Posts Tagged: "patent office"

Google General Counsel’s Clarion Call for U.S. Patent System Reform Should Not Be Heeded

On April 28, Google’s General Counsel Halimah DeLaine Prado authored a post published on Google’s official blog to voice concerns felt by one of the world’s richest corporations that the U.S. patent system is currently in a state of growing crisis. The post offers several suggestions, each sanctioned by Google, as to steps that can be taken in all three branches of the U.S. federal government to address patent quality, abusive litigation and forum shopping. Unfortunately, the proposed reforms would help very little, if at all, toward improving certainty and clarity in patent rights in a way that would actually improve American innovation by supporting small startups and individual inventors in our country. Indeed, any informed observer of the U.S. patent system would recognize that Google’s proposed reforms would instead do a great deal to advance Google’s own business interests ahead of those startups and individual inventors who need the patent system to work in order to survive.

Reyna Splits from CAFC on Weight of General Industry Skepticism in Obviousness Analysis

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Friday, April 29, held that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) erred in finding that Auris Health, Inc. had failed to demonstrate that the claims of Intuitive Surgical Operations, Inc.’s patent for robotic surgery systems were unpatentable as obvious. The CAFC said the PTAB impermissibly rested its motivation-to-combine finding on evidence of “general skepticism” about the field of invention and thus vacated and remanded.

Foreign Filing Requirements Part II – Comparing Popular Patenting Jurisdictions

In Part I of this series, we provided an overview of foreign filing restrictions for cross-border inventions around the world. For a deeper examination, we will narrow our focus to some of the most common countries for filing. The United States, China, and India are among the most popular patent filing venues in the world. While all three countries require a Foreign Filing License (FFL) before filing abroad or otherwise first filing in the home country, the specific requirements vary.

Hirono and Tillis Give Vidal One Month to Answer Questions on Abuse of PTAB Process

Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) sent a letter yesterday to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Kathi Vidal to express their concern over the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decisions to institute inter partes review (IPR) proceedings in OpenSky Industries, LLC v. VLSI Technology LLC and Patent Quality Assurance, LLC v. VLSI Technology LLC. “The facts and circumstances around these proceedings suggest petitioners OpenSky Industries, LLC (OpenSky) and Patent Quality Assurance, LLC (PQA) brought the proceedings to manipulate the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for their own financial gain,” explains the letter.

Patent Filings Roundup: Litigation Finance Disclosures in Delaware Standardized; Impossible Burger Patent Challenged; Slew of Discretionary Denials

With an average 33 Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) filings (one post grant review, the rest inter partes reviews[IPRs]), a relatively high number (89) of district court terminations (including some high-profile settlements), and a somewhat low number (63) of suits this week, we are rolling into May. Chief Judge Connolly of the U.S. District Court for the District Court of Delaware  filed a standing order in all of his cases requiring litigation funding disclosures; there were more filings by more Magentar entities (who, by last count, are up to 15 high-profile litigation funded campaigns), and more IPR counters; and still more IPRs (22 or 23) in the Israeli-based Bright Data assertion campaign. The patents there are a range, but are based, broadly, on Internet connectivity.

Hague in Force in China: Tips for Choosing the Hague Agreement or Paris Convention to File Design Patents in China

The Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (the “Hague Agreement”) will enter into force in China next week, on May 5. Together with the original Paris Convention approach, there will now be two different options for filing design patents in China: the Hague system (designated extension) and the Paris Convention (direct entry). Based on our experience and analysis of the relevant regulations, we have the following preliminary suggestions on how foreign applicants should choose to enter China.

Set Better Standards for Quality to Save the U.S. Patent System

A recent New York Times Editorial Board opinion urged comprehensive reform of America’s patent system by focusing on a few examples of what the Board views as “bad” drug-related patents. Unfortunately, the opinion does not define what makes a patent good or bad. Nor do the sources relied on by the Board provide open access to the underlying data on which such judgments are made. Calls for improving America’s patent system should be based on more than unverifiable grievances. Real reform will take more than just suggestions that nibble around the edges of our current patent system in response to broad allegations of unfairness. Real reform needs objective standards for measuring patent quality that can guide improvements. Such evidence about patent quality may show that fundamental aspects of our patent system must be updated to keep it relevant for today’s innovation economy.

World IP Day 2022 Emphasizes Youth Contributions to IP

It is once again World IP Day, on which the global intellectual property (IP) community celebrates IP and innovation, as well as the day that the Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) came into force (April 26, 1970). World IP Day was first observed in 2000 in an effort by WIPO to raise awareness of the importance IP plays in fostering innovation and creativity. This year, WIPO has chosen to focus on the theme of “IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future,” spotlighting young entrepreneurs and innovators across the globe. There’s a youth video competition, a World IP Day Youth Gallery, and dozens of events taking place worldwide throughout the week.

Federal Circuit Signals Appetite for Increased PTAB Discretion in Motions to Amend

Patent owners facing inter partes review (IPR) challenges have the option of filing a motion to amend as a contingency plan. This motion, accompanied by proposed substitute claims, allows the patent owner a fallback position if the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) finds the original claims unpatentable. If successful, despite the unpatentability of the original claims, the patent owner maintains the substitute claims. While this sounds great in concept, the historical success rate of such motions is low. From October 2012 through March 2020, only 14% of motions to amend were granted. This improved slightly in 2020, to 25%, but dropped back to 18% in 2021 (calculated using data from Docket Navigator). The recent decision in Hunting Titan, Inc., v. DynaEnergetics Europe GmbH thus presents the somewhat rare case in which an amendment was granted by the PTAB and affirmed on appeal. That said, the Federal Circuit’s narrow holding does not indicate an easier future for patent owners’ motions to amend; indeed, the opposite may be true.

Navigating Foreign Filing Requirements for Cross-Border Patent Inventions (Part I)

With the rapid development of communication technologies, the world is more connected than ever. As the academic communities are drawn closer, international research collaborations increase dramatically. Researchers and scientists from all over the world often come together to make new inventions….. Such global collaboration can result in exciting innovations for which the inventors or their employers often would like to seek patent protections. Due to the “global” nature of these inventions, it is only natural that the applicants desire to patent them in multiple countries to maximize the rights. However, while science and technology observe no national borders, patent protections and related regulations do.

Grammar, Commas and Courts: Know the Rules to Save Your Patent

To quote a popular saying: “Let’s eat grandpa. Let’s eat, grandpa. Correct punctuation can save a person’s life.” And incorrect punctuation can cost millions of dollars. Do you know when to use a comma versus a semicolon? Do you know how to indent a plurality of elements in a claim? Do you know when to write “patent, copyright, or trademark” or “patent, copyright or trademark”? As Judge David J. Barron said: “For want of a comma, we have this case.”… Although there are no hard and fast grammatical rules, it’s better to err on the side of caution, following rules that courts have recognized.

Patent Filings Roundup: Fintiv Denial in Light of NPE Suit Against Healthcare Co.; More Institutions in Troubled, Funded ParkerVision Campaign; Universal Studios Sued by German Ride Company

Patent filings were average this week, with 21 Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) petitions and 77 district court patent complaints filed (and 67 terminated). In the district courts, Joao, Cedar Lane, and DynaIP campaigns added a fair number of defendants, some interesting competitor-competitor cases cropped up, and Wepay Global Payments LLC continued its single-design-patent campaign, adding Wells Fargo. This week also saw a few discretionary denials, as detailed below.

Actions of USPTO Officials Performing the Director’s Functions and Duties During Director Vacancy are Void

Under the U.S. Constitution’s Appointments Clause, “Officers of the United States” generally are required to be nominated by the President “by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate.”  This rule applies equally to the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), who has an important executive role with political accountability and therefore, by statute, must be Presidentially-Appointed and Senate-Confirmed (PAS). The Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (VRA) provides that the President (and only the President) may direct an “acting” official to temporarily perform the functions and duties of the vacant PAS office. The VRA states that its mechanisms are “exclusive” of all other mechanisms for temporarily filling a vacant PAS office. On several occasions since 2013, including most recently with Commissioner Andrew Hirshfeld, the USPTO has adopted a modality for filling a vacancy in the office of the Director, not with an Acting Director as the VRA requires, but with a non-PAS official “designated” to “perform the functions and duties” of the Director.

Jump Rope Systems Asks CAFC for Initial En Banc Rehearing Challenging Collateral Estoppel Ruling in XY v. Trans Ova Genetics

On April 19, exercise equipment developer Jump Rope Systems filed a petition  with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) seeking an initial hearing en banc to challenge a consent judgment  entered in a patent infringement case filed in the Southern District of Ohio. Jump Rope Systems is asking the full Federal Circuit to overturn its own decision in XY, LLC v. Trans Ova Genetics, L.C. (2018), arguing that preclusive effect cannot be given to invalidity determinations issued by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) because XY conflicts with U.S. Supreme Court rulings on collateral estoppel doctrine.

German Decision Could Provide an Answer to AI Inventorship

Germany’s Federal Patent Court has set aside a decision by the country’s Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) that refused a patent application naming an artificial intelligence (AI) as the inventor. The decision was first rendered in November 2021 following oral argument, but the fully written opinion was only delivered March 31, and was published in German on the court’s homepage on April 19, 2022. The application was filed on October 17, 2019, and is titled “Food Container”. It named the applicant as Stephen L. Thaler and the inventor as “DABUS – The invention was autonomously generated by an artificial intelligence.”