USPTO Offers Small Entities One Streamlined Patent Appeal

In a September 15, 2015 Federal Register Notice, the USPTO announced a pilot program that will permit certain Small or Micro Entities to expedite a pending ex parte appeal. According to the Notice, the USPTO aims to decide petitions to be enrolled in the expedited patent appeal program within 2 months, and to render decisions in enrolled appeals within 4 months. As with the pilot “bump one, dump one” program, this program has restrictions and comes at a price that appellants should consider carefully before enrolling. Continue reading this entry

Improving Patent Quality With International Collaborative Search Pilot Programs

The USPTO has launched two new programs aimed at improving patent quality by joining forces with the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) or the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) at the initial stages of the patent examination process. The JPO pilot program seems the most likely to have an impact on examination, but the USPTO will be evaluating both programs to see if one or the other is more effective.  Continue reading this entry

Board Boots Bass Tecfidera IPR On The Merits

On September 2, 2015, the USPTO Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) denied institution of another Inter Partes Review brought by Kyle Bass, the Coalition for Affordable Drugs, and other related entities. In denying the Tecfidera IPR petition, The PTAB sidestepped Biogen’s argument that the institution should be denied because its “primary purpose” was to “depress stock prices and benefit through short sales of that stock,” and instead made a decision on the merits, finding that the cited references did not establish obviousness.

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Court Finds Dow Claims Clearly Indefinite

In Dow Chemical Co. v. Nova Chemicals Corp., the Federal Circuit held claims reciting a limitation that could be calculated in several ways indefinite where the patent claims, specification, and prosecution history failed to indicate which method should be used. For those wondering whether the “reasonable certainty” standard set forth in the Supreme Court’s Nautilus decision will have any real-world impact, this case shows that it can, since the Federal Circuit previously upheld the same claims under the “insolubly ambiguous” standard.  Continue reading this entry

Parsing USPTO Petitions Data

The USPTO has launched a Petitions Timeline that provides information on the types of petitions that can be filed at each stage of prosecution, the average time to decision and grant rate, and the deciding office. While some of the most interesting petitions may fall under the catch-all categories of “questions not specifically provided for” (petitions under 37 CFR 1.181) and  “invoking the supervisory authority of the Director” (petitions under 37 CFR 1.182), the USPTO petitions data do reveal some interesting points. Continue reading this entry