Posts in Government

A Perspective on USPTO Rulemaking Following In re Chestek

There are many views on the significance of In re Chestek, No. 2022-1843 (February 14, 2024) to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) rulemaking process. One question I have asked myself is what I would do differently after Chestek if I were still involved in rulemaking at the USPTO. The simple answer is almost nothing: I would cite Chestek instead of the other decisions in the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) section of a proposed or final rule.

Three Congressional Letters Show the March-In Debate Has Shifted

When the Biden Administration unleashed its proposed march-in guidelines last December, it claimed they would be a powerful tool for lowering drug prices by allowing the government to “march in” to license copiers under the authorities of the Bayh-Dole Act. It did so despite previously joining every other Administration denying price control petitions as not authorized under the law. It should have known the proposal would have minimal impact on drug prices—but would have a devastating impact on American innovation. That’s because the guidelines apply to all federal R&D agencies—not just the National Institutes of Health — so they cover inventions across the spectrum, not just the life sciences.  Now the chickens are coming home to roost. Three Congressional letters illustrate the point.

Members of Congress Blast Biden on March-In Proposal and Pandemic Accord

A bipartisan group of 28 members of congress, including Senate IP Subcommittee Chair Chris Coons (D-DE), Ranking Member Thom Tillis (R-NC) and House IP Subcommittee Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA), sent a letter yesterday to President Biden urging the administration to reconsider its December proposal to allow agencies to consider pricing in deciding whether and when to “march in” on patent rights. Also yesterday, four bipartisan senators wrote to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in opposition to the negotiating text of the World Health Organization (WHO) Pandemic Agreement, warning that it “would undercut—if not destroy—the very aspects of our innovation ecosystem that just recently produced such positive results.”

Digging Into the USPTO’s AI Guidance: Adjusting Practices to Capture Human Contribution

As artificial intelligence (AI) systems become increasingly sophisticated and play a greater role in our society, questions surrounding patentability and inventorship have come to the forefront of intellectual property discourse. This is particularly so in the wake of Thaler v. Vidal, 43 F. 4th 1207, 1213 (Fed. Cir. 2022), cert denied, 143 S. Ct. 1783 (2023), in which the Federal Circuit held that “only a natural person can be an inventor, so AI cannot be.” The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently issued guidance aimed at addressing these concerns.

Patent Filings Roundup: Entropic Patents Challenged at PTAB; Push Data Campaign Grows; MyPort Case Closes

It was an average week all around with 31 new patent filings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) – all inter partes reviews (IPRs) – and 67 new filings in district court. The bulk of this week’s new PTAB filings (a total of 19) were petitions challenging patents owned and asserted by Entropic Communications LLC [associated with SoftBank Group Corp.] (discussed further below). Other notable filings include petitions challenging patents held by Softex [associated with SoftBank Group Corp.], Dental Imaging Technologies [associated with Envista Holdings Corporation], Resonant Systems [d/b/a RevelHMI], Immersion Corp, and Dsm IP Assets BV [associated with DSM-Firmenich AG].

USPTO Proposes Rule to Relax Requirements for Practice Before PTAB

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) today that would allow practitioners who are not registered with the USPTO patent bar to act as lead counsel in proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The Office has decided to propose that practitioners must still be represented by a registered practitioner, but to allow parties to “designate a non-registered practitioner as lead counsel and the registered practitioner as back-up counsel.”