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  • Making the Case to Settle
    by Suzanne Quinson on August 3, 2022 at 12:00 pm

    According to the American Bar Association, most civil cases are settled before trial by mutual agreement between the parties. It is estimated as many as 80-90% of cases settle before trial, usually after the discovery process. Why is that? Counsel can make intelligent predictions of the outcome of a trial once discovery is completed. Trial The post Making the Case to Settle appeared first on Planet Depos.

  • Remote Depositions Remain a Popular Option After Covid
    by Suzanne Quinson on July 6, 2022 at 1:25 pm

    In-person depositions are on the rise again, but remote depositions are here to stay. Even though remote depositions are no longer the only option, they remain a very convenient and increasingly efficient option. As a Planet Depos survey recently demonstrated, many attorneys predict that they will continue to use the remote deposition option, or hybrid, The post Remote Depositions Remain a Popular Option After Covid appeared first on Planet Depos.

  • The Final Transcript: Tips to Make it Count
    by Suzanne Quinson on June 10, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    The transcript is the reason to schedule a court reporter. Read these tips to get the most accurate transcript on time, every time. The post The Final Transcript: Tips to Make it Count appeared first on Planet Depos.

  • Depositions in the United Kingdom Post-Covid
    by Suzanne Quinson on May 25, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    The United Kingdom is open and depositions are scheduling. Get all the details to schedule in-person and remote depositions in the U.K. The post Depositions in the United Kingdom Post-Covid appeared first on Planet Depos.

  • How to Renew your Passport
    by Suzanne Quinson on May 18, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    International travel is taking off! International depositions are scheduling, so renew your passport with these step-by-step instructions. The post How to Renew your Passport appeared first on Planet Depos.

Director's Blog: the latest from USPTO leadership Updates from America’s innovation agency

  • Patent Public Search tool – a streamlined way to search all U.S. published patent applications
    by USPTO on August 10, 2022 at 4:22 pm

    Blog by Andrew Faile, Acting Commissioner for Patents, and Jamie Holcombe, Chief Information Officer“The new search interface for Patent Public Search looks really nice. We’re enjoying playing with new features!”“The work you have done on the new public search system is top notch… it saves a lot of time while improving the search results I am able to obtain… Very impressive work.”“Looking forward to using this new tool for my upcoming patent applications.”As part of our ongoing effort to modernize and streamline our systems, earlier this year, we unveiled an all new Patent Public Search (PPUBS) tool. PPUBS is a free online search tool for all U.S. published patent applications and patent grants. Currently, approximately 4,500 users are conducting patent searches with PPUBS each day in the U.S. and internationally, and close to 350,000 people have used PPUBS since it launched. Based on the success and positive feedback we’ve received on PPUBS – with a few testimonial examples listed above – it will officially replace our legacy systems this September.With the launch of PPUBS, you can now search the text of all published U.S. patents and U.S. Pre-Grant publications (PGPubs) remotely in one streamlined system. Previously, in order to conduct a similar search, you needed to visit a USPTO facility like our headquarters in Alexandria, a regional office, or a Patent and Trademark Resource Center. That also meant using one of four legacy systems: Public-Examiner’s Automated Search Tool (PubEAST), Public-Web-based Examiner’s Search Tool (PubWEST), Patent Full-Text and Image Database (PatFT), and Patent Application Full-Text and Image Database (AppFT).We developed PPUBS based on the current internal tool used by patent examiners, Patents End to End Search (PE2E-Search). Some similar features include highlighting, efficient tagging, and advanced notes for searching, analyzing, and managing patent data.Some additional benefits of PPUBS include:• Layouts: Multiple layouts and tools allow you to view more data at once and perform more precise searching.• Highlighting: Multi-color highlighting allows you to easily sort and categorize your search results.• Tagging: Document tagging allows you to group, rename, or color code your search results, helping you better organize your data.• Notes: More advanced notes allow you to include tags, relevant claims, or other useful details. • Quality: Robust full-text searching of U.S. patents and published applications improves the quality of your search and provides enhanced access to prior art.• Familiar usability: If you previously used PubEAST and PubWEST, you will find that PPUBS has similar familiar searching options.We are holding a number of regular training sessions on PPUBS – including webinars for novice searchers and advanced searchers. To view upcoming public training sessions, visit the events page of the USPTO website. We also offer training materials, quick reference guides, frequently asked questions, and a help center on the Patent Public Search webpage.Your feedback is important to help us identify any issues with PPUBS and to determine features we may want to add or improve. If you have questions about Patent Public Search, please contact us. We are confident the new, powerful, and flexible capabilities of PPUBS will improve the overall patent searching process. If you aren’t already using it, we hope you’ll try it soon! 

  • Duty of disclosure and duty of reasonable inquiry promote robust and reliable patents, drive competition and economic growth, and bring life-saving drugs to the American people
    by USPTO on July 28, 2022 at 1:24 pm

    Blog by Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTOThe United States is a global leader in new drug development. The important contributions and life-saving treatments developed by the pharmaceutical industry have fully or nearly eradicated deadly diseases like smallpox, polio, measles, diphtheria, hepatitis B, and meningitis, as well as created highly effective treatments for various cancers and chronic diseases. Much of this was made possible because of our strong patent protection.For patents to play this critical role, they must be robust and reliable. Robust and reliable patents incentivize and protect breakthrough innovation, but they also ensure our system as a whole does not unnecessarily delay getting generic and more affordable versions of those drugs into the hands of Americans who need them.President Biden recognized this need in the July 9, 2021, Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy (EO). The EO required the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to identify any concerns about the patent system being used to unjustifiably delay generic drug and biosimilar competition beyond that reasonably contemplated by applicable law. On September 10, 2021, we received a letter from Acting FDA Commissioner Woodcock in which the FDA suggested further engagement between the FDA and USPTO “to facilitate greater awareness of our complementary work and introduce efficiency in our respective workstreams.”I recently sent a response to the FDA's letter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf. In it, I described many of the initiatives we’re working on to strengthen our patent system for all technologies, in addition to the work the USPTO is doing with the FDA directly.One of those initiatives relates to ensuring that the USPTO has the key information our examiners need when deciding whether to grant patent rights. The USPTO and the American people rely on inventors, applicants, and parties abiding by their “duty of disclosure” and “duty of reasonable inquiry,” including their ongoing duty to provide consistent statements about drugs to the USPTO and the FDA. This duty applies during examination of patent applications, including continuation applications, and after issuance during any post-grant examination or proceeding to review the issued patent. Adherence to these duties helps our patent examiners and administrative patent judges within the Patent Trial and Appeal Board effectively and efficiently determine whether an invention—for instance, a drug product—is patentable by providing them with key relevant information. Failure to abide by these duties is not only a disservice to the American public, it is sanctionable.To reinforce the importance of these duties, today we announced information in a federal register notice (FRN) on the “duty of reasonable inquiry” and “duty of disclosure” owed to the USPTO and American public.The FRN also addresses a letter from Senators Leahy and Tillis expressing their belief that improving patent quality will increase competition and drive economic growth. The letter requested that we take steps to ensure that drugmakers disclose relevant statements they have made to other agencies, such as the FDA, when seeking patent protection for their pharmaceutical products at the USPTO. The letter expressed concern that, “[f]or example, inconsistent statements submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to secure approval of a product—asserting that the product is the same as a prior product that is already on the market—can then be directly contradicted by statements made to the PTO to secure a patent on the product.”In addition to today’s FRN, we are considering additional measures to ensure issued patents are robust and reliable. Visit our Drug Pricing Initiatives webpage for more information on our efforts in the pharmaceutical space. As always, we welcome your feedback at drugpricing@uspto.gov and invite you to join us at an upcoming public event. You can also sign up for email updates to get the latest on news from the USPTO and other upcoming events and connect with me through the Engage with the Director webpage.

  • Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and the USPTO’s Council for Inclusive Innovation expand innovation to promote jobs and U.S. prosperity
    by USPTO on July 27, 2022 at 12:38 pm

    Blog by Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTOFrom left: USPTO staff worked with second graders on their science and engineering projects at Cora Kelly School for Math, Science, and Technology in Alexandria, VA on April 26, 2022; Secretary Raimondo and Director Vidal met with Urban Alliance interns at the USPTO on July 11, 2022; Legal Experience and Advancement Program proceedings at the USPTO; inventor Lonnie Johnson at a ceremony at the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) on May 4, 2022. (Photos by the USPTO and courtesy of the National Inventors Hall of Fame)The key to unlocking the potential of every American, creating jobs, and promoting economic prosperity is expanding access to the innovation ecosystem in every corner of our country. We must not only promote and protect more innovation, we must tap into communities traditionally underrepresented in the innovation ecosystem. If we address these disparities, we could quadruple the number of American inventors, and increase the GDP per capita by as much as 4%, or by about $1 trillion. This is a national imperative.That’s why the USPTO’s Council for Inclusive Innovation (CI2), which Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and I Chair and Vice Chair respectively, has been hard at work on new initiatives to bolster participation in innovation, including invention, entrepreneurship and creativity. CI2 council members—which include leaders in industry, academia, government and non-profit organizations—worked with CI2 working group members to develop initiatives to improve our innovation economy and strengthen American competitiveness.In addition to launching our newly rolled out inclusive innovation page, which offers those new to the innovation ecosystem resources and services to encourage and support their participation, we are launching a first set of initiatives to encourage, empower, and support the innovators of tomorrow.These new initiatives include:Innovation internship programAs a child of a career military family who grew up with limited resources, and as one of only three women in my entire electrical engineering class in college in the 1980s, I recognize the importance of providing those without traditional paths into our innovation ecosystem equal and equitable opportunities. To teach our youth the value of innovation and protecting innovation with intellectual property, and to encourage a more inclusive pipeline of talent, the USPTO is establishing paid internships at our agency to provide hands-on job training to community college and university students.If you are or know of an interested student, please see our newly-posted announcement calling for candidates and apply by August 16. I hope to see you around the halls of the USPTO!First-time filer expedited examination petitionThe USPTO receives approximately 40,000 patent applications per year that name at least one inventor who is a first-time filer. For some first-time micro entity filers, speeding up the time to secure a patent could accelerate their ability to bring their ideas to impact – to start companies, secure investment and create jobs.To support their journeys, we are announcing a new fast-track program that will provide expedited examination and early indication of patentability for first-time micro entity filers. The fast-track program will include additional support for filings in the program including training as a prerequisite to participation in the program. Look for our federal register notice (FRN) on this program soon, which we expect will launch in early fall. After the program launches, even those already in the system may be qualified to participate.This program supplements the USPTO’s other expedited examination programs including those supporting COVID, cancer immunotherapy, and green technology. For a full listing of options, visit the initiatives page of the USPTO website.Expansion of free legal servicesBy expanding access to free (or “pro bono”) legal services, we can assist more under-resourced innovators protect their ideas and bring them to market. The USPTO is expanding both its Law School Clinic Certification Program as well as its support of regional patent pro bono programs. The USPTO’s Law School Clinic Certification Program includes over 60 participating law school clinics that provide legal services at no charge to inventors and small business owners. Expanding our program to more law schools and students means increasing opportunities for more innovators to receive important pro bono services to help bring their ideas to reality. It also provides for more opportunities for more students to explore the world of intellectual property and to be able to contribute more meaningfully upon graduation.We are excited to welcome four new law schools this year as participants in the patent and/or trademark law school clinic programs: George Mason University, Case Western University, Wake Forest University, and Brigham Young University. We are grateful for their participation and their willingness to serve our nation’s innovators through their important work.If you’re a law school interested in joining this innovative program, please email LawSchoolInformation@uspto.gov.The USPTO also supports 21 pro bono regions across the country as part of the USPTO’s Patent Pro Bono Program. I have met with a number of participants from those regions as I visited with various communities across our country. We are working with participating regional patent pro bono programs on plans to expand their work, including by infusing more funding into their programs, so they can help even more innovators. We find that when we reach people where they are, we support a wider swath of Americans including more veterans, those having a lower socio-economic status, those outside of technology hubs, and those who have traditionally not had access to the innovation ecosystem.Whereas approximately 13% of named inventors on U.S. patents are women, 41% of Patent Pro Bono Program applicants who responded to a survey in 2021 identified as women. In addition, 30% identified as African American, 14% as Hispanic, 5.6% as Asian American or Pacific Islander and 1.5% as Native American.Community outreach campaignThe USPTO employs more than 9,000 patent examiners and trademark examining attorneys across the country. These are intellectual property (IP) experts whose work propels innovation forward and protects inventions and brands. Our employees have the experience and knowledge to help communities meaningfully pursue invention, entrepreneurship and creativity and to protect their ideas, brands and creations.Later this year, the USPTO will pilot a volunteer program that will leverage the USPTO’s nationwide workforce as a powerful tool for educating local communities on the importance of IP, with the goal of increasing IP literacy and participation in the innovation ecosystem across our nation’s full population. Volunteer employees – or, as I like to think of them, USPTO IP champions – will engage with new audiences on the importance of protecting ideas and brands to help foster new businesses and economic activity. They will supplement the great work done through our East Coast regional coordinator and our four regional offices.These are just a few of the initiatives we are launching as part of our CI2 mission to expand innovation. We look forward to developing and announcing more. I welcome your feedback on these and other ideas, along with potential ways to collaborate to help advance our mission. Please connect with me at our Engage with the Director page on the USPTO website. Further, we invite you to email CI2@uspto.gov if you’d like more information on CI2 or to share additional ideas.As Secretary Raimondo has said, “America’s diversity is a competitive advantage for our economy, but only if we give everyone an opportunity to fulfill their potential and fully participate.” We must encourage Americans who have not traditionally participated in our innovation ecosystem to pursue STEM innovation education and careers, to patent their ideas, trademark their brands, seek investments to grow their enterprises, and engage in emerging new sectors of the economy that need their unique insights and perspectives.I am excited to be on this journey with you.

  • Providing clear guidance on patent subject matter eligibility
    by USPTO on July 25, 2022 at 12:58 pm

    Blog by Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTOIn our recent 2022 report to Congress titled “Patent eligible subject matter: Public views on the current jurisprudence in the United States,”1  I explained that across the spectrum, stakeholders generally agreed that the law on patent eligibility—like other areas of patent law—needs to be clear, predictable, and consistently applied. This clarity and consistency will allow innovators to attract the investment and collaborations that bring more innovation to impact, in turn creating more jobs and solving world problems.Our founders left it to our representatives in Congress to promulgate laws that would incentivize invention and its disclosure. With this in mind, under 35 U.S.C. 101 (Section 101), Congress allows patent protection for “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.”The Supreme Court has interpreted Section 101 as imposing per se limits on eligibility by excluding from protection laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas (judicial exceptions).The Court provided a two-step framework for assessing eligibility. The USPTO must first determine whether the claimed invention is directed to a judicial exception. If so, the claimed invention satisfies Section 101 when there is something else in the claim that transforms it into something patent eligible (e.g., the claim provides an inventive concept that amounts to significantly more than the recited law of nature, natural phenomenon, or abstract idea).The claimed invention must also satisfy the other patentability criteria, including the written description, enablement, and other requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112 and the requirements that the claimed invention not be anticipated under 35 U.S.C. 102 or obvious under 35 U.S.C. 103. Though USPTO examiners work hand-in-hand with applicants to determine whether there is subject matter that can be patented, of office actions containing at least one rejection, approximately 8% of them contain a rejection based on eligibility grounds, compared to, for example, around 80% of them being based on obviousness.The USPTO developed and deployed the Deferred Subject Matter Eligibility Response (DSMER) pilot program at the urging of Senator Thom Tillis and Senator Tom Cotton in a March 2021 letter. The program is designed to evaluate whether examination efficiency and patent quality can be improved by delaying the complete evaluation of subject matter eligibility until other patentability criteria are evaluated as opposed to addressing all requirements for patentability at the same time. The invitation period of the program is set to expire on July 30, 2022. The program itself will continue for approximately one to two years as each of the participating applications reaches final disposition. To date, we have sent approximately 600 invitations, and one-third of those who responded have accepted. We look forward to the data from this pilot program and how it may inform examination practices moving forward.In addition, the USPTO has imparted much-needed certainty into the patent examination process through updates to our guidance, including the 2019 Revised Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance, the October 2019 Patent Eligibility Guidance Update, and the Berkheimer Memo, now integrated into the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP). Our current guidance is in the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure 2106, which explains how patent examiners should evaluate claims for patent eligibility. The guidance has gone a long way toward providing consistent decision-making across our over 9,600 patent professionals, and has also produced a remarkable drop in the corps-wide eligibility rejection rate from about 25% in 2018 to about 8% today.After we published the 2019 guidance, we issued an October 2020 report titled “Public Views on Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property Policy,” which discussed comments received from a diverse group of stakeholders on various issues affecting artificial intelligence, including subject matter eligibility. In April 2020, we released a report on patent examination outcomes titled “Adjusting to Alice.” The report discussed a study by the USPTO’s Office of the Chief Economist that found that the 2019 revisions to our eligibility guidance resulted in a 25% decrease in the likelihood of Alice-affected technologies receiving a first office action with a rejection for patent ineligible subject matter. The report also found that uncertainty about determinations of patent subject matter eligibility for the relevant technologies decreased by a remarkable 44% as compared to the previous year.Despite this progress to achieve a more consistent examination under Section 101, there is more work to be done. Accordingly, we are revisiting our subject matter eligibility guidance.We encourage the public to send any thoughts or comments on the guidance specified in MPEP Section 2106 to 101@uspto.gov by September 15, 2022. The public has also provided, and can continue to provide, input through our stakeholder listening sessions. The more specific the comments, the easier it will be for our team to assess them. Proposed redlines are also welcome.In addition to the work within the USPTO, we are engaged in international efforts as we continue to evaluate our approach to subject matter eligibility. We have had several discussions and roundtables with colleagues from foreign offices, including counterparts from Europe, Japan, Korea, and China, to get a deeper understanding of how other jurisdictions determine patent eligibility. We continued those discussions this month in Geneva when I met with foreign intellectual property leaders on the margins of the Meetings of the Assemblies of the Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization.We are also working with Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the Solicitor General, providing technical assistance and other input on patent eligibility with the goal of creating more certain and predictable rights that foster innovation. We will continue to work with the Solicitor General and her office to identify good vehicles for achieving that objective, while pursuing all other options in parallel.We look forward to continuing our discussions on this critically important topic and finding a path forward that will optimize our intellectual property laws for the benefit of our country.1 Our report was published in response to a March 2021 letter we received from Senator Thom Tillis, Senator Mazie Hirono, Senator Tom Cotton, and Senator Chris Coons asking that the USPTO issue a request for information on the current state of patent eligibility jurisprudence in the United States and provide a detailed summary of the findings.

  • The search for lost X-patents
    by USPTO on July 13, 2022 at 12:22 pm

    Guest blog by Adam Bisno, USPTO HistorianBlodgett’s Hotel, which never did function as a hotel, became the headquarters of the U.S. Patent Office and the General Post Office in 1810. (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress)In December 1836, a catastrophic fire at the United States Patent Office destroyed records of American innovation kept since the earliest days of the Republic. We call patents from this era (1790-1836) “X-patents” not because they’re shrouded in mystery (although they are) but because they predate the numbering system now in use.  The so-called X-patents had been registered according to the name of the inventor and the date of issue. Only after the 1836 fire, as the Patent Office was reconstructing its collection, did examiners begin numbering the early grants retroactively. To distinguish them from contemporary patents, numbered from one (issued in July 1836) to 11 million (issued in May 2021) and counting, the letter X was affixed. Eli Whitney’s patent for the cotton gin, for example, issued in 1794, became 72X, as distinct from U.S. Patent No. 72, issued in October 1836 to Silas Lamson for an improvement in the construction of scythes. We now refer to all patents from before U.S. Patent No. 1 (issued July 13, 1836) as X-patents.   The fire of 1836 destroyed the specifications and scale models for nearly 10,000 X-patents. The only remaining records were kept by the inventors themselves, in the form of "letters patent,” handwritten precursors to today’s typed and digitized patent grants.  Standing amid the ashes, Commissioner of Patents Henry L. Ellsworth faced an impossible situation. With the transition to a rigorous examination system, enacted just five months prior to the fire, the Patent Office now relied on the records of past inventions to determine the patentability of future inventions. To keep functioning—to survive—the Patent Office needed those records, and fast.  The solution became the Patent Office’s first attempt at crowdsourcing its own history. Within a few months, Congress and Commissioner Ellsworth put out a call to patentees for information about their inventions, and based on the mailed-in responses, some 2,800 patents could be reconstructed. But the rest—more than 7,000—were never recovered.  Chronically overtasked, patent examiners of the later 19th century had little time to look for the Patent Office’s missing documents. In the 20th century, the devastating fire of 1836 and the lost records became a dim, distant memory to all but a few patent history enthusiasts. These volunteers—archivists, librarians, historians, patent examiners, and interested members of the public—have found hundreds of X-patents, and the USPTO has been adding the scans to its Patent Full-Text and Image Database (PatFT) for several years. The work continues to this day, with X-patents now available on the USPTO’s Patent Public Search site, too.Surviving X-patents are scattered far and wide. Some are at grand repositories like the National Archives and the Smithsonian Institution. Others are at state and local archives, buried amid the papers of inventors, their businesses, or their families. Some X-patents have even turned up in people’s attics and at public auctions. If you happen upon one that isn’t already in the USPTO’s Patent Public Search, please notify the USPTO Historian (historian@uspto.gov), and we’ll add it to the database.The more X-patents we have digitized, the less vulnerable our history will be to fires like the one in 1836. Equally important, of course, is the accessibility that our databases provide. With an ever-expanding collection of X-patents available online to all visitors to USPTO.gov, we’ll be giving researchers and history buffs all over the world first-hand accounts of what was state of the art in the earliest days of U.S. history and how early Americans first used patents as tools of intellectual property protection.

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