Chief Judge Randall Rader announced that he will be stepping down from his position as chief judge of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, effective May 30, 2014. Judge Sharon Prost will succeed Judge Rader as chief judge. Judge Rader, who leaves the position with three years remaining in his seven-year term as chief judge, will remain in active service to the Court.
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The Federal Circuit held recently that an application programming interface (“API”) may fall within the scope of copyright protection despite its functionality.
Oracle v. Google primarily concerned Google’s copying of the “structure, sequence and organization” of numerous API packages of Oracle’s Java software package.
On March 4, 2014, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a guidance memorandum entitled “Guidance For Determining Subject Matter Eligibility Of Claims Reciting Or Involving Laws of Nature, Natural Phenomena, & Natural Products.” The guidance provides a new examination procedure for evaluating subject matter eligibility of certain types of patent applications under 35 U.S.C. § 101 in view of two fairly recent Supreme Court decisions, namely, Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc. and Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. The official USPTO press release can be found here.
Effective June 2, 2014, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will commence a six-month Glossary Pilot Program to promote clarity in patent claims, particularly for software-related inventions (falling under technologies examined by USPTO Technology Centers 2100, 2400, 2600, and 3600/Business Methods). Possible benefits of the program could include quicker and more consistent examination, with hopes for higher quality patent claims. Possible concerns about the initiative might include a potential for inadvertent over-narrowing of certain defined terms.
The program requires an applicant to include a glossary section in the patent application specification to define terms used in the patent claims. Applications accepted into the pilot program will receive expedited processing and be placed on an examiner’s special docket prior to the first office action.
The March 27, 2014 Federal Register details for the Glossary Pilot Program can be found here.
A link to the USPTO press release about the program is provided here.