News and Events
Posted February 12, 2013
The University of Iowa College of Law Trademark Moot Court teams won the 22nd annual Saul Lefkowitz competition in Chicago this past weekend. Students Alex Johnson, Ravi Narayan, and Sam Young won First Place overall and Best Brief. Students Abram Carls, Justin Kalemkiarian, Trong Le, and Iftekhar (Ifti) Zaim won Third Place overall.
Iowa's students beat out 26 other teams including teams representing the University of Chicago, Northwestern, University of Illinois, Indiana University, and the University of Wisconsin. The teams were coached by Professor Christina Bohannan, who serves as director of the College's Intellectual Property Advocacy Program. Students in the competition compete in brief writing and oral advocacy on issues in trademark and unfair competition law.
The winning team will compete at the national competition in Washington, D.C. in March at the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals courthouse. Congratulations to both teams on an outstanding performance.
Posted April 14, 2012
Professor Hovenkamp has been appointed to the ABA's Transition Task Force whose charge is "to make recommendations to the next administration (whether a returning incumbent or new) concerning antitrust and consumer protection."
Posted March 27, 2012
The Supreme Court relied on Professor Bohannan and Hovenkamp’s new book Creation Without Restraint in its recent decision in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories (2012), which narrowed the right to obtain patents based on medical processes if the patents apply a law of nature.
The Court wrote:
“… there is a danger that the grant of patents that tie up their use will inhibit future innovation premised upon them, a danger that becomes acute when a patented process amounts to no more than an instruction to ‘apply the natural law,’ or otherwise forecloses more future invention than the underlying discovery could reasonably justify. See generally Lemley, Risch, Sichelman, & Wagner, Life After Bilski, 63 Stan. L. Rev. 1315 (2011) (hereinafter Lemley) (arguing that §101 reflects this kind of concern); see also C. Bohannan & H.Hovenkamp, Creation without Restraint: Promoting Liberty and Rivalry in Innovation 112 (2012) (‘One problem with [process] patents is that the more abstractly their claims are stated, the more difficult it is to determine precisely what they cover. They risk being applied to a wide range of situations that were not anticipated by the patentee’) . . . .”
Later the Court said:
“At the same time, patent law’s general rules must govern inventive activity in many different fields of human endeavor, with the result that the practical effects of rules that reflect a general effort to balance these considerations may differ from one field to another. See Bohannan & Hovenkamp, Creation without Restraint, at 98–100.”
Click here to read the full opinion.
Posted January 5, 2012
Posted December 31, 2011
College of Law Professors Publish New Intellectual Property Textbook
Professors Christina Bohannan and Herbert Hovenkamp have published their book, Creation Without Restraint: Promoting Liberty and Rivalry in Innovation (Oxford, 2012), which analyzes the current state of competition and intellectual property, proposing realistic reforms for patent and copyright law that will encourage innovation. Bohannan and Hovenkamp consider how antitrust and IP law should engage practices that restrain rather than promote innovation, and suggest a broader reach but narrower remedies for IP misuse. They also evaluate competition and intellectual property rights on the “innovation commons,” or the vast area involving collaborative management of innovation, as well as post-sale restraints involving patents and copyrights.
Bohannan and Hovenkamp also evaluate the uses and limits of antitrust to address a variety of practices in innovation intensive markets, including interconnection in networks, duties to deal, and internet neutrality. Their book contains clear exposition of economic topics, and comprehensive coverage of both intellectual property and antitrust issues.
"Creation without Restraint is a call to promote innovation by promoting competition. As the authors point out, if we want real competition, it is intellectual property, not antitrust, law that we need to fix."
--Mark A. Lemley, William H. Neukom Professor, Stanford Law School
"This is a terrific book. Creation without Restraint uses antitrust law as a starting point for a thorough rethinking of patent and copyright policy. It develops the important idea, adapted from antitrust, that an IP statute should be interpreted in light of its underlying purpose. The authors show how economic analysis, so influential in antitrust, can be applied to IP law, and offer useful, provocative proposals for reform. Creation without Restraint is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand-and improve-the law's treatment of innovation."
--C. Scott Hemphill, Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
"Few regulatory problems are more vexing than the relationship between competition and innovation. Bohannan and Hovenkamp's investigation of the problem is sensible, balanced, and comprehensive. Creation without Restraint is a wonderful book for anyone wanting to get up to speed on the key contemporary questions in innovation policy."
--Daniel A. Crane, Professor of Law, University of Michigan
Posted September 13, 2011
Federal Circuit Approves Patents on Isolated Human Genes
In Association for Molecular Pathology v. United States Patent and Trademark Office, 653 F.3d 1329 (Fed.Cir. July 29, 2011), the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that research companies may obtain patents on isolated human genes, but they cannot patent the methods used to compare gene sequences. The patent at issue, filed by Myriad Genetics, Inc., covered the isolated versions of two human genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, where have been associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
In determining the patentability of the genes, the Federal Circuit used the framework set out by the U.S. Supreme Court in Diamond v. Chakrabarty, 447 U.S. 303 (1980). In Chakrabarty, the Court held that a discovery that is not a part of nature’s handiwork is patentable subject matter under $101 of the Patent Act. Chakrabarty had developed a genetically engineered bacterium capable of breaking down multiple components of crude oil. Since the bacterium developed had “markedly different characteristics from any [bacterium] found in nature,” the Court determined it was patentable.
The Federal Circuit found that in their isolated state, BRCA1 and BRCA2 are not the same molecules as DNA that exists in the body. It requires human intervention to synthesize this portion of native DNA to isolate the molecules. Since the isolated DNA, which has manipulated chemically, does not exist naturally in the human body, it is deemed patentable. [Read Federal Circuit’s Opinion]
Additionally, the Court ruled that Myriad’s method of comparing and analyzing gene sequences falls outside the scope of $101 and is therefore not patentable because it claims only “abstract mental processes” necessary to compare the sequences. The Federal Circuit distinguishes this case from its ruling in Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. v. Mayo Collaborative Services, 628 F.3d 1347 (Fed. Cir. 2010), in which it held that determining step in developing a process for administering drugs was “both transformative and central to the purpose of the claims.” [Read Federal Circuit Opinion]
Posted August 30, 2011
Supreme Court granted certiorari in Prometheus v. Mayo, 628 F.3d 1347
On June 20, 2011, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. v. Mayo Collaborative Services, 628 F.3d 1347 (Fed. Cir. 2010). The Supreme Court first heard this case in 2010 and remanded for the Federal Circuit to re-evaluate given the Court’s recent decision in Bilski v. Kappos, 130 S.Ct. 3218 (2010). In Bilski, the Court held the machine-or-transformation test is not the sole test to determine the patent eligibility of a process.
At issue in Prometheus is Mayo’s alleged infringement of Prometheus’ patents, which covers a process for administering a drug used to treat gastrointestinal or similar diseases, conducting a blood test to measure the drug’s level in the patient, and then using the reading to adjust the dosage. Mayo claims that there was no infringement, as Prometheus’ methods are not patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101 because they are natural phenomena. The Federal Circuit disagreed with Mayo, holding that “Prometheus's claims are drawn not to a law of nature, but to a particular application of naturally occurring correlations.” [Read Federal Circuit’s Opinion]
Oral Argument was heard on December 7, 2011 and a decision is expected in Spring 2012.
Supreme Court rules on Microsoft v. i4i, 131 S.Ct. 2238
On June 9, 2011, the United States Supreme Court unanimously upheld the Federal Circuit’s ruling against Microsoft Corporation, affirming the requirement of "clear and convincing" evidence to defeat the presumption that a patent is invalid. The court held that the “clear and convincing” standard is (1) not defeated by evidence of omitted prior art, but (2) the defendant is entitled to a jury instruction to the effect that it may consider omitted prior art in assessing validity”
The patent at issue covers an improved method for editing documents on a computer by storing the document content separately from the codes associated with the document’s structure. Microsoft claimed that i4i allegedly omitted relevant prior art in its patent application, and the standard for proving such invalidity is by a “preponderance of the evidence.”
The Court rejected this argument, citing RCA v. Radio Engineering Laboratories, Inc., 55 S.Ct. 928 (1934), in which the Court found that a defendant raising an invalidity defense bore “a heavy burden of persuasion,” requiring proof of the defense by clear and convincing evidence. Therefore, in Microsoft, the court determined “we cannot conclude that Congress intended to “drop” the heightened standard proof from the presumption simply because § 282 fails to reiterate it expressly.” [Read Supreme Court Opinion]
Posted March 5, 2011
Supreme Court Decides FCC v. AT&T
In an very important decision, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected "privacy" protections for corporate entities under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). [Read Case]
Posted March 4, 2011
Centocor v. Abbot: Patent Infringement
Centocor, the holder of a patent, which claims fully human antibodies to human necrosis factor, sued Abbott for infringement by the therapeutic antibody Humira®. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals found for Abbot becasue the patent failed to give the proper written description. [Read Case]
Posted February 16, 2011
Iowa Trademark Moot Court Team Excels in Regional Competition
Congratulations to the teams who represented the Iowa College of Law at the regional Saul Lefkowitz Trademark Moot Court competition in Chicago, Feb. 11-12. They were coached by Professor Bohannan. The Iowa veteran team received the top award for best oral argument, beating out 25 other teams, including teams from the University of Chicago, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Washington University. The team placed third overall in the competition, including the brief and oral argument scores. One judge called the veteran Iowa team the “Olympic” team in the competition. Both teams received consistent praise from the judges for knowledge of the law, detailed use of the facts, creative arguments, and poise in delivery. The students who competed on the veteran Iowa team were Damon Andrews, Matt Johnshoy, Vicki McDonald, and Katherine Ross. The students on the newer team were Alex Christian, Amy Hein, Scott Karalis, and Brian Kearns. A number of lawyers from Iowa IP firms helped Professor Bohannan judge practice rounds, including lawyers from Simmons Perrine; McKee, Voorhees, & Sease; Nyemaster; and the Hamilton IP firm. Law students who are interested in competing in any of the intellectual property moot court competitions (including patents and copyright as well as trademark law) should contact Professor Bohannan.
Posted January 19, 2011
Judge Found Part of Health Care Law Unconstitutional
In Virginia v. Sebelius, Civil Action No. 3:10CV188-HEH, 2010 WL 5059718 (E.D. Va. 2010), the court found it was unconstitutional for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to require everyone to obtain insurance or pay a tax penalty. [Full Story]
Posted January 19, 2011
Akamai Technologies, Inc. v. Limelight Networks, Inc.: What Does Joint Infringment Require?
In Akamai Technologies, Inc. v. Limelight Networks, Inc., nos. 2009-1372, 2009-1380, 2009-1416, 2009-1417, 2010 WL 5151337 (Fed. Cir. 2010), the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals held that joint infringement requires an agency relationship or a contractual obligation. [Full Story]
Posted January 18, 2011
Uniloc v. Microsoft: The First Circuit Rejects the 25 Percent Rule for Patent Damages
In Uniloc v. Microsoft, nos. 2010-1035, 2010-1055, 2011 WL 9738 (1st Cir. 2011), the First Circuit Court of Appeals held that the 25 percent rule for patent damages "is a fundamentally flawed tool for determining a baseline royalty rate in a hypothetical negotiation... Evidence relying on the 25 percent rule of thumb is thus inadmissible under Daubert and the Federal Rules of Evidence, because it fails to tie a reasonable royalty base to the facts of the case at issue." [Full Story]
Posted January 18, 2011
New Rules for Horizontal Cooperation Agreements
The European Union has just published new rules on horizontal cooperation agreements [Full Story]
Posted January 18, 2011
Lucasfilms Settles with the DOJ
The Department of Justice reached a settlement with Lucasfilms Ltd., in this agreement Lucasfilms is prevented from "entering into agreements restraining employee recruitment." [Full Story]
Posted January 17, 2011
This symposium will explore the effects of regulation on three major sectors of the U.S. economy: Health Care, Telecommunications and Financial Institutions.
The symposium will be held between 3 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Friday, February 18th (with a banquet that evening) and 9:30 a.m. - 3:15 p.m. Saturday, February 19th (with a breakfast between 8:30 a.m - 9:30 a.m.)
PANEL I: HEALTH CARE
Elizabeth Weeks Leonard, University of Kansas
Amy Monahan, University of Minnesota
David Orentlicher, Indiana University
PANEL II: TELECOMMUNICATIONS
Daniel Lyons, Boston College
Scott Wallsten, Stanford
Christopher Yoo, University of Pennsylvania
PANEL III: FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
Brent Horton, Fordham University
John Hunt, University of California-Davis
Kimberly Krawiec, Duke University
Kevin Outterson, Boston University
Cynthia Williams, University of Illinois
Arthur Wilmarth, Jr., George Washington University
Posted January 17, 2011
Google & Dominance in Online Search Market
The European Commission is in the process of investigating Google for potential abuse in the online search market. [Full Story]
Posted January 16, 2011
Food Safety Modernization Act
In December 2010, the Senate passed the FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act. If it is passed in the House, the law will allow the FDA to better protect against food safety problems. [Full Story]
Posted January 15, 2011
"First Sale Doctrine"
In UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Augusto, No. 08-55998 (9th Cir. 2011),, the Ninth Circuit held radio disc jockeys may resell promotional CDs without infringing the copyright holder's copyright. [Full Story]
Posted January 14, 2011
Seeking Review - Arkansas Carpenters Health & Welfare Fund v. Bayer AG, 604 F.3d 98 (2d. Cir. 2010)
On December 6, 2010, Arkansas Carpenters Health and Welfare Fund requests review by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Arkansas Carpenters Health and Welfare Fund v. Bayer AG, 604 F.3d 98 (2d. Cir. 2010), the Court of Appeals found for Bayer holding that reverse exclusionary payment settlement did not violate Sherman Act.