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The USPTO’s Proposed Terminal Disclaimer Rule Change: It’s Radical, But Is It Legal?

In a May 10, 2024, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the USPTO proposed sweeping changes in the rules governing the filing of terminal disclaimers. If the USPTO implements the proposed changes, entire patent families could be wiped out if just one claim of one patent in the family is found invalid over prior art. Patent … Continue Reading

Intelligent AI Guidance from the USPTO Identifies Potential Perils

Much like word processing with spell check and other now commonplace digital tools were once only the stuff of science fiction, artificial intelligence (AI) is quickly becoming widespread in knowledge work including law practice. IP law is no exception. The use of AI in IP law practice has practical benefits, including the potential for enhanced … Continue Reading

The USPTO Proposes Steep RCE Fees. Will Patent Prosecution and Appeal Strategies Change?

As discussed in two of our recent blogs (here) and here), the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office) recently proposed substantial patent fee increases for continuing applications and terminal disclaimers. The USPTO is also proposing substantial increases for an applicant to request continued examination of an application whose claims have been rejected, … Continue Reading

Are the USPTO’s Proposed Terminal Disclaimer Fees the End of Continuing Applications?

As discussed in our previous blog (here), the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) has proposed substantial surcharges for filing continuing applications, depending on the timing of filing. The USPTO is also proposing substantial increases for an applicant to file a terminal disclaimer. As we discuss below, these increases are likely to affect strategies … Continue Reading

The Potential Mushroom Effect of the USPTO’s Mushrooming Patent Application Fees

The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) recently proposed patent fee increases could have far-ranging consequences for applicants looking to build a patent family from a single patent application. In this first of a series of blogs, we will discuss the potential consequences of the USPTO’s proposed fee increases for continuing applications, including continuation, … Continue Reading

The USPTO Re-Explains What “Means” Means

On March 18, 2024, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a Memorandum containing guidance to help patent examiners analyze claim language that may be interpreted as “means-plus-function” or “step-plus-function” language under 35 U.S.C. § 112(f). The USPTO said that the Memorandum was not a change in practice for examiners. Sometimes, however, how something … Continue Reading

Don’t Fall for These Ubiquitous Trademark Scammers

Over the past several months, we have seen an increase in notices from alleged trademark firms. The emails are identical or substantially similar to the following: Hi [recipient], I hope this email finds you in good health. I am writing to you on behalf of the legal department of [Trademark Firm]. We have received an … Continue Reading

The USPTO Speaks on Obviousness – Do Patent Practitioners Have an Answer?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently published updated guidance emphasizing a very flexible approach to determining obviousness under 35 U.S.C. § 103, consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in KSR v. Teleflex. The guidelines are written for USPTO personnel but combined with the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP), they provide … Continue Reading

Who Invented This? The Continuing Importance of Human Ingenuity in Patenting AI Related Inventions

Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems are becoming an increasingly important part of our lives and are affecting almost every industry. In compliance with section 5.2(c)(i) of the President’s October 30, 2023 Executive Order (EO) 14110, titled “Safe, Secure, And Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)”, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued … Continue Reading

Podcast: SPB’s Paolo Beconcini Covers Global Counterfeiting and the Importance of Protecting Your Brand in China

Counterfeiting is a global problem that affects a wide variety of entrepreneurs and innovators – from small businesses to global corporations.  Action in China can be an important tool for combating these problems.  Head of the firm’s China Intellectual Property team, Paolo Beconcini covers the complex challenges of fighting global counterfeiting for INDICAM (Italian Association … Continue Reading

Human vs AI Analysis of USPTO Updates – How Does Bard Fare?

Generative Artificial Intelligence is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that can generate a wide range of content types in response to user prompts. Examples of such content can include text, images, audio and video content, etc. There has been pervasive use of Generative AI over the past few months, to create essays, works of … Continue Reading

Rulemaking at the US Patent Office: Does Director Guidance On Discretionary Denials of Review Require Opportunity for Public Comment?

The Federal Circuit has refused to uphold the dismissal of a complaint alleging that the Director of the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) improperly issued instructions to PTAB judges regarding whether to institute requested patent review proceedings. The complaint alleges that the so-called Fintiv factors – initially set forth in two opinions designated by the … Continue Reading

Putting the Appeals of Both Sides to Bed: PTAB Rulings on the Patentability of Systems and Methods for Adjusting Air Pressure in a Mattress Affirmed

The Federal Circuit recently handed down an informative decision in American National v. Sleep Number Corporation affirming the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s final decisions in two inter partes reviews finding some claims patentable and some claims not patentable. The claims at issue related to the systems and methods for adjusting pressure in an air … Continue Reading

AFCP 2.0 Extended: Your Mileage May Vary

On October 12, 2021, the USPTO extended its program for after-final patent prosecution practice, AFCP 2.0, to September 30, 2022. The USPTO initiated the “pilot” program in 2013, to speed up prosecution and to increase contact between Examiners and applicants. Although the USPTO has not issued statistics about the results of the program, applicants still … Continue Reading

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
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