Earlier today the United States Patent and Trademark Office announced what they are referring to as “landmark Patent Prosecution Highway Pilots” with China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). David Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and the Director of the USPTO and SIPO Commissioner Tian Lipu announced the start of Paris Route and PCT Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot programs beginning on December 1, 2011. Meanwhile, the USPTO, in a separate press release, also announced the launching of a new pilot project for the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) with the Icelandic Patent Office (IPO).
As with other PPH pilot programs, these new SIPO and IPO agreements will permit each office to benefit from work previously done by the other office. The work-sharing benefits of the Patent Prosecution Highway are what every Patent Office around the world is after given the global demand for patents only continues to rise. Work-sharing arrangements of one kind or another are virtually required given the reality that patents are more valuable than ever, more desirable than ever and due to legal requirements and litigation applications need to be far more detailed than even just 10 years ago. Indeed, there is really no comparison to the level of disclose found in patent applications today compared with detail found in patent applications a generation ago.
It is on the minds of everyone in the business world, regardless of the subject matter of the business or technology involved. How exactly do you do business in China while maintaining a firm grasp on the intellectual property rights associated with your most valuable innovations? With over 1.3 billion people in China the market is quite attractive to many — if not all — businesses. At the same time it makes no sense to turn over the keys to your kingdom in order to only have a variety of Chinese companies competing with you domestically in China, as well as around the globe.
1.3 billion people simply cannot be ignored, that much is certainly true. In my experience, however, when potentially ridiculous sums of money are at issue people, including otherwise shrewd business executives, suddenly seem to lose double digit points off their IQ. Believing that you can successfully navigate the potentially treacherous waters of doing business with China without careful planning and competent, experienced counsel is simply naive.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is interested in gathering information from the public on potential locations for future USPTO satellite offices and earlier today published a Federal Register Notice announcing the comment period. The USPTO is required to establish satellite offices, subject to available resources, under Section 23 of the America Invents Act (AIA). In fact, as long as funding exists, it is the plan of the Patent Office to establish at least two more satellite offices in addition to the one slated for Detroit over the next three years.
The USPTO sees the establishment of satellite offices as an important component of their continued efforts to recruit and retain a highly skilled workforce, reduce patent application pendency and improve quality, and enhance communication between the USPTO and the patent applicant community. It is easy to understand why satellite offices would enhance efforts to recruit and retain patent examiners, after all there is a limited pool of technically sophisticated applicants and employees willing to locate in Northern Virginia and endure the ridiculous traffic, among other things. Thus, satellite offices should make a position as a patent examiner more attractive, at least if locations such as Denver or California are considered, as they should be.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office was busy last week with Federal Register Notices while most of the business world seemed to be slowing down for the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. Look for more on the various USPTO Federal Register Notices for November 2011 in the coming days, but let’s focus our attention on what most will likely consider the “big-ticket” item to emanate from the USPTO last week — changes to the Rules of Practice Before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences in Ex Parte Appeals, which were announced in the Federal Register on Tuesday, November 22, 2011.
First and foremost, it is worth saying that the PTO has finally withdrawn the previously published final rule set relative to ex parte appeals before the Board, which never went into effect. This withdrawal of the failed 2008 changes to PTO appeals is effective November 22, 2011. For more on these previously published rules and the procedural background leading up to these amendments to USPTO appellate practice see PTO Proposes Rescission of Stayed Ex Parte Appeals Rules. The remainder of these new rules will go into effect on January 23, 2012.
Anyone interested in reading this is likely old enough to have heard the old saying “Be careful what you wish for – you may get it.” Now we have it. Many people situated variously within and outside of the patent system of the United States urged the adoption of first-to-file. The underlying reasons included harmonization with the laws of other nations, and simplification or elimination of some proceedings in our own system, etc. with a view toward curing some of what has been ailing the U.S. patent system. The day, March 16, 2013, is now approaching when first-to-file will be a reality.
There are many questions about the scope and possible impact of the AIA. Exactly how it will all play out remains to be seen. A significant question is what will be the likely impact of the AIA upon the operations of the USPTO, an organization that has been so greatly over-burdened in recent times.
There is a great misunderstanding among many inventors and entrepreneurs regarding what many simply refer to as a “provisional patent.” The first thing that needs to be said is that there is no such thing as a “provisional patent.” Instead, what you file is called a provisional patent application. Like any other patent application it is effective to stop the clock relative to so-called statutory bars and immediately upon filing a provisional patent application you can say you have a “patent pending.”
A provisional patent application must be understood as nothing more than the first step toward receiving a patent. Ultimately you will need to file a nonprovisional patent application in order to obtain a patent in the United States. Still, there are substantial benefits to beginning with a provisional patent application but, as with most things in life, there are pitfalls that can and do trap the unwary and unknowledgeable.
When I speak at events, one of the most common questions I get from professionals is, “What is the purpose of Twitter.” Those of us who use Twitter know what the purpose of Twitter is and how to use it though. But for many, the concept of micro-blogging is still quite a mystery. Once you understand what to tweet, how to tweet and how much to tweet, you are quickly able to make excellent connections, increase your website statistics and search engine ranking, find some of your best brand advocates, and benefit quickly and efficiently from word of mouth marketing. In fact, next to YouTube, micro-blogging on Twitter is one of the quickest ways for information about you, your brand, your business, your products and your services to go viral.
Before one can feel comfortable on Twitter, they must first understand the purpose of Twitter, realize the potential of Twitter and learn how they can use Twitter to meet their overall marketing objectives. Following, I will discuss and demystify 5 of the top myths about Twitter use for business and give you pointers on how you can get the most out of your Twitter account.
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