Elizabeth A. Shuster

USPTO First Action Interview Pilot Program

August 8, 2016

There are many benefits of filing a patent application with a Request for First Action Interview Pilot Program. First, the program is open to all technology areas and filing dates as long as no substantive Office Actions have issued. Second, after reviewing a prior art search conducted by the examiner or Pre-Interview Communication, the applicant will conduct an interview with the examiner within 30 days. The ability to schedule an interview with the examiner early in the prosecution of the application has many benefits such as increasing the ability to advance prosecution of the application, enhancing interaction between the applicant and the examiner, resolving patentability issues one-on-one with the examiner at the beginning of the prosecution process, and possibly an early allowance. During the interview, the prior art searched, proposed rejections, amendments, and arguments are discussed. Lastly, the program is free.

Some of the requirements to participate in the program include the following. Applicant’s electronic request must be filed at least one day before a first Office action on the merits. A maximum of 3 independent claims and 20 total claims are allowed. If the application receives a restriction requirement, applicant must make an election without traverse or withdraw from the program. Applicant must provide written authorization to conduct any Internet e-mail communications with the examiner (Authorization for Internet Communication).

Of course, the applicant can decide after reviewing the Pre-Interview Communication to not conduct an interview with the examiner; however, the applicant cannot withdrawal from the program. As such, the examiner will issue a First-Action Interview Office Action and applicant will then have the shortened 30 days to respond and if necessary, an additional 30 days extension of time with fees. To learn more about a Request for First Action Interview Pilot Program, feel free to contact one of our attorneys.


Fast Track for Cancer Applications – Limited Time

July 12, 2016

The USPTO recently established Patents 4 Patients, also known as the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program, to speed up prosecution of cancer related patents. The goal of Patents 4 Patients is to reduce the time the USPTO takes to review patent applications pertaining to cancer immunotherapy in half by issuing final decisions in 1 year or less after special status is granted. Unlike other fast track applications, there are no additional fees required to participate in the program. The USPTO will advance these applications out of turn (accorded special status) for examination if the applicant files a petition to make special under the Patents 4 Patients Program.

The Patents 4 Patients program is open to any applicant, regardless of the nationality of the patent applicant or its agents. The location where the underlying research was undertaken or the technology was developed does not matter nor does the location where the invention may be produced or manufactured.

The Patents 4 Patients program requires at least one or more claims to a method of treating a cancer using immunotherapy. Most importantly, if the application does not contain a method claim that complies with the USPTO eligibility requirements, the petition will be dismissed, and the applicant will not be given an opportunity to correct the deficiency.

The patent application must be a non-reissue, non-provisional utility application, or an international application that entered the US national stage. The maximum total claim limit is 20 with 3 independent claims and no multiple dependent claims. Applications that have been previously granted special status are not eligible for the Patents 4 Patients program. A petition for the program must be filed either (i) at least one day prior to the date of a first Office action or (ii) with a proper request for continued examination (RCE).

For patent applicants whose claimed cancer immunotherapy both (i) meets the eligibility requirements for the Patents 4 Patients Program and (ii) is the subject of an active Investigational New Drug (IND) application filed by patent applicant at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that has entered phase II or phase III clinical trials, the petition may be filed any time prior to an appeal or a final rejection if patent applicant certifies both (i) and (ii) in the petition. For an application that has an outstanding Office action, patent applicant must file a complete response together with the petition.

Publication of the patent application is a requirement of the Patents 4 Patients program. If a nonpublication request was previously filed, applicant must file a rescission of nonpublication with the petition.

According to the USPTO, the 1 year goal is achieved when one of the following final dispositions occurs within twelve months from the grant of special status: (1) The mailing of a notice of allowance; (2) the mailing of a final Office action; (3) the filing of an RCE; (4) the abandonment of the application; (5) or the filing of a Notice of Appeal.

The Patents 4 Patients program will run until June 29, 2017; therefore applicants must file a petition before then. The USPTO may or may not extend the Patents 4 Patients program with or without changes. To learn more about Patents 4 Patients program and the eligibility requirements, feel free to contact one of our attorneys.


Liz Shuster Graduates from ISBA Leadership Development Academy

June 4, 2015

Woodard, Emhardt partner Liz Shuster was recently honored to be one of twenty-five attorneys graduating from the 2015 class of the Indiana State Bar Association’s Leadership Development Academy (ISBA LDA). This statewide leadership program was created to further educate and develop attorneys identified as leaders to enhance their future contributions to the State Bar, community organizations and other groups. Members participated in five sessions on leadership principles and techniques, and the challenges and rewards of leadership in action, while also working together to implement a public service project.

Congratulations Liz!


Liz Shuster Elected To Indiana Bar Association’s Leadership Development Academy

December 4, 2014

Liz Shuster was elected by The Indiana State Bar Association to be one of 25 young lawyers to join the 2015 class of its Leadership Development Academy. The Academy is a statewide leadership program established to empower and develop lawyers to be informed, committed and involved so that they may fill significant leadership roles in local and state bar associations, local communities and organizations and to serve as role models in matters of ethics and professionalism. Congratulations Liz.


Woodard, Emhardt Hosting E-Day for Ball State’s Entrepreneurship Program

April 15, 2014

Woodard, Emhardt is hosting “E-Day” (Evaluation Day) for Ball State University’s Entrepreneurship Program on April 15, 2014.

Ball State’s Entrepreneurship Program has been nationally ranked in the top ten for about a decade. During “E-Day,” seniors majoring in entrepreneurship present their business plans to a panel of three judges who decide whether a student passes or fails out of the program. The pool of judges includes business people, attorneys, and members of Indiana’s venture capital and entrepreneurship communities. Woodard, Emhardt wishes good luck to all of the participating students!


Liz Shuster Sworn in as President of the Intellectual Property Section of the Indiana State Bar Association

October 11, 2013

Today, Liz Shuster was sworn in as the next President of the Intellectual Property Section of the Indiana State Bar Association.  The section helps to “foster and advance the profession of intellectual property law” among other goals.  Congratulations, Liz.

 Liz Shuster is a partner at Woodard, Emhardt, Moriarty, McNett & Henry LLP and assists clients with obtaining protection for their intellectual property by securing patents, trademarks, and copyrights. She enjoys helping clients implement strategies to protect their intellectual property.


Elizabeth Shuster Becomes Member of NAWBO-Indianapolis

September 13, 2013

Elizabeth Shuster has been accepted as a member of NAWBO-Indianapolis, the largest NAWBO® chapter in the country. The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) propels women entrepreneurs into economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide.


Elizabeth Shuster Completed Indianapolis Bar Association’s Bar Leader Series

May 23, 2013

Woodard, Emhardt partner Elizabeth Shuster graduated on May 22, 2013 from the Indianapolis Bar Association’s Bar Leader Series.  The IndyBar’s Bar Leader Series is designed to develop lawyers for future opportunities in leadership roles in business and legal communities.  Skills developed include communicating with, motivating, and inspiring others. During the series, Liz had the opportunity to meet and interact with prominent legal and community leaders, develop leadership skills, explore long-term opportunities for leadership, and strengthen her network.


Woodard Emhardt Attorneys Lead the Development of New Networking Section for the Indianapolis Bar Association

October 15, 2012

Woodard Emhardt attorneys Liz Shuster and Chuck Schmal lead in the creation of a new networking group for the Indianapolis Bar Association. The Indy Attorneys Network will be a section of the Indianapolis Bar Association devoted to promoting networking among attorneys so as to enhance collegiality in the Indianapolis legal community. More information about this new section can be found in a recent Indiana Lawyer Article.


Elizabeth Shuster Selected for Indianapolis Bar Association’s Bar Leader Series

July 23, 2012

Woodard, Emhardt partner Elizabeth Shuster was selected for the Indianapolis Bar Association’s Bar Leader Series.  The IndyBar’s Bar Leader Series is designed to develop lawyers for future opportunities in leadership roles in business and legal communities.  Through the series, selected lawyers will learn how to communicate, motivate, inspire, and succeed not only in their law career, but also in service to professional, political, judicial, civic, and community organizations.

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