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Posts Tagged: "patent classification"

Why the Patent Classification System Needs an Update

Patent categories were established more than 100 years ago. There are dozens of categories that reflect industry at the time: gears, sewing machines, and bicycles, to name a few. While these are certainly useful categories, the patent classification system has not kept up with the times. It leaves out many modern technologies, like inventions that are based on machine learning or blockchain. There are no categories for these innovations, which are reshaping our world in real-time. The problem? When patent classifications don’t actually classify inventions, we have no way of knowing how many inventions in these categories are being registered.

A Better Way to File Patent Applications

The PathWays system is designed to help applicants predict which art units an application is likely to be filed before the application is even filed. A unique semantic search algorithm compares user submitted text to weighted key words derived from an exhaustive collection of application documents clustered in each USPTO art unit.

An Exclusive Interview with USPTO Director Michelle Lee

There were no topics ruled out of bounds for this 30 minute interview, not even the Supreme Court’s recent decision to accept cert. in Cuozzo, although as an attorney myself I know better than to ask questions that would have certainly provoked a polite “no comment” response in the face of ongoing litigation. Nevertheless, our conversation was wide ranging. We discussed the release of the Copyright White paper, which among other things recommends expanding eligibility for statutory damages in copyright infringement actions. We also discussed Lee’s recent visit to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the power outage that brought down USPTO electronic filing systems, the Office’s patent quality initiative, the new patent classification system, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and more.

Patent Searching 101: A Patent Search Tutorial

Inventors and entrepreneurs who are looking to cut costs frequently want to do their own patent search. This is a wise first move, but inventors need to be careful. It is quite common for inventors to do a patent search and find nothing even when there are things that could and would be found by a professional searcher. So while it makes sense to do your own search first, be careful relying on your own search to justify spending the thousands of dollars you will need to spend to ultimately obtain a patent. In other words, nothing in this article should be interpreted as me suggesting that inventors can or should forgo a professional patent search. There is simply no comparison between a patent search done by an inventor and a patent search done by a professional searcher. Having said that, every inventor should spend time searching and looking if for no other reason than to familiarize themselves with the prior art. Of course, if you can find something that is too close on your own you save time and money and you can move on to whatever invention/project is next.

When USPTO Classifies an Application Incorrectly

This case had been made Special on the Patent Prosecution Highway in October of 2013 because of a favorable Written Opinion from a PCT Searching Authority. For a Special case, USPTO’s case management system normally starts ringing an alarm on the Examiner’s desk after a couple of months. So we should have seen an Office Action at least a month ago, maybe two months ago. But that only works if the case has been assigned to an Examiner. Often the USPTO first assigns the case to a SPE and then it is left to the SPE to figure out which Examiner in the SPE’s art unit should actually examine the case. This case got assigned to the SPE in a particular art unit. Let’s call him “SPE V”. It seems that SPE V decided that this case had been misclassified and should not have gone to his art unit. So he tried to get rid of it.

USPTO and KIPO Announce Launch of Cooperative Patent Classification System Pilot

The pilot between KIPO and the USPTO marks a major first step towards KIPO classifying its patent collection using the CPC. For the pilot, KIPO will apply the CPC classification to patent documents in particular technologies, namely, technologies for which filings have been especially active at KIPO. KIPO will work together with the USPTO to identify these technologies.

USPTO and EPO Publish Advance Version of Cooperative Patent Classification System

The U.S. Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) today announced early publication of a classification system meant to speed the patent granting process for applicants to both Offices. The Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system and finalized CPC definitions are now available in advance of the January 1, 2013, official launch. The CPC is a joint USPTO-EPO project aimed at developing a common classification system for technical documents in particular patent publications, which will be used by both offices in the patent granting process.

Using US Patent Classifications to Enhance Key Word Searching to Achieve Higher Quality Patent Search Results

I have found it helpful to think about patent classifications as being large buckets with subclassifications being little buckets within the larger classification buckets. There are currently more than 450 classifications and over 150,000 subclasses. According to the USPTO, “A class generally delineates one technology from another. A Subclass delineates processes, structural features, and functional features of subject matter encompassed with the scope of the class.” It is also important to realize that although every patent has only one primary classification (class and subclass) it may include others as applicable to the patent.

Increasing Patent Allowance Rates by Selectively Targeting a More Technological Patent Class

Class matters. Technology class, that is. In some of the more rapidly growing areas of our economy, like Social Networking and Mobile Phone Apps, it looks like you can almost double patent allowance rate by making sure your patent application is classified in the more technological patent office art units. For entrepreneurs, a faster allowance rate and earlier acquisition of patents can directly translate into better fund raising, more secure commercialization and more profitable licensing. For large corporations, it means substantially reduced patent costs. And with some forethought you can probably influence which class your application is placed in while at the same time creating a more comprehensive patent application.

USPTO and EPO Work on Joint Patent Classification System

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) have agreed to work toward the formation of a joint patent classification system. Unlike other major patent document classification systems, the U.S. patent classification system is not based on the International Patent Classification (IPC) system because it predates the IPC. One of the goals of the partnership is to align the U.S. and the EPO classification systems with the IPC, which is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. The jointly developed classification system will be more detailed than the IPC to improve patent searching. As a result, the two offices would move closer to eliminating the unnecessary duplication of work between the two offices, thus promoting more efficient examinations, while also enhancing patent examination quality.

Patent Searching 102: Using Public PAIR

If you are really serious about doing a high quality patent search on your own I recommend doing whatever you can to find 1 or 2 patents or patent applications that closely relate to your invention, whether that means in terms of structure or concept. I hear all the time that inventors do searches and cannot find anything relevant, which is unbelievable. If you do a search and find nothing then you are doing something wrong. See No Prior Art for my Invention. Do whatever you have to, and in a pinch to find something quick that is at least somewhat relevant Google Patent Search will do. Then visit Public PAIR and see what you can find out about the prior art found and used by the patent examiner against that patent or patent application.

An Exclusive Interview with Francis Gurry, WIPO Director General

Yesterday I had the honor of spending 30 minutes interviewing Francis Gurry, the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The Director General spoke substantively about issues facing the Patent Offices of the world, as well as some possible solutions. Gurry also discusses harmonization attempts, work-sharing agreements and the crushing worldwide backlog of patent applications that could lead to irrelevance of the system. As you read the interview you will also see that he thinks it is possible that the rest of the world will adopt a US-like grace period.