Newsletters

FTC Report on PAEs Is Not the Condemnation the Anti-IP-Rights Groups Wanted

As we went to press with the October Wealth of Ideas® e-letter, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its long-awaited report on Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs). Titled “Patent Assertion Entity Activity: An FTC Study,” this report was generated at the request of the anti-IP-rights lobby that hoped it could use the report to push through patent-weakening legislation. The report turned out to NOT be the smoking gun that Big Tech was looking for!

GAO Makes Two Recommendations for Improving Prior Art Searches

The General Accountability Office (GAO) issued three reports this year regarding the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In August, we summarized the first of these reports, Patent Office Should Define Quality, Reassess Incentives, and Improve Clarity. Last month, we provided a summary and analysis of the second report, Patent Office Should Strengthen Search Capabilities and Better Monitor Examiners' Work. This month we wrap up the trilogy with a summary and analysis of Patent Office Has Opportunities to Further Improve Application Review and Patent Quality.

GAO Makes Seven Recommendations for Improving Prior art Searches

Last month, we summarized and analyzed one of three reports issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) this summer, Patent Office Should Define Quality, Reassess Incentives, and Improve Clarity. This month, we summarize and analyze a second report from the GAO, Patent Office Should Strengthen Search Capabilities and Better Monitor Examiners' Work.

Purpose of the Report

GAO Makes Seven Suggestions to Improve Patent Quality

Earlier this summer, the U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) completed three reports related to the performance of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The three reports, that were all officially released July 20, are:

1. Patent Office Should Define Quality, Reassess Incentives, and Improve Clarity
2. Patent Office Should Strengthen Search Capabilities and Better Monitor Examiners' Work
3. Patent Office Has Opportunities to Further Improve Application Review and Patent Quality

U.S. Patent Applications Were UP in 2015, but Granted Patents Were Flat

The data for calendar 2015 are in from both the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the European Patent Office, and for the first time since 2007, the number of patents issued by the USPTO declined. The Patent Office granted 326,032 U.S. Patents in 2014 and 325,979 U.S. Patents in 2015 – a decrease – but a decrease of just 53 or .01625%, so granted U.S. Patents were essentially flat from calendar 2014 to 2015. As a unit of the federal agency, the USPTO operates on an October 1 to September 30 Fiscal Year, but these numbers are for January through December of 2014 and 2015.

House Judiciary Subcommittee Offers a Solution in Search of a Problem – Part 2

Last month, the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee held a hearing to examine patent litigation activities at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). In last month’s feature article, we summarized the testimony of the first three witnesses who appeared before the subcommittee. This month, we summarize the testimony of the second three witnesses.

The Innovation Continuum: Putting Things in Perspective

At the recent NPE 2016 Conference in New York, a topic that came up repeatedly was the role that NPEs (or PAEs as the Federal Trade Commission calls them) play in the entire innovation experience – what we call in this article the “Innovation Continuum.” For the purpose of this article, we prefer the term “patent licensing company” to describe an enterprise that generates most of its income from licensing patents and other intellectual property.

Out of 2,600 Challenges, Patent Trial and Appeal Board Has Invalidated 571 Patents

Since the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) replaced the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI), a total of 2,600 petitions for Inter Partes Review were filed with the Board. Of these, 571 patents (22%) were invalidated as a result of all claims being ruled unpatentable. There were 114 patents that survived with only some claims ruled unpatentable. And 107 patents survived with all claims intact. We take a look this month at some Patent Trial and Appeal Board statistics, but first a little background.

2015 Was an Up and Down Year for Issued U.S. Patents and Patent Applications

We have seen a steady increase in the number of patents issued each year by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office since 2009. The statistics are in for calendar year 2015, and it appears that the growth trend is slowing. With a concerted effort by the USPTO to decrease patent pendency, some believed that we would see more patents issued in 2015, but that was not the case. Many see the issuance of U.S. Patents to U.S. businesses and universities as a quantitative indicator of American innovation, so we are analyzing the numbers from that perspective.