Patent & Trademark Due Dates Pushed to 6/1

Not surprisingly, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) again 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

Legal World Adjusts to Pandemic

As different parts of the country adjust to Coronavirus outbreaks of varying degrees of intensity, government agencies and courts are issuing revised operating procedures.

The Federal Circuit announced today that some of the cases of the April argument calendar are being removed and will be submitted on the briefs.  In cases remaining on the argument calendar, if counsel for either party is located outside the National Capital area, the argument will be conducted by telephonic conference at the date and time previously scheduled.  In cases scheduled for argument where counsel for both parties are local, as of now, the court plans to proceed with in-person argument as previously scheduled.  Parties in all cases will be notified individually as to how we plan to proceed in their case.

The International Trade Commission (ITC), is postponing hearings scheduled in the next 60 days. The Commission will
Continue Reading Coronavirus Status Of Courts & Executive Agencies

Informative Decision Led to Confusion

Last month the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) designated Ex Parte Jung 2016-008290, “informative.” An informative decision is one that expresses the “Board’s general consensus on recurring issues and guidance to examiners, appellants, patent owners, or petitioners in areas where parties routinely misapply the law.”

In Jung, the Board construed the claim terminology “at least one of A and B” to be conjunctive. That is, this language was determined to be properly construed (following the Federal Circuit precedent of SuperGuide Corp. v. DirecTV Enters., Inc.), as “at least one of A and at least one of B.”  However, the Board also noted that a patent’s claims, specification, or prosecution history may necessitate a broader meaning. Thus, in some scenarios, “at least one of A and B” is properly construed in the disjunctive as “at least one of A or B.”

Since being designated informative, however, Jung seems to have created confusion on whether or not the PTAB was making new law.
Continue Reading PTAB De-Designates Ex Parte Jung as Informative Decision

Pro-Patent Owner Options

The new Director of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in record time. With only a few weeks on the job, the Director issued a NPRM to switch the Broadest Reasonable Interpretation (BRI) currently used in Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) trial proceedings to a Phillips claim construction. The proposal was quickly lauded by Patent Owners believing that the application of the Phillips standard by the PTAB will lead to narrower claim constructions, and thus, more patents being upheld by the agency. But, as I pointed out previously, in practice, BRI is rarely different from a Phillips construction. In fact, utilizing the same standard at the PTAB as in the courts might only make matters worse for Patent Owners from a monetization perspective.

Impact of the proposed claim construction change aside, the speed at which the Director has acted speaks to his keen interest in improving the PTAB playing field for Patent Owners. With the Director expected to issue further proposals to aid Patent Owners, below are some likely candidates.
Continue Reading How Might the Director Improve the PTAB for Patent Owners?