Is Google Gearing Up for a Patent Fight?

Alan Wan, at Patently-O, looks at the recently recorded assignment of 1029 patents from IBM to Google – which more than doubles the number of U.S. patents assigned to Google.  A review of the patents suggests that they were carefully chosen from among IBM’s tens of thousands of patents in order to be most effective in a patent fight against the other technology giants and the patents appear to have been chosen for one adversary in particular – Apple.  What stands out is the unusually broad topics that are covered and the topics covered appear to be a tilt towards consumer and network applications with an absence of patents pertaining to IBM’s supercomputers.

Are You A Legal Rebel?

Nominations are now open for the 2011 Legal Rebels project.  This year, the ABA Journal is looking for lawyers and senior staffers who are remaking their corner of the profession at trend-setting Top 250 law firms. The Legal Rebels project has featured the profession’s top innovators who are questioning and changing the status quo.  While the recession has upended the stalwart business paths of some firms, others have embraced new courses with the awareness that many of the profession’s traditions—including those at most successful law firms—were once radical innovations.  Fill out the form to suggest a lawyer they should profile.

7 Essential Apps for Busy Legal Professionals

The Lawyerist has an article naming the essential iPhone/iPad apps.  We are especially fond of his picks of Instapaper – save web pages with 1-click to read later.   Evernote – From jotting down quick ideas as they occur. Google Apps – a suite of applications from email to documents, spreadsheets and presentations, all stored in the cloud.  Upgrade to Google Apps for Business for only $50 a year and get additional storage along with a few other perks.  Dropbox – For the few documents that I store on my local hard drive, I gain some peace of mind by sync documents stored locally on your device to the cloud.

Teva’s Lawsuit Against Viagra Patent Wilts

Pfizer Inc.’s  Viagra will maintain its exclusivity for treating ED at least until 2019.  A federal judge upheld U.S. Pat. No 6,469,012 for Viagra that was granted in 2002 and specifically covers the use of the drug’s active ingredient, sildenafil, for treating erectile dysfunction.   Teva Pharmaceuticals argued that the patent was invalid because anyone well-versed in the art of drug making would have known, from prior research, that sildenafil could be effective as an ED treatment. Pfizer contended that the use of sildenafil in oral form for treating ED was a novel, patent-worthy discovery.  Federal judge Rebecca Smith sided with Pfizer in a 110-page opinion, stating that Teva had not shown “by clear and convincing evidence” that the patent was invalid. “There is utterly no evidence” to support Teva’s claim that that Pfizer intentionally withheld documents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

We Need Biotechnology If We Are To Have Enough Food

Nina V. Fedoroff writes in the NY Times that the problems of high food prices and the swelling ranks of the hungry are going to come to a disastrous end without the aid of biotechnology. The adoption of genetically modified herbicide-tolerant soybeans has made it easier for farmers to park their plows and forgo tilling for weed control. No-till farming is more sustainable and environmentally benign because it decreases soil erosion and shrinks agriculture’s carbon footprint.  In 2010, crops modified by molecular methods were grown in 29 countries on more than 360 million acres. Of the 15.4 million farmers growing these crops, 90 percent are poor, with small operations. The reason farmers turn to genetically modified crops is simple: yields increase and costs decrease.  We need to change the regulatory burden slowing down the development of genetically modified crops.

Learn How To Use (and Not Use) Email

The CounseltoCounselBlog wants you to learn to use email correctly.  Please.  While social media is growing in importance as a tool for mass communication, e-mail still has an important role in a law practice.    But we still have a “Tower of Babel” problem when it comes to e-mail.  Simply put, different users of e-mail speak “different languages”. Smartphone users tend to prefer terse e-mail messages.   People who mainly  use their desktop or laptop computers may have more tolerance for lengthy messages.  My pet peeve?  Use descriptive subject lines!!  Good subject lines help the recipient to quickly decide if they need to read the message right away and if the message requires a quick response.

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