USPTO to Expand Initiatives for Under-Resourced Inventors and First-Time Filers

“Vidal noted that approximately 13% of named inventors on U.S. patents are women, but 41% of Patent Pro Bono Program applicants who responded to a survey in 2021 identified as women.”

initiatives - https://depositphotos.com/240613660/stock-photo-new-initiative-plan-direction-goal.htmlUnited States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Kathi Vidal penned a blog post today announcing several new programs aimed at expanding the U.S. innovation ecosystem, which she said “could quadruple the number of American inventors, and increase the GDP per capita by as much as 4%, or by about $1 trillion.” The initiatives are being spearheaded by the USPTO’s Council for Inclusive Innovation (CI2), for which Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo serves as Chair and Vidal as Co-Chair.

In the introduction to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s  strategic plan for fiscal years 2022 through 2026, announced in March of this year, Raimondo explained that the goal of the plan is to amplify traditional American strengths, including innovation, by introducing a roadmap for collaboration on American competitiveness, to which each of the Commerce Department’s 13 bureaus is expected to contribute. The USPTO will be the lead agency on Strategic Objective 1.5, which includes efforts to promote accessible, strong and effective IP rights to advance innovation and entrepreneurship and which has four strategic pillars: to improve equitable and affordable access to the IP system; to enhance patent quality and compact prosecution; to reduce trademark pendency and protect the integrity of the register; and to protect and enforce IP abroad.

Vidal’s post announced several initiatives seemingly aimed at addressing the first pillar, including a new fast-track program for first-time filers that would expedite examination and provide an early indication of patentability for “first-time micro entity filers.” According to Vidal, the Office “receives approximately 40,000 patent applications per year that name at least one inventor who is a first-time filer.” While a Federal Register notice will be published in the early fall with more info, Vidal said training will be a prerequisite to participation. This is the latest of several expedited examination programs that have been introduced over the last several years.

The USPTO will also be expanding its Law School Clinic Certification Program, which presently includes over 60 participating law schools. The new additions will be: George Mason University, Case Western University, Wake Forest University, and Brigham Young University. The Office will also expand its support of regional patent pro bono programs by providing more funding for its 21 regional Patent Pro Bono Programs. Vidal noted that approximately 13% of named inventors on U.S. patents are women, but 41% of Patent Pro Bono Program applicants who responded to a survey in 2021 identified as women, while 30% identified as African American, 14% as Hispanic, 5.6% as Asian American or Pacific Islander and 1.5% as Native American.

Finally, the Office will pilot a volunteer program later this year that will employ its workforce across the country to educate local communities on the importance of intellectual property.

Congress has also been interested in ways to expand access to innovation, beginning with  passage of the SUCCESS Act of 2018, which resulted in the USPTO statistics showing that the women inventor rate has yet to pass 13% . Last spring, Congress attempted to direct the USPTO to collect more demographic data on women and minority inventors via the Inventor Diversity for Economic Advancement (IDEA) Act, but that bill has stalled in committee since last April.

 

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Author: iqoncept
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14 comments so far. Add my comment.

  • [Avatar for Erfinder]
    Erfinder
    July 31, 2022 06:29 pm

    An inventive solution . . If a large company wants to invalidate a patent, set the first trial date, 20 years from date of issue.
    i.e., They are free to invalidate it after it expires, and watch these vultures run for the hills.

  • [Avatar for concerned]
    concerned
    July 31, 2022 09:06 am

    Odds line:

    100%: My process meeting the Constitutional requirements and law as written by Congress (I was told as much)

    16%: Getting and keeping a software patent per (case) law

    1%: Winning my CAFC appeal per the pundits

    0%: Getting anyone to define the words added to (case) law by the courts. We have tried repeatedly.

    Is every economic approach an abstract fundamental economic approach? Yes, via analysis, if evidence is not considered. Even a process that could somehow “prevent” the scheduling of medical appointments months in advance on 100% guaranteed no-shows is just the abstract idea of scheduling medical appointments, Of course, every medical provider in the world would want such a process that an analysis would determine is just abstract and so fundamental.

    This article wants to give initiatives to invent and buck the above odds. And only 13% of inventors are women. That statistic just proves my wife’s point that women are smarter, avoid the odds.

  • [Avatar for erfinder]
    erfinder
    July 30, 2022 06:23 pm

    Concerned:

    So many of our institutions are now corrupt.
    (or maybe we’re just now seeing it)
    I expected that the USPTO a former “bastion of integrity”
    would not also cave to corruption.

    Thanks,

  • [Avatar for concerned]
    concerned
    July 30, 2022 04:49 pm

    Erfinder:

    It is the world we live in. As inventors, we find solutions to society’s problem.

    I may or may not be able to help people with disabilities, notwithstanding the patent process. I may be able to accomplish the goal via other means. Only time will time.

    Good luck to you.

  • [Avatar for erfinder]
    erfinder
    July 30, 2022 10:18 am

    To anybody with two eyes and a brain it is patently obvious what is going on at the PTAB. Does the word corruption come to mind?

  • [Avatar for concerned]
    concerned
    July 29, 2022 06:52 pm

    Curious @ “Applicants are paying good money to the USPTO to examine the patents. More importantly, they are relying upon the validity of any patent(s) issued as a result in developing their business.”

    Exactly right. I have a “Letter of Intent” from CGI that is worthless without the patent. CGI has forgotten more than the USPTO knows about my field. CGI knows what I accomplished.

    Since the USPTO only seems to use analysis, not evidence, as you pointed out, the USPTO analysis appears to be above reproach.

    Those USPTO memos regarding how evidence is part of the patent approval equation are really offensive.

  • [Avatar for Erfinder]
    Erfinder
    July 29, 2022 03:19 pm

    The PTAB at the USPTO is the DEFINITION of CORRUPTION!
    The very same organization (USPTO), that has “REAL experts” in the field, examine your application, charge thousands of dollars, and take many years to examine & issue a patent.
    THE USPTO, then proceeds invalidate it thru the PTAB.
    This IMHO the definition of corruption!
    The USPTO, needs to get rid of the PTAB and those sell outs sitting on their “high chairs”, who have NO experience prosecuting patents and/or the related art. They are IMHO well positioned henchmen of unscrupulous companies, that want to steal and exploit the patented innovations created by inventors resulting from their years of hard work, education, expenses, and sacrifice.
    AND THE USPTO PROVIDES A MEANS FOR THEM TO DO SO.
    This is the epitome of CORRUPTION!

  • [Avatar for Curious]
    Curious
    July 29, 2022 12:13 pm

    I took him to task for wanting to use only part of that term, while ignoring other critical parts that would inure: directly on point here, is that a FranchisOR has duties to a FranchisEE.
    I like that line of reasoning.

    Applicants are paying good money to the USPTO to examine the patents. More importantly, they are relying upon the validity of any patent(s) issued as a result in developing their business.

    The USPTO Solicitor’s office defends the Board when they affirm a rejection that gets appealed to the Federal Circuit. Why shouldn’t the USPTO defend an Examiner when he/she issues a patent?

    If people want improved patent quality, then have the USPTO defend what they issued. As a partner once told me a long, long time ago — “you learn a lot about drafting applications after you’ve seen one of your the application you drafted get litigated.”

  • [Avatar for Anon]
    Anon
    July 29, 2022 12:02 pm

    Curious,

    I hear you and agree.

    In fact, back when Oil States was decided, Greg DeLassus was big on pointing out that the notion of ‘Public Franchise’ is still considered a form of private property – and I took him to task for wanting to use only part of that term, while ignoring other critical parts that would inure: directly on point here, is that a FranchisOR has duties to a FranchisEE.

    If the Executive Branch wanted to maintain their “fingers” on the patent grant and wanted to be able to drag that patent grant BACK into non-Article III proceedings in the patent office, then that ‘power’ necessarily comes with the responsibility due to the asserted nature of “Public Franchise,” that is, the duties invoked by a FranchisOR/FranchiseEE relationship.

    It is with deep regret that Mr. Ned Heller (deceased), who was very active on the blogs at that time, simply refused to take my points to heart and press on this nature.

    And while I have not seen anyone attempt to use this argument, I likewise have not seen anyone post a view that counters this argument.

  • [Avatar for Pro Say]
    Pro Say
    July 29, 2022 10:23 am

    “The USPTO should be required to defend patents in District Court/Federal Circuit — at least as to 101 and 112 issues and also as to prior art that they considered during examination.”

    Splendid idea Curious. Splendid.

    The government does so defend its decisions regularly.

    Innovation-protecting patent issuance decisions deserve no less.

  • [Avatar for Curious]
    Curious
    July 29, 2022 10:13 am

    If you want more independent inventors . . try standing behind your product (issued patents).
    No Independent inventor in their right mind, would apply for a patent with the USPTO’s PTAB breathing down their throat, anxious to invalidate it, and cause them thousands of dollars and years of aggravation.

    That’s the truth.

    The USPTO should be required to defend patents in District Court/Federal Circuit — at least as to 101 and 112 issues and also as to prior art that they considered during examination.

  • [Avatar for concerned]
    concerned
    July 28, 2022 04:01 am

    I remember the excitement when my attorney filed the provisional patent application. It was all downhill thereafter.

    I had no idea what I would experience and I hope I never travel this road again, win or lose my CAFC appeal.

    The patent commissioner says ALL federal judges struggle with the current law, yet 84% of the granted software patents get invalidated by the USPTO Board.

    I call that a very UNEQUAL application of the law nobody seems to fully understand.

    The process is fundamentally flawed and needs fixed before more first time inventors experience this truth.

  • [Avatar for Erfinder]
    Erfinder
    July 28, 2022 12:03 am

    Apparently the large corporations that are invalidating independent inventors patents via PTAB, need more
    Technology to invalidate.
    If you want more independent inventors . . try standing behind your product (issued patents).
    No Independent inventor in their right mind, would apply for a patent with the USPTO’s PTAB breathing down their throat, anxious to invalidate it, and cause them thousands of dollars and years of aggravation.

  • [Avatar for Pro Say]
    Pro Say
    July 27, 2022 06:51 pm

    Admirable initiatives for sure . . . and yet, what good does it do to bring in more folks to the patent world . . . with the Death Squad PTAB and CAFC standing at the ready to also invalidate (and block from issuing) the patents these under-represented folks will work so hard to obtain?

    How does equal-opportunity patent destruction benefit these inventors . . . and indeed America as a whole?

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