USPTO Fee Changes on January 1, 2014

On January 1, 2014, the USPTO will implement some new fees, including some significant fee decreases. Here are some highlights:

* Issue fee: from $1,780 to $960
* Reissue fee: from $1,780 to $960
* Design issue fee: from $1020 to $560
* Publication fee: eliminated (from $300 to $0)
* Assignment recordation fee, electronic: eliminated (from $40 to $0)

Small and micro entity fee still apply to the above. Reductions for various fees for new PCT applications will also be implemented, as well as reductions for small and micro entities.

“See Current Fee Schedule.(USPTO Fee Schedule with 1-1-14 changes)”:http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/qs/ope/fee031913.htm

USPTO Operations During Shutdown

The USPTO posts on its website (www.uspto.gov) that it will remain open during the government shutdown:

“During the general government shutdown that began October 1, 2013, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will remain open, using prior year reserve fee collections to operate as usual for approximately four weeks. We continue to assess our fee collections compared to our operating requirements to determine how long we will be able to operate in this capacity during a general government shutdown. We will provide an update as more definitive information becomes available.

Should we exhaust these reserve funds before the general government shutdown comes to an end, USPTO would shut down at that time, although a very small staff would continue to work to accept new applications and maintain IT infrastructure, among other functions.”

Acting Director Teresa Rea Leaves the USPTO

Acting USPTO Director Teresa Stanek Rea has announced her intent to leave the agency in the near future. Director Rea joined the USPTO in 2011 as Deputy Director after Sharon Barner stepped down from that position. Rea worked closely with then USPTO Dave Kappos in developing and implementing key elements of the America Invents Act. She has been Acting Director since Kappos stepped down in January 2013. Prior to joining the USPTO, Rea was a partner at the law firm of Crowell & Morning.

Inventive Step: USPTO Numbers – June 2013

The blog Inventive Step today posted the latest USPTO numbers. “Significant progress is being made on first office action pendency. The problems begin, however, once an application reaches a final office action. RCE filings are stabilizing, but at a very high rate.” The pendency of appeals continue to be ridiculously long (87.3 months or 7+ years!).

“Read the full post.(Inventiv eStep PTO Numbers June 2013)”:http://inventivestep.net/2013/07/25/pto-numbers-june-2013/

Sequestration Causing USPTO Satellite Offices Delay

On July 19, 2013, Acting Director of the USPTO, Teresa Stanek Rea, posted an update on the satellite offices in Dallas, Denver, and Silicon Valley on the “Director’ Forum(Director’s Forum – satellite offices)”:http://www.uspto.gov/blog/director/entry/an_update_on_our_dallas

All three locations have temporary office staff.  However, due to budget constraints under the federal sequestration, their relocation to permanent office spaces in Dallas and Denver has been delayed, and the GSA, which owns and operates public facilities, has suspended its solicitation process for permanent space in Silicon Valley. Director Rea states that they will continue monitoring fee collections to determine when they can move forward on permanent office spaces in these locations.

Supreme Court May Hear Joint Infringement Case

The Supreme Court this week called for the views of the Solicitor General on petitions to review the Federal Circuit’s decision on joint infringement of process patents. (See Federal Circuit single per curiam opinion for Akamai Technologies, Inc. v. Limelight Networks, Inc., 692 F.3d 1301 (Fed. Cir. 2012) and McKesson Technologies, Inc. v. Epic Systems Corp., 692 F.3d 1301 (Fed. Cir. 2012).) That decision held that induced infringement of a process patent claim may be found even though no single entity performed all of the claimed steps as long as claim steps are performed collectively by multiple parties.

Should the Supreme Court decide to hear this case, the ruling will become an important one. In an increasingly distributed world, requiring a single entity for proof of induced infringement may significantly change the enforcement landscape. Would there be the danger of entities purposefully “breaking up” the implementation of their technology over sovereign boundaries or entities in order to escape patent infringement? Stay tuned.

USPTO After Final Pilot 2l0 began May 19, 2013

The wait time for an action from the USPTO after the filing of a Request for Continued Examination (RCE) has become quite lengthy, sometimes to 2 years. The number of applications waiting for an action after RCE has been steadily increasing. The USPTO’s latest attempt to reduce this backlog is in its After Final Consideration Pilot 2.0 (AFCP), which began on May 19, 2013. The AFCP 2.0 authorizes additional time for examiners to search and/or consider response after final rejection.

If you are considering filing a response to a final office action that you believe may lead to an allowance with only limited searching and/or consideration by the examiner, then you should consider requesting consideration under the AFCP. Considering the recent increase in RCE fees, this option may save you money as well as time. Certain requirements to qualify for the pilot apply, so please confer with your patent attorney.

“Learn more.(AFCP 2.0)”:http://www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/afcp.jsp

“Micro Entity” Fees Now Available

The USPTO has now made available a 75% discount on most fees for “micro entites”. A micro entity is an applicant who:
(1) qualifies as a “small entity”;
(2) neither the applicant nor the inventor nor any joint inventor has been named as the inventor on more than four previously filed patent applications;
(3) neither the applicant nor the inventor nor any joint inventor had a gross income exceeding three times the mediam household income in the preceding calendar year; and
(4) has not assigned, granted, or conveyed, and is not under an obligation to assign, grant, or convey, a license or other ownership interest in the application.

As a micro entity, the discount on most USPTO fees will provide significant savings. We invite you to contact us if you believe you may qualify.

America Invents Act: Important public disclosure considerations starting March 16, 2013 – Lesley A. Leonessa

North Shore Patents is pleased to welcome Lesley A. Leonessa as Of Counsel to the firm. Lesley is a Patent and Intellectual Property Attorney with an extensive background in Software, the Internet, and Technology. Lesley specializes in patent prosecution and counsels clients on Intellectual Property protection, including U.S. and foreign patent prosecution.

To view or download Lesley’s article, please click on the “Special Edition 2013″ link in the Newsletters section on the right or click “here(Newsletter Special Edition 2013)”:http://www.nspatents.com/perch/resources/nsp-newsletter-special-edition-2013.pdf