Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Federal Register: Notice of renewal of information collection; request for comment.

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 76 (Monday, April 20, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 21838-21840]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-08344]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

Patent and Trademark Office


Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Appeals

ACTION: Notice of renewal of information collection; request for 
comment.
 
[TEXT] 

Federal Register: Submission for OMB Review--Pro Bono Survey

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 81 (Monday, April 27, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 23328-23329]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-08893]
 
Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; ``Pro Bono Survey'' 
 
[TEXT] 

USPTO extends certain patent and trademark deadlines to June 1

In accordance with the temporary authority provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) signed by President Trump on March 27, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today further extended the time to file certain patent and trademark-related documents and to pay certain required fees, which otherwise would have been due between March 27 and May 31, to June 1, 2020. This is in addition to the prior extension the USPTO had announced on March 31, 2020
“Innovation and entrepreneurship will play a key role in our fight against this pandemic, and in the upcoming recovery of our country,” said Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. “Accordingly, the USPTO continues to assess measures to support the work of inventors and entrepreneurs during this crisis and beyond.”
For details of the latest extension, read the official Patent and Trademark notices on our website. The USPTO will continue to evaluate the evolving situation around COVID-19 and the impact on the USPTO’s operations and stakeholders.  
The new notices supersede the previously posted:
  • “Notice of Waiver of Patent-Related Timing Deadlines under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act,” dated March 31, 2020;
  • “Notice of Waiver of Trademark-Related Timing Deadlines under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act,” dated March 31, 2020; and
  • “Relief Available to Patent and Trademark Applicants, Patentees and Trademark Owners Affected by the Coronavirus Outbreak,” dated March 16, 2020.
The USPTO will also update its answers to the CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in accordance with these notices.

May 7: Webinar on current IP developments in China

Register to attend “Highlights from the field: Current IP developments in China,” on Thursday, May 7, from 9-10:30 a.m. ET.
This free, 90-minute webinar will cover new intellectual property (IP) laws and regulations in China, current trends, significant court and administrative rulings, and what these developments mean for U.S. rights holders looking to protect their IP. It will feature presentations by three senior USPTO IP attorneys who have served (or currently serve) as USPTO IP attach├ęs in China.

Patent Center beta training

Patent Center beta is now available for all users. Patent Center is a new tool for electronic filing and management of patent applications in a single unified interface.
Join us for training on how to use various features in Patent Center, including filing in DOCX. Several members of the eCommerce Modernization (eMod) team will share information and conduct a demo, followed by a question-and-answer session.
Register to attend upcoming scheduled webinars:
  • April 30, 1-2 p.m. ET
  • May 4, 10:30-11:30 a.m. ET
  • May 6, 2-3 p.m. ET
You will receive WebEx instructions via email prior to the session you registered for.
We encourage you to use Patent Center beta and provide feedback to help shape the future of our systems. Please visit the eMod IdeaScale to provide feedback. More information about Patent Center beta is available on the Patent Center information page of the USPTO website. Future training opportunities will be posted to that page.
For assistance, questions, or feedback, please contact eMod@uspto.gov.

Attend the Patent Public Advisory Committee quarterly meeting

The next Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) quarterly meeting is on Thursday, May 7, from 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. ET. The meeting is online only.
View the agenda and learn how to access the meeting by visiting the PPAC quarterly meeting event page of the USPTO website.

Petition decision: Inventorship limited to natural persons

The USPTO has published a petition decision explaining that, under current law, only natural persons may be named as an inventor in a patent application. The decision is available on the Artificial Intelligence page and the Final Decisions by the Commissioner for Patents page of the USPTO website. The decision was published pursuant to 37 CFR 1.14(e).

Friday, April 24, 2020

Owner email address field now masked in TSDR

USPTO is taking steps to address your concerns about owner email addresses being visible in TSDR. The owner email address field is now masked in TEAS and TEASi documents viewable in TSDR, including submissions viewable in the documents tab, application programming interfaces (APIs), and PDF downloads. Unrepresented owner email addresses will still be viewable in the correspondence email address field. When you open a TEAS or TEASi document in TSDR, you'll see "XXXX" in the owner email address field. We believe this will help reduce the number of solicitations you receive.

USPTO releases report on patent examination outcomes after the Supreme Court’s Alice decision

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today published a report authored by its Chief Economist titled, Adjusting to Alice: USPTO patent examination outcomes after Alice Corp v. CLS Bank International. The report highlights how recent actions undertaken by the USPTO have brought greater predictability and certainty to the determination of patent eligibility in the technology areas most affected by the decision.
“We have heard anecdotally from both examiners and applicants across the entire spectrum of technologies that our 2019 guidance on Section 101 greatly improved the analysis in this important area of patent law,” said Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. “The Chief Economist’s report now confirms this general perception, especially with its critical finding that uncertainty decreased by a remarkable 44%.” 
The report’s analysis by the USPTO’s Office of the Chief Economist found that one year after the USPTO issued its January 2019 Revised Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance (2019 PEG), the likelihood of Alice-affected technologies receiving a first office action with a rejection for patent-ineligible subject matter had decreased by 25%. Likewise, uncertainty about determinations of patent subject matter eligibility in the first action stage of patent examination for the relevant technologies decreased by 44% over the first year following publication of the 2019 PEG compared to the previous year.
“The primary economic function of the patent system is to provide an incentive for greater innovation,” according to Dr. Andrew Toole, Chief Economist of the United States Patent and Trademark Office and principal author of the report. “Using an evidence-based approach, our report highlights the significant impact of the Supreme Court’s Alice decision on patent examination outcomes and the important stabilizing role played by the USPTO. This is what innovators and investors need to confidently promote entrepreneurship, create jobs, and advance science and technology.”
Director Iancu added, “I have long said that in order to ensure that the United States remains the global leader in the technologies of the future, our patent system must move beyond the recent years of confusion and unpredictability on subject matter eligibility. It is now clear that our recent guidelines mark a significant step in that direction, and I ask all involved in our treasured patent system to come together and solve, once and for all, this fundamental issue.”
The full report is available for download from the USPTO’s website.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

AAU Contact Center temporary closure

The Application Assistance Unit (AAU) Contact Center will be closed Tuesday, April 28, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. The unit will reopen at 1 p.m. ET.
During the closure, we advise customers to email HelpAAU@uspto.gov. Callers may also leave a voicemail with their contact information. We will respond to all emails and voicemails when the call center reopens.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Patent Center Beta now available

Patent Center Beta is now available for all users. Patent Center is a new tool for electronic filing and management of patent applications in a single unified interface.
Patent Center and DOCX filing features:
  • Single unified interface for patent applicants
  • Use of existing USPTO.gov accounts and sponsorships
  • Submission of the specification, claims, and abstract in a single DOCX document without the need to manually separate sections
  • Elimination of user conversion from DOCX into a PDF for filing
  • Security of documents through automatic DOCX metadata detection and scrubbing
  • Practice filing in DOCX format in Patent Center training mode
Electronic filing provides multiple benefits, such as immediate routing of documents to USPTO internal systems, an acknowledgement receipt to show that the USPTO has received the submission, reduced manual processing and paper waste, elimination of wait times associated with conventional mailing, and the ability to save your submission package to complete, review, or submit at a later time.
We encourage you to provide feedback on Patent Center Beta by visiting the eMod IdeaScale. Additionally, you can send questions and comments to eMod@uspto.gov.
More information about Patent Center Beta is available on the Patent Center information page or you can register for an upcoming Patent Center Beta and DOCX training session.
For technical questions or assistance, please contact the Patent Electronic Business Center at ebc@uspto.gov or 866-217-9197.

Friday, April 17, 2020

USPTO announces recipients of the 2019 Patent Pro Bono Achievement Certificate

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) yesterday announced the recipients of the 2019 Patent Pro Bono Achievement Certificate in recognition of individuals and law firms who help make the Patent Pro Bono Program available to financially under-resourced inventors and small businesses.
In 2019, more than 74 volunteer patent practitioners reported 50 or more hours of patent pro bono service to a regional patent pro bono program, and more than 27 law firms reported 100 or more hours. To acknowledge their contributions, the USPTO provided certificates to the patent practitioners and law firms and listed their names on the Patent Pro Bono Program webpage.
“I want to congratulate all of the recipients for their dedication and their time, as well as for their commitment to help under-resourced inventors and small businesses,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Andrei Iancu.
Together, the patent practitioner and law firm certificates recognize the continued efforts of those who have improved access to the Pro Bono program across all 50 states. The program has been in place since 2015. To date, over 1600 patent professionals have volunteered their time and resources to help make the Patent Pro Bono Program a success.
For more information on participating, visit the Patent Pro Bono Program webpage and click on your state to identify your regional program, or email probono@uspto.gov.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Patent Quality Chat: International Patent Cooperation Initiatives

Please join the USPTO for the second 2020 Patent Quality Chat webinar, “International Patent Cooperation Initiatives,” on April 21 at noon ET. Learn how we engage in various work-sharing programs and initiatives that bring multiple office examination efforts together. We will discuss how these efforts improve patent examination quality and timeliness while reducing stakeholder costs. We will also share details about our new Parallel Patent Grant program with Mexico, our Collaborative Search Pilot program, and the Global Dossier.
View the event listing on the USPTO website for more information, including how to attend.
Please send your input and questions to patentquality@uspto.gov before and during the event.
The Patent Quality Chat webinar series is presented as a part of our continuous efforts to improve patent quality.  

Monday, April 13, 2020

Patent Center beta training

Please join USPTO for upcoming training on using Patent Center tools and filing in DOCX using the Patent Center. Several members of the eCommerce Modernization (eMod) team will share information and conduct a demo followed by a question-and-answer session.
Webinars will be held on:
  • April 16, 9:30-10:30 a.m. ET
  • April 21, 1-2 p.m. ET
  • April 23, 1-2 p.m. ET
You will receive instructions via email on how to join the WebEx once you register. Please send questions or feedback to eMod@uspto.gov.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Trademark Public Advisory Committee quarterly meeting

The next quarterly meeting of the Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC) will be held on Friday, April 17, from 1-3:30 p.m. ET.
The meeting will be online only. The agenda and webcast link are available on the TPAC event page of the USPTO website.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

USPTO answers frequently asked questions on CARES Act relief

The USPTO has released a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and answers for patent and trademark filers regarding the USPTO’s previously announced extension of certain patent and trademark-related timing deadlines under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. To access these FAQs, please go to the Extension of Deadlines under the CARES Act FAQs on the Patents and Trademarks webpages. For all other USPTO notices regarding COVID-19, please go to www.uspto.gov/coronavirus.

Friday, April 3, 2020

USPTO to expand Law School Clinic Certification Program

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is expanding its Law School Clinic Certification Program by admitting additional schools into the program. Founded in 2008, the program currently includes 59 law school clinics and offers patent and trademark applicants access to pro bono services. It also gives law students, who are strictly supervised by a faculty clinic supervisor, experience in practicing intellectual property law before the USPTO.
The program is administered by the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED). OED is responsible for registering attorneys and agents to practice before the USPTO and for developing and administering the registration examination. Participating clinics must maintain the requirements for USPTO certification in order for students to practice before the agency.
Submissions from interested law school clinical programs will be accepted on a rolling basis through May 31, 2021. Details of the program expansion and application materials are available on the Law School Clinic Certification Program page of the USPTO website.

For additional information and application submission guidelines, please contact the Office of Enrollment and Discipline by telephone at (571) 272‐4097 or lawschoolinformation@uspto.gov.

USPTO announces extension of certain patent and trademark-related timing deadlines under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today (March 31, 2020) announced extensions to the time allowed to file certain patent and trademark-related documents and to pay certain required fees. These actions are an exercise of temporary authority provided to the USPTO by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) signed by President Trump on March 27. 
"Inventors and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economy, and we recognize that many of them are having difficulty as a result of COVID-19," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Andrei Iancu. "As a result, we are working to provide as much relief as possible to our stakeholders, consistent with our ability to maintain the USPTO’s fee-funded operations. We are especially mindful of the outsized impact on small businesses and independent inventors, and we have provided additional relief for these groups. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure not only that inventors and entrepreneurs can weather the storm, but that they can also hit the ground running once it passes." 
The USPTO has made operational adjustments to keep its employees and the public safe as it remains open for business. In-person meetings, such as hearings and examiner interviews, are being conducted virtually by phone and video until further notice.

Read more details in the official Patent and Trademark notices on our website. The USPTO will continue to evaluate the evolving situation around COVID-19 and its impacts on the USPTO’s operations and stakeholders. 
Patent-related inquiries concerning this notice may be directed by email to Covid19PatentsRelief@uspto.gov and by telephone to the Office of Patent Legal Administration at (571) 272-7704 or (571) 272-7703 for reexamination.
PTAB-related inquiries concerning this notice may be directed to (571) 272-9797 or by email at Trials@uspto.gov (for AIA trials), PTAB_Appeals_Suggestions@uspto.gov (for PTAB appeals) or InterferenceTrialSection@uspto.gov (for interferences).   
Trademark-related inquiries concerning this notice may be directed to the Trademark Office of Petitions by telephone at (571) 272-8950 or by email at TMPolicy@uspto.gov
TTAB-related inquiries concerning this notice may be directed to Cheryl Butler at (571) 272-4259 or Cheryl.Butler@uspto.gov or to Denise DelGizzi at (571) 272-4265 or Denise.DelGizzi@uspto.gov.

USPTO update on in-person meetings

Until further notice, examiner and examining attorney interviews, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) oral hearings, and other similar in-person meetings with parties and stakeholders scheduled to take place at USPTO offices on or after Friday, March 13, 2020 will be conducted remotely by video or telephone. Parties will receive further instructions on how to participate by video or telephone in advance of the interview, hearing, or meeting.
If you have any questions, please contact the following:
  • For patent examiner interviews, please contact the examiner or the examiner’s supervisor (SPE) directly. Additionally, if you have any questions about telephonic or video interviews in general or are unable to reach the examiner or SPE with respect to a particular interview, please email: ExaminerInterviewPractice@uspto.gov
  • For trademark examining attorney interviews, please contact the managing attorney.
  • For PTAB oral hearings, please contact PTABHearings@uspto.gov or call 571-272-9797.
  • For TTAB oral hearings, please contact TTABHearings@uspto.gov or call 571-272-8500.
  • For other in-person meetings, please contact your USPTO point of contact for that meeting.