How to Protect Your Trade Secrets – Inc.com Article

Inc.com has a good article titled How to Protect Your Trade Secrets.  Whether you are an inventor seeking to license your patent rights to a company or a business attempting to protect your valuable manufacturing trade secrets, you will find valuable information in this article to help you.

USPTO Unveils Pilot Program to Accelerate Examination of Green Technologies

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office announced a pilot program to accelerate the patent examination of “green” technology patent applications.  The intention of the pilot program is to accelerate the development and deployment of green technology.  It is expected that the patent applications entered into the pilot program will be examined approximately one year earlier.  It currently takes approximately 30 months for a first office action and approximately 40 months for a final decision on green technology patent applications.

You can read the USPTO Press Release on Accelerating Green Technology Patent Applications.

Google Receives Patent for Enhanced Search Results (U.S. Patent No. 7,624,101)

On November 24, 2009, Google was awarded U.S. Patent No. 7,624,101 titled “Enhanced Search Results.”  This patent is for the Google search technology you see today when searching for a business where the results includes a phone number, address and a map for the business.  Below is the Abstract and Figure 1 from the patent.

A method includes receiving a search query from a user and generating search results based on the search query. The method may also include providing the search results and information identifYing at least one ofa telephone number or an address associated with a first one of the search results to the user. The method may further include providing a link to a map associated with at least the first search result to the user.

 
 

Google Local Search Patent
Google Local Search Patent – Figure 1

 

 DOCUMENT:   U.S. Patent No. 7,624,101

Ford Ordered to Pay $55.7 Million to Inventor (Krippelz v. Ford Motor Co.)

Krippelz v. Ford Motor Company, 2009 WL 3852466 (N.D.IL).

On November 18, 2009, Ford Motor was ordered to pay $55.7 million to an inventor (Jake Krippelz).  Back in December 2008, a Federal jury awarded the inventor $23 million in a patent infringement lawsuit against Ford Motor.  The inventor’s patent covered an automotive lighting system used in exterior rear view mirrors and was issued in 1991 (U.S. Patent No. 5,017,903). 

After a 10 year lawsuit, Ford Motor was found to have willfully infringed the ‘903 patent and the Court awarded double-damages to the inventor for the willfully infringing sales (an additional $21 Million for the inventor).

In the end, the inventor was awarded $55,703,357 ($23,000,000 in damages, $21,017,400 in enhanced damages for willful infringement and $11,685,957 in prejudgment interest).  The Court also granted the inventor his costs for the litigation which will be determined later.

RELATED DOCUMENTS:

Court Order for $55.7 Million

U.S. Patent No. 5017903

Google Books Settlement Receives Preliminary Approval

A New York judge has granted preliminary approval to a revised settlement agreement between Google Inc., the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers.  The revised agreement allows Google to distribute millions of copies of digital books online but narrows the number of books allowed.  Members of the public have until January 28 to file objections.  See the Wall Street Journal article:  Third Time a Charm for Google Books Hearing?

Appeal of Tafas v. Kappos Dismissed

On November 13th, an en banc Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit granted the joint motion of all parties to dismiss the appeal of Tafas v. Kappos (the “continuation and claims rules” case).  Hence, the continuation and claims restrictions rules previously instituted by the USPTO are now officially gone.  The Federal Circuit refused to vacate the district court’s grant of summary judgment.

See the Tafas v. Kappos Dismissal.