USPTO Update: After Final, Software and Sequestration

uspto_seal_200Recently there has been some interesting news coming from the USPTO…and about the USPTO budget, courtesy of AIPLA taking up the fight against sequestration with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). What follows is a synopsis of events over the past week.

Addressing the RCE Problem

Last week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced in the Federal Register that it would modify the After Final Consideration Pilot Program (AFCP) to create an After Final Consideration Pilot Program 2.0 (AFCP 2.0). The goal of AFCP 2.0 is much the same as it was when the USPTO initially introduced the precursor AFCP. According to the USPTO, the goal of AFCP 2.0 is to reduce pendency by reducing the number of RCEs and encouraging increased collaboration between the applicant and the examiner to effectively advance the prosecution of the application. Thus, this can and should be viewed as part of the USPTO effort to continue to try and address the RCE problem. (more…)

A Conversation with the AIPLA Presidents

The American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) is run day-to-day by its Executive Director, Q. Todd Dickinson, but like virtually all state bar associations, the AIPLA also has a President.  On October 11, 2012, I had the opportunity to speak with Bill Barber (of Pirkey Barber PLLC) and Jeff Lewis (of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP), who were, at the time, the soon-to-be-outgoing and soon-to-be-incoming Presidents of the AIPLA, respectively. The interview was done in connection with my fall series profiling the AIPLA, AIPLA Executive Director Todd Dickinson and the AIPLA Annual Meeting. For all of the related articles, please see AIPLA on IPWatchdog.

The AIPLA President, as far as I can tell, works every bit as hard and long as anyone else at the AIPLA, perhaps even harder in some respects. The AIPLA President is a volunteer position, but also seems to be a full-time position. The President is also a practicing attorney who at least occasionally attempts, to the greatest extent possible, to find time to do real legal work for real clients in between rushing to this meeting, taking that call, dealing with whatever issue, or flying off to some exotic land to represent the AIPLA abroad.

What follows are some of the highlights of my interview with Barber and Lewis.


Breaking Bread with the Judges at AIPLA

The annual meeting of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) was held last week in Washington, DC at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.  As always, the event was extremely well attended, including a strong and ever increasing presence of attorneys from foreign firms.

There were many events and festivities associated with the annual meeting, and it would be impossible to give a complete rundown and report on the entirety of the seminal AIPLA event of the year.  For those who have attended, you know it is impossible to even attend the entire event, with so many concurrent panel discussions, receptions, private events and time devoted to catching up with old friends, making new friends and meeting with business partners.  Nevertheless, allow me to run down three of the larger events.


USPTO Receives Comments on Patent Reexamination Proposals

Scott McKeown, Partner at Oblon Spivak and Practice Center Contributor, sent in this article discussing the proposals the USPTO is considering in it’s attempt to streamline patent reexamination.

USPTO Posts Public Comments on Patent Reexamination Streamline Proposals

As discussed [on Patents Post Grant] in significant detail over the past few months, the USPTO is considering various proposals in an attempt to streamline patent reexamination. Back in April, the USPTO published a collection of working concepts and initiatives in the Federal Register for the purpose of streamlining patent reexamination. Based upon public commentary, the USPTO will now begin the process of considering to implement/modify the various proposals via a formal rule-making process, or through internal policy changes. (a copy of the Federal Register Notice is found here). (more…)