The USPTO has published updated patent eligibility guidance (effective July 17, 2024) for AI-related inventions to help determine subject matter eligibility under 35 § U.S.C. 101. This guidance is timely as roughly 20% of all recent patent filings are AI related. It is important to note that based on prior guidance from February 2024, if an AI tool itself invents something, that is not patentable. Only inventions with significant human contribution are patentable. Thus, this does not preclude AI-assisted inventions. This February guidance was supplemented in April 2024 with AI guidance for practitioners and a request for comments on the impact of AI on certain patentability considerations, including what qualifies as prior art and the assessment of the level of ordinary skills in the art. The period for comments remains open until July 29, 2024.Continue Reading USPTO Issues AI Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance

The USPTO issued guidance on February 6, 2024 that clarified existing rules and policies and discussed how to apply them when AI is used in the drafting of submissions to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). As a follow up, the USPTO has now published additional guidance in the Federal Register on some important issues that patent and trademark professionals, innovators, and entrepreneurs must navigate while using artificial intelligence (AI) in matters before the USPTO. The guidance recognizes that practitioners use AI to prepare and prosecute patent and trademark applications. It reminds individuals involved in proceedings before the USPTO of the pertinent rules and policies, identifies some risks associated with the use of AI, and provides suggestions to mitigate those risks. It states that while the USPTO is committed to maximizing AI’s benefits, the USPTO recognizes the need, through technical mitigations and human governance, to cabin the risks arising from the use of AI in practice before the USPTO. The USPTO has determined that existing rules protect the USPTO’s ecosystem against such potential perils and thus no new rules are currently being proposed.Continue Reading USPTO Issues Additional Guidance on Use of AI Tools in Connection with USPTO Matters

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) and the United States Copyright Office (“USCO”) delivered a report to Congress entitled Non-Fungible Tokens and Intellectual Property on March 12, 2024 (“Report”). While the Report is comprehensive, it does not recommend any new action to address IP issues with NFTs.Continue Reading The USPTO and USCO Delivered a Report to Congress on IP Issues with NFTs – Maintains Existing IP Regime

After considering comments from various stakeholders for nearly a year, on July 24, 2023, the USPTO issued the revised interim Director Review Process. Among other changes, the revised process now permits parties to request the Director Review on institution decisions in America Invents Act (AIA) proceedings. This is a significant expansion of the scope of director review, which allows petitioners who had no appeal options to an IPR denial to now have at least one avenue of review of an institution denial.Continue Reading PTAB Makes Significant Changes to Director Review Process

Note: First published in The Intellectual Property Strategist and Law.com.

This article is Part Two of a Three-Part Article Series

Artificial intelligence is changing industry and society, and metrics at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) reflect its impact. In a recent publication, the USPTO indicated that from 2002 to 2018 the share of all patent applications relating to artificial intelligence grew from 9% to approximately 16%. See “Inventing AI, Tracing the diffusion of artificial intelligence with U.S. patents,” Office of the Chief Economist, IP Data Highlights (October 2020). For the foreseeable future, patent applications involving artificial intelligence technologies, including machine learning, will increase with the continued proliferation of such technologies. However, subject matter eligibility can be a significant challenge in securing patents on artificial intelligence and machine learning.Continue Reading Artificial Intelligence And Subject Matter Eligibility In U.S. Patent Office Appeals – Part Two Of Three

In June of this year, the US Supreme Court ruled that a proposed mark consisting of the combination of a generic term and a generic top-level domain, like “.com,” is not per se generic. (USPTO v. Booking.com). In response, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently issued Examination Guidelines for examining such “generic.com” terms.
Continue Reading USPTO Issues Guidance on Examination of Generic.com Terms

The Supreme Court granted and consolidated three petitions for writs of certiorari to hear two questions regarding the constitutionality of Administrative Patent Judge (APJ) appointments under the Appointments Clause.  These questions are: Whether APJs of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) are principal officers who must be appointed by the President under the Appointments Clause of the Constitution; and whether, if APJs are determined to be principal officers, severing the application of 5 U.S.C. 7513(a) to those judges cures any violation of the Appointments Clause.  The Court declined to hear a third question of whether the Court of Appeals in the Arthrex[1] case erred by adjudicating the Appointments Clause question despite the failure of Arthrex to present its Appointments Clause challenge during the PTAB proceedings.
Continue Reading Supreme Court to Decide Constitutionality of PTAB Judge Appointments

Reprinted with permission from the October 1, 2020 issue of The Intellectual Property Strategist, ALM Media, LLC.

I. INTRODUCTION

During patent prosecution before the USPTO, applicant and examiner can become entrenched in conflicting positions on subject matter eligibility. Appeal to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) could clear prosecution impasse. However, Alice related issues taken to the PTAB are not necessarily the Alice related issues decided by the PTAB.
Continue Reading Alice and Incongruity in PTAB Appeals

On June 30, the Supreme Court issued an 8-1 holding in U.S. Patent & Trademark Office v. Booking.com B.V., finding that whether a “GENERIC.COM” mark qualifies for trademark protection depends on its ability to act as a source identifier to consumers. In other words, a “GENERIC.COM” mark may or may not actually be generic. Adding “.COM” to an otherwise generic, and unregistrable, mark does not automatically affect whether the mark qualifies for trademark protection.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Sides with Booking.com – Generic.com Trademarks Not Necessarily Generic

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 New Pilot Program to Expedite Appeals Process