Patently-O Bits and Bytes No. 97

  • Patent Reform: Senator Kyl Introduces the alternative Patent Reform Act of 2009; This bill is more patent-holder friendly than the Leahy bill. The Leahy bill may see some action in Committee on March 26, 2009.
  • Patent Reform: Inequitable Conduct: Although a co-sponsor of the Leahy Act, Senator Hatch has suggested that the reforms should include reforms of inequitable conduct proceedings.
  • ITC: The res judicata effect of ITC Section 337 Decisions: Nil.
  • ITC Theory: John Marshall's IP Law Journal has a nice set of articles focused on ITC patent Litigation
  • Personnel: Gov. Gary Locke is President Obama's nominee for Secretary of Commerce. Barring some unknown tax snafu or AIG relationship, is expected to be confirmed quickly. In his Senate testimony he mentioned the politically correct goal of reducing the PTO backlog along with creating a foundation for long-term economic growth; improving weather forecasting, and managing our fishing industry.
  • Personnel: The PTO needs three new members of its Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC). Current members include Kevin Rivette (Rembrandts in the Attic), Louis Foreman (CEO / Inventor), Scott Kieff (Conservative Law Professor), Damon Matteo (PARC innovation & licensing chief), Doug Patton (inventor & industrial designer at PattonDesign); David Westergard (IP guy at Micron – Looking to water-down patent rights), Marc Adler (former Chief of IP at Rohm & Haas), Steve Pinkos (former Deputy to Jon Dudas), and Maureen Toohey (Solo practitioner; former GC of a Dean Kamen's DEKA company). I believe that Rivette, Patton, and Westergard will have reached the end of their terms this year and will be replaced.
  • The Economic Downturn: Diane Bartz has taken over writing all about patent law for Reuters. In a recent interview with John Doll, she uncovers that the PTO is projecting a 2% drop in applications in 2009. Others expect a 10% decline. The problem for the PTO is that their funding is entirely fee driven, and the agency had budgeted for a 5% increase. Along with most law firms, according to Doll, the PTO has "stopped hiring at this time."

7 thoughts on “Patently-O Bits and Bytes No. 97

  1. “the backlog will continue to get worse”

    Perhaps “the backlog” is not even really a problem… and maybe it never was.

  2. Loss of maintenance fees will hurt more than loss of application fees.

  3. “managing our fishing industry.” This is the first I have heard of this issue.

  4. according to Doll, the PTO has “stopped hiring at this time.”

    — if this means that the PTO is not even replacing departing examiners, the backlog will continue to get worse

  5. The holding is fairly narrow, but a vindication for the underdog PTO nonethless. I await the request for rehearing en banc, but I am no longer certain as to how the court will rule.

  6. OK, technically they affirmed-in-part, vacated-in-part and remanded. Rader concurred-in-part and dissented-in-part.

  7. Tafas v. Doll has been decided by the CAFC panel – affirmed in part and reversed in part. Rader dissented on the part reversed. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who has not read the decision yet, but it’s not good for applicants. Of course this case is going en banc, so this decision is merely the first step in the process.

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