In patent prosecution, the feedback loop between interested parties including patent prosecutors, inventors, and in-house counsel helps to provide the best patent applications and office action responses for a high quality issued patent. However, this work product represents only half of the overall patent prosecution effort, since the patent prosecutor works with a patent examiner sitting on the other side at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Given that, have you ever wondered how a patent examiner’s work product is reviewed to help improve patent quality? In its most recent Patent Quality Chat on November 14, 2017, a panel of USPTO quality experts provided insight on this topic in a presentation entitled “How is an Examiner’s Work Product Reviewed?”, highlights of which are provided in this article. The USPTO has provided the presentation slides and webinar video at their website.
Christina Sperry is a Member based in the firm’s Boston office. She is an experienced patent attorney whose clients, from start-ups to large corporations and academic institutions, are focused in the medical technology space. Christina advises on patent preparation and prosecution, and provides infringement, validity, and right-to-use opinions for clients in the United States and internationally. She is particularly focused on mechanical, electrical, and electromechanical technical fields; printer and imaging technology; wireless technology; semiconductors; computer hardware; computer network technology; software; financial services; cell sorting technology; and radar technology.
On November 1, 2017 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) implemented an expansion of the Collaborative Search Pilot Program (CSP), which began in 2015 and ended earlier in 2017, to expedite prosecution of related applications at the USPTO and the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) or Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO). The original CSP is discussed in the Global IP Matters article Expediting Patent Prosecution with the New Collaborative Search Pilot Program. The new expanded CSP eases some requirements for participation in the program and increases the number of grantable CSP petitions per year, which should make the free CSP more attractive to applicants having patent applications co-pending at the USPTO and the JPO or KIPO.
This post is a follow-up to our prior post To Seek Design Protection or Not, That is the Question! where we discuss situations where it is worth considering seeking a design patent. Here we highlight takeaways from a USPTO Inventor Info Webinar (the “Webinar”) held on September 21, 2017, that focused on design patent drawing requirements, as well as on other issues on design patents. The Webinar’s slides can be found here.
As a brief recap, 35 U.S.C. § 171 states that “Whoever invents any new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.” Thus, the statute requires that a design be for an article (i.e., rather than a disembodied design, a design per se) and that the article have one or both of some surface ornamentation and configuration that differs this article from others.
This post is the second in a series of weekly blog posts covering legal issues for consideration during the early stages of development of a health app and providing best practices to help guide you through a successful launch. Consideration of intellectual property (IP) protection early in the development of a health app is important. Otherwise you could lose the opportunity to do so in the future or be forced to change the name or other details of your app after you have already invested time and money in the app.
Does your health app have a name? A logo? A tagline or slogan? Will it be marketed anywhere? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” you should think about applying for trademark protection. Words, names, slogans, sounds, symbols, and more can be protected by trademark if used to indicate a source of the goods/services (i.e., the health app) and to identify and distinguish the health app from those offered or sold by others.
To read the rest of the post on our Health Law & Policy Matters blog, please click here.
This article is second in a series focusing on various issues related to Patent Term Adjustment for U.S. patent applications. While Part 1 is a general overview of how to calculate patent term adjustment (“PTA”), this article addresses how the filing of various papers during prosecution can affect PTA. In particular, Requests for Continued Examination (RCEs), terminal disclaimers, and information disclosure statements (IDSs) can all cause adverse PTA effects if not carefully considered.
Typically, U.S. patent term is 20 years from the earliest effective filing date, regardless of how long it takes the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) to examine and issue the patent. In an effort to minimize the possibility of shortened patent term, Congress created the system of PTA, codified at 35 U.S.C. § 154(b), that allows, in certain circumstances, the effective patent term to be extended past 20 years from an application’s earliest effective filing date. But as with many rules, there are exceptions.
This article is first in a series focusing on various issues related to Patent Term Adjustment. Part 1 is a general overview of how to calculate patent term adjustment, without addressing the numerous factors that can affect patent term adjustment that will be examined in future articles.
Why PTA Exists
Under the pre-GATT regime, Patent Term Adjustment (“PTA”) did not exist in the U.S. because patent term was 17 years from issuance. Consequently, any delay during examination, on the part of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) or Applicants, was not a concern. In fact, during this time, Applicants were in a way incentivized to, and sometimes would, delay examination to prolong their effective patent term, particularly since at the time publication of applications did not occur until issuance of the patent. However, in 1995 GATT was adopted in an effort to harmonize U.S. patent term with the rest of the world, with patent term in the U.S. now being limited to 20 years from the earliest effective filing date. As a result, any delays during examination would now erode a patent’s period of enforceability, which could cost Applicants millions of dollars or more. Unfortunately, the onus was only on Applicants to avoid delays during examination, resulting in USPTO delays costing Applicants days or years of patent term without any recourse. In an effort remedy this, Congress created PTA.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is implementing eCommerce Modernization (eMod), as discussed at a Patent Quality Chat webinar on May 9, 2017 (click here for the webinar slides). Highlighted features and the status of the eMod project are described below.
The eMod project will provide a new interface, Patent Center, that combines EFS-Web and PAIR into a single interface for filing and managing patent applications. Benefits of Patent Center include an improved interface and improved processes for submitting, reviewing, and managing patent applications and increased application processing and publication accuracy. The Patent Center aims to be more efficient and have more functionality and features than EFS-Web and PAIR, including:
On April 7, 2017, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced it has launched an initiative to develop ways to improve Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) proceedings, particularly inter partes review proceedings. The effort includes analyzing five years’ worth of historical data covering PTAB proceedings and user experiences. The USPTO hopes to use this data analysis to ensure the proceedings are as “effective and fair as possible within the USPTO’s congressional mandate to provide administrative review of patentability of patent claims after they issue.”
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced this week that the Global Dossier program has expanded to include access to more patent applications worldwide. The public including applicants, patent holders, businesses monitoring global patent activities, and patent examiners should benefit from this expansion.
Global Dossier is a website created in November 2015 with secure access to patent prosecution histories from the USPTO, European Patent Office, Japan Patent Office, Korean Intellectual Property Office, and the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (collectively, the IP5).
As regular readers of this blog will know, our cross-disciplinary Trade Secrets team has been closely monitoring the development of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA).
In a webinar organized by The Knowledge Group, Bret Cohen will discuss the DTSA in 2017, and will address the following topics:
- The DTSA Under Trump’s Administration
- Defend Trade Secrets Act – In the 2017 Landscape
- DTSA in the 2016 Landscape: A Recall
- Trade Secret Litigation Trends in 2017
- Trade Secret and Non-Compete Law
- Investigations Under DTSA
- DTSA Injunctions
- Seizure Provisions of the DTSA
- Threatened Disclosure vs Inevitable Disclosure Injunctions
- New Immunity for Whistleblowers
- Recent Cases and Hot Topics