Shaking loose from the Public Switched Telephone Network (getting to know SIP URIs)

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It is ingrained in our behavior that if we are going to take a step toward calling someone on the telephone, we need to ask them “what is your telephone number?”  It is is ingrained in our behavior that if we are going to make it possible for someone to call us on the telephone, we need to be able to tell someone “our telephone number”.  This world of “having a telephone number” and “calling a telephone number” is the most prominent aspect of the Public Switched Telephone Network (Wikipedia article).  One way to think of the PSTN is that it is a collective effort by governments and post offices and landline telephone companies to collect money from people who “dial telephone numbers” and who receive telephone calls from other people who “dial telephone numbers”.  

The rise of the Internet has prompted many efforts to find ways that people can talk to each other without paying money to the PSTN.  One of those ways is the SIP URI (Wikipedia article).  Continue reading “Shaking loose from the Public Switched Telephone Network (getting to know SIP URIs)”

Today is the day — Colombia joins the WIPO DAS system

Yes, today is the day that Colombia joins DAS as both an Accessing Office and a Depositing Office.  You can read about this here.

Who is the most trendy, modern and up-to-date Colombian intellectual property firm?  Be the first to provide to me an application number, filing date, and DAS access code for a design application, a patent application, a utility model application, and an RO/CO application, and I will recognize your status as the most trendy, modern and up-to-date in Colombia.  (I will blur part of the application number in the Certificates of Availability that I obtain and post.)

Using a VOIP SMS telephone number as your Signal identifier

I think the best identifier to use with a messaging app is a VOIP SMS telephone number.

The identifier that Signal uses is a cellular telephone number.  I am very glad to tell you, however, that you don’t really have to use a traditional cellular telephone number.  For example for my Signal service I don’t actually use a cellular number, I use instead a VOIP number that happens to have SMS service enabled.  That VOIP number is not linked to any SIM card.  My VOIP provider (VOIP.MS) uses two-factor authentication and, because it is not a cellular provider, is not going to fall prey to a SIM swap attempt.  (See Being smart about SMS two-factor authentication.)  This protective step costs me only 85¢ per month.  I recommend it for all of your SMS two-factor authentication and I recommend it for your Signal service.

It is time to switch to a new end-to-end encrypted messaging app

Folks, now is the time to switch to a new end-to-end encrypted messaging app.  

Four years ago I recommended to you (blog article) that you should start using Whatsapp.  At the time, it was the best game in town.  But things have changed.  Whatsapp is now owned by Facebook.  I have trust issues with Facebook.  And there are several national-border firewalls that block Whatsapp.

Now I recommend Signal (Wikipedia article).  Signal is end-to-end encrypted, but instead of using proprietary software the source code of which only Facebook gets to see, it uses open-source software.  It uses PFS (perfect forward secrecy) meaning that when a session finishes, both ends discard the encryption key that got used.  This means that even if an eavesdropper were to decrypt some past message, the decryption solution would be of no help in decrypting any subsequent message.  I am interested to see that most of the national-border firewalls that block Whatsapp nonetheless permit passage of Signal traffic. See a Forbes magazine article entitled WhatsApp Soundly Beaten By Stunning New Alternative.

You can use your regular cellular telephone number as the identifier, which would be fine, or you could use a VOIP SMS number as the identifier, which I think is a better way to go, as I describe here.  But no matter how you set it up, I recommend discontinuing all of your other ways of messaging, and moving your messaging to Signal.

If you’d like to try messaging me with Signal, drop me a note at my email address with your Signal identifier telephone number and I will fire off a Signal message to you.

Have you tried Signal?  What do you think of it?  Please post a message below.

Eighth-largest economy in the world opens national phase route from PCT

When I was first in patent practice, the only way to pursue patent protection in Italy from a PCT application was to enter the European regional phase.  There simply was no national-only route to Italy from the PCT.  

And so things have remained for years and years, until July 1, 2020.  On July 1, 2020 Italy, the eighth-largest economy in the world when ranked by gross domestic product, opened a national-phase route from PCT.

You can read all about this in the Italian National Chapter Annex in the PCT Applicant’s Guide.

It is interesting to think about fact patterns that might prompt a filer to make use of this filing path.  Clearly one fact pattern that might call for this filing path is if the applicant particularly needs protection in Italy, more than in any other country that belongs to the EPO.  Instead of spending all of the money that has to be spent for entering the regional phase in EPO, the filer might only need to spend the money for a national-phase entry in Italy.

Another fact pattern conceivably calling for an Italian national-phase entry might be if an applicant is particularly interested in obtaining utility model protection in Italy.  Italy has utility model protection as one of its available protection mechanisms, while EPO does not.  

Here are some of the most important things to know about Italian national-phase entry from the PCT:

  • Italy is a 30-month Office for purposes of national-phase entry.
  • You need to provide a translation of the PCT application into Italian as part of the national-phase entry process.
  • For purposes of national-phase entry, DO/EO/IT recognizes Restoration of the Right of Priority, but only under the “due care” standard.

I have to imagine that this recent development must be very popular with patent firms in Italy, since it represents an opportunity to earn a professional fee carrying out a task which previously was not possible to carry out.  Indeed I clicked around on the Internet and found many a patent firm in Italy that has posted an article on its web site letting readers know that the firm stands ready to attend to such an Italian national-phase filing.

Have you carried out such an Italian national-phase entry from a PCT?  Do you plan to do so?  If so, what circumstance is prompting such a plan?  Please post a comment below.

The “Captain May I?” problem can arise in PCT cases too

In an earlier blog article I wrote about the “Captain May I?” problem.  This is the problem that arises if a Hague Agreement filer (the filer of an international design application) designates the US, and if the filer claims priority from a non-US design application, and if the filer relies upon DAS as the way to provide the certified copy of the priority application to the USPTO.  In that blog article I described that for two and a half years now, the USPTO has been aware of the fact that Hague filers often use Form DM/1 as a way to provide a priority claim and its DAS access code.  USPTO interprets its own 37 CFR § 1.55 in such a way that the electronic copy of the priority application that USPTO retrieves from DAS, using that DAS access code, does not count as a “certified” copy unless the Hague filer also files an Application Data Sheet presenting the priority claim all over again.  

It would have been helpful if USPTO had touched up 37 CFR § 1.55 a year ago, or two years ago, or two and a half years ago, to fix the perceived problem in the rule that leads to this otherwise completely unnecessary duplicate presentation of the priority claim.  USPTO’s foot-dragging on this has led to an accumulation of two and a half years’ worth of issued US design patents that have a cloud over them if they claim foreign priority and made use of DAS.

Upon a bit of reflection I realize that this “Captain May I?” problem with USPTO’s interpretation of its own 37 CFR § 1.55 can also put a cloud over a US utility patent if it comes from a PCT application.  Continue reading “The “Captain May I?” problem can arise in PCT cases too”

“Captain May I?” in Hague Agreement applications

The childhood game of “Captain May I?” (Wikipedia article) irritated me greatly as a child.  I had little patience for it.  The premise of the game is that words do not mean what they seem to mean.  In this game, a string of words which on its face is an instruction to take three steps forward does not actually count as an instruction to take three steps forward unless it is followed up by the query “Captain May I?” which is in turn followed by an automatic grant of permission by the “captain”.  The conceit of the game is that any and all requests to the captain for such permission are automatically granted, so that after a few minutes of play one sort of assumes that because the requests are always granted, there should not really be a need to ask.  But the “gotcha” in the game is that you must ask, even though the asking is pointless.

Today I was gobsmacked to learn that the USPTO plays “Captain May I?” with US designations of Hague Agreement applications (international design applications).  If as a child you were to get tricked and forget to ask “Captain May I?” the consequences would merely be that you return to the starting line of the game.  But as a design applicant if you get tricked and forget to ask “USPTO May I?” the consequence is, it seems, that you lose your priority claim.  I am not making this up.  Continue reading ““Captain May I?” in Hague Agreement applications”

Yet more Patentcenter bugs – the e-signature block

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37 CFR § 1.4(d)(2)(i) says exactly what a virgule signature (the USPTO calls it an “S-signature”) is supposed to look like.  The Rule says that what the signer must type between the two virgules (the two “slashes”) is at least one letter or Arabic numeral.  Notably the Rule does not say that what must appear between the two virgules is the signer’s name.  The signer is only required to provide his or her name “in printed or typed form preferably immediately below or adjacent the S-signature”.  Which means that the USPTO got it wrong in the web-based issue fee payment form in Patentcenter, quoted at right. Continue reading “Yet more Patentcenter bugs – the e-signature block”

Two more Offices join the WIPO DAS system

I am delighted to report that two more Offices have announced their participation in the DAS system.  These are the Italian Patent and Trademark Office and the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce of Colombia (the Colombian patent and trademark office).  Here are details of the Depositing-Office participations:

  Colombia is a Depositing Office? Italy is a Depositing Office?
National industrial design applications yes since August 28, 2020 yes since October 1, 2020
National patent applications yes since August 28, 2020 yes since October 1, 2020
National trademark applications   yes since October 1, 2020
National utility model applications yes since August 28, 2020 yes since October 1, 2020
PCT international applications filed
With the office as a PCT receiving office
yes since August 28, 2020 yes since October 1, 2020

 

One striking aspect of this is the participation of RO/CO and RO/IT as Depositing Offices.  This reminds us that among the IP5, the straggler Receiving Offices are RO/JP, RO/KR, and RO/US.  

Note, too, the ever-increasing participation of Offices in DAS with respect to trademarks.

This also offers a reminder that these two Offices offer utility model protection.

Here are details of Colombia’s Accessing-Office participation:

  Colombia is an Accessing Office?
Hague international applications yes since August 28, 2020
National industrial design applications yes since August 28, 2020
National patent applications yes since August 28, 2020
National trademark applications yes since August 28, 2020

 

Who is the most trendy, modern and up-to-date Colombian intellectual property firm?  Be the first to provide to me an application number, filing date, and DAS access code for a design application, a patent application, a utility model application, and an RO/CO application, and I will recognize your status as the most trendy, modern and up-to-date in Colombia.  (I will blur part of the application number in the Certificates of Availability that I obtain and post.)

Who is the most trendy, modern and up-to-date Italian intellectual property firm?  Be the first to provide to me an application number, filing date, and DAS access code for a design application, a patent application, a trademark application, a utility model application, and an RO/IT application, and I will recognize your status as the most trendy, modern and up-to-date in Italy.  (I will blur part of the application number in the Certificates of Availability that I obtain and post.)