訊息者的請求手段、根據請求取得訊息的手段,以及傳送訊息的手段。


1. An Internet message publishing system (IMPS), comprising:
at least one sender account;
means for receiving a message over a network from a sender of said message, said message being in a first format;
means for identifying said sender of said message as an authorized sender based on information associated with said message in comparison to data in the sender account, wherein said identifying means further includes security means for implementing a security scheme with reference to data in the sender account and wherein said security scheme is dependent upon the format of said message;
means for converting said message from said first format to a second format;
means for storing said message in at least one storage area;
means for receiving a request for at least a portion of said message from a requestor, said request being made over the Internet;
means for retrieving at least the portion of said message from said storage area, in response to receiving said request; and
means for sending at least the portion of said message to said requestor over the Internet only if said sender has been identified as an authorized sender.
US7,685,247的系統範圍比較像現在寫法,處理來自傳送者發送的訊息的訊息發布系統,包括有中央處理器、傳送者帳戶、儲存訊息的儲存區,以及經處理器執行的軟體,用以識別傳送者、轉換格式,以及發布訊息。

1. A message publishing system (MPS) operative to process a message from a sender in a first format, comprising:
a central processor;
at least one sender account;
at least one storage area configured to store at least a first portion of the message; and
software executing in the central processor to configure the processor so as to:
identify the sender of the message as an authorized sender based on information associated with the message in comparison to data in the sender account, wherein the identification is dependent upon the first format;
convert at least a second portion of the message from the first format to a second format; and
publish the converted second portion of the message so as to be viewable in the second format only if the sender has been identified as an authorized sender.

若是針對當年「傳真技術」的改良,系爭專利就是以「網路」執行如同傳真的目的,好處是方便與便宜,然而,就申請專利範圍而言,若是針對傳真的改良,解讀專利範圍時還可能涵蓋到電話簡訊、電子郵件等訊息傳遞技術。

相對地,被告知名的Twitter提供的推特為在使用者間分享較短訊息的服務,常常成為大家發布訊息的平台,每個人都可以成為一個新聞中心,傳統新聞媒體有自己的平台外,也通過推特作為訊息發布的媒體,甚至成為各國總統「政令宣導」的自媒體。

在地院階段,Twitter提出簡易判決請求,地院判決專利無效、侵權不成立。

參考一下Twitter提出的三個簡易判決請求:
(1) Twitter does not infringe  the  patents-in-suit  under  the  proper  construction  of  the  claims;
(2) EasyWeb  has  no admissible evidence of damages; and 
(3) under certain claim constructions, the asserted claims of the  patents-in-suit are  invalid  as anticipated, obvious,  for  lack  of  written  description,  and  for claiming  abstract  ideas.

參考一下地院判決中提到系爭專利當年「傳送網路訊息」的技術有二:通過網頁發布軟體、找個人在網頁上發送訊息。
(1)  own  or  have access to a computer, web publishing software “that is specifically capable of working with webpages” (i.e., HTML-type files), and an Internet server; and have the technical knowledge to use these items; or (2) hire a “webmaster” to create, publish, and maintain the content.

被告Twitter的產品就是:通過「http://twitter.com/」上發布"tweets",而發送"tweets"的手段有:網頁、行動程式(APP)、簡訊(SMS)或多媒體訊息(MMS)。以下是專家證人描繪Twitter的系統架構:


(重要)地院判決侵權不成立的理由是:從系爭專利發明的當時技術來看EasyWeb系爭專利無法讀入Twitter的服務提供web-to-web、text-to-web的訊息發布方式。

CAFC階段:

系爭專利申請專利範圍面對35 U.S.C. 101適格性的問題,這個問題自然是以最高法院在Alice/Mayo案例衍生的TWO-STEP TEST,以判斷專利是否落入不適格的概念(patent-ineligible concept)中,也就判斷是否是「自然律、抽象概念」等的專利標的,若是,再看看申請專利範圍中是否有可以轉換為可專利應用的元件或是組合。


在CAFC法官判斷中,認為系爭專利僅引述了一些常見概念,包括接收、認證與訊息發布等步驟,且是應用了一般目的電腦(generic computer)執行資料收集、分析與發布,沒有足以轉換不可專利範圍為可專利的進步概念,沒有改善電腦技術(TLI案例)。

可參考部落格文章:改善電腦技術的發明非為可專利性標的,後見之明? - TLI Communications v. AV Automotive (Fed. Cir. 2016)http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2016/05/tli-communications-v-av-automotive-fed.html

結論:系爭專利不具可專利性。

my two cents:
本案是個很典型「過去的科技」的專利範圍會以當時的技術水平來解讀,而無法涵蓋「新的科技」的技術的案例。

所以現在的標準看十年前的專利,讓專利權人跳腳,維護了多年的專利竟然就因為搞半天是不可專利而無效,真讓人洩氣。

本案地院判決文:
http://cases.justia.com/federal/district-courts/new-york/nyedce/2:2011cv04550/322302/104/0.pdf?ts=1459448487

CAFC判決文:
http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/16-2066.Opinion.5-10-2017.1.PDF

資料參考:
https://patentlyo.com/patent/2017/05/easyweb-easy-invalidation.html

Ron

2017年5月19日 星期五

有關102(a)(2)例外條款102(b)(2)的筆記 - MPEP 2154.02

筆記

MPEP 2054.02一系列很精彩,就在解釋大家實在有點模糊的102(a)(2)的新穎性(即含顯而易知性前案)例外條款 --102(b)(2),在此從我的角度整理一下。

[MPEP內容]
MPEP 2154.02    PRIOR ART EXCEPTIONS UNDER 35 U.S.C. 102(B)(2) TO AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(A)(2)

See MPEP § 2154.02(a) for prior art exceptions to 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(A) based on the inventor-originated disclosure exception. See MPEP § 2154.02(b) for prior art exceptions to AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) based on inventor or inventor-originated prior public disclosures as provided for in AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(B). See MPEP § 2154.02(c) the prior art exception under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C) to AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) based on common ownership or obligation of assignment.

2154.02(A)    PRIOR ART EXCEPTION UNDER AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(B)(2)(A) TO AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(A)(2) (INVENTOR-ORIGINATED DISCLOSURE EXCEPTION) [內容連結]

2154.02(B)    PRIOR ART EXCEPTION UNDER AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(B)(2)(B) TO AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(A)(2) (INVENTOR OR INVENTOR-ORIGINATED PRIOR PUBLIC DISCLOSURE EXCEPTION)  [內容連結]

2154.02(C)    PRIOR ART EXCEPTION UNDER AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(B)(2)(C) TO AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(A)(2) (COMMON OWNERSHIP OR OBLIGATION OF ASSIGNMENT) [內容連結]

[35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2)]

35 U.S.C. 102   CONDITIONS FOR PATENTABILITY; NOVELTY.

(a) NOVELTY; PRIOR ART.—A person shall be entitled to a patent unless—
    • (2) the claimed invention was described in a patent issued under section 151(核准公告), or in an application for patent published or deemed published under section 122(b)(專利公開), in which the patent or application, as the case may be, names another inventor and was effectively filed before the effective filing date of the claimed invention.

    其中,關於102(a)(2)的例外,可見以下102(b)(2)(A), (B), (C)的筆記如下:

    MPEP § 2154.02(a) -- 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(A)

    35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(A)規定,若102(a)(2)規定的在專利申請案"有效申請日"前的公開內容係直接或間接由發明人或共同發明人所取得,並非先前技術(prior art)。

    102(b) EXCEPTIONS.—
      (2) DISCLOSURES APPEARING IN APPLICATIONS AND PATENTS.—A disclosure shall not be prior art to a claimed invention under subsection (a)(2) if—
      • (A) the subject matter disclosed was obtained directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor;

      MPEP筆記:此節例外條款限定在發明人自己的工作,當發明人的工作揭露在從發明人或共同發明人直接或間接取得的他人的「專利的公開、專利申請案的公開,或是WIPO申請案進入美國的公開」中,可排除此先前技術。

      若專利申請案面對這類先前技術的核駁理由,申請人應提出宣示或聲明,說明先前技術內容的來源是從發明人或共同發明人所取得的。


      MPEP § 2154.02(b) -- 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(B)

      35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(B)規定,若102(a)(2)規定的在專利申請案"有效申請日"前的揭露內容"之前已被發明人或共同發明人,或直接或間接由發明人或共同發明人得到的他人所公開揭露(publicly disclosed)",前述揭露內容並非先前技術。(也就是,發明人或共同發明人直接或間接的揭露內容可以排除之後被他人揭露的內容形成的先前技術,這可稱「先公開揭露主義」(我自己想的),雖好笑,卻也表示了這刻意保留了過去美國實施的先發明主義的概念,只是仍受限於1年優惠期

      102(b) EXCEPTIONS.—
        (2) DISCLOSURES APPEARING IN APPLICATIONS AND PATENTS.—A disclosure shall not be prior art to a claimed invention under subsection (a)(2) if—
          • (B) the subject matter disclosed had, before such subject matter was effectively filed under subsection (a)(2), been publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor or another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor; or

          MPEP筆記:此節例外條款特別,是有別人揭露的內容日期(如其專利有效申請日)比由發明人、共同發明人或自發明人、共同發明人取得的他人"公開揭露(publicly disclosed)"還晚時,可以排除此先前技術。

          若要排除先前別人的揭露內容,此條件是,發明人自己在先的揭露內容必須是「公開」的。但是,應該要注意的是,這裡為了要排除別人在先的揭露前案的"發明人自己更早的揭露內容"還得要符合優惠期的時間(專利有效申請日前一年內),否則自己的揭露內容也變成先前技術


          MPEP § 2154.02(c) -- 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C)

          35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C)規定,若102(a)(2)規定的在專利申請案"有效申請日"前的揭露內容,是由相同人或經授權的相同人(申請人、專利權人、受讓人)所擁有,則非為先前技術。


          102(b) EXCEPTIONS.—
            (2) DISCLOSURES APPEARING IN APPLICATIONS AND PATENTS.—A disclosure shall not be prior art to a claimed invention under subsection (a)(2) if—
              • (C) the subject matter disclosed and the claimed invention, not later than the effective filing date of the claimed invention, were owned by the same person or subject to an obligation of assignment to the same person.

              MPEP筆記:此例外條款排除在專利有效申請日前的由同一人(指申請人、受讓人)的美國專利、美國專利申請公開或WIPO申請的美國公開案。

              這裡有個註解,35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C)與AIA之前的103(c)不同,因為AIA後的同一人的先前專利、公開案可以排除102, 103的先前技術,而AIA之前的103(c)則僅排除作為103核駁前案,卻卻仍可用於102核駁引證。

              經比對(102(b)(2)(C)與103(c)差異的結論:
              "The consequence of this distinction is that a published application or an issued patent that falls under the common ownership exception of AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C) may not be applied in either an anticipation or an obviousness rejection."

              my two cents:
              當發現先前技術可能適用102(b)(2)的例外條款,卻不要欣喜,有些情況仍適用102(a)(1)核駁。
              "the U.S. patent document that does not qualify as prior art as a result of AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C) may still be cited, in appropriate situations, to indicate the state of the art when making a lack of enablement rejection under 35 U.S.C. 112(a)."

              為了排除與自己相關(相同發明人、擁有人)先前技術,有時需要證明。

              資料來源:
              http://www.bitlaw.com

              Ron

              打擊低品質網頁 - 產品與專利

              看到幾則新聞,頗有興趣,因為確實發現有人利用這裡enpan的文章(也加上許多別人原創的內容)放在自己的網頁上,成為賺瀏覽率(並未經過本人同意的)的手段,這樣可以賺到點擊廣告的費用。這類網頁雖可能會記載出處或是原創作者(他可能也怕抄襲的法律行為),但是一看就知道是個隨意拿人家內容的「內容農場」,這類內容更新貼出站主自己也不知道的內容,或有大量連結的文章標題,為得是被搜尋引擎找到後賺取瀏覽率、廣告點擊率,甚至還能藉由「打賞」賺錢。

              其實,搜尋的人看到這類網頁應該也會很氣,因為都是廣告,或是看到不舒服的隨意排版,更多是假新聞、惡意內容等。

              新聞連結如下:
              CNET新聞:https://www.cnet.com/news/facebook-takes-on-trashy-ads-and-low-quality-web-page-experiences/
              聯合報電子新聞:https://udn.com/news/story/7088/2455860?from=udn_ch2cate7226sub7088_pulldownmenu

              --(如果我現在內容結束,這篇也可能被認定是「低品質網頁」)--

              所以,基於「專利專業網站」的責任,提供相關專利資訊,從Google, Yahoo, Facebook等搜尋引擎巨頭的專利中,確實有判斷低品質網頁/網站的技術產出,對於搜尋引擎而言,手段之一可以排除這類低品質網站,或是將其搜尋排行降低,或是提示使用者這個網頁的品質指標。

              我用"low quality web", "content farm", "link farm"來找專利,列舉以下幾件。

              專利一:
              根據Google的專利US8775924(Processing web pages based on content quality)描述,所要打擊的低品質網站為「parked web page, a content farm web page, or a link farm web page」,翻成中文是「停放內容的網頁、內容農場網頁,或是連結農場網頁」,這些網頁的特色是,沒有自己的"創作成份"。

              內容定義了這些低品質網頁,低品質網頁的特色是文字內容,以及很多的廣告連結,所述「parked web pages」通常是以新的網際網路域名呈現,其中沒有內容,僅用於駐留網頁網際網路位址;「content farm」為收集各式各樣文字內容的網頁,文字是搜尋引擎主要搜尋的對象,因此這類網頁排版很差,就是一大堆文字;以及「link farm」顧名思義,就是存在很多網頁連結的網頁。

              這是一件關於根據網頁內容品質的網頁處理方法,從專利流程可知,當使用者搜尋網頁時,搜尋引擎即判斷相關網頁的內容品質是否是「停放內容、內容農場,或是連結農場」,搜尋引擎回應給使用者的內容是通過「圖示元件」提示使用者選擇,或是提供其他相關的替代網頁。


              Claim 1如下,一種電腦實現的根據內容品質的網頁處理方法,步驟以搜尋引擎為主詞,包括接收到使用者搜尋請求、判斷連結的網頁的內容品質是否屬於停放內容、內容農場或連結農場,之後給予圖示選項或是替代網頁,當中判斷內容品質的步驟是,查詢資料庫中的網頁對應內容品質值,比對門檻值判斷網頁品質的等級,如果網頁沒有記載在資料庫中,就重新判斷品質,並更新資料庫。
              1. A computer-implemented method of processing web pages based on content quality, the method comprising:
              receiving, by one or more devices, a request for a web page;
              determining, by the one or more devices, the content quality of the requested web page, wherein the content quality of the requested web page is based on whether the requested web page is at least one of a parked web page, a content farm web page, or a link farm web page;
              providing, by the one or more devices, for display, based on the content quality of the requested web page, a graphical component providing an option to proceed to the requested web page or to proceed to at least one alternate web page relevant to the request for the web page;
              receiving, by the one or more devices, an indication of a selection of an option from the graphical component to proceed to the requested web page or to proceed to the at least one alternate web page; and
              providing, by the one or more devices, based on the received indication, the requested web page or the at least one alternate web page,
              wherein the determining the content quality comprises:
              accessing a database storing references to web pages together with respective content quality values for the web pages;
              locating a reference for the requested web page within the database to obtain the respective content quality value; and
              comparing the content quality value to a threshold value, to determine the content quality of the requested web page;
              if a reference for the requested web page is not within the database:
              determining a content quality value of the requested web page based on content provided within the requested web page;
              assigning, to the requested web page, the determined content quality value;
              comparing the determined content quality value of the requested web page to the threshold value, to determine the content quality of the requested web page; and
              updating the database to reference the requested web page and the determined content quality value.
              專利二:
              YahooUS7809705關於根據各種資訊推斷而判斷網頁品質的方法,就是搜尋引擎會提示使用者每個網頁的等級。


              Claim 1界定一個網頁分類的電腦系統,系統包括處理器,請求項內容包括以此處理器執行的指令有:分類引擎,用以判斷網頁品質,每個網頁的種子有文字、連結、域名、時間等資訊,這些資訊成為評估網頁品質的依據。
              1. A computer system for classifying a web page, comprising:
              one or more processors to execute instructions;
              a classification engine for determining a quality of the web page using local features of a seed set of web pages and global web graph information about the seed set of web pages, wherein:
              each web page of the seed set of web pages is a web page of a known quality, the local features of the seed set of web pages comprises text, clicking, domain, or time stamp information concerning the seed set of web pages, and
              the global web graph information about the seed set of web pages comprises hyperlink or co-citation relationships among the seed set of web pages;
              a binary classifier coupled to the classification engine for performing binary classification to provide a binary score for the web page; and
              a collective inference engine coupled to the binary classifier for performing collective inference by applying collective inference for binary classification using the local features of the seed set of web pages and the global web graph information about the seed set of web pages, comprising finding a minimum value of a regularized convex dual of a logistic regression loss function for a node of a graph.
              其中使用了幾個演算程序來依據資訊判斷網頁品質:


              專利三:
              MicrosoftUS7853589關於基於網頁搜尋的特徵來分類垃圾網頁(spam page)的方法,其中很重要的是可以依據擷取的特徵反覆學習,以準確找到垃圾網頁,也就是辨識垃圾網頁的能力會持續增加,如果被識別為垃圾網頁的,將會被「降級」或是移除搜尋排行。


              Claim 1界定處理網頁內容的方法,先是取得一個搜尋結果,以此產生特徵向量(feature vector),比較得到的特徵向量與網頁資訊,從比較結果辨別出網頁的排行,並以此分類,之後,透過偵測相同搜尋排行特徵的分佈圖形來分類出垃圾網頁,以此更新排行。

              其中,系統提供多種網頁範本,每個範本有其屬性與特徵,經過反覆比對,可以根據特徵向量的反覆測試訓練出更好的分類,當接收到搜尋的特徵向量,藉由比對特徵向量與網頁排行來判斷出排行中的網頁是否有在一分佈中的特徵向量,並從排行網頁中辨識出垃圾網頁。

              1. A method of processing web pages implemented by a computer with a processor, comprising:
              receiving with the processor a search query including at least one term;
              generating a query-dependent feature vector of features from the search query;
              comparing with a search engine implemented by the processor the query-dependent feature vector to information corresponding to a plurality of web pages to obtain a query-dependent ranking feature vector of query-dependent ranking features indicative of the comparison;
              identifying, with a ranking module, a ranked list of web pages relevant to the search query based on the ranking feature vector obtained from the comparison of the query-dependent feature vector to information corresponding to the plurality of web pages;
              after identifying the ranked list of web pages, providing the query-dependent feature vector and the ranking feature vector to a classifier and classifying, with the classifier that is separate from the search engine and the ranking module, web spam pages from the ranked list of web pages as a function of the query-dependent feature vector and the ranking feature vector, wherein web pages from ranked list of web pages are classified as web spam pages by detecting distribution patterns of some of the same query-dependent ranking features previously used to identify the web pages in the ranked list as relevant to the search query;
              updating the ranked list of web pages based on the identified web spam pages and the plurality of web pages as a function of the search query; and
              providing the ranked list of web pages to a user.

              my two cents:
              從專利內容可以知道這些搜尋引擎如何判斷何謂「低品質網頁」的內容農場。這些專利也是很典型的軟體專利,順便可以學學軟體專利的寫法。

              打擊低品質網站當然是搜尋引擎的責任,提出這些專利,或是私下運行調整排行,應該都能幫助大家在資訊滿天飛的時代找到需要的內容。

              補充一下,有些網站使用這裡的內容是經過我同意的,應該可以簡單判斷得出來。

              相關好文推薦:
              https://buzzorange.com/techorange/2017/05/12/content-farmer/

              Ron

              2017年5月17日 星期三

              顯而易見性判斷需要逐項論述的討論 - Securus Tech v. Global Tel*Link (Fed. Cir. 2017)

              顯而易見性判斷需要論述 - Securus Tech v. Global Tel*Link (Fed. Cir. 2017)

              「顯而易見性」是個綜合實質技術比對(事實發現,factual findings)與法律判斷(question of law)的議題,各種案例、判例都對「顯而易見性」的標準提出了不少的看法,因此有否合理的"論述"成為很重要的論點,如本案例在上訴人/專利權人提出的質疑下,法院認為PTAB缺乏對每一個顯而易見的判斷作出論述

              案件資訊:
              上訴人/專利權人:SECURUS TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
              被上訴人:GLOBAL TEL*LINK CORPORATION
              系爭專利:US7,860,222(IPR2014-01278、IPR2014-01282)

              本案緣起專利權人Securus不服PTAB對系爭專利的兩次IPR無效決定,以及否決Securus所提起修正的請願(motions to amend)的決定,上訴CAFC。

              系爭專利關於一種取得、存取與分析調查資料的技術,其實是個監看軟體,由請求項1所界定的系統可知,其中包括了通訊模組與一些調查分析的工具,讓使用者可以監看特定往來通訊的資訊,調查工具提供文字檢索、標籤,可以得到通訊中的特定文字。


              監看軟體可以監視雙方通話的內容,作標籤、關鍵字查詢,找到使用者有幸去的內容,看來頗為邪惡。


              1. A system comprising:
              a communication services module operable to provide communications between individuals; and
              an investigative tools module in communication with said communication service module operable to allow a user to monitor said communications between individuals and to place event identifiers in association with said communications between individuals, said event identifiers comprise a plurality of bookmarks representing different events of interest; and
              said investigative tools module comprises a word search module to identify particular words within said communications between individuals and place event identifiers in association therewith.

              方法範圍比較直觀,包括建立雙方通訊、記錄,並監視通訊內容,經分析後,可以得到一些識別資訊。
              21. A method comprising:
              providing communications between individuals;
              recording said communications between individuals;
              monitoring said communications between individuals, said monitoring comprises logic of a call processing system analyzing content of said communications between individuals; and
              placing a plurality of event identifiers in association with a recorded one of said communications between individuals based upon events detected by said monitoring.

              Global提起IPR,僅針對103議題,引證案為US2004/0081296、US6,058,163、US7,092,494等,PTAB啟始(institute)了全部Global提起無效理由的請求項範圍。其中之一引證案'296關於在電話會議中可以發出聲音指令,以及後續處理這些指令以及找到有興趣內容的技術,簡單看來甚至是比系爭專利更複雜的技術,若有了這些前案,不一定要走到討論101的議題(如CBM,CBM是否僅適用純粹的商業方法還在討論中)。


              PTAB最終裁定專利無效,問題是,最終決定應該涵蓋系爭專利的獨立項與所有附屬項,但是對於附屬項,PTAB提出的無效理由差不多與概括性的理由,這裡就產生沒有提出「實質證據」的任意與濫權的問題,自然無法說服專利權人,或是任一方。


              在實質證據的討論下,就是合理的技術比對與顯而易見性判斷,因此PTAB與法院花了不少篇幅討論技術比對。

              在本案例中,CAFC法官同意多數PTAB的判斷,以及對於技術比對的內容,並否決多數專利權人的答辯。但是,對於PTAB是否要針對所有被主張無效的請求項作出細節比對與推理,CAFC法官認為不需要對所有請求項都作出判斷細節與推理,但是也確實沒有個標準,法院也沒有意見,但是卻有個原則是,應提供合理的(顯而易見性)事實讓法院進行有意義的審理


              如此,CAFC認為PTAB並未對特定一些請求項的專利撤銷決定提出足夠的理由,因此這部分被發回重審。事實上,專利權人也沒有對此提出質疑,僅針對獨立請求項反應

              文末,提到「修正的請願(motions to amend)」,CAFC認為,若修正並沒有回應任何不可專利的理由時,不可修正。如果僅是錯字修正,這時都會被否決。

              (重要)雖然法院會要求專利審查機關(USPTO, PTAB等)對每一個專利性的判斷提出足夠的證據與論述,但是法院也不會要求地過於嚴格:


              這裡提到的案例:顯而易見性意見應證明前案結合的動機 - In Re Nuvasive, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2016)http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2017/03/in-re-nuvasive-inc-fed-cir-2016.html

              my two cents:
              專利審查其實是個吃重的工作,因為所述理由會被「公開」,形成「公審」與「批評」,如果理由好,也是應該的,這裡提到如果理由主要是針對獨立請求項,這樣還好,如果必須對所有附屬項,這確實是個很恐怖的審查負擔,但是卻是對各方都公正且嚴謹,理應如此。即便工作量大,但是應該已經反映在「逐項收費的費用中」,這在各國都是這樣。

              另外,在本案學習到的是,當被挑戰的申請專利範圍很多時,適當地回擊認為理由不充分,或是獨立項與附屬項沒有分開討論等答辯議題,應會有效讓相關單位作出回應。

              CAFC判決:http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/16-1992.Opinion.4-24-2017.1.PDF(備份:https://app.box.com/s/qyd8dws28o91oralijd7mba8ailakj99

              資料參考:
              https://patentlyo.com/patent/2017/04/justify-obviousness-conclusions.html

              Ron

              連接副詞的效力 - MPEP 2111.04

              筆記

              MPEP 2111.04規範了副詞子句的效力,其中副詞指的是"adapted to"、"adapted for"(適用於)、"wherein"(其中)與"whereby"(藉此)等作為連接一段修飾之前元件的描述的連接詞。

              然而,“ADAPTED TO,” “ADAPTED FOR,” “WHEREIN,” AND “WHEREBY”效力如何?一般原則是,沒什麼用,除非上下文使得這些連接詞有了意義。(我覺得)

              這個「有點不確定」的小結論可以從MPEP 2111.04的規定得出,一開始,就提到權利範圍並不被請求項的語言所限制,有以下兩個情況:

              (1) 當這些請求項語言建議或產生選擇(optional),而不是要求要執行哪些步驟時("Claim scope is not limited by claim language that suggests or makes optional but does not require steps to be performed");或是
              (2) 當這些請求項語言並非限制申請專利範圍到一特定結構上("or by claim language that does not limit a claim to a particular structure.")。

              其中即列舉了可能會產生解釋限制的問題的連接副詞有“ADAPTED TO,” “ADAPTED FOR,” “WHEREIN,” AND “WHEREBY”

              接下去一句話就替我們解危了,連接副詞的效力:將根據個案事實來判斷這些連接副詞是否為專利範圍的限制

              其中列舉案例,如:

              • Griffin v. Bertina,當副詞子句賦予步驟的意義與目的,"wherein"就是有效限制專利範圍;
              • In re Giannelli,當說明書內容清楚使用"adapted to"作為限制條件,"adapted to"就限制了相關機構的請求項範圍;

                --本部落格報導:"adapted to"的功能效力應基於說明書所揭露的發明(design intention)(about Claims)(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2014/02/adapted-todesign-intentionabout-claims.html
              • Hoffer v. Microsoft Corp.,當"whereby"說明了與專利性實質相關的條件,不能排除其實質改變了發明(有實質限制);

                --本部落格報導:Intended Use 難以核准專利?(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2009/12/intended-use.html

              • Minton v. Nat’l Ass’n of Securities Dealers, Inc,然而,這裡也特別提到在方法專利請求項中,當"whereby"僅簡單表示其預期結果,並無份量(no weight)。

                --本部落格報導:若功能性用語關係到發明的本質,仍有份量!(about Claims)- 若方法專利的子句僅表達可預期的結果時,並無專利性的份量(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2013/02/about-claims_18.html


              [MPEP 2111.04]
              MPEP 2111.04 “ADAPTED TO,” “ADAPTED FOR,” “WHEREIN,” AND “WHEREBY” CLAUSES


              Claim scope is not limited by claim language that suggests or makes optional but does not require steps to be performed, or by claim language that does not limit a claim to a particular structure. However, examples of claim language, although not exhaustive, that may raise a question as to the limiting effect of the language in a claim are:
              • (A) “adapted to” or “adapted for” clauses;
              • (B) “wherein” clauses; and
              • (C) “whereby” clauses.
              The determination of whether each of these clauses is a limitation in a claim depends on the specific facts of the case. See, e.g., Griffin v. Bertina, 283 F.3d 1029, 1034, 62 USPQ2d 1431 (Fed. Cir. 2002) (finding that a “wherein” clause limited a process claim where the clause gave “meaning and purpose to the manipulative steps”). In In re Giannelli, 739 F.3d 1375, 1378, 109 USPQ2d 1333, 1336 (Fed. Cir. 2014), the court found that an "adapted to" clause limited a machine claim where "the written description makes clear that 'adapted to,' as used in the [patent] application, has a narrower meaning, viz., that the claimed machine is designed or constructed to be used as a rowing machine whereby a pulling force is exerted on the handles." In Hoffer v. Microsoft Corp., 405 F.3d 1326, 1329, 74 USPQ2d 1481, 1483 (Fed. Cir. 2005), the court held that when a “‘whereby’ clause states a condition that is material to patentability, it cannot be ignored in order to change the substance of the invention.” Id. However, the court noted that a “‘whereby clause in a method claim is not given weight when it simply expresses the intended result of a process step positively recited.’” Id. (quoting Minton v. Nat’l Ass’n of Securities Dealers, Inc., 336 F.3d 1373, 1381, 67 USPQ2d 1614, 1620 (Fed. Cir. 2003)).
              其他相關MPEP過去的報導:

              MPEP 2111.04
              Intended Use 難以核准專利?(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2009/12/intended-use.html

              MPEP 2111.02
              從案例討論前言的效力(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2014/07/blog-post_5.html

              前言的效力(MPEP 2111.02)(about claims)(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2013/11/mpep-211102about-claims.html

              前言的效力(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2009/11/blog-post_26.html

              MPEP 2111.01
              了解辭彙編撰者(LEXICOGRAPHER)(http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2009/02/lexicographer.html

              資料參考:
              http://www.bitlaw.com/

              Ron