USPTO Announces New Pilot Program to Expedite Appeals Process

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced a pilot program for fast-tracking appeals of applications for original utility, design, or plant patents. The so-called “Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program” is intended to provide a vehicle for advancing applications during the ex parte appeals process before the PTAB (Patent Trial and Appeal Board). Continue Reading

USPTO Announces a New Initiative to Provide Applicants Additional Time to Petition for Restoring a Right of Priority or Benefit

On June 11, 2020, USPTO Director Andrei Iancu authorized an initiative[1] that may apply to an applicant who has filed an earlier foreign patent application[2] or a U.S. provisional patent application[3] and has missed the one-year deadline to file a U.S. nonprovisional utility patent application but would still like to obtain the right of the earlier filing date. Typically, the applicant still has two additional months to petition the USPTO to restore this right with a petition fee.[4] The USPTO has authorized an initiative to further extend the two-month period, while waiving the petition fee, in some situations. The initiative also applies to the corresponding six-month deadline to claim priority of a foreign filed design patent application.[5] Continue Reading

The PTAB’s Ground-Breaking Decision in Apple v. Fintiv Promises to Make IPR Institutions More Challenging

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (“PTAB”) institution rate for inter partes reviews (“IPRs”) has fallen virtually every year.  In its recent decision in Apple, Inc. v. Fintiv, Inc. issued on May 13, 2020, the PTAB denied institution of Apple’s petition for IPR and set forth a new test for determining whether to institute an IPR based on the status of the underlying district court proceedings, which suggests that institution rates may continue to fall. Continue Reading

3D-Printed Masks, Disinfecting Devices, and Simplified Ventilators – a Sampling of Tech Advances in the Age of COVID-19 from California Universities

The current COVID-19 environment has disrupted standard operations in nearly every industry and created fertile grounds for innovation. This is the first of a series of blog posts that will look at how industries have enabled technologies at lightning speed, in an effort to pay homage to the wonders of science innovation in view of COVID-19. Continue Reading

COVID-19 Web-Based IP Platform to Facilitate Connections

On May 4, the USPTO made available a new web-based intellectual property (IP) platform, Patents 4 Partnerships, to provide the public with a user-friendly, searchable repository of patents and published patent applications related to the COVID-19 pandemic. To be included in the repository, the patentee or patent applicant must indicate that the patent or patent application is available for licensing. The platform can help entities find collaborations to encourage voluntary licensing and commercialization of key innovations by helping to bring to the marketplace new products and technologies for the prevention, treatment, and diagnosis of COVID-19. Continue Reading

COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program Now Available for Small and Micro Entities

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced a new Prioritized Examination Pilot Program for qualified patent applications relating to COVID-19.  This program is available without the usual prioritized-examination fees and the USPTO’s goal under the program is to reach final disposition of applications in the program within twelve months from the date prioritized status is granted.  However, the USPTO notes that it may be able to reach final disposition in six months if applicants provide more timely responses to notices and actions from the USPTO.  This pilot program is limited to a total of 500 accepted requests, but the USPTO may extend or terminate the pilot program at its discretion. Continue Reading

USPTO Provides Form for Claiming 30-Day COVID-19 Extensions

On March 31, 2020, the USPTO announced that it is permitting applicants, for delays that are based on the ongoing COVID-19 emergency in the United States, to request a 30-day extension of the time allowed to file certain documents and to pay certain fees. We provided an explanation of this announcement when it was published. Since then, the USPTO provided a form to be used for the “statement of delay” required in claiming a COVID-19-related filing extension. Extensions were originally applicable to due dates falling between March 27 and April 30. The USPTO, on April 28, 2020, extended the applicable period for due dates to June 1, 2020. Continue Reading

Breach of FRAND Implications on ITC Exclusion Orders In View of the Public’s Interest

Imagine a scenario where the International Trade Commission (ITC) finds a respondent infringes a standard essential patent (SEP).  An SEP that was included in a standard based on a voluntary promise to license it on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.  What happens when the complainant has breached its FRAND obligation, and at the same time demands that the ITC exclude the alleged infringing product from the United States market?  Does the Commission need to consider the circumstances surrounding the FRAND obligation when reviewing the public’s interest in excluding the product?  The decade-old debate will endure on for now, but the answer may rest upon which way the current Administration’s opinion-pendulum swings. Continue Reading

A Cautionary Trade Secrets Tale: Failure To Preserve Potentially Relevant Evidence

Here, we provide a cautionary tale of what can happen to a business that fails to preserve documents that are potentially relevant evidence to pending or threatened trade secrets litigation, and offer some takeaways for businesses that would like to avoid such dire straits.[1] Continue Reading

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