Patently-O Bits & Bytes by Lawrence Higgins

BPAI's Backlog

  • Currently the BPAI receives about 1,200 new cases every month, but only decides around 600 cases per month. As shown in the graph below the BPAI's backlog has been increasing exponentially since 2005. In 2005, the BPAI had a backlog of only 882 cases; however, currently the backlog is well over 20,000 cases. The average time for a case to work its way through the system is over 30 months. There are many reasons that can be contributed to the BPAI's backlog, but the 3 most important reasons are:
    • The increase in the amount of cases filed per month. In 2005, the BPAI only received about 220 new cases per month; however, in 2011, this number was well over 1,000.
    • The increase in the amount of patent applications filed per year. In 2005, the PTO received 390,000 new utility patent applications; however in 2010 the PTO received 490,000 new applications. Numbers for 2011 are not available, but it can be presumed to be about 500,000 new applications.
    • The amount of money the PTO has to hire new judges. A BPAI judge salary is over $150,000 per year, and to effectively handle the caseload the BPAI would need to more than double the amount of judges that they currently have. To hire about 90 more judges, it would cost the PTO over 13.5 million dollars.

BPAI Statistics

Schmirler v. Kappos: This case seems to raise some interesting issues about joint inventors (liability and rights) and patent fees.

  • In Schmirler, full issue fee was paid by one of three inventors on his AMEX card. Power of attorney (POA) was transferred by all three inventors to a law firm to wrap up prosecution and POA by its terms was to cease when attorney received issued patent. There is some evidence that, after the POA was transferred, one of the inventors requested a refund from AMEX, not the USPTO. About 2 weeks after the patent issued, AMEX executed a chargeback to take the issue fee back from the PTO. The PTO did not discover the fee discrepancy until 3 years later, and when they did discover it they sent out a letter regarding the fee discrepancy. The PTO did not receive any response, so in January 2005 the patent was vacated. The case focuses on essentially one question; should Schmirler be allowed to proceed on his own to protect his patent rights that were vacated by the PTO? Complaint Schmirler-MSJ-Memo PTO-MSJ-Memo Schmirler-Response PTO-Response

The Smithsonian and USPTO collaborate on an exhibition

  • The exhibition The Great American Hall of Wonders examines the nineteenth-century American belief that the people of the United States shared a special genius for innovation. It explores this belief through works of art, mechanical inventions, and scientific discoveries, and captures the excitement of citizens who defined their nation as a "Great Experiment" sustained by the inventive energies of Americans in every walk of life. The exhibition opened on July 15, 2011 and will close on January 8, 2012. [Link]

Patent Jobs:

  • Snyder, Clark, Lesch & Chung is seeking a patent attorney with at least 2 years of experience to work in their Herndon, Virginia office. [Link]
  • BASF is seeking an IP Counsel to work at their Florham Park, New Jersey location. [Link]
  • Klarquist Sparkman is searching for patent associates or patent agents to work in their Portland office. [Link]
  • Ambature is seeking patent attorneys/patent agents. [Link]

Upcoming Events:

  • World Research Group is holding the 8th Annual Patents for Financial Services Summit on July 27-28th in New York. Guest speakers include David Cunningham, Larry Bromberg, Matthew Krigbaum, and Moshe Malina. (Patently-O readers can use Promo Code ENN794 for a $200 discount) [Link]
  • The 2nd European Pharmaceutical Regulatory Law Forum will be held in Brussels, Belgium September 21-22nd. The forum will focus on recent developments affecting the pharma industry in Europe and will discuss the impact of US developments on European companies. (Patently-O readers can register with code PO 10 for a 10% discount) [Link]
  • American Conference Institute's Life Sciences Business Development & Acquisitions in Emerging Markets conference is scheduled for September 26-27 in New York, NY. (Patently-O readers can register with code PO 200 for a discount) [Link]
  • IPMI is holding the IP Law & Management Institute on November 6th – 8th at the Rancho Las Palmas in Palm Springs, CA. Hailed as "One of the few programs geared to experienced in-house IP Counsel", the Institute is a CLE-accredited program designed to provide time-starved Heads of IP with the Opportunity to meet and network with their peers, learn from the best practices and validate solutions and services. [Link]

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