Design Day 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 will be Design Day 2014.  This is an all-day program, free of charge, at the USPTO in Alexandria, Virginia.

Design Day is a very special annual event, co-sponsored by the USPTO, the IP Section of the American Bar Association, the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), and the Industrial Designers Society of America.

Topics presented will include:

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A little-known USPTO initiative to reduce the backlog

As we all know, USPTO has set up many initiatives in recent years to try to reduce the qdppbacklog of unexamined patent applications.  Many practitioners are familiar with most of these initiatives.  It seems, however, that very few patent practitioners are aware of an initiative announced recently by the USPTO.  The initiative, called QDPP or “Quick Disposal Pilot Program”, will essentially instantly eliminate approximately two percent of the backlog, and should lead to some applications being allowed very quickly.

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Should you use USPTO’s new Glossary Pilot Program?

USPTO has announced a Glossary Pilot Program to Promote Patent Claim Clarity.  The program promises to push your patent application to the front of the line (make it “special”) if you provide a glossary in the detailed description portion of the specification, providing a definition of each important term used in the application.  This Glossary Program is a fascinating concept and it provides yet another reminder that there are smart people inside of the USPTO who are willing to try all kinds of approaches in the hope that some of the approaches will turn out to help with our shared goals such as promoting science and the useful arts.  Should you recommend this Glossary Program to your clients?

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USPTO tightens up fee payment options for patent appeals effective May 1, 2014

I never knew this, but it seems that it used to be a patent appellant could pay patent appeal fees by means of a general authorization to charge a Deposit Account.

Starting May 1, 2014, this will no longer be possible.  The appellant that tries to rely upon a general authorization will fail and risks having the appeal dismissed.

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USPTO relaxes formal requirements for Track I (and does it retroactively)

Track I (also called “prioritized examination”, and not to be confused with Accelerated Examination) has been available since September of 2011, and permits a patent applicant to move to the front of the examination queue upon payment of an extra $4000 (smaller for small and micro entities).  USPTO has relaxed the formal requirements for Track I as of March 5, 2014.

Importantly, the rule change is retroactive.  If a filer screwed up a Track I request in the past and had it dismissed, the filer may be able to get the request granted now by filing a petition.

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