Relevant Random Developments

The PTAB has issued a second ruling that a state-affiliated university (this time the University of Maryland) is entitled by the 11th Amendment to escape PTAB review by its waived sovereign immunity. The university’s participation in the proceedings did not constitute a waiver. It is not yet clear how the PTAB will act regarding a non-state and state joint patent if an IPR petition is filed regarding such a jointly-owned patent. It would seem that any PTAB patent dispute involving a qualifying state entity would be similarly exempted even if joint ownership of the patent in question constitutes the only connection between the joint holders. We are hesitant however to predict PTAB reasoning or decision-making.

As you must be aware by now, SCOTUS has just held that a patent’s sale or conditional sale anywhere in the world exhausts the patentee’s US patent rights. Conditional sales to universities for research purposes will have to be carefully and quickly converted to licenses. This SCOTUS ruling penalizes manufacturers who sell products at special prices to specific users who could not otherwise afford the product including universities for research purposes. Whether it will be applied retroactively is unknown.

In other news …

According to POLITICO here is the latest in the on and off romance between big tech and President Trump. His climate-change decision announced today may affect its temperature. We do not expect it to change White House views regarding Patent Reform whatever they are. At this point not only are these views unclear but high-tech seems to have many other serious concerns, especially regarding US H-1 B visa availability.

Big Tech and Trump are scheduled to meet on June 19th. ORACLE, CISCO TO ATTEND TRUMP MEETING – Add another name to the guest list at the White House meeting with technology executives on June 19: Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, Steven reports. Oracle has also confirmed that CEO Safra Catz will attend the meeting. The Trump administration established the American Technology Council at the start of May to “transform and modernize” the federal government’s IT and digital services. Executives at the meeting are expected to discuss IT modernization, cybersecurity, data analytics and immigration, among other topics.

TECHIES’ LAST-DITCH CALL TO TRUMP ON CLIMATE. Valley heads including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Tesla CEO Elon Musk were among the business leaders who made 13th-hour calls to President Donald Trump to support the U.S. remaining in the Paris climate accords. These occured, after multiple news reports suggested that he is planning to drop out according to the Wall Street Journal. Musk also later tweeted that if Trump followed through with announced plans to withdraw from the deal backed by nearly almost 200 other countries, he “will have no choice but to depart councils.” Other major tech companies including Facebook, Google and Salesforce have put their names to a full-page ad running today in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, calling on Trump to “advance U.S. interests by remaining a full partner in this vital global effort.” Trump is preparing to announce the US withdrawal today. To read more etc.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Wednesday that if President Donald Trump follows through on pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate-change agreement, he’d “have no choice” but to stop advising the White House. Musk’s line in the sand is the latest sign of tension between Trump and Silicon Valley just as his administration attempts to attract tech executives to the White House for a sweeping, high-profile summit on June 19.

“Don’t know which way Paris will go, but I’ve done all I can to advise directly to POTUS, through others in WH and via councils, that we remain,” Musk tweeted. Musk followed up with a tweet saying, “Will have no choice but to depart councils” if Trump pulls out of the Paris deal backed by nearly 200 other countries.

Other major tech companies, including Apple, Facebook, Google and Salesforce, have put their names to a full-page ad that will run Thursday in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, calling on Trump to “advance U.S. interests by remaining a full partner in this vital global effort.” The ad ran earlier this month but has been renewed because of the news of Trump’s thinking on the Paris deal.

Tech CEOs have been under widespread pressure, including in some cases from their liberal-leaning workforces, to cut off the engagement with Trump over his stances on immigration, LGBT issues, and the environment. IBM’s Ginni Rometty, for example, was the target of a campaign by employees to uphold the company’s “core values of diversity, inclusiveness, and ethical business conduct” in response to her outreach to Trump early in his administration.

Musk’s warning carries particular weight because he’s become one of the Trump White House’s go-to tech industry executives. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has taken part, for example, in the so-called President’s Strategic and Policy Forum.

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