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IPR Is Here to Stay, With Even Greater Stakes

April 25, 2018

On April 24, the Supreme Court issued two important decisions on the availability and scope of post-grant Inter Partes Review (IPR) by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The IPR process allows the PTO to review and potentially cancel claims of a previously-granted patent based on prior art.

In Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, the Court determined that the IPR process is constitutional. In earlier proceedings, a patent’s claims had been revoked in an IPR proceeding. The patentee challenged the IPR process as violating Article III or the Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial by transferring an adjudication of private property rights to an administrative tribunal. The Court held that IPR violates neither provision, analogizing the grant of a patent to a government-granted right to build bridges or railways that can be revisited in an administrative proceeding.

In SAS Institute Inc. v. Iancu, the Court interpreted Section 318 of the Patent Act to determine that, if an IPR is to be instituted, it has to be instituted to decide the patentability of all of the claims challenged in the IPR petition. In the PTO proceedings, the IPR was only instituted on a subset of the claims that were originally challenged in the opening IPR petition. The Court held that a PTO regulation authorizing partial institution was inconsistent with the plain meaning of the statutory text.

The decision in SAS Institute is an important change in IPR practice. Previously, the PTO was frequently picking-and-choosing claims and theories from the initial petition on which to proceed to a full administrative trial. But the PTO still has substantial discretion in instituting or denying the proceedings on the whole, subject to review under the Administrative Procedures Act. Thus, while crafting the initial petition (as a petitioner) or attacking it (as a patent owner) was always important, this new requirement that the challenged claims are addressed in an all-or-nothing decision makes the preliminary, pre-institution stages of an IPR even more critical.


USPTO Increasing Patent Fees for 2018

November 16, 2017

The USPTO has issued a final rule, “Setting and Adjusting Patent Fees during Fiscal Year 2017″ to set or adjust certain patent fees. Notably, the rule increases a large number of fees including filing fees, search fees, examination fees, and issue fees as well as fees for RCEs, PGRs, IPRs, Appeals, and Petitions. These fee increases will take effect on January 16, 2018.
For the full list of the patent fees that are changing and more information on fee setting and adjusting at the USPTO, please visit https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/performance-and-planning/fee-setting-and-adjusting.


August 2017 Patent Prosecution Update

August 28, 2017

The August 2017 patent prosecution lunch featured a discussion of the recent United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) report concerning patentable subject matter. In addition, the availability of Computer Based Training (CBT) for e-Petitions was highlighted. A summary of a recent case concerning the broadest reasonable interpretation standard for means-plus-function limitations (IPCom v. HTC) was presented. Recent updates for Brazil’s proposed extraordinary solution for its patent application backlog problem and Canada’s promise doctrine were provided. Download the presentation here.


Recent Developments in US Trademark Law

August 22, 2017

Marta Paul spoke on recent developments in US trademark law at the August practice group lunch. Topics included the Supreme Court’s decision in Matal v. Tam on “disparaging” trademarks, as well as how the USPTO is handling similar parts of the trademark statute in the wake of the decision. More news from the USPTO included a new examination guideline on “merely informational matter” and recent cases from the TTAB. Finally, Marta discussed a recent precedential decision from the Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit, In re I.AM.SYMBOLIC, LLC, involving likelihood of confusion and the effect of subject matter limitations in the identifications of goods or services used in trademark applications. Download the presentation here.


AIPLA Provides Legislative Proposal on Patent Eligible Subject Matter

May 17, 2017

The AIPLA has provided a new Legislative Proposal and Report on Patent Eligible Subject Matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. This report urges congressional action to overhaul, and indeed expressly overrule the current judicially created framework under section 101 in light of recent jurisprudence from the Supreme Court and other lower Courts applying the new standard.

You can read the full Proposal here.


Magistrate Judge in Eastern District of Texas Adds to the Developing Jurisprudence of Estoppel in the Context of IPRs and 35 U.S.C. § 315.

May 16, 2017

A magistrate judge in the Eastern District of Texas has recommended to the Court on May 11, 2017 that Microsoft be estopped from raising certain defenses at trial stemming from a total of six (6) IPRs filed by Microsoft against the patent owner Biscotti Inc.

Specifically, the magistrate judge states that:

Section 315(e) estops Microsoft from asserting at trial: (1) grounds for which the PTAB instituted IPR and determined those grounds to be insufficient to establish unpatentability after a trial on the merits; (2) grounds included in a petition but determined by the PTAB to not establish a reasonable likelihood of unpatentability (in other words, administrative review on the merits of a ground); and (3) grounds not included in a petition that a “skilled searcher conducting a diligent search reasonably could have been expected to discover.” See, e.g., 157 Cong. Rec. S1375 (daily ed. Mar. 8, 2011) (statement of Senator Jon Kyl); see also Clearlamp, LLC v. LKQ Corp., No. 12 C 2533, 2016 WL 4734389, at *9 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 18, 2016) (adopting the skilled searcher standard). As for the third category, the Court agrees with the Delaware court when it remarked, “extending [Shaw’s] logic to prior art references that were never presented to the PTAB at all (despite their public nature) confounds the very purpose of this parallel administrative proceeding . . . .” Intellectual Ventures I, Case No. 13-CV-00453-SLR, Dkt. No. 559 at 26-27. Finally, Microsoft is not estopped from asserting grounds included in a petition but which the PTAB found redundant or declined to institute review for another procedural reason. See Shaw, 817 F.3d at 1300; HP, 817 F.3d at 1347.

p. 13-14.

Read the full Report and Recommendation here.


Inventor Info Chat Webinar

April 17, 2017

On April 20, the USPTO Office of Innovation Development will be presenting an Inventor Info Chat on “How to File a Patent Application.” The chat will be held online from 11 a.m. – noon.

Topics included in this chat will be:
• Methods of filing an application
• Different types of applications that can be filed
• Resources available to aid in the filing process

To sign up, click on the link below:
Join the Live Online Web Chat


Dept. of Commerce Blog: Celebrating Women of Innovation

March 22, 2017

Women inventors and scientists have made lasting contributions to our nation’s history, but why is it that many people are unable to name one female inventor, but can easily recall male inventors such as Thomas Edison or Albert Einstein?

Take one woman inventor for example. Actress Hedy Lamarr was best known for her work in Hollywood during MGM’s Golden Age, starring in such films as Ziegfeld Girl (1941), White Cargo (1942), and Samson and Delilah (1949). But Lamarr also worked with Hollywood composer George Antheil to invent and patent a frequency hopping technique that today is referenced as an important development in the field of wireless communications. Lamarr and Antheil’s frequency hopping reduced the risk of detection or jamming of radio-controlled torpedoes.

Commemorating Women’s History Month, and this year’s theme of “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business,” the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF), the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) long-time private sector partner, has developed an impressive display featuring women inventors in the atrium of the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, VA. The colorful pictorial exhibit highlights the accomplishments of ten innovative women for their breakthrough contributions and inspiration, empowering current and future generations of women and girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

In addition to inventors such as Hedy Lamar, the exhibit showcases women innovators of all ages, from Made by Girls Scholar Landri Drude, who participated in Camp Invention, to Elizabeth Beatie, who was a finalist in the Collegiate Inventors Competition. These women are vital role models and contributors to the fabric of American innovation and technology.

Read More on the Department of Commerce blog


March 2017 Patent Prosecution Update

March 17, 2017

The March 2017 patent prosecution lunch featured a discussion of a recent change to the deadline for requesting examination for a patent application in the United Kingdom (UK). In addition, a recent Federal Circuit case, Phigenix, Inc. v. ImmunoGen, in which the Federal Circuit held that a petitioner lacked standing to an appeal an adverse final decision in an Inter Partes Review (IPR) was covered. A summary of a recent case concerning obviousness (In re van Os), which requires an examiner to provide a rationale behind a conclusion that a particular combination would have been “intuitive” in an obviousness rejection, was provided. The presentation may be downloaded here.


Inventor Info Chat Webinar

March 15, 2017

Join the USPTO Office of Innovation Development (OID) on Thursday, March 16 from 11 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET for our Inventor Info Chat webinar, “How to Search and Why You Want To.
Performing a search can help prevent a person from submitting an application with an invention that is already described in existing patents.

This presentation will cover such topics as:
• Prior art – what it is and why search for it
• Tools and resources available for searching
• Text and classification search strategies
• Understanding the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system and how to use it

Participation Link will be provided 24 hours before the program.
Register in advance to attend. For assistance, please contact oidevents@uspto.gov.

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