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07.08.18

In Spite of Resistance From the Patent Microcosm the USPTO Strives to Improve Patent Quality

Posted in America, Patents at 8:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Webinars reaffirm the longterm sustainability of PTAB

Laco
Mea culpa, patent purged

Summary: Efforts to thwart PTAB have been met with apathy from USPTO officials, who seem to recognise the value of quality assurance in this era of growing uncertainty about the validity of US patents

LAST WEEKEND Patent Docs advertised a July 17-18 event in which Ruschke, chief/head of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), is scheduled to give a talk. Not just any talk: “Keynote Address — The Honorable David Ruschke, Chief Judge, Patent Trial and Appeal Board, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office” (the one responsible for inter partes reviews (IPRs) that eliminate bad patents, wrongly granted by USPTO examiners). The real solution is to remove patents rather than removing the mechanism by which such patents get removed (what Battistelli did at the world’s most corrupt patent office).

Patent Docs then mentioned the meeting of Technology Center (TC) 2600, which takes place on the same day. It’s notorious among many patent maximalists for the same reason Ruschke is. To quote: “The Rocky Mountain Regional Office and Technology Center (TC) 2600 will be hoplding a combined Customer Partnership Meeting from 8:15 am to 3:00 pm (MT) on July 17, 2018 at the Rocky Mountain Regional Office in Denver, CO. TC 2600 examination for patent applications including Communications.”

Last but not least, there was this about IP5 from USPTO perspective:

Nelson Yang, Acting Director of International Patent Business Solutions in the Office of International Patent Cooperation of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and Jocelyn Ram, Patent Business Analyst in the Office of International Patent Cooperation, will provide an overview of the Global Dossier concept and how the IP5 Offices (USPTO, EPO, JPO, KIPO, and SIPO) have been working together to provide additional services and functionalities. In particular, the new service, Citation List, will be highlighted to demonstrate its capabilities in prior art searching.

Well, prior art searching is crucial because without proper prior art searching patents will be granted in error, irrespective of how abstract they may be. The trend worth noting here is an effort to improve the quality of US patents — an effort last commended by John Thorne (HTIA) two weeks ago. He’s quoted as saying that “[t]he IPR process has been a necessary advancement for improving patent quality and creating stability to innovators threatened by invalid patents.”

This is what we should all strive for. Sadly, patent maximalists are fixated on this inane idea that Google is behind everything. HTIA fronts for many technology companies, not Google. The same is true for CCIA and EFF. But facts don’t matter to patent maximalists, for these facts merely interfere with their toxic agenda. We recently explained that 10 million US patents are far too much (most are likely bogus, but we’ll never know past their expiry). Bad quality of patents leads to presumption of invalidity — certainly a travesty for the perceived value of US patents. Here is what HTIA said about the 10 million patents mark:

On Wednesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) marked the granting of the nation’s 10 millionth patent. Patent filings and issuances are at historically high levels, with more than 2.8 million active patents in the United States, which is both good and troubling news.

This plethora of patenting is the scorecard of a championship American season of innovation. But it has also given rise to challenges that could cut that season short. With the USPTO receiving more than 650K patent applications a year and issuing more than 350,000 patents a year based on an average examination time of 19 hours per patent, many invalid patents have been mixed in with the valid and valuable ones in recent years.

The most innovative tech products — smart phones, for example — can be covered by tens or hundreds of thousands of patents. It is almost a certainty that many of those patents are invalid, leading to a contamination of the innovation ecosystem. The danger underscores the value of recent reforms that are helping to clear the system of the USPTO’s mistakes.

We keep saying the same thing in relation to the EPO; if the house isn’t kept ‘in check’, EPs will lose their value, the number of applications will nosedive, and examiners will simply lose their jobs. Patent offices which get reduced/warped into patent-printing machines eventually stop printing. It’s like over-printing a currency — a very short-term strategy for sure.

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