By Craig Fratrik
USPTO Director Kappos to Leave in January
David Kappos, the director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) announced he would leave his position in January, reports Ars Technica. He has served since being confirmed in August, 2009. During his tenure, he successfully reduced the backlog of pending applications, as the chart at PatentlyO shows. In the week before his departure, he spoke strongly in defense of software patents, and the patent system as it stands generally.
SCOTUS to Hear Case on Patentability of Human Genes
In the case, Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., the Supreme Court granted certiorari on the question, “Are human genes patentable?” The patent concerns genes which are somewhat predictive of breast and ovarian cancer. In March, the Court remanded the case back to the Federal Circuit in light of their ruling in Prometheus. In August, the Federal Circuit reaffirmed their ruling. PatenltyO does not anticipate a decision until the end of the spring term. See also Wired and Ars Technica.
Syria Cut Off from Internet for 38 Hours
Ars Technica reports that the country of Syria was cut off from the Internet for more than 38 hours starting on Thursday. The blackout was more thorough than the one in Egypt in January, probably because Syria had consolidated its network traffic to a greater extent. Government claims that “terrorists” were the cause were viewed skeptically by many, including the EFF. The EFF further reports on the ways in which Syrians have worked around the blackout to connect to the outside world.
District Court Rules Against Injunctions from RAND Standards Patents
A district court judge in Seattle ruled that Motorola could not get injunctive relief against Microsoft based on patents that were used in open standards, AllThingsD reports. Such patents are required to be licensed in a “reasonable and non-discriminatory” (“RAND”) manner. Ars Technica points out that this hurts Google and Android-based manufacturers who were hoping to use such patents as to defend themselves in lawsuits against competitors. Further, the question remains how the ITC will rule, since it can’t award monetary damages, but can ban imports, which is very similar to an injunction.