Category Archives: Patent Office Practice

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USPTO Offers Refund of Certain Non-Electronic Filing Fees Incurred During DSUEBSO

One of the many concerns raised by the recent outage of the USPTO’s electronic filing system was the requirement to pay the surcharge due when a new U.S. application is not filed electronically. The surcharge is statutory (enacted as part of the AIA), so the USPTO could not waive the fee. However, it has prescribed a … Continue reading this entry

Federal Circuit Chastises PTAB Over Moving Target On Ex Parte Appeal

The Federal Circuit decision in In re Durance is a rare precedential decision in an ex parte appeal from a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decision rejecting a pending patent application. The Court took the USPTO to task for making the rejection a moving target throughout the appeal process and failing to consider Reply Brief … Continue reading this entry

USPTO Vanda Memo Emphasizes Patent Eligibility Of Method Of Treatment Claims

On June 7, 2018, the USPTO issued a memorandum to the Examining Corps providing patent eligibility examination guidance based on the recent Federal Circuit decision in Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. West-Ward Pharmaceuticals. The Vanda memo emphasizes that method of treatment claims can be found to satisfy 35 USC § 101 at the first step of an Alice/Mayo … Continue reading this entry

USPTO Withdraws Newly Characterized Antigen Test For Written Description Of Antibodies

The USPTO issued a two page memorandum to the Patent Examining Corps noting that some of the USPTO’s written description guidance pertaining to antibody claims is “outdated.” The memo specifically notes withdrawal of the “newly characterized antigen test” for written description of antibodies, and advises that additional written description examination guidance is forthcoming.… Continue reading this entry

Three Things To Know About Rule 130 Declarations

A few weeks ago I joined Kathleen Fonda, Ph.D., J.D., Senior Legal Advisor in the USPTO’s Office of Patent Legal Administration, and Gary Ganzi, J.D., Senior Counsel and Head of Intellectual Property for Evoqua Water Technologies, on an IPO Chat Channel program on the use of Rule 130 declarations to disqualify prior art under the … Continue reading this entry

How Much Is That Issue Fee Payment In The Window?

A new USPTO fee schedule took effect on January 16, 2018, which usually means that all fees must be paid at the new (higher) rate. However, thanks to revisions to 35 USC § 151 effected by the Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012, applicants paying an Issue Fee need only pay the amount set … Continue reading this entry

USPTO Patent Fees To Go Up January 2018

While Congress is trying to pass a tax reform bill that would cut corporate taxes, USPTO patent fees will increase effective January 16, 2018. The 72% jump in the Inter Partes Review request fee has gotten the most attention, but a number of prosecution fee increases are notable. As stakeholders consider the impact these higher USPTO … Continue reading this entry

USPTO Expands Collaborative Search Pilot Program

As announced in this October 30, 2017 Federal Register notice, the USPTO is expanding the Collaborative Search Pilot Program under which applicants can request that multiple intellectual property offices exchange search results prior to issuing a first office action. As explained in the notice, the CSP is designed to provide examiners with a “more comprehensive set … Continue reading this entry

Federal Circuit Schools USPTO On Broadest Reasonable Claim Construction

In recent decisions, the Federal Circuit has found error in the USPTO Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s approach to obviousness rejections, including its reliance on the doctrine of routine optimization without evidence of an expectation of success, and its reliance on the doctrine of inherency when the record reveals unexpected results. Now, the Federal Circuit has criticized … Continue reading this entry

USPTO Finds SureGene Personalized Medicine Treatment Unpatentable Under Mayo

In Ex Parte Timothy, the USPTO Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) affirmed the Examiner’s rejection of personalized medicine treatment claims. This decision highlights the PTAB’s willingness to invalidate claims that it finds similar to the claims at issue in Mayo. It also underscores the need for Congressional action to incentivize and protect investments in this … Continue reading this entry

A Look At The USPTO Patent Eligible Subject Matter Report

On July 24, 2017, the USPTO issued a 48-page report on Patent Eligible Subject Matter. The report summarizes key court decisions interpreting and applying 35 USC § 101, international views on eligible subject matter, and public comments and recommendations for addressing recent changes in this foundational issue of U.S. patent jurisprudence. While some have criticized the USPTO … Continue reading this entry

USPTO Patent Term Adjustment Error Costs Patent Owners Time And Money

The USPTO appears to have dropped its plans to overhaul the Information Disclosure Statement (IDS) process, but that’s no excuse for its failure to process IDSs in accordance with its current rules. Most egregiously, the USPTO erroneously charges a Patent Term Adjustment (PTA) deduction for IDSs filed with a Rule 704(d) statement because its PTA … Continue reading this entry

PTAB Puts Method Of Treatment Patents Under The 101 Knife

While the Supreme Court decisions in Myriad and Mayo have been applied to diagnostic-type claims, method of treatment patents were thought to be safe from the recent judicial expansion of the patent-(in)eligibility doctrine. However, several decisions from the USPTO Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) have found personalized method of treatment claims ineligible under Mayo. Did the … Continue reading this entry

District Court Dismisses USPTO December 2015 Holidays Case

On December 2, 2016, Judge O’Grady of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted the USPTO’s motion to dismiss the complaint brought by Elm 3DS Innovations, LLC over the “holidays” declared December 22-24, 2015 when the USPTO experienced a power outage that impacted its electronic filing systems. The decision may leave other … Continue reading this entry

USPTO Examination Time Goals -- How Much Time Should Examiners Have To Examine A Patent Application?

As part of its ongoing efforts to improve patent quality, the USPTO is reevaluating its examination time goals and seeking public feedback on how much time examiners should have to examine a patent application. Examination time goals already vary by technology and the examiner’s level of experience, but should the USPTO refine the goals to … Continue reading this entry

Help The USPTO Leverage Prior Art From Related Patent Applications

The USPTO is seeking input on how it can leverage prior art information available on-line in related patent applications in order to “improve patent examination quality and efficiency” and reduce “applicant’s burden to provide this information to the USPTO.” The USPTO will be hosting a roundtable on this issue at its Alexandria, Virginia headquarters on September 28, 2016, at 1:00 pm, … Continue reading this entry

USPTO Sued Over December 2015 Holidays

Elm 3DS Innovations, LLC has sued the USPTO in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to challenge its authority to declare that December 22-24, 2015 were “holidays” because the USPTO had experienced a power outage that impacted its electronic filing systems. Elm asserts that it was harmed by this allegedly ultra … Continue reading this entry

USPTO Launches Patents 4 Patients

To support the National Cancer Moonshot initiative, the USPTO has launched the Patents 4 Patients program, also known as the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program. Under this program, applicants can obtain expedited examination of patent applications directed to methods of treating cancer using immunotherapy. It will be interesting to see how many applicants take advantage of this … Continue reading this entry

The Promise And Pitfalls Of 3D Printing

3D printing offers great promise for innovation and manufacturing, but this tool has expanded the scope of patented products that can be easily and cheaply copied, and may make it harder to identify and prosecute infringers. The USPTO held a conference on legal and policy issues surrounding 3D printing on June 28, 2016. Oyvind Dahle, a … Continue reading this entry

USPTO Patent Eligibility Guidance In View Of CellzDirect And Sequenom

On July 14, 2016, the USPTO issued a Memorandum to the Patent Examining Corps on patent eligibility in view of recent court decisions. The July 2016 Memorandum extracts more guidance for assessing patent eligibility from the Federal Circuit decision in CellzDirect, and notes that the Supreme decision denying certiorari in Sequenom “does not elevate” the significance of the panel decision … Continue reading this entry

New USPTO P3 Program Offers Applicant Participation In After Final Conference

The USPTO has launched a new after final program available starting today, July 11, 2016. The Post-Prosecution Pilot Program (P3) combines features of the After Final Consideration Pilot 2.0 (AFCP 2.0) and Pre-Appeal Brief Conference Pilot programs, and adds a feature that stakeholders have been clamoring for–Applicant participation in the process. The P3 program will run … Continue reading this entry

CAFC Upholds Same Day Continuation Applications

The Federal Circuit decided not to disturb the “longstanding administrative construction” of 35 USC § 120 that permits the filing of a continuation application on the same day its parent application grants as a patent. The decision came in Immersion Corp. v. HTC Corp., where the district court held that the statute requires a continuation application to … Continue reading this entry

Federal Circuit Emphasizes Reason In Application Of Broadest Reasonable Interpretation

As we wait for the Supreme Court decision in Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Lee, where the Court has been asked to decide whether the USPTO Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) should apply the “broadest reasonable interpretation” (BRI) of claims during Inter Partes Review proceedings, the Federal Circuit has been providing guidance on how to apply … Continue reading this entry