Archive for February, 2012
Per a Forbes article by Timothy Lee, It’s Normal for Software Companies to Ignore Patents.
Reports are surfacing of a disturbing practice of some SPEs (Supervisory Primary Examiners) to NEVER allow a patent to a business method unless ordered to do so by the PTAB (Patent Trial and Appeal Board). And, those have up 86% of their rejections reversed on appeal by the PTAB. This is no longer just conjecture, as a recent article by Eugene Quinn at ipwatchdog.com points out.
Here is a key piece of practice advice for transitioning to FTI on 2013-03-16. How you handle your cases procedurally could make the difference between getting a patent and not getting a patent, or between infringing and not infringing.
If prior to effective date (2012-03-16) you are first to invent but second to file, you want to monitor for post 3-16 CIPs, as you would not want to abandon your app if there is one.
If prior to effective date, you were second to invent, but first to file, you want to file a CIP after 2013-03-16 and monitor for abandonment of the second to file application, as that would remove it an obstacle to patentability due to the prior inventor abandoning his right to that date of invention.
For a detailed explanation of this see the following article:
The Patentology blog published a nice article with a chart on grace periods in major countries.
Here is an article discussing the case:
Good background on the issue, that will give you the terminology and issues to consider regarding ICANN’s expanded top level domain scheme.
Before choosing an attorney, try Google to see who is writing with the focus on clients like you. Attorneys generally either love or hate this new rash of gTLDs and generally either represent established legitimate companies or new fast buck artists seeking advantage from the confusion over this new scheme of domain names. Get a knowledgable attorney to help you, as there are deadlines and special forms involved and you need expert advice on whether it makes sense for your business.
Here is a great article by one of the key figures at Intellectual Ventures. He is very convincing about how NPEs are a good thing and that the current smart phone patent wars are not unusual, considering that the original telephone patent wars involving
Alexander Graham Bell and others were fought in 587 patent suits. The fact is that when world-changing disruptive technology like the smart phone is developed the financial incentives are enormous and the incremental advances that led to the commercialization of the technology have to be sorted out to determine how the financial bonanza pie is split.
While this is another big fee boost proposal, it does for the first time list the proposed Micro Entity fees which the PTO has been stalling while concentrating on large entity issues.
The filing, search, & exam fee for a standard utility patent application would be:
Large Entity: A 47% jump from $1250 to $1840 with no penalty for filing in paper
Small Entity (<500 employees): a 55% jump from $530 to 820 if done online, with $100 penalty for filing in paper
Micro Entity (<5 employees): new category at $410 if done online, which is 55% higher than what it would have been had it been introduced when the statute specified back on 2011-09-16 with $50 penalty for filing in paper.
So large entities get a smaller percentage increase and still do not pay penalties for filing in paper. The PTO under David “IBM” Kappos caters to fat cats, and this is proof.
Next the Fast Track For Fat Cat process is reduced from $4800 to $4000 for, so it costs fat cats less to bypass small and micro entities. Further proof of PTO favoritism to big business.
One large change is reduction of the issue fee from $1740 to $960 which would not occur until next year. Reduction of issue fee primarily favors big business, but makes sense as issuance does not really cost so much now that patents are primarily issued electronically rather than in paper.
Some big cost items are the prices of reviews, which for exparte reviews go up by 600% to $19,700, supplemental examination, at $7000 to file and $20,000 if conducted, and the cost of the new post grant review, which is so high that it is strictly a rich man’s sport ($35,800-125,300). Still, that should be much, much less than the corresponding savings in litigation costs. It is not clear than small entities will be able to afford to do these.
Maintenance fees also increase dramatically, even though the PTO has negligible cost to process a maintenance fee, as the PTO tries to push a larger percentage of cost onto those with successful patents and to discourage patentees from keeping patents that are not generating revenue.
The price of patents is getting so high that it has become a rich man’s sport, so small independent inventors can only play if their patent is generating sufficient value to justify large expenditures, both in maintenance and enforcement.
The PTO is feeling the pressure from entrepreneurs to change its focus from Fat Cats to humanity. Here is a publicity stunt where the PTO will award expedited processing on up to 50 inventions that help the poor.
Wonder what percentage of these awards will end up being given to IBM and other Fat Cats? Here is a clue “The pilot program encourages businesses of all kinds to apply their patented technology to addressing the world’s humanitarian challenges. “Best guess, 90% go to Fat Cats so the PTO has about 5 to highlight while giving most awards to Fat Cats, researchers from academia and Federal labs since “Judging will be performed by researchers from academia and Federal labs” rather than by representatives of humanity and the poor. Besides, why should it be limited to 50 when 10,000 awards are available for purchase by Fat Cats? Answer: Because it is just a PR stunt.