The luminaries of the patent bench and bar were gathered in scenic Monterey today, the second of a huge three-day conference on all things IP, courtesy of the Federal Circuit — the appellate court for all patent cases.
We checked in with our roving patent correspondent, Joe Mullin, a sharp blogger and a colleague with IP Law & Business, who is embedded at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Resort with nothing more than a notepad.
Legal Pad knew that the patent stars would be bright — a number of federal circuit judges, including Chief Judge Paul Michel, as well as district judges, like our own Judge James Ware, are speaking on panels (.pdf). But Mullin reports that the Federal Circuit judges appear to have brought some unexpected protection — U.S Marshals, complete with buzz cuts and sunglasses. Legal Pad realized that there were simmering tensions between the federal circuit and district courts, since the federal circuit reverses a high number of opinions, but this is a little much, don’t you think?
Mullin reported that a mild controversy broke out yesterday, during a panel hosted by Cisco IP chief Mallen Yen when Berkeley Law School professor Peter Menell suggested that treating all kinds of industries — software, biotech, tech — with the same patent system doesn’t make sense. Menell also said he’s yet to see a poster child for software that deserved a patent. At that point a panelist from Microsoft (which has, you know, a few software patents here and there) took issue with Menell’s comments, saying that patent law was meant to be a blunt instrument.
Later in the day, Joe called back to tell us that things have gotten even more interesting, but you'll have to read his blog
to find out. We know that one tidbit will have to do with whether Federal Circuit Judge Randy Rader uses Wikipedia to research patent
— Zusha Elinson