Request for Comments on Intellectual Property Protection for Artificial Intelligence Innovation
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (``USPTO'') is gathering information about the impact of artificial intelligence (``AI'') technologies on intellectual property law and policy. To assist in gathering this information, on August 27, 2019, the USPTO published questions related to the impact of artificial intelligence inventions on patent law and policy and asked the public for written comments. Those questions cover a variety of topics, including whether revisions to intellectual property protection are needed. The present notice extends this inquiry to copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property rights impacted by AI.
Updated Legal Framework for Patent Electronic System
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office) published on its website an updated legal framework for its Patent Electronic System. The updated legal framework provides guidance on the background statutes, regulations and policies that support the USPTO's Patent Electronic System. The Patent Electronic System currently comprises EFS-Web, which is the USPTO's web-based patent application and document submission system; and the Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system, which is the USPTO's web-based means for electronically viewing the status of, and documents filed in or associated with, patent applications and proceedings. The updated legal framework also discusses the two-step authentication method now in place for accessing the Patent Electronic System. The updated legal framework serves as a reference for applicants, parties in reexamination proceedings, attorneys, and agents.
Rules of Practice To Allocate the Burden of Persuasion on Motions To Amend in Trial Proceedings Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (``USPTO'' or ``Office'') proposes changes to the rules of practice in inter partes review (``IPR''), post-grant review (``PGR''), and the transitional program for covered business method patents (``CBM'') (collectively ``post-grant trial'') proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (``PTAB'' or ``Board'') to allocate the burdens of persuasion in relation to motions to amend and the patentability of substitute claims proposed therein.
October 2019 Patent Eligibility Guidance Update
In January 2019, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) prepared revised guidance (2019 Patent Eligibility Guidance) for use by USPTO personnel in evaluating subject matter eligibility. The USPTO published the 2019 Patent Eligibility Guidance in the Federal Register and sought public comment on the guidance. In view of the comments received in response to the 2019 Patent Eligibility Guidance, the USPTO has produced an update of its 2019 Patent Eligibility Guidance (the October 2019 Patent Eligibility Guidance Update), which is available to the public on the USPTO's website. The October 2019 Patent Eligibility Guidance Update includes a new set of examples as well as a discussion of various issues raised by the public comments. The Update is intended to assist Office personnel in applying the 2019 Patent Eligibility Guidance. The Office continues to welcome public feedback on an ongoing basis on the October 2019 Patent Eligibility Guidance Update or on any patent eligibility issue.
Grant of Interim Extension of the Term of U.S. Patent No. 6,406,699-ECI® (ELIAS Cancer Immunotherapy)
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued an order granting interim extension for a one-year interim extension of the term of U.S. Patent No. 6,406,699.
Patent Term Adjustment Reductions in View of the Federal Circuit Decision in Supernus Pharm., Inc.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) is proposing to revise the rules of practice pertaining to patent term adjustment in view of the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Federal Circuit) in Supernus Pharm., Inc. v. Iancu (Supernus). The Federal Circuit in Supernus held that a reduction of patent term adjustment must be equal to the period of time during which the applicant failed to engage in reasonable efforts to conclude prosecution of the application. The Office is proposing to revise the provisions pertaining to reduction of patent term adjustment for alignment with the Federal Circuit decision in Supernus.
Changes to the Trademark Rules of Practice To Mandate Electronic Filing
On July 31, 2019, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published in the Federal Register a final rule amending the Rules of Practice in Trademark Cases and the Rules of Practice in Filings Pursuant to the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks. That final rule had an effective date of October 5, 2019. This action changes the effective date to December 21, 2019.
Eliminating Unnecessary Regulations
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office) hereby amends the Rules of Practice in Patent Cases and Trial Practice Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) by removing provisions in the Code of Federal Regulations that are no longer necessary. This final rule removes the rules governing reservation clauses, petitions from the refusal of a primary examiner to admit an amendment, the publication of amendments to the regulations, and limits that the Director can impose on the number of inter partes reviews and post-grant reviews heard by the PTAB. USPTO has evaluated existing regulations to identify those that should be repealed, replaced, or modified because they are outdated, unnecessary, ineffective, costly, or unduly burdensome to both government and private-sector operations. USPTO carried out this work, in part, through its participation in the Regulatory Reform Task Force (Task Force), which the Department of Commerce (Department or Commerce) established in accordance with Executive Order 13777, ``Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.'' Removal of the regulations identified in this final rule achieves the objective of making USPTO regulations more effective and more streamlined, while enabling the USPTO to fulfill its mission goals.