Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Technology and Innovation Medal Winners

On September 29, 2008 President Bush will present six individuals and two corporations with the Medal of Technology and Innovation, "the nation's highest honor for technology and scientific achievement." To view a list of the winners and learn more about their innovations, see the August 25, 2008 press release from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

New USPTO Online Continuing Education Program

The USPTO is piloting an online continuing education program for patent practitioners. The CEP (Continuing Education for Practitioners) plans to present brief (about one hour) sessions about such topics as recent rule changes, revised patent examination guidelines, etc. Practitioners agree to complete one CEP program a year.

See the Aug. 18 news release for more information.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Federal Register - Comments on Payment Options

[Federal Register: August 21, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 163)]
[Page 49444-49446]

Complete comment request available at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=2008_register&docid=fr21au08-33


Under 35 U.S.C. 41 and 15 U.S.C. 1113, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) charges fees for processing and other services related to patents, trademarks, and information products. Customers may submit payments to the USPTO by several methods, including credit card, deposit account, electronic funds transfer (EFT), and paper check
transactions. The provisions of 35 U.S.C. 41 and 15 U.S.C. 1113 are implemented in 37 CFR 1.16-1.28, 2.6-2.7, and 2.206-2.209.

This information collection includes the Credit Card Payment Form (PTO-2038), which provides the public with a convenient way to submit a credit card payment for fees related to a patent, trademark, or information product. Customers may also submit credit card payments via the Electronic Credit Card Payment Form (PTO-2231) when using online systems through the USPTO Web site for paying fees related to patents, trademarks, or information products.

The USPTO will not include credit card information submitted using the credit card payment forms among the patent or trademark records open to public inspection.

Customers may establish a deposit account for making fee payments by completing a Deposit Account Application Form (PTO-2232) and sending the required information, initial deposit, and service fee to the USPTO. Deposit accounts eliminate the need to submit a check, credit card information, or other form of payment for each transaction with the USPTO. Additionally, in the event that a fee amount due is miscalculated, customers may authorize the USPTO to charge any remaining balance to the deposit account and therefore avoid the potential consequences of underpayment. As customers use their deposit accounts to make payments, they may deposit funds to replenish their accounts by mailing a check to the USPTO or making a deposit online via EFT using the Electronic Deposit Account Replenishment Form (PTO-2233) available at the USPTO Web site. Replenishments may not be made by credit card. Customers may also close their deposit accounts by submitting a written request or by using the Deposit Account Closure
Request Form (PTO-2234).

In addition to credit cards and deposit accounts, customers may also use EFT to make online fee payments to the USPTO. Customers must first establish a user profile with their banking information by submitting the EFT User Profile Form (PTO-2236) through the USPTO Web site. Once their profile is created, customers may use their User ID and password to perform EFT transactions.

Under 37 CFR 1.26 and 2.209, the USPTO may refund fees paid by mistake or in excess of the required amount. For refund amounts of $25 or less, customers must submit a written request to the Refund Branch of the USPTO Office of Finance.

In order to access and manage their financial activity records online, customers may create a Financial Profile through the USPTO web site. Customers create a profile by registering a username and password, providing contact information, and specifying the types of notifications and alerts they would like to receive. After establishing a Financial Profile, customers may then add the relevant account information to the profile in order to track their credit card, deposit account, and EFT transactions with the USPTO.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before October 20,

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
E-mail: Susan.Fawcett@uspto.gov. Include ``0651-0043
comment'' in the subject line of the message.

Fax: 571-273-0112, marked to the attention of Susan Fawcett.

Mail: Susan K. Fawcett, Records Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Customer Information Services Group, Public Information Services Division, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.

Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information should be directed to Tamara McClure, Office of Finance, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450; by telephone at 571-272-6345; or by e-mail to Tamara.McClure@uspto.gov.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Federal Register Final Rule - Patent Fees

[Federal Register: August 14, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 158)][Rules and Regulations] [Page 47534-47542]

Complete rule available at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=2008_register&docid=fr14au08-5

Revision of Patent Fees for Fiscal Year 2009

SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) is adjusting certain patent fee amounts for fiscal year 2009 to reflect fluctuations in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The patent statute provides for the annual CPI adjustment of patent fees set by statute to recover the higher costs associated with doing business. In addition, the Office is correcting the addresses for maintenance fee payments and correspondence, and deposit account replenishments.

DATES: Effective Date: October 2, 2008.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Walter Schlueter by e-mail at Walter.Schlueter@uspto.gov, by telephone at (571) 272-6299, or by fax at (571) 273-6299.

Federal Register Final Rule - Disciplinary Investigations

[Federal Register: August 14, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 158)] [Rules and Regulations] [Page 47649-47704]

Complete rule available at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=2008_register&docid=fr14au08-10

Changes to Representation of Others Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office; Final Rule

SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) is adopting new rules governing the conduct of disciplinary investigations, issuing warnings when closing such investigations, disciplinary proceedings, non-disciplinary transfer to disability inactive status and reinstatement to practice before the Office. The Office is adopting a new rule regarding recognition to practice before the Office in trademark cases. The Office also is adopting a new rule to address a practitioner's signature and certificate for correspondence filed in the Office. These changes will enable the Office to better protect the public from practitioners who do not comply with the Office's ethics rules and from incapacitated practitioners.

DATES: Effective Date: September 15, 2008.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Harry I. Moatz ((571) 272-6069), Director of Enrollment and Discipline (OED Director), directly by phone, by facsimile to (571) 273-6069 marked to the attention of Mr. Moatz, or by mail addressed to: Mail Stop OED-Ethics Rules, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450.

Federal Register Proposed Rule - Patent Applications

[Federal Register: August 7, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 153)]
[Notices] [Page 45999-46000]

Complete notice available at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=2008_register&docid=fr07au08-45

Clarification of Patent Regulations Currently in Effect, and Revision in Applicability Date of Provisions Relating to Patent Applications Containing Patentably Indistinct Claims

SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is publishing this notice to clarify which patent-related regulations are currently in effect. The USPTO is identifying the applicability date of those regulatory provisions relating to applications containing patentably indistinct claims which are enjoined in Tafas v. Dudas, 530 F. Supp. 2d 786 (E.D. Va. 2008). Should the injunction be lifted, those regulations will apply only to applications filed on or after any new effective date that would be published by the USPTO in the future.

DATES: Effective Date: August 7, 2008.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The Office of Patent Legal Administration, by telephone at (571) 272-7704, or by e-mail at PatentPractice@uspto.gov.

Federal Register Proposed Rule Regarding Facsimiles

(The complete rule is available at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=2008_register&docid=fr06au08-23.)

[Federal Register: August 6, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 152)]
[Page 45662-45673]
Changes to Practice for Documents Submitted to the United States
Patent and Trademark Office

SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) is proposing to revise the rules of practice to limit the types of correspondence that may be submitted to the Office by facsimile. The Office is also proposing an increased minimum font size for use on papers submitted to the Office for a patent application, patent or reexamination proceeding. The proposed changes will improve the legibility of documents in the Office's files of patent applications and reexamination proceedings.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before October 6, 2008. No public hearing will be held.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be sent by electronic mail over the Internet addressed to AC27.comments@uspto.gov. Comments may also be submitted by mail addressed to: Mail Stop Comments-Patents, Commissioner for Patents, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450, marked to the attention of Raul Tamayo, Legal Advisor, Office of Patent Legal Administration (OPLA). Although comments may be submitted by mail, the Office prefers to receive comments via the Internet. Comments may also be sent by electronic mail message over the Internet via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. See the Federal eRulemaking Portal Web site(http://www.regulations.gov) for additional instructions on providing comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal.

The comments will be available for public inspection at the Office of Patent Legal Administration, Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy, currently located at Room 7D74 of Madison West, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia and will also be available through anonymous file transfer protocol (ftp) via the Internet (address: http://www.uspto.gov). Because comments will be made available for public inspection, information that is not desired to be made public, such as an address or a telephone number, should not be included in the comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Hiram H. Bernstein ((571) 272-7707), Senior Legal Advisor, or Raul Tamayo, Legal Advisor, ((571) 272-7728), Office of Patent Legal Administration, Office of Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy, directly by telephone, or by mail addressed to: Mail Stop Comments-Patents, Commissioner for Patents,
P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450, marked to the attention of the Office of Patent Legal Administration.

For information regarding reexamination issues, contact Stephen Marcus ((571) 272-7743) or Kenneth Schor ((571) 272-7710), Senior Legal Advisors, Office of Patent Legal Administration, Office of Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy.

Patent Attorney/Agent Information

A new non-governmental service provides data about patent attorneys/agents registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Patent Buddy provides employee snapshots and information about attorneys/agents' experience histories back to 2001 (soon back to 1982) including which patents they have prosecuted. It includes social networking features such as the ability to create a "buddy list" of colleagues and contacts as well as to network with attorneys and agents. The advanced search makes it possible to search by name, registration number, organization, city, state/province, and zip code.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

USPTO Training Videos

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has unveiled a new feature on its Inventors Resource page. Computer-based training is now available. The premier video training session is entitled “From Concept to Protection.” This video talks about such things as the inventor's notebook, a nondisclosure agreement, a provisional application, a non-provisional application, a design application, foreign filing, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

Other short training videos will be added in the future to the Inventors Resource page under computer based training.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Proofread Your Patent

In the January 2008 issue of India Business Law Journal made available on the Web by Clairvolex Knowledge Processes Pvt. Ltd., Jain Rinky stresses the importance of proofreading your patent even after it has been granted. In Proofreading Vital When Filing Patents he states that a USPTO study revealed almost all issued patents have at least one error either made by the applicant or by the USPTO. An error could possibly weaken the claims of the patent and delay enforcement by the courts "until the error is corrected and a Certificate of Correction (CoC) is obtained from the USPTO." He gives specific examples of problems caused by lack of proofreading.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Inventors Conference Online

For those who cannot attend in person the 2008 United States Patent and Trademark Office's Independent Inventors Conference this Friday and Saturday (Aug. 8-9, 2008), the general sessions will be webcast live. Log on to the USPTO's website, www.uspto.gov at 8 a.m. on Friday and follow the viewing instructions.

Speakers at the general session include John Doll, Commissioner for Patents; Thom Ruhe, Director of Entrepreneurship for the Kauffman Foundation; inventor Julia Rhodes, President of Kleen Slate Concepts; and Louis Foreman, creator and producer of Everyday Edisons, an Emmy Award winning PBS series.

(A video of the session is now available at https://uspto.connectsolutions.com/conceptprotection/ [Adobe Acrobat Connect Presentation].)

Children Inventors - Yes!

According to a July 31, 2008 press release, the National Inventor's Hall of Fame Foundation (NIHFF) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) have joined forces in a public service advertisement (PSA) campaign designed to encourage children to become inventors. Children can access a comprehensive website, www.InventNow.org to "explore their inventive interests in space, sports, design and entertainment." At the site children can see what other children have invented, play interactive games, and access an inventor's tool kit.