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.
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.
By most accounts, Robert Indiana is ambivalent about his career as an artist. Perhaps his most famous work is LOVE, the iconic motif consisting of the letters L and O stacked atop V and E. All success aside, the proliferation of unauthorized copies emblazoned on countless trinkets and souvenirs made Indiana appear overexposed and commercialized relative to his Pop Art peers, according to at least one New York Times article. Indiana was unable to stop the swell of knock-offs because the work was not properly copyrighted. Today, Indiana feels that it prevented him from gaining critical recognition as an artist.
A new rule proposal signed by Michelle Lee, deputy director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, would require disclosure of the true owner of patents and patent applications.
The fires of the long running trade dispute between Antigua and the U.S., previously blogged about here, were recently stoked by the January 21, 2013 Speech from the Throne. In it, Governor General Dame Louise Lake-Tack reiterated the intent to suspend TRIPS obligations to the U.S., but did not provide any substantive direction regarding what that might entail.
The Internet domain name space continues to expand, with over 100 new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) added to the Internet's root zone, and more to come in each following week. Overall, the new gTLD expansion will result in an increase in top-level domains from a mere 22 to a total of 1400 over the next few years. The expansion creates unique opportunities but also raises new enforcement challenges for brand owners.
The Supreme Court today ruled unanimously that the burden of proving patent infringement rests with the patent holder, even in cases where the parties had agreed upon a licensing deal in the past.
The case at issue, Medtronic, Inc. v. Mirowski Family Ventures, involved implantable heart stimulation devices (pacemakers) which were licensed by Mirowski to Medtronic in 1991. In late 2007, Medtronic filed an action with the U.S. District Court of Delaware seeking declaratory relief that its new line of devices did not infringe upon the Mirowski patents. The trial court entered a judgment of non-infringement in Medtronic's favor, which was reversed in 2012 by the Federal Circuit, based on a holding that the trial court did not properly allocate the burden of proof in the initial proceedings.
The Federal Communications Commission was dealt a major blow today when a portion of its net neutrality rules were struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The rules are part of the FCC Open Internet Order adopted in 2010 aimed towards protecting consumers, which forbid Internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking services or otherwise denying content providers equal access to the network.