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Patent Prosecution & Strategic Counseling

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This article is second in a two-part series focusing on various issues related to priority claims in U.S. patent applications.  While Part 1 is a general overview of how to make a proper priority claim, this article addresses how to make a timely post-filing priority claim in an application and how to correct an improper priority claim.  Timeliness is crucial to avoid high fees and ensure that an earlier priority date is not lost.  The procedures discussed below are post-America Invents Act (AIA) procedures applicable to applications and issued patents filed on or after March 16, 2013.
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Under the Mayo/Alice test for patent eligibility, answering the questions of whether any particular claim is “directed to” a “judicial exception” without “significantly more” remains in many ways a substantial and unpredictable challenge for U.S. patent applicants in the diagnostic space.  In cases where the detection processes are typically deemed “routine and conventional” (e.g., PCR) and the targets are known (e.g., expression of a known gene), claims must be crafted in ways that avoid rejections for both patent eligibility and anticipation and/or obviousness over the prior art.  The recent PTAB decision in In re Srivastava et al. expressly addresses obviousness in this context, while highlighting a possible strategy for dealing with patent eligibility challenges as well (Appeal 2017-1981, Application 13/974,007, decided October 22, 2018; hereafter “In re Srivastava”).
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On November 1, 2018, the European Patent Office (“EPO”) issued new guidelines for the patentability of artificial intelligence (“AI”) and machine learning (“ML”) inventions which indicate that applications within this subject matter may be treated as largely unpatentable. The new guidelines, G-II 3.3.1, provide that AI and ML are “based on computational models and algorithms for classification, clustering, regression and dimensionality reduction, such as neural networks, genetic algorithms, support vector machines, k-means, kernel regression and discriminant analysis.” These “computational models and algorithms” are, according to the guidelines, “per se of an abstract mathematical nature.”
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Regulatory compliance is often treated as completely independent from development or enforcement of patent rights. This situation is not helped by the absence of coordination between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Still, companies must understand and appreciate the impact regulatory submissions may have on their patent portfolio.
Further to our previous blog post, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reported that the 10 millionth patent issued today with the new patent cover design.
The Federal Circuit’s decision in Vanda Pharm. Inc. v West-Ward Pharm. Intl. Ltd. (2016-2707, 2016-2708 April 13, 2018) provided some good news on the subject matter eligibility front for innovators and other stakeholders in the personalized medicine space, as discussed in a previous post.
Software patents are generally directed to a sequence of steps or rules, i.e., an algorithm, performed by a computer programmed to carry out the algorithm.  Because algorithms are inherently functional in nature, software patent claims are frequently written using functional, as opposed to structural, terms.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) anticipates issuing the 10 millionth utility patent at some point during the summer 2018.
The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in February that it was wrong for a judge to rule that a patent was ineligible under the Alice standard because there were underlying factual disputes that could not be resolved on summary judgement.
Struggling to keep case law relating to subject matter eligibility organized?  In February 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released an improved Eligibility Quick Reference Sheet, providing patent practitioners with a useful tool for analyzing claims in view of 35 U.S.C. § 101 subject matter eligibility requirements.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is implementing eCommerce Modernization (eMod), as discussed at a USPTO Patent Quality Chat webinar on February 13, 2018.
On February 6, 2018, in Actelion v. Matal, the Federal Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). 
Under U.S. patent law, while there is no duty to perform a search of relevant art, inventors and those associated with filing or prosecuting patent applications as defined in 37 C.F.R. § 1.56 have a duty to disclose to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) all known prior art or other information that may be “material” in determining patentability.
If you purchased anything from a website using a one-click purchase button, you indirectly paid Amazon for that ability, at least up until September 11, 2017 when Amazon’s patent to this technology expired. As a result, one-click purchasing might become the new norm.
In patent prosecution, the feedback loop between interested parties including patent prosecutors, inventors, and in-house counsel helps to provide the best patent applications and office action responses for a high quality issued patent.
On November 1, 2017 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) implemented an expansion of the Collaborative Search Pilot Program (CSP), which began in 2015 and ended earlier in 2017, to expedite prosecution of related applications at the USPTO and the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) or Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO).
On September 21, 2017, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) signed between the European Union (EU) and Canada provisionally entered into force in Canada. 

Recap on Design Patent Drawings

September 29, 2017| Blog

This post is a follow-up to our prior post To Seek Design Protection or Not, That is the Question! where we discuss situations where it is worth considering seeking a design patent. Here we highlight takeaways from a USPTO Inventor Info Webinar (the “Webinar”) held on September 21, 2017, that focused on design patent drawing requirements, as well as on other issues on design patents.
On June 19, 2017, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that it would be extending the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program, which permits patent applications pertaining to cancer immunotherapy to be examined in an expedited fashion.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is implementing eCommerce Modernization (eMod), as discussed at a Patent Quality Chat webinar on May 9, 2017.

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