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Work from Home and Patent Litigation: What’s the Proper Venue?

June, 21st, 2022

By Stephen Ball, Kevin Musco A claim of patent infringement must be brought “in the judicial district where the defendant resides, or where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and [Read More…]

You Can Protect Product Design With Trademarks (And Other IP)

March, 30th, 2022

By Stephen Ball A product’s design can act as a source indicator just like a logo or tagline and can be protected as a trademark. Think of the iconic shape of the Coca-Cola bottle or [Read More…]

利用单方面上诉更好的推进专利申请

December, 9th, 2021

作者: Stephen Ball, Hao Zhang, Ph.D 专利申请的目标是获得最广泛的权利要求以阻止竞争对手。但它涉及与专利审查员的谈判,而专利审查员有一个非常不同的目标,试图缩小权利要求让其与现有技术区分开来。美国的专利申请是申请人和专利审查员之间的“文书斗争”。在此来回的过程中,申请人通常会在每个答复中修改权利要求,以求推进专利申请进程而早日获得许可。但是,在通常情况下,申请人只有一次修改的权利要求的机会,而后专利审查员便可以下达最终拒绝从而推动申请人申请继续审查请求(RCE)。专利审查员喜欢 RCE,因为RCE可以增加他们业绩考核的评分。而面对专利审查员的如此拒绝,许多申请人会使用RCE。 此外,根据美国专利商标局的数据,不包括 RCE 的专利申请总待审期(即从专利申请日到申请最终处置日的平均月数)约为 28.6 个月,而包含至少一个 RCE 的专利申请的总待审期为 46.4 个月。因此,提交 RCE 通常意味着漫长的等待。 其实还有RCE代替之法。当对权利要求的覆盖范围的“斗争”出现僵局时,更好的选择是单方面上诉,从而将案件从专利审查员手中转移。一旦任何权利要求被拒绝两次或以上,申请人可以提交上诉通知,然后有两个月的时间提交上诉摘要。上诉摘要提交以后,专利审查员的主管需要审核并同意审查员的审定结果,上诉才会继续进行,此时审查员才对上诉摘要作出答复。 在收到答复以后,申请人有两个月的时间提交答复摘要,答复摘要提交以后案子才将管辖权交给 专利审判及上诉委员会(PTAB)。申请人也可以要求口头听证。PTAB在考虑了摘要和任何口头辩论后会发布其决定,这个决定可能会是全部或部分推翻审查员的判定、同意并确认审查员的判定,或者甚至提出新的拒绝理由。 然而,相当多的上诉没有到达 PTAB。在许多情况下,审查员甚至不提交答复。审查员(或其主管)可能会被上诉摘要中的论点说服并立即批准申请。审查员也可能重新启动审查程序。在任何一种情况下,上诉都成功地消除了未决拒绝并推进申请进程。 上诉最明显的好处是无需进一步缩小权力要求的范围。同样,潜在的起诉历史免责声明也较少。此外,专利期限延长也是一个经常被忽视的好处,因为在等待 PTAB 发布决定的时间都可能被添加到专利期限中。与此形成鲜明对比的是RCE,RCE所花费的时间只会缩短专利期限。 上诉的成功比例也相当不错。据美国专利商标局称数据显示,被全部或部分推翻的案件一般在 40% 左右。在 WHIPgroup,我们的上诉成功率超过 80%,这意味着在五分之四的情况下,审查员被 PTAB 驳回,通常会带来专利批准通知。此外,上诉的费用与低效审查的费用相当,因为它将避免多次“文书斗争”和 RCE。 [Read More…]

Want To Cut Your Patent Budget? Focus On Value, Not Cost

December, 1st, 2021

By Stephen Ball Are your patents paying for themselves? If you are asking “how do I save on my patent budget?” then you are asking the wrong question. Instead, you should be asking “why am [Read More…]

Is Office Foosball a Covid Casualty?

October, 5th, 2021

By Wesley W. Whitmyer, Jr. There was a time when the foosball table was a raucous gathering spot each day in our office at 5pm. Since March 2020, no one has touched the foosball table. [Read More…]

The Federal Circuit Needs More Patent Attorneys

August, 31st, 2021

By Stephen Ball A decision earlier this summer underscores ongoing problems with patent law jurisprudence at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”). In Yu v Apple, the Federal Circuit invalidated [Read More…]

Avoid Tunnel Vision: Look Beyond Your Own Product For Patent Protection

May, 17th, 2021

By Stephen Ball Development of a commercial product is often the catalyst for seeking patent protection. This is understandable as owners want to protect their R&D investment. However, focusing on one’s own product can be [Read More…]

Are Environmentalists the New Conservatives?

May, 4th, 2021

By Wesley W. Whitmyer, Jr.    Their ranks swelled as they gained momentum to fulfill their mission of Earth protection, but now that a majority of people agree that protecting the environment is a priority, [Read More…]

Environmental Patent Litigation

February, 1st, 2021

By Wesley W. Whitmyer, Jr. Patent litigation can be a powerful tool for improving the environment and protecting the planet.  Read on if this sentence sounds crazy.  Read on if you think patent litigation only [Read More…]

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