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05.12.16

Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Statistics and New Chief Judge Who is Really a Scientist

Posted in America, Patents at 10:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

PTAB helps eliminate many software patents by properly reassessing them

David Ruschke
David Ruschke’s ‘official’ photo

Summary: The US board which has been responsible for the elimination of many software patents (patent lawyers dub it “patent death squad”) is to be boosted by Dr. David Ruschke, who is more than just a judge

NOWADAYS, more so than before, the EPO and USPTO both rush to approve applications under pressure from above. The examiners are forced into that; prior art search is increasingly just a ‘luxury’ (growing workload) and it shows. How about reviewing bogus patents upon request? Well, that would diminish the number of patents Battistelli et al can brag about, so such divisions (like the Boards of Appeal in Europe) are understaffed and marginalised, especially in recent years. At the EPO, based on some recent reports, the boards now suffer from a massive backlog and cannot eliminate bogus patents quickly enough (more on that another day, maybe tomorrow). It is also worth noting that the judge whom Battistelli suspended is very technical, unlike Battistelli himself (maybe a cause for envy).

“At the EPO, based on some recent reports, the boards now suffer from a massive backlog and cannot eliminate bogus patents quickly enough (more on that another day, maybe tomorrow).”Earlier this week we found a lot of coverage about PTAB, which is in some sense (not in the whole sense) similar to Europe’s boards in at least some of the undertaken functions. MIP wrote: “A new USPTO study reveals the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has granted 5% of the motions to amend that it has had a chance to review and is on track to have about 50 motions filed this year, consistent with the level filed in 2013 and 2015″ (PTAB is only a few years old itself).

IAM said: “One of the criticisms leveled at the post-issuance reviews procedures is that while the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board has been only too happy to invalidate patents in a review, patent owners are given little opportunity to amend the claims under threat.”

WIPR put the figure (percentage) in the headline and said: “The US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has granted 5% of motions to amend claims since its inception nearly four years ago, new figures have revealed.

“In data published by the PTAB, the board said it has granted, or granted-in-part, six requests to amend claims in 118 trials.

“The figures, published yesterday, May 9, were in response to concerns about the lack of accepted motions to amend claims in all of the PTAB’s proceedings.”

Claim amendments typically help the applicant defend a controversial patent (or bogus patent), so the lower this ratio, the better the patent quality maintained by the board/s.

Patently-O pushed out an article by Saurabh Vishnubhakat, Associate Professor of Law at the Texas A&M University School of Law. Vishnubhakat wrote: “This action is itself a milestone, as the USPTO has designated only three other opinions as precedential over the last 22 months.”

“Claim amendments typically help the applicant defend a controversial patent (or bogus patent), so the lower this ratio, the better the patent quality maintained by the board/s.”Going back to MIP, it turns out there is a new PTAB chief judge. To quote: “The USPTO has announced a new chief judge of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, after 10 months of Nathan Kelley serving as acting chief judge” (just 10 months). Ruschke was mentioned by a controversial patents-centric site where it says he “holds a PhD in organometallic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BS in chemistry from the University of Minnesota.” Well, at least he’s a scientist, for a change. He has background in “medical devices” or something along those lines. Here is the press release about this appointment and other coverage (mostly covered by technical and lawyer’s news sites).

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