Thursday, August 29, 2013

GAO Report to Congress - Patent Litigation/Patent Quality

In August, 2013 the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released to Congress a report entitled Intellectual Property: Assessing Factors That Affect Patent Infringement Litigation Could Help Improve Patent Quality. Among the findings were that software-related patents accounted for around 89 percent of an increase in defendants from 2007 to 2011. The report also discussed three key factors that likely contributed to many recent patent infringement lawsuits:
  • patents filed with unclear property rights (overly broad or unclear claims or both)
  • large monetary awards from the courts might provide incentive to file a suit
  • companies are realizing patents "are a more valuable asset than once assumed"
The full report is available at:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Good News - Patent Images Now in PDF Format!

Viewing, printing, downloading, and emailing sections of patents from the USPTO website just became easier. Images of U.S. patents in the Patents Full-Text database (PatFT) and U.S. published patent applications in the Applications Full-Text database (AppFT) on the USPTO website are now in PDF format. When you click the “Images” button above the html version of a patent or published patent application, the patent will appear in PDF, not TIFF format. You no longer have to download a TIFF plug-in to see the images.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Patents: Post Allowance and Refiling

The Federal Register Volume 78, Number 164 (Friday, August 23, 2013)[Page 52510] contains a comment request concerning patent applications:
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is required by 35 U.S.C. 131 and 151 to examine applications and, when appropriate, allow applications and issue them as patents. When an application for a patent is allowed by the USPTO, the USPTO issues a notice of allowance and the applicant must pay the specified issue fee (including the publication fee, if applicable) within three months to avoid abandonment of the application. This collection of information also encompasses several actions that may be taken after issuance of a patent, pursuant to Chapter 25 of Title 35 U.S.C. A certificate of correction may be requested to correct an error or errors in the patent. For an original patent that is believed to be wholly or partly inoperative or invalid, the assignee(s) or inventor(s) may apply for reissue of the patent, which entails several formal requirements, including provision of an oath or declaration specifically identifying at least one error being relied upon as the basis for reissue and stating the reason for the belief that the original patent is wholly or partly inoperative or invalid (e.g., a defective specification or drawing, or claiming more or less than the patentee had the right to claim in the patent). The public uses this information collection to request corrections of errors in issued patents, to submit applications for reissue patents, and to submit issue fee payments.
See the complete notice at:

Patent Term Extension

The Federal Federal Register Volume 78, Number 163, Thursday, August 22, 2013,Page 52166, contains a comment request:
to extend the term of protection under a patent to compensate for delay during regulatory review and approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or Department of Agriculture. Only patents for drug products, medical devices, food additives, or color additives are potentially eligible for extension. The maximum length that a patent may be extended under 35 U.S.C. 156 is five years.
The complete notice can be found at:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Request for Nominations for the Trademark Public Advisory Committee

From the Federal Register Aug. 13, 2013 (Volume 78, Number 156, Pages 49260-49262)

SUMMARY: On November 29, 1999, the President signed into law the Patent and Trademark Office Efficiency Act (the ``Act''), Public Law 106-113, which, among other things, established two Public Advisory Committees to review the policies, goals, performance, budget and user fees of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) with respect to patents, in the case of the [[Page 49261]]Patent Public Advisory Committee, and with respect to trademarks, in the case of the Trademark Public Advisory Committee, and to advise the Director on these matters (now codified at 35 U.S.C. 5). The America Invents Act Technical Corrections Act made several amendments to the 1999 Act, including the requirement that the terms of the USPTO Public Advisory Committee members be realigned so that by 2014, December 1 be used as the start and end date, with terms staggered so that each year three existing terms expire and three new terms begin on December 1. Public Law 112-274, Sec. 1(l)(2) (January 14, 2013). Through this Notice, the USPTO is requesting nominations for up to three (3) members of the Trademark Public Advisory Committee for terms of approximately three years that begin on December 6, 2013. There are no vacancies expected on the Patent Public Advisory Committee for December 2013. Accordingly, no nominations are being sought for the Patent Public Advisory Committee at this time.

DATES: Nominations must be postmarked or electronically transmitted on or before September 30, 2013.

The complete notice can be found at

Friday, August 9, 2013

Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy (Green Paper)

On July 31, 2013 the Commerce Department posted a press release describing its green paper designed to update copyright policies for the Internet Age. Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy (Green Paper) "is a product of the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) with input from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)." It is billed as "most thorough and comprehensive analysis of digital copyright policy issued by any administration since 1995."

The Green Paper can be found online at: