Big Happenings at USPTO

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently rescinded a controversial patent regulations package concerning continuation and continuation-in-part application practice, originally published in August 2007, but never enacted. Echoing the sentiment of many patent applicants who felt the so-called “final rules” unduly restricted inventors’ capacity to protect intellectual property, USPTO director David Kappos signed an order that ended the regulations before they even took effect. The regulations, which addressed the number of continuation applications as well as the number of claims that could be included within each application, among other issues, were published in the Federal Register in August 2007 and were discussed in the June, 2008 issue of this newsletter.

According to Kappos, the USPTO should “incentivize innovation, develop rules that are responsive to its applicants’ needs and help bring their products and services to market. These regulations have been highly unpopular from the outset and were not well received by the applicant community. In taking the actions we are announcing today, we hope to engage the applicant community more effectively on improvements that will help make the USPTO more efficient, responsive, and transparent to the public.”

To better understand how this ruling might affect your business, contact your Boyle Fredrickson attorney.

In other USPTO news, John Doll, the commissioner for patents and former acting director for the agency, resigned on Oct. 2. Kappos has nominated Robert Stoll to take Doll’s place. Stoll was the USPTO’s dean of training and education.

The transition comes at a time in which some critics, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, have shed light on shortcomings at the agency, including the growing backlog of patent applications pending review. In a recent series of articles, the newspaper’s writers, John Schmid and Ben Poston, also reported how Congress has been siphoning off funds from the USPTO that are necessary to improve the operations of the USPTO and, in turn, maintain the competiveness of the U.S. economy.

The series of articles includes a wealth of historical information on the patent system, including an interactive timeline showing how the patent system has shaped American history.

For additional perspective on how changes at the USPTO may affect your business, contact your Boyle Fredrickson attorney.


About Boyle Fredrickson

Established in 1999, Boyle Fredrickson has grown to become Wisconsin’s largest intellectual property law firm. You’ve got ideas, we protect them.

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