PTAB Reverses Examiners on Unexpected Results

Attorney: Derek Lightner, Ph.D.
June 11, 2024

In Ex parte Freeman (USSN 16/270,259; TC 1600; Appeal 2023-000512, the underlying application being referred to herein as the “Freeman application”), a finding of obviousness and obviousness-type double patenting (ODP) was reversed on May 24, 2024. Freeman’s application was examined by Devang Thakor initially, but the case was taken over by another primary examiner, Nicole Babson, whose position was supported by Supervisor Patent Examiners, David Blanchard and Bethany Barham.<... Read more

PTAB Finds Non-Obviousness for Missing Element

Attorney: Derek Lightner, Ph.D.
February 15, 2024

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) recently reversed the novelty, obviousness, and obviousness-type double patenting (ODP) rejections of the examining corps in a Track One case (USSN 17/342,945; Appeal 2023-004168; TC 1600). Led by Administrative Patent Judge (APJ) Richard Lebovitz, the PTAB panel further including APJs John E. Scheider and Eric B. Grimes reversed the rejections of Examiner Jake M. Vu, whose position was supported by Supervisory Patent Examiner (SPE) Michael G. Hartley, quality control SPE Scarlett Goon, and SPE Frederick F. Krass.<... Read more

USPTO Releases Examiner Guidance for The Amgen Enablement Decision

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
January 10, 2024

The USPTO today published its guidance to the examiners on the impact of the Amgen v. Sanofi,143 S. Ct. 1243 (2023), on USPTO practice. The Guidance is basically steady as she goes but with the caveat that the enablement requirement and the Wands factors (In re Wands, 858 F.2d 731, 737 (Fed. Cir. 1988)) apply across all technologies, noting the Court’s reliance on cases involving the telegraph, incandescent lamp filaments and wood glue.  The Guidance also noted that the post-Amgen Federal Circuit decisions had reaffirmed the continued validity of the Wands factors as consistent with Amgen, citingMedytox, 71 F.4th at 998- 999, Baxalta Inc, v. Genentech, Inc., 81 F.4th 1362 (Fed. Cir. 2023), and In re Starrett, 2023 WL 3881360 (Fed. Cir. 2023) (non-precedential).<... Read more

PTAB Overturns Obviousness Finding for Intended Use-Functional Characteristic Error

Attorney: Derek Lightner, Ph.D.
October 10, 2023

On October 3, 2023, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) reversed an examiner’s finding of obviousness based (i) on mischaracterizing a claim feature as an intended use, the feature instead being considered by the PTAB as a characteristic of the composition of the claimed article, and (ii) extrapolating a trend in the cited art without explicit support for the extrapolation. The appeal (No. 2022-003575, USSN 13/375,167, Technology Center 1700) of Ex parte YOSHIMITSU ODA and MASAAKI ISHIO was centered on an independent claim, reciting:<... Read more

In Re Cellect – ODP Defense Does Not Impact The Expiration Date of A Patent With Both PTA and PTE In The Absence of A Terminal Disclaimer

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
September 15, 2023

The Federal Circuit in In re Cellect, Appeals Nos. 2022-1293, 2022-1294, 2022-1295, 2022-1296 held that the earliest patent to expire in a series of patents subject to obviousness-type double patenting (ODP) controls, i.e., the PTA in the later to expire patents is lost and all patents are invalid for double patenting. In Cellect the relation between the patents is shown below:

<... Read more

No Reasonable Expectation of Success in Modifying Non-Overlapping Range to Overlap

Attorney: Derek Lightner, Ph.D.
August 28, 2023

In the matter of Ex parte HAN LIU, et al., the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) determined on August 17, 2023, that an examiner (Sarah al-Awadi, supported by Supervisory Patent Examiners, David J. Blanchard and Sue X. Liu) failed to establish the prima facie obviousness of claims by failing to establish a clear motivation and a reasonable expectation of success in maintaining the function of a copolymer-Ag system, inter alia, in modifying a particular monomer content to overlap with the claims against the disclosure of the primary references. The independent claims in question recited (emphasis added):<... Read more

USPTO Announces Revised Director Review Process

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
July 26, 2023

On July 24, the USPTO announced a revised Director interim review process. Although the USPTO in July 2022 had requested comments on its director review process and the comment period was closed on October 19, 2022, the USPTO has still not formalized the process or published any proposed rules to implement it.  Instead, it revised its interim review process.<... Read more

No Motivation to Modify Product-Specific Method with Method Features for Different Products

Attorney: Derek Lightner, Ph.D.
July 14, 2023

On July 10, 2023, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) reversed an examiner’s finding of obvious on the basis of a failure to show a motivation to modify the prior art and a lack of a reasonable expectation of success. The appeal (No. 2023-002080, USSN 15/558,153, Technology Center 1700) of Ex parte MARK HETHERINGTON began with the filing of a Notice of Appeal on May 13, 2022, after filing the national stage application on September 13, 2017. The main appealed claim recited:<... Read more

Show Me the Money – USPTO Fee Proposals Include Fee Provisions to Impact Applicant Behavior

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
June 19, 2023

The USPTO has opened the discussion on its fees to be effective in 2025. While the PTO is to be applauded for getting ahead of the fee curve, unfortunately some proposed fees are not only outrageous but beyond the PTO’s fee setting authority. The PTO in its fee setting objectives listed as one objective to “Promote efficient operations and efficient filing behaviors.[Emphasis added]. The PTO’s executive summary quoted in this post is found here along with other supporting documentation. The PTO’s fee setting authority is not unbounded but restricted by several laws. First, the House Report describes the fees in 35 U.S.C. § 41 as the reference point for future adjustments. It provides in part for these fees for over 3 independent claims with a column added for 45% inflation since 2011[1]:<... Read more

USPTO Issues Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for America Invents Act (AIA) Proceedings Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
April 20, 2023

The USPTO today announced Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for PTAB reforms regarding IPRs/PGRs. The proposal related to five areas:<... Read more