Posts Tagged: "Drew Hirshfeld"

Drew Hirshfeld Appointed to Second Five-Year Term as USPTO Commissioner for Patents

This morning, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross reappointed Commissioner for Patents Drew Hirshfeld for a second five-year term. Commissioner Hirshfeld’s original term was set to expire this month. Hirshfeld began his career with the USPTO in 1994 as a Patent Examiner, became a Supervisory Patent Examiner in 2001, and was promoted in 2008 to Group Director in Technology Center 2100 (Computer Architecture Software and Information Security).

Panelists Warn Senate IP Subcommittee Against Drastic Measures on Patent Quality

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, headed by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), yesterday heard from five witnesses on ways to improve patent quality at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Suggestions ranged from fixing patent eligibility jurisprudence to strengthening efforts on international work sharing, increasing patent application fees, and allotting more time for the examination process. The majority of panelists warned against the dangers of using patent quality as a means to simply block broad swaths of patents that particular industries or entities don’t like, and emphasized that clarifying U.S. patent law would likely go a long way to curbing invalidation rates.

USPTO Leadership Sides With Patent Owner, Ruling Even Deficient Complaints Trigger Time-Bar

On August 23, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) issued a decision granting patent owner 360Heros’ request for rehearing of an earlier PTAB decision to institute an inter partes review (IPR) requested by GoPro and also denied institution of that IPR under the one-year time-bar codified in 35 U.S.C. § 315(b). The PTAB agreed with 360Heros that the one-year time-bar began tolling from the filing date of a counterclaim alleging patent infringement that was dismissed by the district court for lack of standing. The POP panel included U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Andrei Iancu, Commissioner for Patents Drew Hirshfeld and PTAB Chief Administrative Patent Judge Scott Boalick. The 360Heros decision may offer inventors an escape route from the PTAB death squad. For the first time since the America Invents Act became law, the shoe could be on the other foot.

USPTO Precedential Opinion Panel Delivers Lukewarm Attempt to Streamline PTAB Policy

In September 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced the substantial revision of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the paneling of matters before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) (SOP1) and precedential and informative decisions (SOP2), based upon feedback the Office received from stakeholders, courts, legislators, and six years of experience with America Invents Act (AIA) trial proceedings. Now, the USPTO’s Precedential Opinion Panel (POP)—which includes USPTO Director Andrei Iancu, Commissioner for Patents Drew Hirshfeld, and Acting Chief Administrative Patent Judge Scott Boalick—has issued its first ever decision, holding that a petitioner may be joined to a proceeding in which it is already a party; that the Board has discretion to allow joinder of new issues in an existing proceeding; and that the existence of a time bar under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) is one of several factors to consider when exercising this discretion. Despite that guidance, the POP emphasized that such discretion should be used only in limited circumstances, “namely, where fairness requires it and to avoid undue prejudice to a party.” Because the instant request for joinder was filed as a result of Petitioner’s errors, the Board dismissed the IPR petition, noting that “there are no fairness or undue prejudice concerns implicated, and the Petition is otherwise time-barred under § 315(b).”

Are fewer continuations the sign of a healthy patent system?

Hirshfeld explained to me that he is well aware of all of the portfolio reasons why continuations are very important, but the Office does really want to minimize RCEs, which makes all the sense in the world. An RCE is not a new application, is essentially just payment for additional consideration by an examiner. RCEs, while sometimes necessary can and do become inefficient and attempts to streamline the prosecution process have long tried to make them unnecessary in whole or in part to the extent possible.

Associate Solicitor Joe Matal named Acting Director of the USPTO

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has named U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Associate Solicitor Joseph Matal to perform the functions and duties of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. The position is effective June 7, 2017 and follows the resignation of Michelle K. Lee. Matal will serve in this role during the nomination and confirmation process for a new Director.

Provenance of U.S. patents in question as they continue to carry signature of Michelle Lee

Sources tell me that the USPTO was prepared last week to issue patents with the signature of Drew Hirshfeld, who is the Commissioner of Patents and seems to be current Acting Director, but at the last minute a decision was made to revert back to Michelle Lee’s signature. This creates several significant problems. First, if Lee is not currently the Director patents that are being issued with her signature are being issued in violation of §153. If we know anything about patent litigators it is that they raise every challenge possible, and it is only a matter of time before the provenance of patents issued during the Trump Administration are challenged as being invalid. I don’t suspect such an invalidity challenge will ultimately prevail, but how many patent owners are going to have to spend many tens of thousands of dollars to fight that challenge?

Cruel and Unusual: Rumors swirl, still no answer on PTO Director

Fresh rumors surfaced late last night, however, suggesting that Commissioner for Patents Drew Hirshfeld is currently Acting Director of the USPTO. Two independent sources also told us that an internal candidate has been elevated to the position of Deputy Director of the USPTO, although it is not known whether that is on a permanent or temporary basis. It is believed that the Deputy Director of the USPTO is now Anthony Scardino, who was previously serving as Chief Financial Officer at the USPTO… Whatever the resolution of this matter is, this sad chapter in USPTO history has been grossly unfair to Michelle Lee. Either she is Director or she is not Director. Someone somewhere has to know the answer to this very simple, straightforward question, but no one with authority will comment.

Commerce Lists USPTO Director as Vacant, USPTO declines to comment on Michelle Lee

If Lee did not resign and she has been asked to stay on as Director why has the Patent Office declined to comment? Further complicating matters, if you visit the Department of Commerce leadership webpage, the position of Under Secretary for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office is listed as “Vacant.”

Up close and personal with Drew Hirshfeld, Commissioner for Patents

This is the final segment of my interview with Drew Hirshfeld, Commissioner for Patents at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In this segment we get to know Hirshfeld personally, as a father and New York Knicks basketball fan.

Patent Commissioner Drew Hirshfeld on Patent Quality and Patent Eligibility

Drew HIRSHFELD: ”One thing that really can move the ball toward a higher quality patent is again the clarity of the record, and the amount of information that’s in there so that third parties can really tell what the patent was about. So quality has, as you’ve identified before, many ways to look at it. But when I leave this position, whenever that time is, certainly if I can have a more clear record, more full explanations on the record, I think the system would be in a better place and that is one of my goals.”

An Exclusive Interview with Drew Hirshfeld, the new Commissioner for Patents at the USPTO

HIRSHFELD: “[Y]ou caught my attention with quality means we issue a few patents. So let me address that first. We’ve always focused on quality as far as I’ve been here. What we have been asked to do in recent years is ask how can we take a more “out of the box” approach to quality, right? Is there anything that we could be doing with the goal of continuous improvement? And so to me that’s an absolutely wonderful position to be in for anybody asking how can you do your job better. And so I don’t look at quality as saying we want to issue more patents or less patents, we want to do a better job, a good job in the process as we’re moving forward. Things like clarity of the record. That does not mean we’re going to issue more or less, it means that we’re going to take extra steps to make sure we’re on the same page as the applicant. Or make sure we’re creating a good record so that a third party down the road can evaluate the application history, the prosecution history and tell exactly what took place. Certainly there is not a sentiment to try to reject more or less. Our goal is to do what the courts are asking us to do but we want to make sure that we’re thinking about all the ways we can do that in the most effective, efficient and clear way.”

Deputy Commissioner Drew Hirshfeld Appointed as New Commissioner for Patents

Hirshfeld succeeds Margaret “Peggy” Focarino, who served at the USPTO for 38 years and retired in early July 2015. While there were many highly qualified applicants for the Office to consider, it seemed to me that Hirshfeld was the logical choice to become the next Commissioner. Hirshfeld has been a key member of the senior management team at the USPTO for years, and others on the senior management team with more experience are either retiring this summer (i.e. Bruce Kisiluk) or are likely close to retirement.

Patent eligibility forum discusses examiners application of Mayo, Myriad, Alice

Drew Hirshfeld, Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy, went over the highlights of the USPTO interim guidance, explaining “first, we were able to narrow the funnel that we use to determine which claims should be analyzed for subject matter eligibility.” In this regard Hirshfeld was discussing how the USPTO modified the proposed guidance, which was initially released for comment and the guidance that was release in December 2014. In the proposed guidance from March 2014, the USPTO would have had examiners apply the patent eligibility matrix if the claims “recited or involved” a judicial exception to patent eligibility. In the final guidance, Hirshfeld explained, that the USPTO opted for “directed to” language instead, which is narrower than the expansive “recited or involved” standard.

Peter Pappas Appointed as Kappos’ New Chief of Staff

Effectively immediately Pappas is the new Chief of Staff and the immediate past Chief of Staff, Drew Hirschfeld, will assume the role of Associate Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy, which for a long time has been a key role within senior management at the USPTO.