15.628J | Spring 2013 | Undergraduate

Patents, Copyrights, and the Law of Intellectual Property


Short Exercises

These exercises are designed to provide some structure to your reading of the assigned cases, and to make you feel more prepared and more likely to participate when we discuss them in class. They are intended to be seriously short! Don’t write more than a line or two when answering each of the questions about the respective cases.

Short Exercise 1 for Session 9

Structural Rubber v. Park Rubber (PDF)

  1. For what reason did the district court (the trial court) conclude that the defendant (Park Rubber) was not liable for infringing plaintiff’s patents?
  2. What matter of fact did the appellant (Structural Rubber) argue should not have been given to the jury to decide?
  3. Did the appellate court agree with appellant or with the district court?
  4. For what reason?

Short Exercise 2 for Session 11

Bilski v. Kappos (PDF)

  1. What did the court enumerate as the three generally accepted exceptions to the patentable subject matter set forth in 35 USC § 101?
  2. What were the four issues on which all of the justices of the Supreme Court agreed?
  3. What was the primary issue on which they disagreed?

Short Exercise 3 for Session 16

eBay v. MercExchange (PDF)

  1. What are the four well-established requirements that a plaintiff must demonstrate when seeking a permanent injunction?
  2. According to the majority opinion in this case, how did the Court of Appeals depart erroneously from this four-factor test?

Patent Search Assignment

For this assignment, each of you is being provided with a different recently issued U.S. Patent, and you are being asked to perform a preliminary patent search to assess the validity of Claim 1 (only) of the patent. Do not spend more than four hours on the search itself. What you should look for is prior-art patents that could possibly render your assigned patent invalid because of lack of novelty (§ 102), or because of obviousness (§ 103), or possibly both. You need to pay attention to the dates of your assigned patent and of the patents you search among in order to find prior art within the meaning of the statute.

You should then summarize your search in a two-to-three-page report, explaining what the results of your search has led you to conclude about the novelty and the non-obviousness of your assigned patent, and why.

We will also ask for volunteers to make 10-minute oral presentations of their reports during class in addition to turning in written reports. Students who make oral presentations will receive additional credit.