Top Patent, Trademark, and IP Stories from Last Week (9/16-9/22/19)
Every week, we will be highlighting the top patent, copyright, trademark, intellectual property, etc. stories of the previous week in our “In Case You Missed It” segment. The list itself is in no particular order and includes a wide range of stories from the patent world that are informative, noteworthy, or just plain bizarre. The stories included encompass everything from Supreme Court cases to insights into growing industries. Please feel free to comment your thoughts on the stories or share an important one we missed!
“Trading Technologies Asks Supreme Court to Restore Congress’ Purpose in Creating the Patent Act”
Back in April, the Federal Circuit supported the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)’s decision that certain aspects of Trading Technologies International, Inc’s graphical user interface (GUI) patents were patent ineligible. These aspects included:
- US7533056B2: “User interface for an electronic trading system” (all claims)
- US7212999B2: “User interface for an electronic trading system” (all claims)
- US7904374B2: “Click based trading with intuitive grid display of market depth” (all claims)
That said, the court did rule the patents were eligible for CBM review because the claims related to a financial trading method used by a computer, not a technological invention. “The invention solves [the data complexity problem in trading] by displaying trading information ‘in an easy to see and interpret graphical format.’ The specification makes clear that the invention simply displays information that allows a trader to process information more quickly,” the court wrote. The court went on to conclude that “this invention makes the trader faster and more efficient, not the computer. This is not a technical solution to a technical problem.” Now, Trading Technologies International, Inc. wants the Supreme Court to clarify what is patent eligible as well as define what an “abstract idea” is, filing a petition for certiorari with the Court.
Trading Technologies International will request the Supreme Court consider whether
“computer-implemented inventions” that do not improve the function of the computer but rather enhance user functionality are considered patent eligible. Software patent eligibility has driven inventors mad ever since Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International. To read more about this story, click here (via IPWatchdog, September 18th, 2019).
“Apple Is Trying to Trademark ‘Slofie”
During their latest event, Apple unveiled the new iPhone 11 and introduced the world to the “slofie,” slow-motion selfie videos the phone is able to capture. Stated as a joke during the event, Apple has now moved to trademark the phrase, filing a trademark application with the USPTO last week.
Apple seeks to cover the phrase in applications for “downloadable computer software for use in capturing and recording video.” Apple has already started using the term on their iPhone 11 product page and the hashtag #slofie appears to be gaining popularity on social media. To read more about this story, click here (via The Verge, September 18th, 2019).
“Off-White’s Latest Quotation Mark Trademark Application Has Been Declined”
Fashion brand Off-White has been denied the trademark for “PRODUCT BAG” (quotation marks included). The clothing company has been labeling their clear plastic bag packaging with “PRODUCT BAG” since 2016. According to the USPTO office action, the mark was denied because it “failed to function as a trademark.” In their reasoning, the office states “PRODUCT BAG” is simply the identification of the packaging for the goods, not providing “any source-identifying information for the goods listed in the application.” Click here to see an example of “PRODUCT BAG” used on Off-White’s packaging. To read more about this story, click here (via HypeBeast, September 20th, 2019).
“Apple Is Working on Multi-User Eye Tracking for Gaming and More”
Apple has recently been granted a patent for a “Method for Operating an Eye Tracking Device for Multi-User Eye Tracking and Eye Tracking Device.” The patent outlines the method by which a camera is able to track the eye movements of numerous people in the capturing area of the camera. With each frame the camera captures, the device would determine whether there is a new user in the frame as well as compute the eye position and gaze direction of the users in the frame.
Apple’s patent indicates it will have applications in video games, TV control, telephone conferences, and even surgery rooms. For example, users can move characters in games with their eyes, change settings or channels on a TV, or, during surgery, doctors could pinpoint areas of focus for assistants to address. Clearly there is an infinite number of possible applications for such technology and Apple remains at the forefront of innovation. To read more about this story, click here (via iMore.com, September 18th, 2019).