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In the seminal decision of Egyptian Goddess, Inc. v. Swisa, Inc., the Federal Circuit struck down one of the two tests commonly used for determining design patent infringement, the “point of novelty” test. Despite rejecting this test, the court incorporated the consideration of prior art into a slightly revised version of the "ordinary observer" test, the hypothetical "ordinary observer" now having familiarity with the prior art. This article will examine the application of this revised version of the "ordinary observer" test, and specifically the consideration of the “plainly dissimilar” analysis set forth by Egyptian Goddess.
The CLS Bank case is the most recent of the Court’s patent eligibility decisions, and the Court unanimously affirmed the Federal Circuit's per curiam opinion (itself an effort to apply the Court’s patent eligibility jurisprudence regarding computer-based methods) that all of Alice’s claims were too abstract to meet the requirements of § 101. The claims at issue included method claims (directed, according to the Court, to methods for implementing an intermediated settlement that are well-known in the art), system claims involving implementation of the method using a general purpose computer, and computer readable-media claims for directing a general purpose computer to implement the method. None of the distinctions thought heretofore to matter between claims to methods, systems, and computer-readable media made any difference to the Court.
Pandora Media, Inc., (“Pandora”), with over 250 million registered users and over 70% of the market share of Internet radio, is known as a leader in the digital music industry. In 2013 alone, Pandora streamed 16.7 billion hours of music, including stations that featured genres such as “Motown,” “Oldies,” “70s Folk,” and “Classic Rock.” While Pandora streams iconic songs from these genres, Pandora ceased paying royalties on songs recorded before February 15, 1972 (“pre-1972 sound recordings”), which are only protected by state copyright laws. In an effort to recoup unpaid royalties by Pandora, Capitol Records, LLC, among other record companies, sued Pandora under New York state law for copyright infringement, misappropriation, and unfair competition, leaving Pandora potentially liable for millions of dollars in damages. This article provides an overview of the Pandora case and summarizes some of the complexities of copyright protection of pre-1972 sound recordings.
MBHB snippets Alert - June 19, 2014

In the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, the Court affirmed the invalidity of Alice’s patents for computer-implemented methods of reducing settlement risk. This case reached the high court after a severely split Federal Circuit could not agree whether language of the claims met the patent-eligibility requirements of 35 U.S.C. § 101. At the heart of this case was the Federal Circuit’s confusion over the impact of the Court’s 2012 decision, Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc.

MBHB snippets Alert - June 2, 2014

In today’s decision, the U.S. Supreme Court in Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc. clarified the scope of definiteness required to fulfill the requirement that the patent claims particularly point out and distinctly claim the subject matter which the applicant regards as the invention. In Nautilus, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejected the “insolubly ambiguous” standard previously set out by the Federal Circuit.
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