On October 17, 2019, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a 22-page updated guidance document on subject matter eligibility under 35 USC §101. Subject matter eligibility is becoming increasingly important in the computer and life sciences areas.
By Reza Mollaaghababa
In an inter-partes review proceeding (IPR), a challenger can rely only on patents and printed publications to challenge the validity of a patent claim. In contrast, in a post grant review (PGR) proceeding, a challenger can rely on any ground related to patentability, including prior sale, to challenge a patent claim. In particular, 35 U.S.C. §102(a)(1) bars a person from receiving a patent on an invention that was “in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention.” Continue reading “Supreme Court Holds That AIA On-Sale Bar Applied to Secret Sales”
By Tom Engellenner
A number of significant changes occurred in 2018 at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). To begin with, in February 2018, a new USPTO Director took office. Director Andrew Iancu, a former patent litigator with law firm experience, appears to have brought a different perspective than that of his corporate predecessors – Michel Lee (Google) and David Kappos (IBM) – to the job at the helm of the USPTO. In his Senate confirmation hearings, Iancu made it clear that he felt that better balance was needed in the administrative review of issued patents by the USPTO under the America Invents Act (AIA). He pledged to assess “improvements in the AIA trial standards and processes.” Iancu identified “institution decisions, claim construction, the amendment process, and the conduct of hearings” as areas that warranted study. In fact, Director Iancu did a lot more than study these aspects of practice before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in 2018. Continue reading “Year in Review: Changes in PTAB Practice in 2018”