IP Practice Vlogs


Recent Episodes

April 8, 2024 IP Practice Vlogs: Design Practical Exercise – Protecting Variable Design Choices and Color

In the latest episode of IP Practice Vlogs, it’s time for another design patent practical exercise. We previously did a design exercise on patenting Apple’s AirPods. This time we are going to patent the lightsaber. Specifically, as an example, we will be using a custom made lightsaber from Disney which was built by my husband at an experience at Galaxy Edge called Savi’s Workshop. The lightsabers that are assembled and sold at Savi’s workshop are all customizable in which the design or physical appearance actually vary depending on the customer’s design choice. I’m going to show you why this custom-made lightsaber is actually a very good candidate for design patent protection despite its variable design.

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January 7, 2024 IP Practice Vlogs: PTAs, PTEs and Terminal Disclaimer Practice under In re Cellect

The Federal Circuit basically confirmed in In re Cellect that terminal disclaimers can knock out patent term adjustment (PTA). If you have patent term extension (PTE) and you filed a terminal disclaimer to overcome an obviousness-type double patenting (ODP) rejection, you can get the PTE term tacked onto the disclaimed date. However, in the case of PTA, the court says that PTA term gets added to the life of the patent first and then the terminal disclaimer goes into effect so that you have disclaimed the PTA term and any extended term such that the two patents now expire on the same date regardless of the PTA. In effect, terminal disclaimers may knock out PTA term.

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August 11, 2023 IP Practice Vlogs: Delving into Some USPTO Examples on Patent Eligibility and Whether PERA Will Eliminate the Technological Improvement Test

The technological improvement test is used by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to determine the issue of subject matter eligibility. Of all the tests for a showing of something more or practical application – machine transformation, machine implementation, data transformation – technological improvement is probably the most popular and oft-used by applicants because it has the clearest standards. As you probably already know, the technological improvement test used by the USPTO looks for a technological problem for which there is a technological solution and the claims recite a technological improvement therefor.

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April 4, 2023 IP Practice Vlogs: Petitions Practice before the USPTO and Lessons from Stephen Thaler

Petitions are sort of like pleading practice before the Office over issues that do not necessarily have to do with the patentability of your claims. The Office of Petitions will receive your petition where it will be decided on not the examiner, but an administrator in the petitions office. As a rule of thumb, objections from the Office are petitionable and rejections from the Office are appealable. Rejections under Sections 101, 102 and 103 involve questions of law and therefore have to be appealed to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) as an ex parte appeal. But for everything else, if you have a dispute with the examiner that’s not going anywhere and the examiner isn’t withdrawing the objection – you petition those matters.

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January 10, 2023 How U.S. Attorneys Should Tackle Extended European Search Reports

Why should U.S. attorneys bother with learning European Patent (EP) practice? Because every once in a while, your client is going to ask you about IP portfolio management in other countries, whether you have a client that is already a multinational entity or thinking about expanding across borders. It’s not uncommon for a client to ask you about practicing before the European Patent Office (EPO) versus, for example, one of the Asian or Latin American patent offices, in which case they will more likely talk directly to a foreign associate. The reason for this is because of English. You speak it. They also speak it. So, your client could very well ask you to review documents coming out of Europe to save money (if they have not already). Because of this, it’s important to know some of the basics of European prosecution practice. In this episode, let’s talk about Extended European search reports (EESRs), which basically means an EP office action.

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November 17, 2022 IP Practice Vlogs: Lessons in Calculating Patent Term

After June 8, 1995, U.S. utility patent terms changed from 17 years from issuance to 20 years from filing to harmonize with the rest of the world under the Uruguay Rounds Agreement Act. For design patents, after the Hague Agreement on May 13, 2015, design patent terms changed to from 14 years from issuance to 15 years from the date of grant/issuance. In the United States, patent term is subject to the following: patent term adjustment (PTAs), patent term extension (PTEs) and terminal disclaimers. While many other countries also have PTAs and PTEs, terminal disclaimer practice exists only in the United States because we are the only country that issues judicially-created, non-statutory double patenting rejections.

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October 13, 2022 IP Practice Vlogs: Responding to the USPTO’s Request for Public Comments

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) would like public comments on how to update the 2019 Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance. The agency is also seeking comments on how to improve the robustness of the patent system overall. This article/video is in (unofficial) response to both of these requests for comments. The current mess surrounding subject matter eligibility in the United States is an offspring of a much deeper problem in patent law, which is that there is practically no standardization in patent practice. In medicine, U.S. doctors are trained by standardized practices through rotations and residency programs such that when they begin practicing, a doctor graduating in Florida will not practice medicine vastly different from a doctor graduating from medical school in California, for instance. Instead, the idea is that all the graduates will approach medical treatment in a standardized way so that the public has a lot more faith in the medical community.

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August 17, 2022 The Copyright Claims Board: A Venue for Pursuing Actual or Statutory Damages Impacting Both Registered and Unregistered Works

The Copyright Claims Board (CCB), established by the CASE Act passed in December 2020, is now up and running and taking cases. The CCB is an alternative to federal court. Just like patents, copyrights are bound by federal law. Previously, a copyright owner would have to take their case to federal district court to in order to seek damages or relief. But the CCB allows a claimant to bring a copyright suit before a tribunal at the Copyright Office instead.

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July 23, 2022 IP Practice Vlogs: Understanding and Responding to Examiner Rationales for Prima Facie Obviousness

Did you know that the examiner bears the initial burden of proving a prima facie case of obviousness? You, the applicant, do not have any duty or burden to prove nonobviousness. Therefore, initially, the applicant has no obligation to present any secondary evidence of nonobviousness. It is only when the examiner has proven a prima facie case of obviousness that the burden shifts to the applicant.

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July 9, 2022 IP Practice Vlogs: Who Qualifies for Accelerated Examination Under the USPTO’s new Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Program?

The USPTO recently announced a new pilot program directed at accelerating examination procedure for applications claiming cleantech technology. Under the Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Program, qualifying nonprovisional utility patent applications involving technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be advanced out of turn for examination, or accorded special status, until a first action on the merits. Typically, applicants wait up to a year and a half after initial filing of a patent application for a first office action on the merits. It looks like applicants do not have to wait that long under the new pilot program. In the USPTO’s press release, the agency states that this pilot program is part of their commitment to explore accelerated review of patent applications that pertain to environmental quality, energy conservation, development of renewable energy, greenhouse gas emission reduction, or other climate related topics.

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July 3, 2022 IP Practice Vlogs: Practical Exercise – Let’s Design Patent the AirPods!

In the latest episode of IP Practice Vlogs, we will explore design patents, which protect the ornamental features of a functional item. Apple’s AirPods are functional but have a distinctive look that is identifying of its brand and maker, making them a great subject. The first thing you do when patenting anything, including a design, is to decide the scope of your claim. In design patents, your scope is determined by what you claim, what you show and what you describe. Claimed features are depicted by solid lines. Dashed lines depict unclaimed features that provide environmental context for your claimed features that are in solid lines.

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May 29, 2022 Critical Emerging Technology: Claiming and Disclosing Blockchain, Fintech and Cryptocurrency

A blockchain is a digital ledger comprised of so-called “blocks.” Every piece of new information uploaded to the digital ledger is a block having a set of data. Once these blocks are linked – that is, every time that new information is uploaded via a block – it becomes part of the digital ledger for forever and all time; the blocks cannot be edited, deleted or modified, even by the company or person who initially created the blockchain. Because the history and genesis of blockchain data cannot be altered or deleted, blockchains are a valuable tool for identifying the provenance of an item and tracking the path from its original source to its ultimate destination.

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May 21, 2022 IP Practice Vlogs: Claiming Foreign Priority – An Overview of Patent Cooperation Treaty, Paris Convention and Patent Prosecution Highway Practice

There are several ways to claim foreign priority for a patent application. The first option is filing an international application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). In order to utilize this option, at least one of the applicants has to be a national or a resident of a country that is a PCT Contracting State. Upon filing, the applicant picks a receiving office, which is a national patent office designated for receiving the PCT application. A competent receiving office belongs to a location in which one of the PCT applicants is entitled to file a PCT application. Each PCT member state has a competent receiving office for its residents and nationals. The International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) also acts as a receiving office in which all applicants are entitled to file PCT applications. In that case, the applicant can file directly with WIPO. Thirty to 31 months after initial filing, the application then enters the national stage and the applicant can select the countries in which it would like to file.

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May 14, 2022 What is AI and How is it Treated by the USPTO, EPO and CNIPA?

Generally, artificial intelligence (AI) is an automation of a thing that a human being can do, or the simulation of intelligent human behavior by a machine. In other words, AI performs what a human can but with vastly more data and processing of incoming information. Unfortunately, claiming AI in adherence to its typical definition is akin to asking for a Section 101 subject matter eligibility rejection in the United States. Europe and China have already updated their patent examination procedures for AI. If the United States sustains its current examination procedure of machine intelligence in accordance with the abstract idea doctrine under the Alice and Mayo framework established by the Supreme Court, will we be leaving this industry behind?

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May 7, 2022 IP Practice Vlogs: Examining When Statements of Intended Use can Limit the Scope of a Patent Claim

Did you know that your claim preamble is more likely to be limiting when you’re dealing with a method claim versus an apparatus claim? In Cochlear Bone Anchored v. Oticon Medical AB, Cochlear’s claim recited a hearing aid apparatus “for rehabilitation of unilateral hearing loss” in the preamble. Cochlear was challenged at inter partes review (IPR) where Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) found the preamble term “for rehabilitation of unilateral hearing loss” did not limit the scope of the claims. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the Board’s ruling, expressly finding that the statement of intended use is not limiting because the preamble did not furnish additional structure that was recited in the body of the claims, and provided no antecedent basis for any of the limitations in the body of the claim.

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About This Podcast

Global IP Counselors is dedicated to protecting the intellectual property rights of applicants around the world.  We believe in drafting disclosures that are enabled to support a broad range of claim scopes at the onset of prosecution, placing the applicants’ claims strongly in position for future assertion.  In order to provide world class IP service, we maintain a full understanding of the ongoing changes to the USPTO’s agency guidelines as well as precedential rulings from the US courts.  Join Wen Xie at the IP Practice Vlogs as she discusses the newest IP practice insights before the USPTO and the Federal Circuit.

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