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Posts Tagged: "patent backlog"

Farewell Brazilian Backlog: Brazilian PTO Introduces Standardized Office Action Program

The Brazilian PTO has officially introduced its longed-for strategy to solve the enduring patent backlog problem in Brazil.  The plan is to reduce the patent backlog by at least 80% in the course of the next two years with the use of “standardized office actions” – that is, machine-made technical opinions that will simply point out prior art documents to be addressed by the applicant.  Once the backlog is finally dealt with — likely by 2021— the PTO estimates it will to be able to examine future patent applications within twenty-four (24) months. If the goals of the program are achieved, the Brazilian PTO will be finally able to stand on equal footing with its foreign counterparts in the developed world with regard to the average patent examination time.

Brazilian PTO Considers Automatically Granting 231,000 Patents to Get Rid of Backlog

The Brazilian Government is considering the adoption of an emergency measure to eliminate the Patent Office chronic backlog problem by automatically granting, without examination, 230,000 pending applications until 2020. The emergency measure has been labelled by the Government as an “extraordinary solution” and a draft of the plan was introduced for public discussion. Companies may soon need to deploy a strategy within a time-frame as short as 90 days to take full advantage of the new system while minimizing potential risks… For the past 15 years, Brazil has been enduring one of the world’s most severe patent backlogs. The problem has grown considerably after the enactment of the 1996 Patent Statute, which was adopted to make the country TRIPS compliant.

Pre-Grant Publication – The perilous deviation from the patent bargain that causes long patent application pendencies

The fundamental patent bargain has been perilously breached by forcing publication on every application. Sound policy would have avoided upsetting the core patent bargain – disclosure upon grant of exclusive rights – and would have provided an equitable incremental quid-pro-quo: applicants can reap the additional optional benefit of deferral of examination for several years in exchange for early disclosure of their application. That way, applicants who do not wish to defer examination would then be unaffected and their core patent bargain would have been undisturbed – disclosure only upon grant of exclusive rights… Those who push for 18-month publication of all applications have it all backwards. Non-publication is not the problem – it is the solution.

It’s Time to Fix the Global Patent System Before It Breaks Under the Weight of New Applications

Patent offices are failing to keep up with the growth of the innovation economy and the resulting increase in patent applications. Unfortunately, the problem could easily get worse in coming years. Many patent offices apparently have yet to process applications from recent years, when huge increases in applications have occurred. It’s a problem that threatens to undermine the global patent system, but what’s both encouraging and discouraging by turns is that it’s largely a basic problem of good governance. Many of the solutions to the problem are relatively straightforward. They require the application of sufficient resources and a willingness to hire an appropriate number of examiners and share work between patent offices. These solutions are a matter of political will and effective management, rather than complex policy. Some countries have shown the will to turn things around, and we hope others will follow.

The America Invents Act on Its Fifth Anniversary: A Promise Thus Far Only Partially Fulfilled

Unfortunately, Mr. President, after five years I cannot report back that the AIA has yet ”improve[d] patent quality and help[ed] give entrepreneurs the protection and the confidence they need to attract investment, to grow their businesses, and to hire more workers.” The current implementation of PTO post issuance proceedings is undermining confidence in our patent system, chilling innovation at its roots, and, in eyes of some, giving the AIA a bad name.

Kasich, Patents and the Middle Class

What Kasich doesn’t explain, however, is how he achieved a balanced budget. As part of the Kasich-Clinton deal the budget of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) was raided for additional money to help plug shortfalls elsewhere. The appropriations cap placed on the USPTO for fiscal year 1998 was $691 million, and according to the IPO $199 million was collected but diverted, which means 22.4% of fee collections were taken from the USPTO in FY 1998 and used for other purposes… Republicans, including Kasich, love to lay claim to the Reagan legacy. But President Reagan was a supporter of the patent system. He never would have tolerated raiding the USPTO budget for any reason. We know that because it was President Reagan that demanded a build up of the USPTO as part of his overall strategy to make America great again and compete with the Japanese for technology dominance.

Will the USPTO Outreach Fix the RCE Backlog?

The problem of the RCE backlog is a function of the prosecution dynamic and lack of meaningful oversight into areas where RCEs are common and patents issue only after going on the appeal track. Still, in the press release issued by the USPTO recently discussing the RCE backlog and USPTO Outreach, Acting Director Teresa Rea said: “One of the purposes of this outreach effort is not to eliminate RCE practice, but to enable applicants to better understand the full range of alternative options we have available during the examination process.” This sounds a like the USPTO is blaming the patent community for the RCE backlog. Yes, there are ways to avoid filing RCEs but they all require patent examiners that are willing to participate in a meaningful way. What about the Art Units where examiners practically refuse to issue patents?

The David Kappos Era at the USPTO

if you ask me the Kappos legacy is not going to be the America Invents Act. The Kappos legacy will be that he managed to put the USPTO back on track. The agency is open for business and is issuing patents. It is odd to say it, but the USPTO had become so dysfunctional over the years that the allowance rate had slipped to never before seen lows. The feeling was that the USPTO was the “No Patent for You Office,” which did nothing to help foster the growth of innovation, and more importantly jobs.

New Patent Fees: USPTO Exercises Fee Setting Authority

The final rules on patent fees will publish in the Federal Register on Friday, January 18, 2013. Fees are going up for most, but not as much as feared. It will be more expensive to file a utility patent application, except for micro-entity applicants (see Utility Filing Fees Table), but it will be less to pay the issue fee once you get a Notice of Allowance (see Issue Fee Table). It will cost 29% more to file the first RCE for large and small entities (see First RCE Fees Table), and 83% more for subsequent RCE filings for large and small entities (see Subsequent RCE Fees Table). The ex parte reexaminations fees are much lower, down 32% and 66% respectively for large and small entities (see Reexam Fees Table), but are still much higher compared to where they were prior to them being raised over 600% recently. Of course, cutting ex parte reexamination fees means the overall cost is still roughly 250% higher for small entities and 500% higher for large entities than this time last year.

Track One By the Numbers. What are you Waiting for?

The USPTO has returned to the historical philosophy that patent examiners should work cooperatively with patent applicants to identify allowable subject matter and issue patents on what is allowable, not just focusing on rejection after rejection after rejection. While there are quite a few positive changes, with more in the works, Track One is by far the most successful policy initiative that has come to bear during the Kappos Administration. The only problem with Track One is that more applicants are not using it! What are you waiting for? A look at the numbers shows that Track One is a huge success and ought to be employed far more than it has been.

Patent Strategy: Discovering Crucial Patent Examiner Data

What if you could have a crystal ball looking inside the United States Patent and Trademark Office to easily determine an array of statistical information related to a particular Art Unit or even a specific Patent Examiner? Can you imagine the types of strategic consultations you could engage in with clients? Clients hate being surprised with additional fees and unexplained and/or unexpected delays. What if you could with a few clicks of your mouse find out all kinds of information about a Patent Examiner and/or Art Unit? The amount of cases requiring an RCE, the average number of office actions, how often appeals are successful, how long it takes on average to get a patent, among much more information? Thanks to a new system created by patent attorneys Chris Holt and Joseph Kelly — the PatentCore™ system — you can obtain actionable and immediate intelligence on any patent examiner and on any Art Unit.

Patent Filings Up Worldwide, Outpacing GDP Growth

The question, however, is whether this increased inventive activity is sustainable in light of the overwhelming backlogs faced by Patent Offices around the world. It is great to have a lot of inventive activity and interest in obtaining patents. That shows that there is increased interest in business activities because few, if any, pursue a patent for the sole purpose of obtaining a patent. There is almost universally some business goal with associated hopes, dreams and potential positive impact for the economy. Whether this increased innovative activity can and will be something that produces an associated economic boon remains to be seen and is largely, if not completely, dependent on the political machinations of those in Washington, DC and other capitals around the world. Talk about a depressing though!

House Republicans Oppose Adequately Funded Patent Office

Despite the fact that Congressmen Ryan and Rogers would like this to be about the Obama Administration, the fact is that Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) is the one who championed the amendment in the Senate that would give the Patent Office the ability to keep the fees it collects. Senator Coburn is known as “Senator No” for his staunch fiscally conservative stance on virtually all issues. So if you are willing to let facts influence your viewpoint there is absolutely no way that Patent Office funding within proposed patent reform can be an issue upon which Republicans can beat up Democrats. It was a leading fiscally conservative Republican in the Senate who brought the USPTO funding issue out of obscurity and to the top of the agenda.

Ranting on Congress: Not a Happy World IP Day in the US

Did World Intellectual Property Day sneak up on you again this year? How could you let that happen? At a time when the United States Congress seems hell bent on destroying the patent system by inadequately funding the United States Patent and Trademark Office we really should celebrate something that seems to be functioning, so why not celebrate the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the innovation policies of nations who are stealing research and development away from the United States? What a tragedy that the World has better innovation policies than the United States.

Patent Reform in the Media and De Facto First to File

As I have repeatedly explained over and over again for the past several years, there is nothing to fear about a first to file system (see above) AND there is no reason that a first to file system must be linked with changes to the grace period enjoyed by innovators. It seems those that would prefer to marginalize my factually correct statement about a de facto first to file statement conveniently ignore my complete views. Those who mischaracterize the truth seem to have an unhealthy and unnatural emotional attachment to a first to invent system that simply doesn’t exist, at least 99.99613% of the time.