The Register reports that:
“The US Patent and Trademark Office said Monday that it’s launching a test program that will greatly speed the review of “green” technology patents.”
The test program looks like a great idea, but clearly has limitations. USPTO will likely be inundated by fast track requests for applications which are not “green”. And who will decide which applications get to jump the line?
Read the story at:
And my old favorite, NPRs Marketplace, has a discussion with Aaron McGushion, an inventor:
“MCGUSHION: So imagine they (GE) have 500 applications pending right now. I would imagine that they’d want to put all of them in this program in order to get their patents issued very quickly.”
Post written by Peter Bloch, consultant to CAS-IP
There have been varying reports about the peer-to-patent project these past weeks. See the two lead links for some background. The CAS-IP blog has also made a number of posts in the past about peer-to-patent.
IP Kat published a post at the weekend which included a quote explaining it was all a big misunderstanding, and it is simply the end of a pilot phase to allow for evaluation. The Peer to Patent site itself in fact does back this up, stating (albeit rather curtly):
“The USPTO has closed the Peer-to-Patent pilot and is no longer accepting new applications.”
Peer-to-patent is no stranger to differing opinions. One of the more outspoken write ups questioning the project was in the Internet Patent News Service, PATNEWS. (This is available as email only, visit http://www.patenting-art.com/clients/patnews.htm to subscribe.) PATNEWS summed up by saying:
“there is only one solution to the PTO’s prior art problem: providing examiners with the tools and resources they need to do the job on their own”
Intellectual property management within the context of public research organisations is as much about ensuring access and it is about protecting rights. Back in 2005 CAS-IP initiated a partnership between the European Patent Office (EPO) and ICRISAT, with a view to ensuring the publications produced by ICRISAT would be easily accessible to patent examiners, and thus qualify as “prior art” and therefore minimizing likelihood of becoming patented by 3rd parties.
Had this option been available to USPTO then perhaps a situation like the Enola bean case could have been avoided.
This forms part of a wider scheme of ‘defensive publication’ http://www.cas-ip.org/ip-agriculture/ip-primer/defensive-publication/
Hanumanth B. Rao, the IP Manager for ICRISAT said:
“The collaboration was initiated primarily to complement the Board approved policy in making ICRISAT’s IPRs as prior art… Endorsing the CAS-IP novel approach, the CGIAR Genetic Resource Policy Committee(GRPC) has recommended in its meeting held in Rome on 23-25 April 2007 that Centers should be encouraged to incorporate their publications in databases used by patent examiners. Accordingly, CIAT, the other CGIAR Center has signed a similar agreement with the EPO in Feb 2009. ICRISAT would also like to initiate collaborations with Patent and PVP Offices in India based on these experiences.”
For more information about this please visit the lead link http://www.cas-ip.org/projects/cgiar-centre-publications-as-prior-art/
Obama has chosen Patent Attorney David Kappos to be the next Undersecretary Of Commerce For Intellectual Property And Director Of The U.S. Patent And Trademark Office (USPTO). Here is an article related to a US-National Public Radio interview with Kappos (http://cairns.typepad.com/peertopatent/2007/08/david-kappos-on.html) that gives a good introduction as to why we should be excited.
Kappos has been heavily involved in the innovative Peer-to-Patent experiment which seeks to ensure that patent rights are only awarded to novel inventions.
Of course, the down side is that IBM (where Kappos is coming from) is rather a 900-pound gorilla in the patent area and sometimes speaks out of both sides of its mouth –enjoying huge benefits from licensing its products and protecting its rights aggressively, while pointing fingers at big Pharma for putting in patent applications on anything that moves/did move at-one-time.
However, I think this appointment bodes well for getting someone into the office of the Director that knows the field and brings a fresh perspective to the USPTO. I hope he can also rally the Examiner Corps. The blogs are full of tales of how demoralized US Patent examiners seems to be after years of having to do their job under difficult circumstances and with little apparent support from their administrations.
Post written by Victoria Henson-Apollonio, Manager of CAS-IP