Courtenay Brinckerhoff: What Happens When Interfering Applications Straddle The First-To-File Effective Date?

The following article comes from Courtenay C. Brinckerhoff, Partner at Foley & Lardner and writer of PharmaPatents Blog

It has been a while since I’ve taken an in-depth look at the first-to-file provisions of the America Invents Act. This interesting fact pattern comes from Andrea Levesque, IP Counsel at ARC Energy, and relates to the interference provisions that survive the general March 16, 2013 effective date of the first-to-file provisions.

The March 16, 2013 Effective Date

As I wrote previously, one of the more complex aspects of the America Invents Act relates to the effective date and applicability of the first-to-file provisions of new 35 USC § 102. As a general rule, applications with any claim that has an effective filing date on or after March 16, 2013 will be subject to the new version of § 102. On the other hand, applications with any claim that has an earlier effective filing date still will be subject to the current versions of 35 USC §§ 102(g), 135 and 291: (more…)

U.S. Design Patent Considerations For Chinese Companies

The following guest post was written by Foley & Lardner Partner Marshall J. Brown.

Like industrial design registrations and design patents in many countries, patents can serve as an effective tool to prevent competitors, counterfeiters, and other parties from copying your company’s proprietary designs. While the process for obtaining a U.S. design patent is fairly straightforward, there are several aspects to design patents that are unique to the United States. Many of these features provide applicants and patent holders with valuable benefits not available elsewhere, while others place particular burdens on inventors and attorneys. These issues need to be recognized when maneuvering through the process of obtaining a design patent. The following discussion focuses on a few of the aspects unique to the U.S. design patent system.

  1. The 12-month grace period. A U.S. design patent application may be filed up to 12 months after the design is first described in a printed publication, is in public use in the United States, or is offered for sale in the United States. This provides companies with the opportunity to determine whether a product will be sufficiently successful to warrant the investment in a patent. (more…)

Bilski v. Kappos: Summary And Implications


Written by Andrea M. Augustine (Partner at Foley & Lardner LLP and faculty member for the upcoming PLI Patent Litigation program) and Kevin J. Malaney (Associate at Foley & Lardner LLP)

On June 28, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its much anticipated opinion in Bilski v. Kappos.  In Bilski, the Court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, In re Bilski, 545 F.3d 943 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (en banc), that the claims in question did not qualify for patent protection.  In doing so, the Court unanimously rejected the Federal Circuit’s determination that the “machine-or-transformation” test was the exclusive test for “process” patent eligibility.  But instead of establishing what test should be applied in future cases, the Court left this question open and simply relied on previous Supreme Court case law and the Patent Act to hold Applicants’ claims ineligible for patent protection.  Despite the uncertainty regarding the appropriate test, Bilski does provides some guidance as to what “process” claims are eligible for patent protection.  Because of the open questions that remain, future cases will be closely watched and studied for clarification and application of the Court’s holdings.  In the meantime, observers, advocates, and pundits will review the fine details and history of In re Bilski in search of guidance on the future of business method patents and patent applications. (more…)

Oral Argument In Key False Marking Case: Stauffer V. Brooks Brothers, Inc.

Jeanne Gills (partner at Foley & Lardner and Practice Center Contributor) and Mary M. Calkins (senior counsel at Foley & Lardner) passed along this news alert discussing the August 3rd oral argument heard by the Federal Circuit in the Stauffer v. Brooks Brothers, Inc. false marking litigation….

On August 3, 2010, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (C.J. Rader, J. Lourie, and J. Moore) heard oral argument in Stauffer v. Brooks Brothers, Inc., Nos. 09-1428 et al (Stauffer). Stauffer is the latest in a line of appeals from district court decisions in false marking suits brought under 35 U.S.C. § 292. The panel mostly focused on two standing issues: (1) the requirements for an individual plaintiff, who is not a competitor of the defendant allegedly committing false marking, to have standing to sue for damages under Section 292; and (2) whether the United States may intervene during the initial phase of a Section 292 action dealing with standing on the pleadings, rather than later during the merits phase of the action. Given the several hundred false marking cases that have been filed during the past year, including those that have been stayed pending a decision in Stauffer, the Federal Circuit’s ruling could impact whether these cases survive on jurisdictional grounds or will proceed on the merits.


Section 292 prohibits marking an “unpatented article” with words indicating that the article is patented “for the purpose of deceiving the public,” and establishes a monetary fine of up to $500 per falsely marked article. The statute further provides that “[a]ny person may sue for the penalty, in which event one-half shall go to the person suing and the other to the use of the United States.” (more…)

USPTO Interim Bilski Guidelines: David Luettgen of Foley & Lardner Weighs In

While the Supreme Court’s Bilski v. Kappos decision answered some questions regarding patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. 101, much remains unclear.  Last week, the USPTO attempted to clear up some of the uncertainty for the patent examiners when it published it’s Interim Guidance for Determining Subject Matter Eligibility for Process Claims (See Patent Office Releases Interim Bilski Guidelines ).  I had an opportunity to discuss the Interim Bilski Guidelines with David Luettgen, partner at Foley & Lardner LLP.

Here is what he had to say…..

Me:  Most agree that the Bilski decision left a lot of uncertainty.  Do you think the USPTO’s interim guidelines help clear up some of that uncertainty? Are the guidelines a step in the right direction?

DL:  The guidelines are helpful in that they present the PTO’s view of everything we know about subject matter eligibility from Bilski and other cases.  However, the PTO cannot create certainty where none really exists.  There are just a lot of things we do not know right now.  It will take some Federal Circuit cases before we get that certainty, for example, in the areas of computer-implemented inventions and medical diagnostic methods. (more…)