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Posts Tagged: "central reexamination unit"

It’s Time to Address ‘Patent Mercenaries’—and the USPTO Already Has the Tools

In response to intense lobbying for patent litigation reform, Congress was convinced that a substantial amount of district court patent litigation involved “poor quality” patents that were clearly invalid. Images of extortionist patent trolls were widely portrayed as a primary threat to U.S. innovation. The high cost of patent litigation, years to reach a judicial resolution and reliance on lay juries to determine highly technical issues were cited as evidence of a broken system. In response, Congress passed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) in 2011…. The current IPR system as implemented has caused severe damage to an important segment of our innovation community. Congress instructed the USPTO Director, in 35 USC§ 316(b), to “consider the effect of any such regulation on the economy, the integrity of the patent system, the efficient administration of the Office, and the ability of the Office to timely complete proceedings instituted under this chapter.” It is time for the Director to reevaluate the effect of IPRs.

Apple Design Patent Rejected in Reexamination by USPTO

Earlier this month the Central Reexamination Unit of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a non-final rejection of an Apple design patent at the center of their never-ending patent battle with Samsung. The patent in question – U.S. Design Patent D618,677 – covers the appearance of the surface of an electronic device. One new problem Apple now faces with respect to the ‘677 design patent is that the patent examiner has determined that the priority claim made in the patent “must be canceled.”

What’s Wrong with Reexamination and How to Make it Better

The real sin is that reexamination could be a much better process. Those in Congress talk about alleviating the burden on the district courts by having a reexamination proceeding available, but they don’t seem to appreciate why it is that reexamination is under utilized. On top of that, patent reform circulating in Congress does absolutely nothing to revamp reexamination in a way that would streamline the process and make it more appealing. What patent reform does do, however, is add yet another procedure to bog down the Patent Office while not allowing the Patent Office to set fees and keep those fees they collect to do the work that is promised when they accept those fees. So if patent reform passes you can anticipate that the reexamination pendency numbers will get even more ugly, making the option even less appealing.

The Strange Case of the Animal Toy Patent: Reexam Redux

Two months ago I wrote about one of my favorite patents — The Animal Toy — which is U.S. Patent No. 6,360,693. See Patent on a Stick: Learning from the Animal Toy Patent. Shortly after writing that article, which was not intended to poke fun at the Patent Office but to merely teach a point relative to claim drafting, I received an e-mail from Stephen Kunin, who is a partner at Oblon Spivak, LLP. Steve wrote to me indicating that this patent was reexamined by the Patent Office and none of the claims exited reexamination. This in and of itself may not be very odd, but something didn’t seem quite right.