As of today, we are two months from March 15, 2013–the last day to secure an effective filing date under the current “first to invent” patent system. While we still are waiting for the USPTO to publish its final rules implementing the first-to-file provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), most of those rules will come into play after an application is filed. For the time being, inventors and applicants should be considering whether patent applications that may be ready for filing should be filed before or after the effective date of the first-to-file laws. This article provides a non-comprehensive, big picture review of the changes that take effect on March 16, 2013. Continue reading this entry
In Loughlin v. Ling, the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision of the USPTO Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences that had canceled the sole claim of Loughlin’s patent in an interference proceeding. The decision turned on the interplay between the interference statute of limitations (35 USC § 135(b)(2)) and the domestic priority statute (35 USC § 120).
A few weeks ago I was a presenter for the AIPLA webinar on “Patent Prosecution Under The AIA.” I discussed some strategies for preparing for the transition to the “first to file” system of the American Invents Act (AIA), and my co-presenter, Joe Matal, Judiciary Committee Counsel to Senator Jon Kyl, provided insight on the legislative history of some of the key provisions of the new law. Audience members submitted some good questions during the webinar, and since we were not able to answer all of them during our Q & A time, I thought I would address some of them here. Continue reading this entry
One important strategy for adopting to the first-to-file system of the America Invents Act will be to segregate subject matter that has an effective filing date of March 15, 2013 or earlier from subject matter that has an effective filing date of March 16, 2013 or later. This is because even after March 16, 2013, it will be possible to pursue subject matter with an earlier effective filing date under the current first-to-invent system as long as it is segregated from subject matter with a later effective filing date. (For a more detailed explanation, see my previous article on The First-To-File Poison Pill.) While my previous article on the Ides of March outlined several reasons why it could be important to obtain an effective filing date of March 15, 2013 or earlier, Max Colice, a patent agent and member of the Electronics practice at Foley & Lardner LLP, has pointed out yet another reason to segregate subject matter before and after the first-to-file effective date.
It has been a while since I’ve taken an in-depth look at the first-to-file provisions of the America Invents Act. This interesting fact pattern comes from Andrea Levesque, IP Counsel at ARC Energy, and relates to the interference provisions that survive the general March 16, 2013 effective date of the first-to-file provisions.Continue reading this entry
Now that we’ve been studying the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act for a few weeks, some of its subtle intricacies are coming to light. One of the more complex provisions relates to the effective date and applicability of the first-to-file provisions of new 35 USC § 102.
Last week, The Kojo Nnamdi Show on Washington, D.C. public radio station WAMU had two programs about patent reform. On Tuesday, there was a panel discussion on “Innovation and Patent Reform.” On Wednesday, Kojo talked with USPTO Director David Kappos about “Updating the U.S. Patent Office.” While I usually cringe when mainstream media discusses patent issues, I found these shows to be very good, even if I didn’t agree with everything that was said. One issue I would like to press Director Kappos about is his assertion that the pending patent reform legislation will help the USPTO solve the problem of the examination backlog.
Now that the Senate is set to vote on the Patent Reform Act of 2011 this week, the mainstream media is weighing in on the issues. This Saturday, The Washington Post published an editorial in support of patent reform, (“Why The patent process should be overhauled,” Feb. 26, 2011) but it butchered the background facts so thoroughly that it did more to confuse the issues than enlighten the public. I sincerely hope that Senators are better informed when they place their votes this week.
In Solvay S.A. v. Honeywell International, Inc., the Federal Circuit discussed the contours of 35 USC § 102(g)(2). The court found that Honeywell’s prior (secret) use of the process claimed in Solvay’s patent did not qualify as an invalidating prior invention because Honeywell was not an original inventor of the subject matter at issue. This case underscores some of the quirks of the United States "first to invent system," and highlights the dangers of relying on (secret) work developed outside the United States when developing your own technology.