Posts in IPWatchdog Articles

Lessons: 5 Odd Things Inventors Tell Patent Attorneys

One of the problems created by true newbies, particularly those who have not done any reading or tried to at least bring themselves up to speed to some extent, is that they present in a way that makes established patent attorneys and law firms want to run and hide. Whether it is unrealistic expectations, wanting a confidentiality agreement signed because they want to be able to sue you if things go bad, or wanting representation on a contingency basis, these things scream PROBLEM to most patent attorneys, thereby foreclosing a possible representation relationship in many cases.

Increasing Patent Allowance Rates by Selectively Targeting a More Technological Patent Class

Class matters. Technology class, that is. In some of the more rapidly growing areas of our economy, like Social Networking and Mobile Phone Apps, it looks like you can almost double patent allowance rate by making sure your patent application is classified in the more technological patent office art units. For entrepreneurs, a faster allowance rate and earlier acquisition of patents can directly translate into better fund raising, more secure commercialization and more profitable licensing. For large corporations, it means substantially reduced patent costs. And with some forethought you can probably influence which class your application is placed in while at the same time creating a more comprehensive patent application.

The Problem with Software Patents? Uninformed Critics!

Listening to those who code complain about patents is nearly hysterical. They still haven’t figured out that by and large they are not innovators, but rather merely translators. Perhaps that is why they so frequently think that whatever they could have come up with themselves is hardly worthy of being patented. Maybe they are correct, but that doesn’t mean that an appropriately engineered system isn’t patentable, it just means that those who code are not nearly as likely to come up with such a system in the first place because they rarely, if ever, seem to approach a project as an engineer would. Rather, they jump right in and start coding. In the engineering world that is a recipe for disaster, and probably explains why so much software that we pay so much money for today is hardly worthy of being called a beta, much less a finished product.

WIPO: International Trademark Filings Rise 12.8% in 2010

International trademark activity recovered during 2010, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which received 39,687 applications under the 85-member Madrid System for the International Registration of Trademarks (“the Madrid system”). This increase in application from 2009 to 2010 represents a 12.8% rate of growth. Growth was the largest for the Republic of Korea (+42.2%), China (+42%), Italy (+38.7%), United States of America (+29.6%), European Union (+26.9%) and Japan (+20.2%).

USPTO to Begin Accepting Requests for Prioritized Examination of Patent Applications on May 4, 2011

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced today plans for the agency to begin accepting requests for prioritized examination of patent applications – allowing inventors and businesses to have their patents processed within 12 months. It currently takes nearly three years to process the average patent. The program, called Track One, launches May 4, 2011, and is part of a new Three-Track system, which will provide applicants with greater control over when their applications are examined and promote greater efficiency in the patent examination process.

Interview Part 2: USPTO Deputy Director Terry Rea

In part 2 of the interview we discuss the energizer bunny, known better as USPTO Director David Kappos. We also discuss what skills she has brought from a private law practice that she feels will help her most at the Patent and Trademark Office. Finally, we discussed initiatives the USPTO is pursuing to assist women entrepreneurs and the inevitable questions about where we stand with patent reform.

House Inter Partes Review Provisions Threaten Patent Reform

Both the House and Senate bills create the opportunity for continual and constant challenges, one right after another. For example, challengers could tie up issued patents in post-grant review, followed by inter partes review and subsequently, or simultaneously, by challenges in one of the Federal District Courts. Thus, the settling of patent rights seems a distant dream if a well funded challenger wants to tie up a patent. The only hope for the patent owner is that with every subsequent challenge it becomes more difficult to challenge. That is what S. 23 sets up by having a “substantial new question of patentability” standard to initiate a post-grant review and then a much heightened “likelihood of success” standard to institute inter partes review.

WIPO 2010 ADR Report: Cybersquatting Hits Record Level

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) recently announced that the number of cybersquatting cases has reached an all time high. In 2010, trademark holders filed 2,696 cybersquatting cases relating to some 4,370 domain names with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (WIPO Center) under procedures based on the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). This spike in the number of domain name disputes caused by cybersquatting represents an increase of 28% over the 2009 level and of 16% over the previous record year, 2008.

Obama Administration to hold Startup America Roundtable

April 6, 2011, senior Obama Administration officials will visit St. Paul, Minnesota to meet with entrepreneurs and hear directly from them on ideas and suggestions for reducing barriers and improving regulations to build a more supportive environment for entrepreneurship and innovation. These roundtable events are a part of the“Startup America” initiative, which will also infuse up to $1 billion over the next five years in underserved communities and emerging industries.

The Key to Drafting an Excellent Patent – Alternatives

The trick with drafting a patent application is to describe anything that will work, no matter how crude, no matter how defective. You want to capture everything. This is because the only power of a patent is to prevent others from doing what is covered in the patent. If you are making money there will be others who want to do what you are doing. Your patent can prevent them from doing what you are doing, but a strong patent will also prevent would-be-competitors from doing anything that is close. You want to prevent would-be-competitors from directly competing and from competing with substitutes, even substitutes that are inferior.

Exclusive Interview: USPTO Deputy Director Terry Rea

I found Terry to be extremely knowledgeable and very easy to talk to, which should probably read that I perceive her to be a patent geek just like me. A geek in a good way, of course. Those patent attorneys and agents reading know what I mean. We so enjoy what we do and so infrequently get to talk to anyone about it with anyone who really cares, so when we do the conversation is a blast. Terry Rea has been immersed in everything patents, from prosecution to opinions to interferences and litigation, and I get the sense that she loves patents and innovation. I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with her.

BIO Expresses Some Concern with House Patent Reform

BIO also is concerned about the inclusion of broader prior user rights in the House bill, and believes that this issue, coupled with the harmful inter partes review changes, could set back efforts to pass meaningful patent reform this year by undermining the broad coalition of American innovators currently supporting patent reform.

USPTO Automates Filing of Patent Petitions

The automated petition process uses the USPTO’s new e-Petition system. With e-Petition the data is input through a secure web interface and the petition is decided automatically, eliminating months of waiting for these types of petitions to be docketed, decided and uploaded into Public PAIR (Patent Application Information Retrieval).

Sensenbrenner to Kappos: Prior User Rights is Poison Pill

Today the House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet, which is a subcommittee of the House Committee on the Judiciary, held a hearing on the America Invents Act, the House version of patent reform. While the House and Senate bills are largely identical, there is one striking difference between the two, and that difference relates to prior user…

Innovation Alliance Opposes America Invents Act in the House

The Innovation Alliance is disappointed that the America Invents Act as introduced today in the House of Representatives does not include some important safeguards against the potential for abuse of the post-grant review procedures at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In particular, the bill includes a weak threshold for ‘second window’ inter partes review proceedings, one that will allow virtually all challenges to proceed to a trial-like hearing before an administrative patent judge. We believe a higher threshold is needed to enable the USPTO to manage the increased workload of the new administrative review system fairly and efficiently by screening out meritless or unsubstantiated petitions.

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