The USPTO has been issuing patents at an increased rate over the years. While it took over 121 years to issue the first one million patents, it only took about 3 years to issue the last one million patents. Further, about four million patents have issued so far in the 21st Century.
Linda Azrin is an Associate based in the firm’s Boston office. She is an experienced registered patent attorney who focuses on patent prosecution, particularly in the life sciences and medical technology industries. Linda brings an extensive background in chemistry to her work in patent procurement and prosecution. She has prosecuted a variety of US and international cases involving medical devices, consumer products, and other mechanical and chemical technologies. Additionally, she provides clients with patentability, invalidity, infringement, and freedom-to-operate opinions, and has experience with European opposition proceedings.
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:
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).
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) explains several patent prosecution trends, goals, and programs to justify proposed spending of its collected fees in its recently-issued Fiscal Year 2017 Congressional Justification report. The report provides patent, trademark, and global intellectual property budgets for the upcoming 2017 fiscal year (October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017) and beyond. The report focuses on various patent-related areas including patent application pendency, patent quality and examination efficiency, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) operations and trial activities, and information technology (IT) associated with these areas.
This article provides an overview of the USPTO’s upcoming patent plans as revealed by the report.
Patent Application Pendency
Since the number of Requests for Continued Examination (RCEs) filed and the RCE backlog have been reduced, according to the report, the USPTO can focus on reducing the backlog of unexamined applications and length of patent pendency.
In fiscal year 2015, the average pendency of an application until issuance of a first action was 17.3 months, and the average total pendency of applications was 26.6 months. The USPTO budget estimates that by fiscal year 2019, average first action pendency will be 10 months and average total pendency of an application will be 20 months. These numbers will continue the trend between fiscal years 2010 and 2015 where average first action pendency decreased by 8.5 months and average total pendency decreased by 8.0 months.
The Japanese Patent Act was revised on May 14, 2014 to provide for post-grant oppositions within one year of the rule change, i.e., by May 14, 2015 (the exact effective date has not yet been set). Under the new opposition system, any party, including non-interested parties and straw men, will be able to file an opposition within 6 months of patent issuance and thus potentially cause invalidation soon after patent grant. In anticipation of the new system less than four months away, parties may wish to begin preparing now and consider being more aggressive in monitoring competitors’ Japanese patent applications and allocating resources to file oppositions, as discussed further below. Continue Reading Prepare for the Japanese Patent Opposition System Coming Soon
On September 16, 2014, United States Patent and Trademark Office Chief of Staff Andrew Byrnes presented to the Boston Patent Law Association an update on new quality initiatives and the implementation of White House patent policies. Mr. Byrne outlined high-level policy objectives and how they are supported by the USPTO, remarking that support of such policies are more important than ever as intellectual property now permeates all phase of law and life. Mr. Byrnes stated that the USPTO is dedicated to ensuring that its Constitutional duty of promoting the arts and sciences is met, intellectual property law is balanced and fair, and that it keeps pace with our evolving world. Continue Reading What’s Happening with Patents at the USPTO? Chief of Staff Byrnes has Answers!