Posts Tagged: "patent prosecution"

USPTO Expedited Processes for Examination and the New Petition to Make Special for Climate Change Inventions

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has a massive backlog of patent applications (typically in the hundreds of thousands). Indeed, the average wait for patent applicants to receive any substantive response from the USPTO is 19.4 months, and the wait is growing. (See chart below). Because of this situation, there has been a need for patent applicants to accelerate the process. The USPTO has obliged and provides several options discussed here for patent applicants to consider.

USPTO Report Underscores Split on State of U.S. Patent Eligibility Jurisprudence

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has published its study on patent eligibility jurisprudence in response to a March 2021 request from Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Chris Coons (D-DE). The study, titled “Patent eligible subject matter: Public views on the current jurisprudence in the United States,” is based on more than 140 comments received following a USPTO request of July 9, 2021, and unsurprisingly concluded that many (mostly larger) high-tech and computer-related companies like the current state of the law; life sciences, startups and SMEs do not; but everyone agrees that consistency, clarity and predictability are needed. The study did not make any recommendations, and indicated that the Office will be continuing to solicit feedback via listening sessions and written comments and that it is also broadening the scope of stakeholders it reaches out to.

After Final Consideration Pilot 2.0: A Patent Examiner’s Perspective

When the After Final Consideration Pilot Program 2.0 (“AFCP 2.0”) first launched in May of 2013, the program was lauded by both patent practitioners and USPTO officials as an effective tool to reduce pendency by advancing prosecution while reducing the number of Requests for Continued Examination (RCE’s). Since then, the USPTO has renewed the program multiple times and is still active. Essentially, the program provides another bite of the apple for the applicant by giving some time for the patent examiner to consider additional claim amendments after prosecution has closed without charging the applicant any additional fees. However, many patent practitioners today are finding little value in the program. Is AFCP 2.0 beneficial for advancing prosecution without filing an RCE? As a former primary examiner with ten years at the USPTO, I have a unique insight into the program and how it should be properly utilized.

Hirshfeld Announces Timeline for Departure from USPTO

United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Acting Deputy Director Drew Hirshfeld will step down from a nearly 30-year career with the Office on June 21, the USPTO announced today. Hirshfeld became Commissioner for Patents with the USPTO in 2015. He was appointed to a second five-year term in that role in July 2020. Before that, he served as Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy, and for two years as the USPTO Chief of Staff for David Kappos. He also served as a Supervisory Patent Examiner, as well as a Group Director of Technology Center 2100, overseeing Computer Networking and Database workgroups. Hirshfeld first joined the agency in 1994 as a patent examiner.

One Inventor’s Story and Hopes for Kathi Vidal

On Wednesday, May 25, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Kathi Vidal and a panel of academics from Silicon Valley participated in a 90-minute, live Q&A webinar regarding the state of the USPTO. I attended virtually. I am a five-time world jump rope champion and the only jump roper to design and patent a jump rope handle technology. I was granted my two patents (US 7,789,809 B2 and US 8,136.208 B2) in 2010/2012. I started my jump rope manufacturing business, JumpNrope, in 2010 here in Louisville, Colorado. I am proud to also say that I source all my jump rope parts and pieces from U.S. vendors. We make all our jump ropes by hand in Colorado. My technology not only changed the sport of jump rope by offering a precision speed jump rope handle, but it also changed the fitness industry. To date, hundreds of companies have infringed on my patent, including Rogue Fitness, the largest fitness distributor for CrossFit and Strongman. As detailed in my case, I believe that Rogue has willfully infringed on my patent since 2012 by selling tens of millions of dollars’ worth of infringing jump ropes per year.

Protecting Intellectual Property in Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (“AR”), along with Virtual Reality (“VR”), is rapidly growing in prominence and will be transformative to the way we live, work, learn and play. Both AR and VR will undoubtedly bring a whole set of novel IP issues for individuals, companies, IP practitioners and the courts. Like any new technological area, such as cyber law for the nascent internet technology in the early 1990s, many legal issues need to be addressed and many more are yet to be discovered as this area evolves.  

Tips From a Former Examiner: Pre-Appeal Brief Review

After two or more U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) office actions on the merits, a patent applicant has the option to appeal the patent examiner’s decision rejecting one or more claims to a higher forum, i.e., the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Since 2005, the USPTO has provided an ongoing pilot program in which an appellant, upon the filing of a notice of appeal, may also request a pre-appeal brief review. Why make this request? What are the pros and cons? What are the risks? In this article, I will explore these issues from my perspective as a former USPTO patent examiner.

Tips from a Former Examiner on How to Conduct Interviews at the USPTO

The “interview” during the patent prosecution process is a meeting typically held between a patent examiner and the applicant’s representative (i.e., a patent practitioner). In some cases, the inventor, assignee, or a subject matter expert may also be present. During my time as a United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) patent examiner, I would almost always encourage scheduling an interview with applicant’s representative to discuss the merits. Curiously, many patent practitioners are not proactive in initiating an interview with the examiner. Why is an interview so important? When and how should it be held? How does an applicant’s representative conduct an effective interview?

Hyatt Returns to SCOTUS with Request to Clarify Standard for Summary Judgment, APA Scope of Review Provisions

Gilbert Hyatt, an inventor who has been granted more than 70 patents and has filed more than 400 applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court asking the Justices to weigh in on his challenge of a policy he alleges the USPTO implemented in the 1990s to categorically deny him issuance of any additional patents. Hyatt has been embroiled in litigation with the USPTO for decades and won a previous Supreme Court appeal in 2012.  

USPTO Issues Update on Relations with Russian Patent Office

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced today that certain intellectual property (IP)-related transactions are now authorized in Russia, following publication by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of General License No. 31. The authorized transactions include the filing and prosecution of any application to obtain a patent, trademark, or copyright, as well as renewal and maintenance fees.

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.

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.

Obviousness and Inherency in Solid Forms

Claimed inventions in issued patents must, of course, pass the statutorily required hurdles of novelty and non-obviousness. In the context of solid forms, there are particular nuances the practitioner should consider when formulating a strategy for obtaining such claims in the United States. This article touches upon novelty and obviousness matters which have arisen with solid-form patents and provides some food for thought on how to plan in advance to tackle these issues.

DABUS Sent Back to Drawing Board Following Reversal of Inventorship Decision by Australia Court

On April 13, 2022, the Federal Court of Australia, on appeal, reversed its 2021 decision that DABUS, an artificial intelligence (AI) machine, qualified as an inventor for a patent application under Australian law. DABUS is a computer built, programmed and owned by Dr. Stephen Thaler. Thaler has filed patent applications in several countries around the world for inventions created by DABUS. Each application names DABUS as the sole inventor. Patent offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia determined that the applications were incomplete, since a human inventor was not identified. Thaler appealed each application in the patent offices, all of which continued to rule that an AI machine was not an inventor. On further appeals, courts in the United States and the United Kingdom have agreed with the patent offices and ruled against Thaler. However, in 2021, the Federal Court of Australia issued an opinion by a primary judge, who reversed the Australian Patent Office and held that Australia’s law did not require an inventor to be a natural person.

IP Practice Vlogs: Writing Strong Patents

In the United States, patent prosecution practice is primarily shaped by two governing bodies: 1) the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which issues procedural practice guidelines, and 2) judicial rulings from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. When it comes to the matter of Section 101 subject matter eligibility, the USPTO and the Federal Circuit diverge somewhat in their analysis, specifically in their consideration of what constitutes an “abstract idea.” Our modern-day concept of “abstract idea” is shaped by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank in 2014. The USPTO and the Federal Circuit both operate under the Alice doctrine of “abstract idea” when it comes to assessing subject matter eligibility, particularly when it comes to software patents. Alice requires that an “abstract idea” has “something more” than what is well-understood, routine and conventional in order to be patent eligible.