Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

They Invented What? (No. 238)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on April 12, 2014

U.S. Patent No. 6,860,237: Bird perch.

birdperch

I claim:

1. A bird perch worn on a person’s upper arm comprising:
a generally curved relatively rigid band;
means for releasably securing said band to the person’s upper arm; and
a perch extending generally horizontally outwardly from said band.

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Hyatt v. USPTO – Procedural Limbo in the Patent Process?

Posted in Litigation Commentary by Jake Ward on March 2, 2014

Gil Hyatt

(Photograph Courtesy of Gilbert P. Hyatt)

Gilbert P. Hyatt v. USPTO (D. Nevada 2014)

We recently had an opportunity to speak with Mr. Gil Hyatt.  Gil is a well-known and prolific inventor in early computer technology, being named on more than 70 issued patents.  Over the years, he has also been a successful litigant in many patent-related matters.  As recently as 2012, Gil prevailed in a case at the U.S. Supreme Court against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

On January 3, 2014, Gil filed a complaint against the USPTO relating to two appealed patent applications.  The appealed patent applications have been pending at the USPTO since the early 1970s, i.e., over 40 years.  Gil alleges that the delay of the USPTO in these appealed patent applications is unreasonable under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 701(1).

As a patent practitioner, the facts of this case are quite shocking.  According to USPTO statistics, the typical amount of patent pendency is 28.3 months.  This means that, if an inventor were to file a patent application today, the inventor would normally expect to receive a patent in about 2-1/2 years.  Gil’s patent applications have been pending for 16x longer than is normal.

According to Gil’s complaint, the USPTO has engaged in “a deliberate strategy to deny him adjudication of his pending patent applications.”  In both cases, the USPTO has apparently furnished no written answer to the filed appeal briefs, and no decision has been made by the Appeal Board.  Many formal petitions for action on the merits and requests for status updates have purportedly been filed by Gil, also to no avail.  A number of interviews with USPTO officials have also taken place, allegedly without resulting in any action.

These conversations with USPTO officials have also caused Gil to believe that the USPTO is intentionally refusing to grant any more patents to him.  Indeed, no patent has issued to Gil since 1997.  According to the complaint at paragraph 46:

During an in-person conference with the Director of the Technology Center responsible for examination of Mr. Hyatt’s patent applications – which is documented in the record of two of Mr. Hyatt’s patent applications – Mr. Hyatt pointed out “the scenario of applications going round and round from the examining groups to the Board and then back to the examining groups and then back to the Board.” The Director confirmed that this was the policy that the PTO was pursuing toward him.

The Hyatt patent applications apparently exist in a state of procedural limbo at the USPTO.  There is no doubt that this situation is quite unusual.  However, since his patent applications are not published, the “file wrappers” or official records of actions taken by both Gil and the USPTO remain secret at this time.  There is also no way of knowing the importance of the inventions being claimed, or the general impact that the patents would have if they were to issue.  We will be following this case closely, and are most interested in reading the USPTO’s answer to the complaint when filed.

For other articles on Mr. Gilbert P. Hyatt, and his actions in court and at the USPTO, see the following links:

http://articles.latimes.com/keyword/gilbert-hyatt

http://www.marketsandpatents.com/articles/wp_value.html

http://patentlyo.com/patent/2014/01/hyatt-v-uspto-three-generations-of-poor-examination-are-enough.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-24/inventor-waits-43-years-for-another-chance-to-shock-tech.html

2014 Winter Olympics – Team USA Trademark.

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on February 7, 2014

Image

 

JW Note:  Hat tip to the USPTO Facebook page for bringing this registered trademark to our attention.

This Day In History – Roller Coaster Patented on January 20, 1885.

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on January 20, 2014

U.S. Patent No. 310,966: Roller coasting structure.

JW Note:  Although there is some debate (at least on Wikipedia) as to whether LaMarcus Adna Thompson truly invented the roller coaster, there is no doubt that he was a prolific inventor who contributed greatly to his field.  

Image

 

USPTO Fee Changes – Effective January 1, 2014.

Posted in Practice Commentary by Jake Ward on January 8, 2014

Pursuant to the Fee Setting Authority granted to the USPTO by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, certain fee changes were implemented on January 1, 2014.

Patent Post-Allowance Fees

  • 1501/2501/3501: Utility issue fee – fee decrease from $1,780/$890/$445 to $960/$480/$240.
  • 1511/2511/3511: Reissue issue fee – fee decrease from $1,780/$890/$445 to $960/$480/$240.
  • 1502/2502/3502: Design issue fee – fee decrease from $1,020/$510/$255 to $560/$280/$140.
  • 1503/2503/3503: Plant issue fee – fee decrease from $1,400/$700/$350 to $760/$380/$190.
  • 1504: Publication fee for early, voluntary, or normal publication – fee decrease from $300 to $0.

PCT Fees – International Stage

  • 2601/3601: Transmittal fee – new small/micro entity fee of $120/$60.
  • 2602/3602: Search fee – regardless of whether there is a corresponding application (see 35 U.S.C. 361(d) and PCT Rule 16) – new small/micro entity fee of $1,040/$520.
  • 2604/3604: Supplemental search fee when required, per additional invention – new small/micro entity fee of $1,040/$520.
  • 2621/3621: Transmitting application to Intl. Bureau to act as receiving office – new small/micro entity fee of $120/$60.
  • 2605/3605: Preliminary examination fee – U.S. was the ISA – new small/micro entity fee of $300/$150.
  • 1606: Preliminary examination fee – U.S. was not the ISA – fee increase from $750 to $760.
  • 2606/3606: Preliminary examination fee – U.S. was not the ISA – new small/micro entity fee of $380/$190.
  • 2607/3607: Supplemental examination fee per additional invention – new small/micro entity fee of $300/$150.
  • 2619/3619: Late payment fee – new small/micro entity fee of variable.

Patent Service Fees

  • 8021: Recording each patent assignment, agreement or other paper, per property – if submitted electronically – fee decrease from $40 to $0.(If not submitted electronically, the fee amount remains $40.)

According to this Federal Register Notice, these fee reductions were made to help rebalance the fee structure and offset the increases in filing, search and examination fees that were implemented in 2013.  Interestingly, the USPTO acknowledged that they intentionally delayed the implementation of these fee reductions in order “to allow the Office to recover sufficient revenue to pay for the projected cost of patent operations” in 2013.

The updated fee schedule may be viewed here: http://www.uspto.gov/curr_fees.

They Invented What? (No. 237)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on December 13, 2013

U.S. Patent No.8,147,323: Gaming machine with visual and audio indicia changed over time.

JW Note: Wishing a Happy Holidays to all!  See you in 2014!

For more holiday TIW? from years past, click here.  

gamingsanta

What is claimed is:

1. A gaming system, comprising: a gaming terminal having a display for displaying (i) a basic game having a plurality of symbols that indicate a randomly selected outcome selected from a plurality of outcomes, (ii) one of a first group of bonus games in response to a special event occurring during the basic game within a first time period, (iii) one of a second group of bonus games in response to the special event occurring during the basic game within a second time period, the second time period occurring after the first time period, and (iv) one of the first group of bonus games in response to the special event occurring during the basic game within a third time period, the third time period occurring after the second time period; and a controller coupled to the gaming terminal and operative to (i) associate the first group of bonus games with the basic game during the first time period, (ii) associate the second group of bonus games with the basic game during the second time period such that, during the second time period, the second group of bonus games can be played but the first group of bonus games cannot be played, and (iii) associate the first group of bonus games with the basic game during the third time period such that, during the third time period, the first group of bonus games can be played but the second group of bonus games cannot be played.

(more…)

They Invented What? (No. 236)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on November 18, 2013

U.S. Patent No.1,466,559: Exercising device.

tugofwar

I claim:

1. A device for exercising the teeth comprising a plate adapted to correspond with the articulation of the user, and means connected with the plate for exerting traction on said plate whereby the teeth are positively exercised, as and for the purpose set forth.

2. A device for exercising the teeth comprising a plate of suitable material, means for reinforcing said plate, said reinforcing means projecting from said plate in the form of an eye, and traction-producing means secured to said eye.

3. A device for exercising the teeth comprising a plate formed to conform to the articulation of the user, and traction-producing means adapted to be attached to said 10 plate, said traction-producing means comprising a pliable elastic member.

4:. As a new article of manufacture, a de– wearer vice for exercising the teeth, comprising a plate shaped to conform to the contour of the mouth and having on each side comparatively deep depressions to receive the teeth, said depressions corresponding in number to the teeth of the user so that each tooth will be seated in a depression, the plate being rovided with a member projecting from gs front portion whereby when traction is exerted upon said member, each individual tooth will be exercised.

They Invented What? (No. 235)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on October 30, 2013

U.S. Design Patent No. D72,334:  Design for a paper weight.

JW Note:  Yet another hat tip to the Creepy IP Series at the United States Patent and Trademark Office for bringing this one to our attention.

devilpaperweight

I claim:  The ornamental design for a paper weight, as shown.

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