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Posts Tagged: "patent quality"

USPTO’s Patent Quality and Pendency Programs are Bearing Fruit

According to Strategic Goal 1 of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) FY2020 Performance and Accountability Report (PAR), the USPTO is committed to high-quality patent examination in a timely manner. From submission to approval, the USPTO has established groundbreaking quality assurance programs, metrics, and training programs. It has also established IT modernization programs to improve the overall quality of the office’s work products and processes. These steps have made it possible for the agency to introduce new programs to significantly reduce pendency. A high-quality patent must adhere to the requirements of Title 35, and to the corresponding and applicable case law. To monitor and drive quality, the Office has been conducting both internal and external stakeholder perception surveys semiannually since 2006. In response to stakeholder feedback, the USPTO is providing detailed data at the technology center level, including filings, pendency, staffing, productivity, and inventory levels.

Building High-Quality Patent Portfolios in the United States and Europe: Part I – Intervening Prior Art

One ingredient that distinguishes a good patent portfolio from a great patent portfolio can be the synergistic strength of its U.S. and European patent family members. To develop this strength, it is not enough to have a U.S. attorney and a European attorney simply coordinate the procedural strategy for filing an application; rather, the drafter and manager of the application should analyze important issues upfront and prepare a patent application that accounts for the substantive differences between U.S. examination, U.S. courts, European examination, and national courts in Europe.

A Closer, Evidence-Based Look at ‘Patent Quality’ Advocacy

The Patent Infringer Lobby has ramped up banging the drum about “patent quality.” They dedicated a week-long campaign to questioning “patent quality,” which its constituents regard as a huge problem. Advocates have taken advantage of the vacuum left after U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Andrei Iancu left the building. Anti-patent advocates are exploiting the new dynamic of Senator Patrick Leahy, coauthor of the America Invents Act (AIA), who now chairs the Senate Intellectual Property Subcommittee. Leahy recently did the Infringer Lobby the favor of holding a hearing on this subject.

Does the USPTO’s Roadmap to Improved Patent Quality Lead to Lake Wobegon?

The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property recently held hearings on the topic of Protecting Real Innovations by Improving Patent Quality. The Subcommittee is to be commended for seeking practical solutions to improve patent quality. To this end, the author respectfully recommends that the Subcommittee and the intellectual property (IP) community take a close look at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)’s revised Performance and Appraisal Plan (PAP) for patent examiners.

Senate IP Subcommittee Mulls Ways to Improve Patent Quality (Again)

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property on Tuesday heard from four witnesses on the topic of “Protecting Real Innovations by Improving Patent Quality.” The topic has been addressed by the Senate IP Subcommittee before, and long-debated in patent circles generally. Under the leadership of its new Chairman, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the Subcommittee now seems to be revisiting the conversation and looking for practical fixes.

Professors Expand Upon Proposals to Senate IP Subcommittee for Improving Patent Quality

On October 30, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property heard from five witnesses on ways to improve patent quality at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The Subcommittee subsequently posed questions to the witnesses, including professors Colleen Chien, R. Polk Wagner, and Melissa Wasserman, to supplement their testimony. Those witnesses have now submitted their responses, which expand upon their various suggestions for improving patent quality.

Artificial Intelligence Will Help to Solve the USPTO’s Patent Quality Problem

About a month ago, Steve Brachmann authored an article concerned with a brief given to Capitol Hill staff by Professors Frakes and Wasserman. The article highlighted fundamental, as well as practical, problems with Professors Frakes’ and Wasserman’s proposal (i.e. doubling the number of patent examiners as a means to reduce the number of invalid patents and thereby prevent societal harms) and how it could be detrimental to the U.S. patent system. The IPWatchdog article points to several issues with Frakes’ and Wasserman’s proposal, but does not discuss other approaches or options, such as using artificial intelligence tools to improve the patent application review process—an option that USPTO Commissioner for Patents Drew Hirshfeld said in a recent Senate IP Subcommittee hearing that the Office is actively pursuing. According to PWC, 72% of executives testify that AI improves internal operations while freeing up workers to perform more creative and meaningful tasks. In fact, while some might fear that “robots” will take human jobs, technological innovation has been proven to generate more jobs than it takes, while automating tasks, like patent search.

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.

To Truly Help the USPTO, Congress Must First Stabilize Patent Law

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property is holding a hearing on October 30 to discuss the quality of patents issued by the USPTO. This hearing should be a great opportunity to discuss the current and future challenges facing the USPTO, including modernizing the software tools used by examiners. Unfortunately, the hearing title (“Promoting the Useful Arts: How can Congress prevent the issuance of poor quality patents?”) begins with the premise that there are poor quality patents and perpetuates the unsubstantiated position that past litigation abuse was due to patent quality. Perhaps a better start would have been to call the hearing “Promoting the Useful Arts: How can Congress help the USPTO improve patent examination?”

This Week in Washington IP: Senate IP Subcommittee to Address Preventing Poor Quality Patents, House Looks at Clean Energy Workforce

This week in technology and innovation hearings taking place in Washington, D.C., subcommittees in the House of Representatives discuss the worker pipeline for the clean energy sector and ways to promote C-Band spectrum auctions on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday, the Senate IP Subcommittee holds a hearing on preventing the issuance of poor quality patents, which is likely to include some contentious viewpoints on the U.S. patent system. Other Senate hearings this week focus on innovation in water security as well as national security issues in the 5G supply chain. Elsewhere, The Brookings Institution explores the role of the Federal Trade Commission in consumer data privacy legislation and closes out the week with an event that takes a look at ways to mitigate the risks of artificial intelligence technologies.

IP Commercialization Is the Key Measure for Patent Quality Assessment

With exponential growth in patent filings each year and expanding company portfolios, Patent Quality Assessment (PQA) has become a significant and crucial task. USPTO maintenance fees, which are required to be paid periodically to keep a patent alive for 20 years, further add to the importance of maintaining only quality patents. Patent professionals worldwide have developed a myriad of metrics to assess the quality of patent assets. Benchmarking tools include terms like “Qscore” and “Asset indexes” to quantify the qualitative attributes of a patent.

USPTO Releases 2018-2022 Strategic Plan to Optimize Timeliness and Quality

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently released its 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, setting various goals to ensure high quality services for the agency’s customers and stakeholders aligned with the Department of Commerce’s strategic objective to strengthen intellectual property protection… “We are confident in attaining the goals set out in this plan and look forward to the continued engagement and feedback from our stakeholders and employees,” Director Andrei Iancu is quoted as saying in a press release issued by the USPTO upon the release of the new strategic plan. “Together we celebrate innovation and entrepreneurship—we are very proud of the men and women who stand behind a well-balanced American intellectual property system.”

Is a ‘Bad Patent’ really that bad?

Here we go again with a new villain, the bad patent. If a patent is a bad patent, there must be a negative economic effect. But what is the negative economic effect with respect to this cat exercising method? In what universe does it make sense to set patent policy for the 21st century based on a cat exercising patent? Like the myth of the patent troll, the myth of the bad patent exists only to protect huge monopolistic multinational corporations from the creative destruction of a small inventor with a big idea at the expense of our economy, our job creation engine and our national security.

Tax Reform to Revive the American Innovation Culture

The U.S. patent promise of exclusivity has become nothing more than lip service with no credibility for more than half a century. A patent system maintained by offering lip service must fail over time. The American inventor population is vanishing rapidly as a result of the changed laws and anti-patent movement. If the patent reward fails, both those who are inventors and those who would be inventors will be influenced not to pursue innovating and society will see an era of slow progress. Bad policy advice has misled Congress into belief that inventing without the participation of inventors will be fine. Reality will soon prove it was a fatal mistake that the U.S. should not have made.

EPO ready for the first Unitary Patent as soon as the ratification requirements are met

One of the great aspects of the Unitary Patent is that it follows the normal EPO procedure up to grant. And indeed, the search and the examination processes will be precisely the same as those you’ve been used to with the current EP and PCT procedures, and will be performed by the same examiners. One of the strengths of the EPO is that we allocate examiners to applications according to their technical expertise, regardless of the filing route through which applications arrive. It will only be at the end of the procedure, when the application proceeds to grant, that applicants will have to indicate if they want to have a single Unitary Patent instead of a bundle of patents for individual member states, as is the case for the European patent. So it’s extremely straightforward, cost effective, and much simpler to administer post grant than the current European patent. My impression is that many U.S. applicants already understand the logic and advantages of this very well, sometimes even a little better than European applicants, as the geographical size and the GDP of the market covered by the Unitary Patent is very similar to that of the U.S. patent.