Patent plaques to go up in smoke in new court ruling

A patent office lawsuit claims the Patent and Trademark Office will pay damages for infringing a patent, as it seeks to have the case thrown out.

The lawsuit was filed last week in a federal district court in New York, which ruled in favor of a former employee of the US Patent and Patent Office (USPTO) who claimed she was fired for trying to defend a patent.

“The patent office is taking an aggressive, hostile stance against those who have tried to protect our nation’s intellectual property,” said attorney Daniel Vigdor in a statement.

“We are committed to vigorously defending this suit, which will result in significant monetary damages.”

The lawsuit, filed in US District Court for the Southern District of New York on Monday, said that a former software engineer who worked on the Google Android operating system was fired by the USPTO in December 2016 after filing a complaint about a patent on the Android operating systems.

The suit said that the software engineer had sought to stop the US PTO from enforcing a patent that was being challenged by a third party.

“It is our belief that the Patent Office’s actions are unlawful, and therefore will violate the United States Constitution,” Vigder said.

The software engineer filed the lawsuit in March 2017 against the US patent office, which oversees patent applications. 

The lawsuit accused the US government of “unlawful use of the patent office as an enforcement arm” and alleged that the US Office of Special Counsel (OSC), a division of the Justice Department, was “an unelected, unaccountable agency whose authority to act is completely in the hands of the President.”

“The OSC has a direct financial interest in the outcome of this case, as they are the ones who are actually enforcing the law and ensuring that any infringement of the U.S. patent system is brought to the notice of the public,” Vogdor said.

In December 2016, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that the patent was invalid and that the OSC’s jurisdiction was to determine if the patent had been infringed.

The judge also said that there was no evidence that the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), the division of Justice Department that is in charge of enforcing patent law, had acted in good faith and that they were not “fully responsive to the public’s interest in this matter”.

“This is a clear case of an agency that is completely out of touch with the public interest,” said Jonathan Adler, the attorney representing the former software employee.

“I think the plaintiffs are going to have a lot of problems with this.”

The case is the latest in a series of patent lawsuits against the patenting agency.

In June 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a class action lawsuit against the Office alleging it violated the First Amendment by denying employees their First Amendment right to sue the government for allegedly infringing on their First and Fourth Amendment rights.

The case has been referred to the US Supreme Court, but has not yet been heard. 

Earlier this month, a US judge ruled that a patent held by Apple was not invalid and could not be invalidated because the company did not properly defend it. 

Apple is a US company and has not been subject to any lawsuits from any US state or federal agency.

A patent office lawsuit claims the Patent and Trademark Office will pay damages for infringing a patent, as it seeks…