Changes To Require Identification of Attributable Owner
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) is proposing changes to the rules of practice to facilitate the examination of patent applications and to provide greater transparency concerning the ownership of patent applications and patents. This initiative is one of a number of executive actions issued by the Administration that are designed to ensure the highest-quality patents, enhance competition by providing the public with more complete information about the competitive environment in which innovators operate, enhance technology transfer and reduce the costs of transactions for patent rights by making patent ownership information more readily and easily available, reduce abusive patent litigation by helping the public defend itself against frivolous litigation, and level the playing field for innovators. The Office is proposing in this document to require that the attributable owner, including the ultimate parent entity, be identified during the pendency of a patent application and at specified times during the life of a patent. The Office is specifically proposing that the attributable owner be identified on filing of an application (or shortly thereafter), when there is a change in the attributable owner during the pendency of an application, at the time of issue fee and maintenance fee payments, and when a patent is involved in supplemental examination, ex parte reexamination, or a trial proceeding before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The Office is also seeking comments on whether the Office should enable patent applicants and owners to voluntarily report licensing offers and related information to the Office, which the Office will then make available to the public in an accessible online format.
Miscellaneous Changes to Trademark Rules of Practice and the Rules of Practice in Filings Pursuant to the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (``Office'') proposes to amend the Trademark Rules of Practice and the Rules of Practice in Filings Pursuant to the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks to benefit the public by providing greater clarity as to certain requirements relating to representation before the Office, applications for registration, examination procedures, amendment of applications, publication and post publication procedures, appeals, petitions, post registration practice, correspondence in trademark cases, classification of goods and services, and procedures under the Madrid Protocol. For the most part, the proposed rule changes are intended to codify existing practice.
Request for Comments Regarding Prior Art Resources for Use in the Examination of Software-Related Patent Applications
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has formed a partnership with the software community to enhance the quality of software-related patents (Software Partnership). The Software Partnership is an opportunity to bring stakeholders together through a series of roundtable discussions to share ideas, feedback, experiences, and insights on software-related patents. On December 5, 2013, as part of the Software Partnership, the USPTO hosted a roundtable discussion on the USPTO's prior art searching techniques and tools. At the roundtable, the USPTO spoke on the prior art resources currently utilized by examiners and listened to external speakers and the public on additional prior art resources and improved search techniques. In order to receive further feedback from stakeholders, the USPTO is requesting comments on the questions regarding prior art resources and search techniques set forth below.