PEOPLE IN IP
Nimmer on Copyright
As a child, David Nim- mer watched as his
father, Melville, become influential in
IP circles with the 1963 publication
of his treatise, Nimmer on Copyright.
It wasn’t until the 1980s, though, that
he put his own mark on the book. By
then, David Nimmer was a federal
prosecutor, and his father was ailing.
The two teamed up to produce a new
version of the book, and when his
father died in 1985, David Nimmer
finished the project. He has continued
to publish updated versions regularly
ever since. Passages from the book have
been quoted in some 3,000 federal
and state court rulings, informing the
way judges have decided cases involving the first-sale doctrine, injunction
requests in infringement cases, and
the U.S. Copyright Act’s termination
provisions. (On the latter topic, judges
have lately leaned on Nimmer’s analysis when deciding such cases as Siegel v.
Warner Bros.) He also takes on matters
in his of counsel role at Irell & Manella,
but Nimmer says, “My perfect day is
when I start writing up cases for the
treatise and the phone never rings.”
U.S. Court of Appeals for
the Federal Circuit
Being the chief judge for the Federal Circuit
doesn’t bestow the power one might
think. Unlike the chief justice of the
U.S. Supreme Court, the Federal Circuit’s top judge doesn’t even decide
which of his colleagues writes the
court’s opinions. To lead on this court,
a judge needs to practice the art of persuasion. Early indications are that Randall Rader, who took over the post in
June, has talent in this area—and that
he’s not going to be hands-off. Rader
has signaled that he’s set to revamp the
court’s relationship with the Eastern
District of Texas, the federal district
with the most active docket. Rader
visited East Texas in April to sit in
on trials, and wound up overseeing an
unprecedented five. Rader’s 20 years at
the Federal Circuit may also portend a
better relationship with the Supreme
Court, which has in recent years taken
a dimmer view of patent rights than
the appellate court has. Consider that
when the 5-to- 4 Court majority that
decided Bilski said the patent application at issue in the case deserved to be
rejected because it covered an abstract
idea, it aligned itself with the view
previously taken by just one Federal
Circuit judge: Randall Rader.
Acacia Research Corp.
A former investment banker who has repositioned himself as a champion of the
individual inventor, Paul Ryan has
led the country’s largest publicly held
patent-holding company since 1997.
These days, Ryan says, Acacia is shifting
its emphasis from helping individual
inventors get cash by enforcing their
patents to working with corporations
that want to more aggressively capitalize on their IP. Meanwhile, despite losing three trials that could have boosted
its reputation as a patent enforcer, Acacia has buoyed its finances by striking
hundreds of license agreements. And
by doing the things a “normal" publicly
traded company does—filing financial
disclosures, speaking publicly to investors—Acacia has done more to legitimize the patent enforcement business
than any other player. Whether one
loves, hates, fears, or simply respects
him, Ryan is building Acacia into a
company that will continue to change
the patent litigation landscape.
FRED VON LOHMANN
Senior Copyright Counsel,
For almost a decade, Fred von Lohmann was
the public face of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, championing the fair
use rights of Internet users over, usually,
the objections of large copyright holders. With von Lohmann’s crucial strategic input, the EFF submitted influential
amicus briefs in such important cases
as Vernor v. Autodesk and Perfect 10 v.
Google. Among the more notable recent
cases in which the EFF got involved
was the fight over whether the U.S.
Copyright Office should allow a Digital
Millennium Copyright exemption for
the “jailbreaking” of Apple’s iPhone.
In July—less than a month after von
Lohmann took an in-house post at
Google—the exemption was granted.
In his new job, von Lohmann will get
the chance to shape copyright law even
further—working from the inside out.
President and CEO,
Shlomo Yanai has led the world’s biggest
generic drugmaker, which accounts for
22 percent of all generic prescriptions
in the United States and produces 8 billion pills a year, since 2006. And Jeru-salem-based Teva has never shied away
from using litigation to feed its success.
Now, despite the recession—or maybe
because of it—Teva’s revenues are set
to grow by 27 percent this year, to $14
billion, keeping the company on pace
to meet Yanai’s two-year-old prediction
that revenue would climb to $20 billion
by 2012. The ex–Israeli Defense Forces
strategist is willing to spend to achieve
that goal. In March, Teva expanded its
global reach, buying German generic
maker Ratiopharm for $5 billion.