Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

About the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

Posted in Practice Commentary by Jake Ward on November 8, 2006

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (commonly referred to as “PCT”) is a treaty administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).  This treaty allows an applicant to file a single application that can later be examined in any number of PCT member states

To initiate the PCT machinery, an applicant must first file a PCT application in a national Receiving Office, an example of which is the USPTO.  A single search is performed by the Receiving Office, from which an international search report (ISR) along with a written patentability opinion is generated.  Optionally, an international preliminary report on patentability (IPRP) is available upon demand.  The ISR and written patentability opinion effectively narrow the issues for the national offices, pointing out potential novelty destroying (“X”), obviousness indicating (“Y”), and technical background (“A”) references. Notably, many companies opt to file with the European Patent Office (EPO) in order to obtain an opinion from that office.

An international application is published 18 months after the filing or priority date.  Generally, the ISR is published along with the international application.  The PCT application must also enter national phase within 30 months of the PCT filing or priority date.  This 30-month period is a notable advantage to PCT filing.

It should be appreciated that the PCT does not automatically result in a patent being issued, and that an applicant must take measures to nationalize in each country desired prior to having the application examined and a patent issued.  For national phase filing in the U.S., for example, an applicant must file the national fee; a copy of the international application and an English translation of the international application, if it was filed in another language; preliminary amendments, if required, to the specification, drawings and claims, placing them in compliance with U.S. regulations (e.g., amending the claims to U.S. format if the PCT claims were in the so-called “Swiss-form”); an oath or declaration of the inventor complying with U.S. regulations; and a translation into the English language of any annexes to the IPRP, if conducted.

For more information on the PCT and going National Phase, I recommend checking out this WIPO site and  MPEP 1800 (Patent Cooperation Treaty).

They Invented What? (No. 23)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on November 8, 2006

U.S. Pat. No. 5,578,617:  Method and apparatus for making a drink hop along a bar or counter.barhop

What is claimed is:

          1. A system for conveying liquid in the interior of a building comprising a horizontal surface of a bar top, which horizontal surface is supported above ground level by at least one vertical leg and is adapted to be surrounded by seating and used as an eating and drinking surface to place food and drinks thereon; said surface having a receiving area;
          a conduit containing a liquid to be transported to said area;
          means for providing fluid pressure for moving the fluid in said conduit to a valving means;
          said valving means effective to cause a fluid stream to flow from said conduit though an opening in said surface in an arcuate stream into said area; and
          means for controlling said valving means.

Midterm Election 2006

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on November 8, 2006

JW Note:  In honor of this midterm election going, apparently, without much of a hitch.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,942,142:  Voting ballot, voting machine, and associated methods.


We claim:

1. A voting system, comprising: a processor circuit having a processor and a memory; a scanner coupled to the processor circuit, the scanner being capable of scanning a ballot to generate a digital ballot therefrom, the digital ballot comprising an electronic image of the ballot and including at least one voter selection; vote interpretation logic stored in the memory and executable by the processor, the vote interpretation logic comprising: logic that obtains a ballot specification embodied in a two dimensional bar code included in the digital ballot, the ballot specification being associated with the digital ballot; and logic that ascertains a vote expressed in the digital ballot based upon the ballot specification and the at least one voter selection indicated in the digital ballot.