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Audrey Millemann is a shareholder with Weintraub Tobin and practices in the Intellectual Property and Litigation sections. She is a litigator and a registered patent attorney.  Audrey advises clients on all issues of intellectual property law, including infringement, validity, and ownership of patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

One of the most amazing accomplishments in the field of biotechnology has been the development and distribution of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID 19). The numbers tell the story.

The time from when the coronavirus’ RNA sequence, identified by China, was published on January 11, 2020 to the date that clinical trials in the U.S. began in March 2020 was 66 days. From the date the RNA sequence was published to the date that a vaccine was first administered to the public, on December 11, 2020, was 11 months. Within a year of the date the RNA sequence was published, both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech were providing thousands of doses of mRNA vaccines to people around the world. The mRNA vaccines were extremely effective – they provided about 94-95% protection against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. These vaccines are now available to anyone over the age of six months. In the world’s wealthiest countries, and in much of the rest of the world, vaccine availability is no longer a factor getting vaccinated.
Continue Reading From Saving the World to Fighting Over IP: Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech

In the last few years, the U.S. Copyright Office refused to allow a copyright registration for a work of art created by a machine, and a federal district court held that an artificial intelligence system could not be an inventor on a patent. However, before we decide whether an AI machine can have property rights, we will need to resolve a far more difficult question. Should AI machines have basic rights? This question requires consideration of ethical concepts, scientific knowledge, and legal issues. We cannot answer this question now because we do not have enough information.
Continue Reading Should AI Machines Have Rights?

A design patent protects a new, original, ornamental design for an article of manufacture. 35 USC section 171. “Ornamental” means that the design is purely decorative; the patentability is based on its visual aspects. Those aspects are the shape or configuration of an article (like the shape of a bottle or a vase), the surface ornamentation on the article (like a painting on the bottle or vase), or a combination of both. The design must be a design for a specific article; it cannot exist independently of the article. The must be visible during normal use of the article; it cannot be concealed.
Continue Reading What is a Design Patent?

Not everything is patentable. First, only inventions are patentable. Second, only certain inventions are patentable. Four types of inventions are patentable: articles of manufacture, machines, processes, and compositions of matter. 35 U.S.C. §101. These four types of inventions are referred to as patent-eligible subject matter. Some things, referred to as patent-ineligible subject matter, are not patentable: laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas.
Continue Reading Alice is Alive and Well!