Posts Tagged: "patent rules"

Northern District of California revises local patent rules, requires damages disclosures early and often

Damages discovery in patent cases is usually contentious, expensive, and non-uniform in application by the courts. The patent owner, on one hand, wants to discover all possible revenue streams for settlement and resource allocation. The accused infringer, on the other hand, wants to minimize disclosure, because of the sensitivity of financial information and the belief that the suit is meritless. And the courts are caught in the middle. Compounding these issues, fulsome damages contentions typically are not defined until expert reports are presented, meaning the parties (and the court through a Daubert motion) will not know whether there is sufficient basis for the damages sought until late in a case.

USPTO Publishes Final Rules on Preissuance Submissions

This new final rule eliminates 37 CFR 1.99, which provided for third-party submissions of patents, published patent applications, or printed publications in published patent applications, but did not permit an accompanying concise description of the relevance of each submitted document and limited the time period for such submissions to up to two months after the date of the patent application publication or the mailing of a notice of allowance, whichever is earlier.

Proposed Rules for Supplemental Examination, Revised Reexamination Fees and Deadline for Satellite Office Comments

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is proposing rules of practice in patent cases to implement the supplemental examination provisions of the America Invents Act. The USPTO is also proposing to adjust the fee for filing a request for ex parte reexamination and to set a fee for petitions filed in ex parte and inter partes reexamination proceedings to more accurately reflect the cost of these processes. The USPTO published these proposed rules in the Federal Register on January 25, 2012.

U.S. Patent Office Finalizes New Appeal Rules

By eliminating certain briefing requirements the PTO hopes to reduce the number of non-compliant appeal briefs and the number of non-compliant examiner’s answers. Non-compliant briefs and non-compliant examiner’s answers needlessly delay consideration of an appeal by the Board, which contributes to the long delays applicants on the appeals track face. Delays due to non-compliant briefs and answers are particularly unconscionable given the average pendency for an application that must proceed to appeal, which as of October 2011 stands at 81.8 months! That is nearly 7 years from the filing of an application to resolution if action by the Board is required. When the non-compliance is minor or relates to information the Board could well obtain for itself right in the Office files it is downright nonsensical to interject delay by kicking non-compliant briefs and examiner answers. Hopefully these new rules will help at least a little bit for some applicants.

PTO Makes Accommodations Relating to Japan Catastrophe

The USPTO is offering assistance in the form of flexibility on deadlines to the full extent allowable under our laws to Japanese applicants. However, because this catastrophic event occurred outside the United States and did not result in a postal service interruption of the United States Postal Service, the USPTO has no authority to designate a postal service emergency as authorized by 35 U.S.C. 21(a). The fact that the USPTO cannot declare a postal emergency limits what allowances can be made because in the event of a postal emergency the USPTO can treat as filed any paper that would have been deposited with the United States Postal Service but for postal service interruptions or emergencies as designated by the Director.

PTO to Effectively Extend Provisional Applications to 24 Months

In some circles this pilot program has at times been characterized as providing for an extension of a provisional patent application to allow it to remain pending for twenty-four (24) months. That is not technically an accurate way to articulate what the new pilot program will do, and for those who might want to avail themselves of the soon to be announced pilot program it is worth getting a handle on some of the finer details of the proposal. The effect could look like an extension of a provisional patent application, but there are special steps that must be followed.

PTO Proposes Rescission of Stayed Ex Parte Appeals Rules

The United States Patent and Trademark Office today issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes changes to the rules governing ex parte patent appeals before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences. The notice requests public comment on the proposed changes, which include rescinding the highly unpopular 2008 Final Rule, implementation of which has been stayed.

Patent Office Releases Interim Bilski Guidelines

This morning the United States Patent and Trademark Office published Interim Guidance for Determining Subject Matter Eligibility for Process Claims in View of Bilski v. Kappos. The Interim Bilski Guidance is effective July 27, 2010, and applies to all applications filed before, on or after the effective date. Most noteworthy is that the Patent Office is encouraging examiners to issue 101 rejection in only “extreme cases” and allow patentability to be decided by sections 102, 103 and 112.

Lots of Support at Patent Office Three Track Public Meeting

All in all I would characterize the mood of the PTO officials I spoke with as up-beat and the mood of the stakeholders in attendance was generally positive, but with reservations about the mechanics of Track 3. After the event I too would be upbeat if I were among the senior ranks at the USPTO. Those aspects that were viewed as negative or needing more work or clarification seemed few, were identified over and over again and should be addressable. That being the case it seems the majority of the proposal is acceptable and the community remains hungry for these types of creative initiatives, which sadly is all we have given that Congress continues to be AWOL on even relatively meaningless reforms, let alone reforms that could actually do some real good.

USPTO Announces New Examination Rules, Seeks Comment on 33 Questions

With respect to Track I, of particular note is the fact that the Patent Office is considering limiting the number of claims in a prioritized application to four independent and thirty total claims. In addition, the USPTO is considering requiring early publication of prioritized applications so that applications would be published shortly after a request for prioritization is granted, or no later than eighteen months from the earliest filing date. While this will undoubtedly make those in the patent community nervous, I suggest holding off on reactionary judgment. Obviously, limiting the number of claims conjures up nightmare memories about the failed claims and continuations rules. The big problem there though was not the limitation of claims, it was the limitation of continuations. If the Patent Office wants smaller, bite-size patent applications I see no problem with that as long as continuation practice is not compromised. I see no reason to suggest continuation practice will be compromised, remembering full well that David Kappos famously opposed the rules by filing an affidavit in support of the AIPLA amicus brief to the District Court while then Vice President of IBM. Nevertheless, this bears watching.

PTO Proposes Major New Patent Application Processing Rules

The United States Patent and Trademark Office is seeking public comment on a major new patent examination initiative that would provide applicants greater control over the speed with which their applications are examined and promote greater efficiency in the patent examination process. This newly proposed Three-Track program aims to provide applicants with the ability to go faster or slower through the patent process, which will in turn hopefully reduce the pendency of those patent applications that are the most time sensitive. Under Track I applications will be expedited, under Track III they can be slowed at the applicants request.

Requesting Deadline Extension on BPAI Rules of Practice

On January 20, 2010, the Patent Office is hosting a 3-hour “roundtable” to discuss the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) regarding Rules of Practice Before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences. USPTO published this ANPRM on December 22, 2009.  The roundtable will be held at the USPTO’s Madison Auditorium located at 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia. The public event is a major…

USPTO Agrees to Withdraw Claims & Continuations Rules

PRESS RELEASE: GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) today announced that it has reached agreement with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to join the USPTO’s motion to dismiss its litigation over Final Regulations published in August 2007 (Triantafyllos Tafas and SmithKline Beecham Corporation, SmithKline Beecham PLC and Glaxo Group Limited vs. David J. Kappos and the United States Patent and…

Suggestions for Fixing the US Patent System

In order to jump start a constructive debate I throw out the following nine suggestions that would, in my view, assist in solving the patent crisis that we are in; a crisis that could easily lead to the irrelevance of the US patent system as a whole. 1. Revise the Examiner Quota System This is not the first time I…

KSR Day at the NAPP Conference in San Diego

I am still in San Diego, California at the Annual Conference of the National Association of Patent Practitioners, which is being held at the Embassy Suites Hotel, which is roughly across the street from the U.S.S. Midway.  The conference has been a good one with some excellent presentations.  This morning there was a Bilski presentation, and since then we have…