USPTO Responds to Congressional Request for Information Regarding Criteria for Registration Examination for Admission to Patent Bar

By Donald Zuhn –- On Tuesday, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director Andrei Iancu, in one of his last acts before stepping down from the post, sent a letter to Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Christopher Coons (D-DE), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) of the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property for the Senate Judiciary Committee, responding to the Senators’ letter of December 11, 2020 seeking information regarding the criteria for the registration examination for admission to the patent bar. The letter from the Senators sought the Office’s response to the following six questions: 1. What percentage of registered patent practitioners are women? To…

Top Four Stories of 2020

By Donald Zuhn –- After reflecting upon the events of the past twelve months, Patent Docs presents its 14th annual list of top patent stories. For 2020, we identified eight stories that were covered on Patent Docs last year that we believe had (or are likely to have) a significant impact on patent practitioners and applicants. On Monday, we counted down stories #8 to #5, and today we count down the top four stories of 2020. As with our other lists (2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007), links to our coverage of…

Top Stories of 2020: #5 to #8

By Donald Zuhn –- After reflecting upon the events of the past twelve months, Patent Docs presents its 14th annual list of top patent stories. For 2020, we identified eight stories that were covered on Patent Docs last year that we believe had (or are likely to have) a significant impact on patent practitioners and applicants. Today, we count down stories #8 to #5, and later this week we will count down the top four stories of 2020. As with our other lists (2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007), links to our…

USPTO Provides Update on COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program

By Donald Zuhn — In an e-mail News Brief distributed last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reported on the participation to date in its COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program. The pilot program, which was implemented last May, allows applicants that qualify for small or micro entity status to request prioritized examination without paying the fees typically associated with such prioritized examination (see “USPTO Announces COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program”). In announcing the pilot program, the Office noted that it would endeavor to reach final disposition of applications within six months, provided that applicants respond promptly to Office communications….

New USPTO Study Shows Rapid Growth, Regional Spread of AI-Based Patenting

By Aaron Gin — Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office released a study entitled “Inventing AI”, which highlights the increasing prevalence of artificial intelligence (AI)-based patent applications in the U.S. over the past few decades. The study, released by the Office of the Chief Economist of the USPTO, surveyed publicaly available granted U.S. patents and U.S. patent application pre-grant publications (PGPub) published from 1976 through 2018. In a very “meta” analysis method, the study authors utilized a machine learning neural network classification model to identify patent documents relevant to AI. The author’s neural network classifier identified patent documents that…

USPTO Publishes Report on AI-Related Policies

By Michael Borella — Last year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a request for comments (RFC) on patenting artificial intelligence (AI) based inventions. Topics of the RFC included AI’s impact on inventorship and ownership, patent eligibility, disclosure, prior art, and the level of ordinary skill in the art. The USPTO received 99 comments from a variety of stakeholders. In parallel to that effort, the USPTO also released a second RFC related to the impact of AI on copyright, trademark, database protections, and trade secret law. Stakeholders provided a similar number of comments. With this feedback in hand,…

USPTO Initiates Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program

By Donald Zuhn — In a notice published in the Federal Register last month (85 Fed. Reg. 39888), the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that it was initiating a Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program, to provide for the advancement of applications out of turn in ex parte appeals before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. The new pilot program, which took effect on July 2, 2020, is scheduled to run until July 2, 2021 or until 500 petitions for inclusion in the program have been accepted, whichever occurs earlier. In announcing the new pilot program, the Office noted that appeals…

USPTO Issues Final Rule to Revise PTA Rules in View of Supernus v. Iancu

By Donald Zuhn — Last month, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a final rule in the Federal Register (85 Fed. Reg. 36335), in which the Office set forth revisions to the rules of practice concerning Patent Term Adjustment (PTA) in view of the Federal Circuit’s decision in Supernus Pharm., Inc. v. Iancu. The final rule implements revisions that were previously discussed in a notice of proposed rulemaking published by the Office in May 2019 (see “USPTO Proposes Revisions to PTA Rules in View of Supernus v. Iancu”). With respect to the PTA rules being changed, the Office is…