Understanding the Rules of the Game for Doing Business in China

There are significant hurdles to doing business in China. But with a population over 1.4 billion people, the Chinese marketplace is one that rightfully attracts attention from those interested in doing business abroad.

If your business does not quality as a “small entity” at the USPTO, then you absolutely should be doing business in China. But if you own a truly small business or start-up company, you almost certainly do not have the resources necessary to be doing business in China in a proper and responsible way. Where the threshold is between too small for China and too big not to be doing business in China is hard to say, but it is fair to say that all businesses of all sizes should at least investigate the realities of doing business in China and have a China strategy in place.

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04.7.15 | Patent Issues, posts | Gene Quinn

Making the Decision to Appeal vs. Another RCE

Knowing when to give up on a patent application is particularly important for any patent applicant, but when is enough really enough? When should a patent practitioners advise the client to either walk away or file an appeal? Financial resources are limited even for the largest corporations, and throwing good money after bad is not a strategy for success, or a recipe for keeping your clients happy.

When you do not want to give up on a patent application, filing a request for continued examination (RCE) pursuant to 37 CFR 1.114 can be an attractive option compared with the cost and delay associated with filing an appeal to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The filing of the first RCE for a small entity costs $600, and the cost of filing a second or subsequent RCE for a small entity costs $850. Those amounts are doubled for large entities. But filing an RCE also gives the applicant two more bites at the apple in order to try and convince the patent examiner to allow at least some claims. That is, of course, provided that the same rejection cannot be made in the RCE. If the same rejection could be made in the RCE, then the first action could be made final. Assuming you make a proper submission, which  includes, but is not limited to, an information disclosure statement; an amendment to the written description, claims, or drawings; new arguments; or new evidence in support of patentability, you should get at least two additional office actions.

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04.6.15 | Patent Issues, USPTO | Gene Quinn

The intermediary role of patent assertion entities

Back in December 2014, at Michelle Lee’s first confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee,  Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) succinctly pointed out that “one person’s patent troll is another person trying to protect his or her patent.” Thus, as like so many issues in the law, the questions surrounding the so-called patent troll debate are not nearly as straightforward as you may have otherwise been lead to believe.

In order to bring some empirical rigor to the debate, Stephen Haber, a political scientist from Stanford University, recently published the results of a study he completed that explains exactly why so-called patent trolls play a vital role in the innovation ecosystem. He explains that patent assertion entities, who are the ones most often labeled as patent trolls, play a vital role as an intermediary. Essentially, Haber explained to me that when an intermediary ceases to provide value, the intermediary ceases to exist. Thus, the very fact that an intermediary does exist in the marketplace suggests some valuable role.

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USPTO embarks on patent quality initiative

“The innovation that is fostered by a strong patent system is a key driver of economic growth and job creation.” That is how the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) began the Federal Register Notice announcing the patent quality initiative back in early February 2015. While it may seem like the drive for patent quality is a brand new initiative at the USPTO, the truth is that Director Michelle Lee (pictured, left) has been talking about patent quality ever since she assumed the role of Deputy Director and de facto head of the Patent Office nearly 18 months ago.

On Wednesday and Thursday, March 25 and 26, the USPTO took the first public steps on the road to enhancing patent quality by hosting a Patent Quality Summit at the Office’s main campus in Alexandria, Virginia.

Leading up to the event, I spoke with Valencia Martin-Wallace, who was recently named to the newly created position of Deputy Commissioner for Patent Quality. I asked her about what the Office hoped to accomplish with the Summit.

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Professors Urge Congress to Ignore Flawed, Unreliable Data in Patent Debate

On March 10, 2015, 40 economists and law professors signed a letter explaining to Congress that the data that keeps being cited to justify HR 9, otherwise known as “the Innovation Act,” is “flawed, unreliable and incomplete.” The professors suggest Congress proceed cautiously, particularly given the numerous misleading and flawed studies that make “highly exaggerated claims regarding patent trolls.”

As the letter explains, one of the “studies” that is often cited as proof that patent trolls cost U.S. businesses $29 billion a year is pure fiction, has been debunked, and the authors of the study have retreated significantly from their clearly erroneous conclusions. I have explained this issue in detail, as have others.

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03.23.15 | Patent Issues, Patent Reform, posts | Gene Quinn

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