The last you heard from me about over-the-top entertainment was here (blog article) where I commented on the growing resolve at HBO that it might eventually be able to bypass its traditional distribution mechanisms (cable TV companies and satellite TV companies) and distribute its programs straight to consumers. This has now reached fruition. Those who wish to be trendy, modern, and up-to-date will want to try out HBO Now as a successor to HBO Go. Continue reading
(Summary: Install Android Pay on your smart phone and use it, because it is trendy and modern and up-to-date and greatly reduces the risk of someone misusing your credit card information.)
The last that you heard from me about digital wallets (blog article) was that Softcard, the non-Apple digital wallet, had bitten the dust, and that Google had rather carefully not actually purchased Softcard but instead merely purchased its IP (mostly, its pending patent applications). This left Google Wallet as the successor app for Android phones. Google Wallet was decidedly clunky in several ways. Industry observers stood around waiting for Google’s next step, whatever it might turn out to be. Now we can see Google’s next step. It is Android Pay. Continue reading
Despite having been told many times to take corrective measures, USPTO has even now not moved its backup e-filing server to a redundant location. This causes great harm to customers of the USPTO. See, quoted above, the notice appearing today on USPTO’s web site. Continue reading
In our patent firm, every day somebody needs to obtain a US patent or published US patent application as a PDF. We send the PDFs to clients and foreign agents and we save them to our own file servers for internal use.
For many years USPTO went out of its way to make it very difficult for a user to obtain a copy of a US patent or published application, providing only TIF images (not PDFs) and those only one page at a time. Users wanting a PDF had to use software such as GetIPDL which would download the TIF images one by one and stitch them together into a PDF. Another approach for a user was to draw upon any of a number of private web sites for a multipage PDF of a patent. Some of these private web sites charged money for the PDFs, and one of them tacked an advertising message across the bottom of the first page of the PDF.
Now the USPTO has quietly changed its PatFT (patents full text) and AppFT (patent application full text) databases so that with the click of a mouse, the user can view a multipage PDF containing all pages of a patent or published application. With another click of the mouse (see the “full pages” button above), the user can download the PDF and make normal use of it.
Refreshingly, USPTO has done this in a way that tacks the Certificate of Correction (if any) onto the back of the PDF.
What one wishes, of course, is that USPTO would provide a “constructable” link which would directly yield the PDF file. The wish is that a link along the lines of https://www.uspto.gov/patents/7123456.pdf would retrieve a PDF of US patent number 7123456 and something similar for published US patent applications. As far as I can see the new USPTO system does not provide such a constructable link. Instead USPTO seems to have designed this new “full pages” link in a way that requires a human being to do the mouse clicks to obtain the PDF file.
Setting aside my disappointment about the lack of constructable links for the PDF files, the fact is that USPTO has moved closer toward actual user-friendliness in this area. Kudos to the USPTO!
Readers will recall that in June 2015, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board announced its two-for-one sale. Any filer that had two ex parte appeals pending as of June 19, 2015 could get one of the appeals decided right away by dropping the other appeal. When the PTAB announced this program, I blogged about it. I noted that this program was likely to be of interest only to sophisticated, high-volume corporate filers, since only such filers would (a) have two appeals pending and (b) be in a position to make a decision to drop an appeal in a case that previously seemed important enough to appeal. I noted that few if any small or micro entities would be able to use this program because they would not have two appeals pending (one of which would have to be dropped to qualify for the two-for-one program). I predicted that very few filers (large or small) would actually choose to use this two-for-one program, and my prediction turned out to be correct.
Now the PTAB has announced a second program for getting ex parte appeals decided fast. This second program, fetchingly named S-EPAP for Small Entities, is described in a Federal Register notice dated September 15, 2015 and on an FAQ page. This program permits a small entity or micro entity to get an ex parte appeal decided fast under certain conditions.
It is interesting to note USPTO’s explanation for setting up this second fast-appeals program:
Members of the public noted that small entities having only one appeal pending before the PTAB would not be able to take advantage of the EPAP program to secure expedited review of an ex parte appeal.
It seems I was one of those “members of the public”.
So how does this second, new fast-appeals program work? Continue reading
Readers will recall that in June 2015 the Patent Trial and Appeal Board announced its Expedited Patent Appeal Pilot. This is the program in which, if you have two ex parte appeals pending, you could abandon one of them and the PTAB would decide the other one faster. I blogged about this program and I predicted that very few applicants would choose to use this program. How did my prediction turn out? Continue reading