- NTP patents to come out of reexam? No need to refresh you on holding company NTP, Inc., who nearly shut down the federal government with an injunction on the use of BlackBerry devices. When that case settled, NTP subsequently sued Palm, Verizon, Sprint and AT&T. Those cases were all stayed pending the outcome of USPTO reexamination of the patents in suit.
On Tuesday, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences issued monster opinions (read: over 200 pages each) on four of those reexaminations. While two of the decisions affirmed the rejections, two others gave partial reversals -- i.e., some claims survived. That could possibly lead to the lifting of those stays, and conceivably another round of threatened shutdowns for mobile email users.
If you're looking to do your own analysis, however, you'll have to jump through some hoops. That's because those decisions are no longer available on the BPAI site. Tuesday night: there, Thursday night: no trace. Very odd... (Please -- no comparisons to other blog-chilling altered docket scandals or banana republics.) The decisions are available on PAIR, however, but they are large image-based PDFs. Serial numbers are: 90/006,533 and 90/006,677 (affirmed-in-part); and 90/006,493 and 90/006,495 (affirmed). Here's a teaser first page.
- Two more for Target. I've written before about Target, perhaps the most active retailer in the
patent prosecution world. As yet another testament to the breadth of its R&D, Target received two patents this week. One is a method for activating stored value cards, typical of what you might see coming out of the credit card issuers. The other is for a cosmetic compact. "Avon calling..."
- More DOA patents. The last blog post about the U.S. Army's patents that issued "pre-expired" drew more hits than any of my posts in several months. Not surprisingly, a significant number of those hits came from *.mil addresses. We'll see if anything comes of that...
But some searching has found a few additional culprits, including none other than Ole Nilssen. Yes, this is the same Mr. Nilssen who had his patents held unenforceable for various deceptions on the PTO, and was subsequently sanctioned with attorneys fees -- both decisions being upheld by the CAFC. Turns out Nilssen had four patents that were DOA: 6,211,625; 6,211,619; 6,198,228 and 6,144,445. And he paid at least the first maintenance fee on all of them...making sure to do so as a Large Entity, of course.