Federal Circuit - The FindLaw Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

July 2013 Archives

Once upon a time, attorneys were bound by the 1908 Canons of Professional Ethics, then the Model Code of Responsibility and now, the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. These highly regarded principles serve as the basis for ethics rules in most states. With the exception of California, all states, and the District of Columbia, have adopted some form of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. 

California (which always has to be different) still works under the guidelines of the Model Code of Responsibility.

The USPTO has its own set of ethical rules, the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct, which regulate attorney conduct before the USPTO. Last updated in 1985, until recently, the USPTO Rules were still based on the Model Code of Responsibility. A short time ago, the USTPO updated its Rules of Professional Conduct to reflect the guidelines that most attorneys follow -- the Model Rules, reports the ABA Journal.

Funny how a body governing innovation and creativity is lagging behind, huh?

Patent trolls may have to come out into the sunlight, finally. Last week, in what's been dubbed "The Big Tent Letter," fifty business organizations, as diverse as banking and publishing, asked Congress to enact legislation to deal with frivolous patent suits.

The letter stated that patent troll "activity cost the U.S. economy $80 billion in 2011, and productive companies made $29 billion in direct payouts." Though patents were created "[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts," even the Obama administration has weighed in on what many say amounts to nothing short of extortion.

So what is Congress doing about patent trolls?

Two women, Mrs. Burden and Mrs. Coleman, appealed the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, denying their claims of indemnity and dependency compensation. Though the fact patterns in each case were different, they had one similarity: at the time of the veterans’ deaths, they were not married.

You can say a lot of things about Silicon Valley … people bring their dogs to work, they get free M&Ms and they play games to get their creative juices flowing. Think what you may, but you can’t argue with statistics.

Earlier this year, the Brookings Institute did a study on invention and economic prosperity in the United States and found that per capita, San Jose had the highest number of patents. For those of you not in the Bay Area, some say San Jose is in the heart of, you guessed it, Silicon Valley. In fact, Silicon Valley has been at the top of the charts since 1988.

So why, oh why, are plans for opening up the permanent Patent Office in Silicon Valley on hold yet again? The short answer: Your guess is as good as ours.

Are Chinese Sacks Subject to Duty Tax?

A Chinese plastic manufacturer that did not cooperate with U.S. Commerce investigations was saddled with a “country-wide” duty on all of its woven plastic sacks being imported to the U.S., and the Federal Circuit Court upheld Commerce’s decision.

Are political squabbles with China affecting companies who export goods from China to the U.S.?

Future of Patent Liability: More Bifurcated Patent Trials Ahead?

The U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has held that it can hear an appeal on patent infringement liability before the trial on damages has occurred.

The court ruled it could hear Pylon Manufacturing's liability appeal of an infringement decision in favor of Robert Bosch LLC over patents related to windshield wipers. The ruling could lead to more bifurcated patent trials, reports Reuters.