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Patents for Humanity: The USPTO Recognizes Innovation Relating to COVID-19

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has announced the final deadline for submission of applications for its Patents for Humanity COVID-19 award: The submission deadline is 5 p.m. ET, September 30, 2021. Patents for Humanity is the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) awards competition recognizing innovators who use game-changing technology to … Continue Reading

The Supreme Court Provides a Different Fix to Make APJs Inferior Officers

On June 21, 2021, in United States v. Arthrex, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Patent Trial & Appeal Board (“PTAB”) Administrative Patent Judges (“APJs”) are unconstitutionally appointed because they effectively wield the power of principal officers while being appointed as inferior officers. 594 U.S. ____ (2021).… Continue Reading

Taking Another Page from the ABA: The USPTO Enacts New Rules of Professional Responsibility for Patent Attorneys and Agents

To mitigate potential conflicts of interest and to improve the public’s understanding of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) procedures, the agency has recently made various amendments to its rules relating to the conduct of registered patent attorneys and agents. The resulting changes mirror some well-recognized provisions of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) … Continue Reading

BEST MODE: Compliance with the Duty of Disclosure Requires Vigilance and Self-Awareness

In a recent post, we discussed the importance of complying with the US Patent and Trademark Office’s duty of disclosure under Rule 56 of the Rules of Practice. This post focuses on the existence of this duty throughout the entire prosecution of a patent application, in a specialized factual context involving a priority application outside … Continue Reading

USPTO Establishes COVID-19 Prioritized Appeal Pilot Program

As a companion to the COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program and patent-related relief provided by the 2020 CARES Act, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) recently announced a similar Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program for patent applications claiming a process or product requiring FDA approval for COVID–19 use. In general, under 35 U.S.C. § … Continue Reading

Razor Scooter Trips Over Reissue Statute at the ITC

The U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) recently terminated CERTAIN MOTORIZED SELF-BALANCING VEHICLES, Investigation No. 337-TA-1000, brought by Razor USA LLC against alleged infringers of a patent related to electric hoverboards, denying Razor any relief. In doing so, the ITC confirmed that an original patent is surrendered when a Reissue Patent issues, even if a pending … Continue Reading

What a Great IDEA! Collecting Data on the Diversity of Patent Inventors

A bipartisan group of Senators, including the Chair and ranking minority member of the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, has proposed legislation that would allow the US Patent & Trademark Office to collect demographic data on patent applicants. The bill, known as the Inventor Diversity for Economic Advancement Act of 2021 or, more simply, the “IDEA … Continue Reading

US Trademark Modernization Act Provides New Relief to Trademark Owners

False claims of use and fake specimens of use have bedeviled the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and legitimate trademark owners for many years. The Trademark Modernization Act of 2020 (“TMA”) — part of the COVID-19 relief legislative package signed by President Trump on December 27, 2020 — provides significant relief for trademark owners’ … Continue Reading

Happy Holidays from the USPTO — Or Maybe Not

As it has done in the past, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has declared Thursday, December 24, in addition to Friday, December 25, to be a “federal holiday.” The action comes as a result of President Trump’s December 11, 2020 Executive Order extending the traditional Christmas Federal holiday. As a result of this … Continue Reading

USPTO and DOJ Promoting Innovation and Collaboration in Life Sciences

Beginning September 23, a free two-day workshop will address issues relating to innovation by life sciences companies, including IP and antitrust issues arising from collaborations and partnerships. The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is co-sponsoring the event with the Department of Justice. The program will address the role of patents in the research and … Continue Reading

USPTO to Defer Fees on COVID-19-related Provisional Patent Applications

On September 16, 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced a new pilot program for COVID-19 related inventions. The new program allows for the deferral of filing fees for provisional patent applications directed to a product or process related to COVID-19, where the product or process requires Food and Drug Administration (FDA) … Continue Reading

CBD: Sometimes It Can Be Legal but Still “Unlawful”

In the Agricultural Act of 2014 (“2014 Farm Bill”), Congress exempted “industrial hemp” from the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) in certain narrow circumstances. Among other things it authorized institutions of higher education and state agriculture departments to grow hemp under a pilot program if consistent with state law, and defined hemp to include up to … Continue Reading

USPTO Announces Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has launched a new pilot program to fast-track ex parte appeals to the Patent and Trial Appeal Board (PTAB). While ex parte appeals to the PTAB are normally decided in the order in which they are docketed, this new Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program will allow appellants to … Continue Reading

USPTO Prioritizes Petitions for COVID-19 Trademarks and Service Marks

On June 15, 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced a prioritized examination procedure for COVID-19-related trademark and service mark applications. Usually, the USPTO examines applications in the order in which they are received, with limited circumstances under which an applicant may file for a petition for the advance of an application. … Continue Reading

USPTO Again Extends Certain Patent and Trademark Deadlines in Response to COVID-19

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has announced further COVID-19 relief by extending time periods to file patent and trademark related documents and providing waivers for the payment of certain fees. The USPTO has twice previously provided extensions of deadlines and fee waivers, as outlined here, here and here. Recognizing the continued hardships … Continue Reading

USPTO Proposes Several Rule Changes Affecting Institution of Post-Grant Proceedings

On Tuesday, May 26, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking outlining changes to the rules of patent practice for inter partes review (“IPR”), post-grant review (“PGR”), and covered business method (“CBM”) proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”). Many of the proposals merely conform the … Continue Reading

USPTO Allows Electronic Filing of Plant Patent Applications Due to COVID-19 Outbreak

Since March 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has announced numerous types of relief in view of the coronavirus (“COVID-19”) outbreak. As of May 6, relief will be offered to plant patent applicants. Typically, electronic filing of plant patent applications is not permitted. However, in the May 6th announcement, the USPTO indicated … Continue Reading

USPTO Extends Patent and Trademark Filing and Fee Deadlines Further in Response to COVID-19

Earlier this month, we provided posts here and here, outlining the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO”) announcement of the availability of certain deadline waivers to help patent and trademark applicants and owners file papers during the COVID-19 outbreak. The original notice granted a 30-day extension on certain deadlines falling between March 27 and … Continue Reading

USPTO Releases Report on Patent Examination Outcomes After Alice

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 Alice decision narrowed the scope of patent eligible subject matter and introduced unpredictable legal and economic consequences—including more rejections of claims by patent examiners under 35 U.S.C. § 101 as ineligible subject matter, and uncertainty as to whether claims would be rejected on such grounds.  In a recent report entitled … Continue Reading

DABUS Denied: Only Natural Persons can be Named as Inventors on US Patents

The question of who, or rather what, can be an inventor has taken a front-row seat as use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes increasingly prominent in research and innovation. On April 22, 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a decision stating that inventorship under U.S. patent law is limited to natural … Continue Reading

When the PTAB Weighs Evidence of Secondary Considerations, Volume Matters

As discussed in a prior blog post here, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) designated a recent decision on secondary considerations as precedential.[1] At the same time, the PTAB designated two older decisions as informative. While the precedential decision of Lectrosonics focused largely on the nexus requirement … Continue Reading

A “Printed Publication” in a Pending Patent Application May Not Be a “Printed Publication” in an IPR

In a newly-designated precedential decision, Ex parte Grillo-López, Appeal 2018-006082 (Jan. 31, 2020) (designated Apr. 7, 2020 as Precedential), the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) differentiated the procedures in a pending patent application and an Inter Partes Review (“IPR”) proceeding for establishing whether a document qualifies as … Continue Reading
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