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Posts Tagged: "PTO guidelines"

USPTO issues new memorandum on software eligibility in light of McRo, BASCOM

Earlier today the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a new memorandum to patent examiners on recent software patent eligibility decisions from the Federal Circuit. The memo sent to the patent examining corps from Robert Bahr, who is Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy, explains that this most recent memorandum provides examiners with discussion of McRo, Inc. v. Bandai Namco Games America and BASCOM Global Internet Services v. AT&T Mobility.

USPTO Provides Updates to Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance

On its face, the new guidance seems to urge examiners to develop well-reasoned, substantive rejections rather than conclusory rejections which provide little basis for applicants to advance applications toward allowance, particularly in the complex areas of vaccines, diagnostics, methods of treatment, and screening for genetic alterations, where the new examples are focused. Furthermore, compared with prior guidance, the new examples include more claims that are considered patent eligible subject matter. Some observers believe this may be an effort by the patent office to dispel hesitation that examiners have apparently had in drawing conclusions of patent eligibility when examining claims.

USPTO gives examiner guidance in light of Enfish v. Microsoft

Bahr tells examiners that based on the Federal Circuit ruling they “may determine that a claim direct to improvements in computer-related technology is not direct to an abstract idea under Step 2A of the subject matter eligibility examination guidelines (and is thus patent eligible), without the need to analyze the additional elements under Step 2B.” (emphasis in the original) Bahr goes on to tell examiners that a claim that is “directed to an improvement to computer-related technology (e.g., computer functionality) is likely not similar to claims that have been previously identified as abstract by the courts.”

PTO Guidance Offers Keys to Patent Eligibility for Crucial Information Age Patents

Despite the improvements that could reopen the door for important patents in important fields, the Guidelines seem far from perfect. But how could they be, given that they seek to harmonize the mushy judicial activism underlying Section 101 in the first place? Few federal statutes have spawned “judicially crafted exceptions” to flat Congressional instructions like the one in Section 101: “Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.”

USPTO Releases Patent Eligibility Guidance

The USPTO guidance, which in large part is reminiscent of the KSR Guidelines put out by the Office in 2010, goes through cases one by one. The USPTO explains the facts, provides representative claims and then explains the holding in each case so that patent examiners can understand the teaching point of the case and how to apply the holding to similar situations moving forward. Perhaps most notable, at least on the first review, is that the USPTO incorporated the recent Federal Circuit decision in DDR Holdings, where the Federal Circuit (per Judge Chen) found that the software patent claims at issue in the case were patent eligible.

USPTO to Host Forum to Solicit Feedback on Guidance for Determining Subject Matter Eligibility of Claims Involving Laws of Nature, Natural Phenomena, and Natural Products

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will host a public forum on May 9, 2014 at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, to solicit feedback from organizations and individuals on its recent guidance memorandum for determining subject matter eligibility of claims reciting or involving laws of nature, natural phenomena, and natural products (Laws of Nature/Natural Products Guidance). The Laws of Nature/Natural Products Guidance implemented a new procedure to address changes in the law relating to subject matter eligibility in view of recent Supreme Court precedent.

U.S. Patent Office Issues Supplementary 112 Guidelines

Of course, it will be most useful for patent examiners to review and truly internalize the guidelines, but there is some excellent language here that is quite practitioner and applicant friendly. There is explanation of situations where a rejection should be given, but more importantly from a practitioner standpoint will be those examples and illustrations of when a rejection is not appropriate. The discussions of what an appropriate Office Action should include will no doubt be particularly useful as well as practitioners try and hold examiners feet to the fire to provide the type of information required in order to truly appreciate any problems identified by the examiner and how to appropriately respond. Indeed, it is my guess that patent practitioners will be yelling “AMEN” from the top of their lungs as they read various portions of the Guidelines.

US Patent Office Issues Update to KSR Examination Guidelines

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has provided an update to its Examination Guidelines concerning the law of obviousness under 35 U.S.C. 103 in light of precedential decisions from the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued since the 2007 decision by the United States Supreme Court in KSR Int’l Co. v. Teleflex Inc. The Updated Guidelines were published today in the Federal Register, and in response to the requests of many stakeholders the USPTO has included additional examples to help elucidate the ever-evolving law of obviousness. These guidelines are intended primarily to be used by Office personnel in conjunction with the guidance in the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure. The effective date of the these new Guidelines is September 1, 2010, but members of the public are invited to provide comments on the 2010 KSR Guidelines Update. The Office is especially interested in receiving suggestions of recent decisional law in the field of obviousness that would have particular value as teaching tools.

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.

USPTO Sends Memo to Examiners Regarding Bilski v. Kappos

Who knows what will happen, but this early announcement form the USPTO seems helpful. They recognize that business methods are patentable unless they represent abstract ideas, as Bilski was determined to encompass. It is also recognized that satisfying the machine-or-transformation test is heavy evidence of satisfying the requirements of 101, and an interim process is put in place whereby the burden will be shifted to the applicant to demonstrate that the claimed invention is not simply drawn to an abstract idea if a machine-or-transformation rejection is given.

CAFC Judge Plager Says Definiteness Requirement Needs Teeth

As I’ve said before, no one could rightly accuse me of being biased against patents. But, as I also pointed out in this article on Judge Rader’s dissent in Media Technologies Licensing, LLC v. The Upper Deck Company, I don’t believe every patent is “bullet proof,” or to use Judge Plager’s phrase, that some patents aren’t built on “quicksand.” In fact, I agree with Judge Plager’s dissent in the denial of rehearing en banc in Enzo Biochem, Inc. v. Applera Corp., issued May 26, 2010, which argues that the “definiteness” requirement in the second paragraph of 35 U.S.C § 112 needs more “teeth” than Federal Circuit precedent appears to give it.