By Scott A. McKeown
| April 10, 2017

Symposium to Assess Trade Secrets


In tomorrow's Federal Register, the USPTO is announcing a public symposium on issues relevant to the protection of trade secrets, and to assess recent developments such as the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA). The symposium will be held on May 8, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT.

Under U.S. law, trade secrets comprise commercially valuable information not generally known or readily ascertainable to the public, that are subject to reasonable measures to maintain confidentiality. In May 2016, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) established a federal private civil cause of action for the misappropriation of a trade secret, with the aim to provide businesses with a uniform, reliable and
predictable way to protect their valuable trade secrets anywhere in the country. Given this legislation and the continuing domestic and international attention to trade secrets, the USPTO symposium will discuss: (1) Measuring the Value of Secrecy; (2) Use of the DTSA in Practice; (3) Differences in Trade Secret Protection in Foreign Jurisdictions; and (4) Considerations of Business Owners in International Cases. Experts from academia, private legal practice, international organizations, and industry will serve as panelists.
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By Scott A. McKeown
| April 7, 2017

PTAB Procedural Reform Initiative


Today the USPTO announced its PTAB Procedural Reform Inititative. The initiative seeks feedback on the nearly five years of historical data and user experiences to further shape and improve Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) trial proceedings, particularly inter partes review (IPR) proceedings. The purpose of the initiative is to ensure that the proceedings are as effective and fair as possible within the USPTO’s congressional mandate to provide administrative review of the patentability of patent claims after they issue.
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By Scott A. McKeown
| April 6, 2017

Excess of Jurisdiction vs. Agency Discretion


Earlier this week, the CAFC denied en banc rehearing in Google v. Unwired Planet.  While the denial was largely expected, Judge Hughes' concurrence foreshadows the debate to come in WiFi One.  

That debate, at least for Judge Hughes, is separating matters of agency discretion from questions of constitutionality and/or ultimate statutory authority.

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By Scott A. McKeown
| March 31, 2017

Guest Post: SCA v. First Quality


With TC Heartland still on deck a the Supreme Court, a look back at the Court's most recent patent decision SCA v. First Quality by guest poster, Gary Cohen. Some of my thoughts, are posted on IPwatchdog (here).  Back to PTAB news/notes next week.

SCA v. First Quality
: Limiting the Application of Laches

By Gary Cohen1

On March 21, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”), in SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC, No. 15-927 (2017), reversed an en banc opinion from the Federal Circuit holding that laches could be asserted against a claim for damages incurred within the Patent Act’s 6-year limitations period of 35 USC §286.  The SCOTUS asserted that the en banc opinion impermissibly invoked laches to bar legal relief, with such invocation being unwarranted in view of both the SCOTUS’ holding in Petrella v Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., 572 U.S. _____ (2014) and the caselaw preceding the Patent Act of 1952.

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By Scott A. McKeown
| March 23, 2017

Preliminary Responses Accompanied by Declaration Evidence: Updated Results 


Back on May 1st, the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) began to accept new testimonial evidence with patentee preliminary responses.  The PTAB implemented this change to address complaints that patentees were disadvantaged by previous rules precluding such evidence from accompanying a preliminary response to the petition. It was argued that the previous rules were especially imbalanced as almost all petitions were accompanied by petitioner declaration evidence.  I had my doubts.

Now that we are approaching a year removed from the rule modification, some updated results.  

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