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May 21, 2022 IP Practice Vlogs: Claiming Foreign Priority – An Overview of Patent Cooperation Treaty, Paris Convention and Patent Prosecution Highway Practice

There are several ways to claim foreign priority for a patent application. The first option is filing an international application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). In order to utilize this option, at least one of the applicants has to be a national or a resident of a country that is a PCT Contracting State. Upon filing, the applicant picks a receiving office, which is a national patent office designated for receiving the PCT application. A competent receiving office belongs to a location in which one of the PCT applicants is entitled to file a PCT application. Each PCT member state has a competent receiving office for its residents and nationals. The International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) also acts as a receiving office in which all applicants are entitled to file PCT applications. In that case, the applicant can file directly with WIPO. Thirty to 31 months after initial filing, the application then enters the national stage and the applicant can select the countries in which it would like to file.

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May 14, 2022 What is AI and How is it Treated by the USPTO, EPO and CNIPA?

Generally, artificial intelligence (AI) is an automation of a thing that a human being can do, or the simulation of intelligent human behavior by a machine. In other words, AI performs what a human can but with vastly more data and processing of incoming information. Unfortunately, claiming AI in adherence to its typical definition is akin to asking for a Section 101 subject matter eligibility rejection in the United States. Europe and China have already updated their patent examination procedures for AI. If the United States sustains its current examination procedure of machine intelligence in accordance with the abstract idea doctrine under the Alice and Mayo framework established by the Supreme Court, will we be leaving this industry behind?

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May 7, 2022 IP Practice Vlogs: Examining When Statements of Intended Use can Limit the Scope of a Patent Claim

Did you know that your claim preamble is more likely to be limiting when you’re dealing with a method claim versus an apparatus claim? In Cochlear Bone Anchored v. Oticon Medical AB, Cochlear’s claim recited a hearing aid apparatus “for rehabilitation of unilateral hearing loss” in the preamble. Cochlear was challenged at inter partes review (IPR) where Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) found the preamble term “for rehabilitation of unilateral hearing loss” did not limit the scope of the claims. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the Board’s ruling, expressly finding that the statement of intended use is not limiting because the preamble did not furnish additional structure that was recited in the body of the claims, and provided no antecedent basis for any of the limitations in the body of the claim.

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April 30, 2022 IP Practice Vlogs: Determining Obviousness in Design Patents

While it may not be common to receive a prior art rejection for a design patent, it certainly can happen, especially if the design is broadly claimed. In utility patents, the issue of obviousness is an analysis of what a person having ordinary skill in the art would find to be obvious in light of the same or similar problem. When it comes to design patents, obviousness rests on the “ordinary observer” test, which is an analysis of the claimed design and its prior art seen as a whole instead of comparing the claimed design to the prior art design element by element. While the ordinary observer test requires a consideration of the design as a whole in the context of its environment features, the claim scope remains very important in terms of how the design will be examined.

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April 23, 2022 IP Practice Vlogs: Software Claiming – A Look at Means-Plus-Function

A means-plus-function limitation is a functional limitation that claims function without structure. The claimed element presented for prosecution is pure function and not structure. This type of claiming is used often with software patents, which recite function via a series of computer implemented steps to carry out a means.

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April 16, 2022 IP Practice Vlogs: Writing Strong Patents

In the United States, patent prosecution practice is primarily shaped by two governing bodies: 1) the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which issues procedural practice guidelines, and 2) judicial rulings from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. When it comes to the matter of Section 101 subject matter eligibility, the USPTO and the Federal Circuit diverge somewhat in their analysis, specifically in their consideration of what constitutes an “abstract idea.” Our modern-day concept of “abstract idea” is shaped by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank in 2014. The USPTO and the Federal Circuit both operate under the Alice doctrine of “abstract idea” when it comes to assessing subject matter eligibility, particularly when it comes to software patents. Alice requires that an “abstract idea” has “something more” than what is well-understood, routine and conventional in order to be patent eligible.

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April 11, 2022 IP Practice Vlogs: The USPTO’s New Pilot Program – Deferred Subject Matter Eligibility Response

Proffered by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) in the interest of expediting patent prosecution for those applications that receive Section 101 rejections, under the new Deferred Subject Matter Eligibility (DSMER) program, eligible applicants who receive a subject matter eligibility rejection with prior art rejection(s) or indefiniteness rejection(s) can defer substantively responding to the Section 101 rejection until all other rejections have been withdrawn. This program began on February 1 and will last until July 30 of this year. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will notify eligible applicants in the first Office Action on the merits. The applicant can then choose to participate in the program by filling out a form paragraph.

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About This Podcast

Global IP Counselors is dedicated to protecting the intellectual property rights of applicants around the world.  We believe in drafting disclosures that are enabled to support a broad range of claim scopes at the onset of prosecution, placing the applicants’ claims strongly in position for future assertion.  In order to provide world class IP service, we maintain a full understanding of the ongoing changes to the USPTO’s agency guidelines as well as precedential rulings from the US courts.  Join Wen Xie at the IP Practice Vlogs as she discusses the newest IP practice insights before the USPTO and the Federal Circuit.

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