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IP Law Alert

Practical Perspectives on Intellectual Property Legal Developments

Category Archives: USPTO

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The United States Deposits Ratification of the 1999 Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement and Becomes a Member Country of the Hague System

Posted in Patent, USPTO
On Friday, February 13, 2015, the United States deposited an instrument of ratification to the 1999 Geneva Act (Geneva Act) of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (Hague Agreement) with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). With this final step by the United States to become a signatory to the Geneva Act, qualifying U.S. applicants will be able to more easily protect their design patents in member countries and intergovernmental organizations (Contracting Parties) that have also signed on to the Geneva Act… Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Issues Its First AIA Appeal Ruling

Posted in Patent, USPTO
On Tuesday, the Federal Circuit issued its first ruling on an appealed Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) decision of an inter partes review (“IPR”). Cuozzo Speed Technologies (“Cuozzo”) owns U.S. Patent No. 6,778,074 (the “’074 patent”) entitled “Speed Limit Indicator and Method for Displaying Speed and the Relevant Speed Limit.” Garmin International, Inc. and Garmin USA, Inc. (collectively, “Garmin”) petitioned the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) for IPR of claims 10, 14, and 17 of the ’074 patent. The PTAB found the claims to be invalid as obvious… Continue Reading

USPTO Releases Examples of Patent Eligible Claims Relating to Abstract Ideas

Posted in Patent, USPTO
We previously reported on the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s issuance of new interim examination guidance in December for evaluating subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. At the time, the USPTO included examples of allowable claims for nature-based products in light of previous Supreme Court rulings in Mayo and Myriad. On Tuesday, January 27, the USPTO followed up by releasing claim examples relating to abstract ideas in response to the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year in Alice… Continue Reading

Hana Financial, Inc. v. Hana Bank: Tacking Priority of Earlier Trademarks

Posted in Trademark, USPTO
The U.S. Supreme Court does not get to tackle trademark law issues very often. The decision in Hana Financial, Inc. v. Hana Bank, (No. 13-1211; January 21, 2015) is the first pronouncement of the highest Court on trademark matters in more than a decade, and it deals with the issue known as tacking. Trademarks often experience changes in appearance and overall look in the course of many years. These changes can take various forms, such as a modification in lettering style, a rearrangement in the order of words, the dropping of a background design, or the addition of new stylized elements. The tacking doctrine allows a party to claim the earlier priority date of an old mark for a new trademark, if the later involves slight changes over the prior version. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Hana Financial addresses narrowly the question as to whether tacking is a matter of law reserved to a judge, or a matter of fact decided by a jury… Continue Reading

USPTO Issues New Guidance on § 101 Subject Matter Eligibility

Posted in Patent, USPTO
On December 16, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued new interim examination guidance for evaluating subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. This guidance, entitled the “2014 Interim Guidance on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility” (“Interim Guidance”), was developed in view of the recent Supreme Court decisions in Alice, Myriad, and Mayo. The Interim Guidance supplements the June 25, 2014 Preliminary Examination Instructions that we previously discussed, and supercedes the March 4, 2014 Guidance following Myriad and Mayo… Continue Reading

The Honorable Grace K. Obermann to Present at NJIPLA’s ETS Seminar on November 6, 2014

Posted in Licensing, Patent, USPTO
On Thursday, November 6, 2014, The Honorable Grace K. Obermann, Lead Administrative Patent Judge, USPTO, PTAB, will present on practicing before the PTAB at the New Jersey Intellectual Property Law Association’s seminar, "Electronics, Telecom & Software Patent Practice Update." The seminar will also address topics such as licensing guidance, implications of recent Supreme Court decisions, and damages considerations… Continue Reading

Unified Patents Petitions for IPR to Counter Patent Troll PanTaurus’ Patent Litigation Assault

Posted in Patent, USPTO
Much debate has centered on patent reform and efforts to curtail the litigious activities of patent assertion entities (PAEs) also referred to as “patent trolls.” However, and as underscored for example by the number of patent lawsuits filed by Texas-based PAE PanTaurus, LLC this past year, PAEs continue to present a significant patent litigation presence… Continue Reading

McDonald’s Triumphs over BioMcDiesel

Posted in Trademark, USPTO
On July 14, 2014, the United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) found the trademark “BioMcDiesel” for biodiesel fuel likely to cause confusion with McDonald’s Corporation’s (“McDonald’s”) famous family of MC-formative trademarks. McDonald’s Corporation v. Joel D. Joseph, Opposition No. 91194117 (July 14, 2014) [not precedential]. The applicant, Joel Joseph, appeared pro se to defend his application, which was based on intent to use. McDonald’s challenged the application on three bases under the Lanham Act, namely, likelihood of confusion under Section 2(d), dilution under Sections 13 and 43(c), and on the basis that Mr. Joseph filed the application in bad faith, in that he lacked a bona fide intent to use the mark and solely filed the application for the purpose of selling or licensing the mark to McDonald’s. The TTAB’s decision addressed only the likelihood of confusion claim, and found the “BioMcDiesel” mark was not entitled to registration… Continue Reading

PTAB Roundtables Coming to a City Near You

Posted in Patent, USPTO
On March 25, 2014, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) would be hosting roundtables across the country to educate the public, and collect feedback regarding the new America Invents Act (AIA) trial proceedings. These roundtables are free and open to the public. According to Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO, Michelle Lee, “[t]hese roundtables are a part of USPTO’s ongoing efforts to provide more opportunities for the public and other key stakeholders to share ideas, feedback, experiences and insights on additional ways we can improve our processes.”… Continue Reading

IP Practitioners — Get Ready for the Global Patent Prosecution Highway!

Posted in USPTO
Recently, in an effort to expedite patent prosecution internationally, thirteen countries, including the United States, have established a Global Patent Prosecution Highway ("GPPH"): Australia (IP), Canada (CIPO), Denmark (DKPTO), Finland (NBPR), Japan (JPO), Korea (KIPO), Nordic Patent Institute (NPI), Norwegian Patent Office (NIPO), Portugal (INPI), Russia (ROSPATENT), Spain (SPTO), United Kingdom (IPO), and USA (USPTO). Unfortunately, the European Patent Office has not signed on to the GPPH yet… Continue Reading

Limitations on Discovery in Inter Partes Review Proceedings

Posted in Patent, USPTO
Companies accused of patent infringement have a number of basic alternatives to contemplate: settle the matter; defend the suit; or consider resort to a post grant patent proceeding at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). With an eye towards cost, risk and accurate resolution, inter partes review (IPR) proceedings are an attractive alternative to settling or defending… Continue Reading

Cooperative Patent Classification System Underway to Streamline Prior Art Searching

Posted in USPTO
As we previously reported, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) jointly launched the Cooperative Patent Classification System (CPC) with the aim of producing a common classification system for technical documents and the promise of transparent and harmonized global classification for patent documents… Continue Reading

The USPTO Sets Up Two Additional Pro Bono Assistance Programs in California and D.C.

Posted in USPTO
Upon the passage of the America Invents Act ("AIA") and in an effort to help individuals and corporations who are unable to afford legal advice relating to intellectual property, the USPTO has recently announced two additional pro bono assistance programs in California and the District of Columbia. With the addition of these two programs, the USPTO has created four intellectual property pro bono programs across the United States and is forecasting an additional ten by the end of … Continue Reading

USPTO Extends Deadline for Commenting on First Inventor to File Provisions of the AIA to November 5, 2012

Posted in Patent, USPTO
On July 26, 2012, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) published a notice of proposed rulemaking and a notice of proposed examination guidelines to implement the first-inventor-to-file (FITF) provisions of the AIA effective March 16, 2013. The notices set an initial comment deadline date of October 5, 2012. In response to requests for additional time to submit comments, the USPTO recently extended the comment deadline date to November 5, … Continue Reading

Patent Classification Harmonization

Posted in USPTO
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) jointly launched the Cooperative Patent Classification System (CPC) and released a finalized set of CPC definitions. The CPC is operational at both the EPO and USPTO. The USPTO and EPO developed the CPC with the collaborative aim of producing a common classification system for technical documents. The CPC brings the promise of transparent and harmonized global classification for patent documents… Continue Reading

Inter Partes Review Under AIA is Underway …

Posted in Patent, USPTO
As we previously discussed, the new inter partes review (IPR) procedures went into effect September 16, 2012, along with several other significant changes. The IPR procedure replaces the previous inter partes reexamination and applies to any patent issued before, during, or after September 16, 2012. This removes one of the hurdles of the previous inter partes reexamination which applied only to applications filed after November 29, 1999. The PTO will only accept a valid IPR petition nine months after a patent issues. As in inter partes reexamination, the IPR permits the petitioner to challenge claims as being anticipated or obvious in view of published prior art references. Also, like the previous inter partes reexamination, IPR carries with it an estoppel effect barring the IPR petitioner from asserting the invalidity of any challenged claim on the same arguments and references in any district court action… Continue Reading

Implementation of USPTO Rules Under the AIA is Underway: Preissuance Submissions

Posted in Patent, USPTO
35 U.S.C. § 122(e), adopted last fall as part of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act ("AIA"), conditions third party submissions to the USPTO for consideration and inclusion in an application file. Recently, the USPTO published the final rules regulating these submissions by third parties: Changes to Implement the Preissuance Submissions by Third Parties Provision of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, 77 Fed. Reg. 42150 (2012). That is to say, the USPTO provided the requirements and guidance to anyone wishing to have the Office consider patents, published patent applications, or other printed publications of potential relevance during the examination of a pending application. The new rules pave the way for a third party to limit the scope of a pending patent application, particularly a competitor's application, in a meaningful way… Continue Reading

USPTO to Expand Its Regional Office Program

Posted in USPTO
On July 2, 2012, the United States Patent and Trademark Office announced that it will be expanding its regional office program to include Dallas, Texas, Denver, Colorado and San Jose, California. The first regional office, the Elijah J. McCoy United States Patent and Trademark Office, in Detroit, Michigan, is scheduled to open on July 13 of this year. Section 23 of the America Invents Act required the USPTO to establish at least 3 additional satellite offices by September … Continue Reading

CAVEAT EMPTOR! – USPTO Issues Warning on Misleading Third Party Communications

Posted in Trademark, USPTO
The United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") has issued a warning notice advising trademark owners to beware of third party communications that "mimic the look of official government documents" and request payment of fees. That notice was issued after a number of owners reported to the USPTO that they had made payments in response to such requests, believing that they were for official fees and then learned that they were not… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Affirms Kappos v. Hyatt, Paving the Way for New Evidence and Expansive Review of Patent Applications

Posted in Patent, USPTO
Yesterday, in a unanimous decision, Kappos v. Hyatt, the Supreme Court affirmed a ruling of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit holding that in a civil action under 35 U.S.C. § 145, a patent applicant has the right to present new evidence to the District Court regardless of whether that evidence previously was or could have been presented during the proceedings before the PTO. Further, when such new evidence is presented, the District Court must review any related factual conclusions affected by the new evidence de novo, without giving deference to any prior decision or finding of the … Continue Reading

IP Law 2012: A Look Ahead . . . .

Posted in Patent, Pharmaceuticals, Trademark, USPTO
Coming off a year that included the Smith-Leahy "America Invents Act," 2012 portends to have some significant developments in IP law. Decisions for IP practitioners and industry to watch for include: the Supreme Court's decision in Caraco Pharm. Labs. Ltd. v. Novo Nordisk A/S, regarding "use codes" and section viii carve-outs under the Hatch-Waxman Act; the Supreme Court's decision in Mayo v. Prometheus, regarding patentable subject matter, post-Bilski; and the Federal Circuit's upcoming en banc decisions in McKesson and Akamai, regarding joint infringement liability… Continue Reading

Patent Reform Act of 2011 on the Horizon

Posted in Biotech, Patent, Pharmaceuticals, USPTO
On Tuesday, September 6, 2011, the Senate invoked cloture on H.R. 1249, also known as the America Invents Act, making it almost a done deal for passage of this Act. One reason that this bill has succeeded over its predecessors is that, with one major exception, there is little difference between the House and Senate versions. The passage of H.R. 1249 will mark the culmination of a 6-year process to pass patent reform legislation that started with H.R. … Continue Reading