Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

USPTO Announces Severe Measures Due to Diversion of Funds.

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on April 22, 2011

Absolutely disgusting that so many promising initiatives at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are in jeopardy, especially at a time in our history where promoting innovation, protecting inventors’ rights, and encouraging the related economic development is so critical.

We don’t think we could have written a better post on this important topic, so please see Gene Quinn’s post at IP Watchdog for more information.

They Invented What? (No. 200)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on April 15, 2011

U.S. Pat. No. 5,195,917:  Tear-apart stress relief doll and method.

What is claimed is:

1. A method for relieving tension, comprising:
          providing a stuffed doll simulating a sports referee with indicia simulating a referee uniform, the doll representing an actual sports referee whose actions can constitute a source of tension-inducing stress, the doll having
a torso portion; and
          leg elements, arm elements, said arm elements mounting a releasable attachment means and terminating in a simulated hand and said leg elements comprising a fabric casing, the fabric extended into an integral flap which mounts a releasable attachment means, a flag attached to one of said hands and a head element with releasable attachments, at least some of the elements being removably attached to the torso portion by said attachment means, said elements selectively torn off the torso portion in response to an action of the actual sports referee, such as in the event of a bad call, and the removably-attached elements subsequently replaced after user tension has been relieved.


U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Prepares for Possible Government Shutdown.

Posted in Practice Commentary by Jake Ward on April 7, 2011

Per this press release today from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

USPTO Prepares for Possible Government Shutdown

In the event of a government shutdown on April 9, 2011, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will remain open and continue to operate as usual for a period of six business days – through Monday, April 18, 2011 — because the USPTO has enough available reserves, not linked to the current fiscal year, to remain in operation until then. Should a shutdown occur and continue longer than the six-day period, we anticipate that limited staff will be able to continue to work to accept new electronic applications and maintain IT infrastructure, among other functions. More information will be posted on this website as it becomes available. Thank you.

They Invented What? (No. 199)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on April 7, 2011

U.S. Pat. No. 4,343,045:  Shoulder garment.

What is claimed is:

1. A garment comprising a main body section adapted to extend over the upper chest and shoulders of the wearer, a fringe area secured along the entire lower edges of said main body section and depending downwardly therefrom, said fringe area comprising a plurality of threads or cords, a pair of strap members detachably secured to the inner surface of said garment, said pair of strap members extending below the arm pits of the wearer thereof and extending to the back portion of the garment and detachably secured thereto, said strap members maintaining the garment in proper position on the upper chest area and the shoulders of the wearer of the garment.


Fast-Track Patent Processing at USPTO to Begin May 4, 2011.

Posted in Practice Commentary by Jake Ward on April 5, 2011

Per this press release yesterday at the USPTO:

USPTO Announces Launch Date for Fast-Track Patent Processing
USPTO to begin accepting requests for prioritized examination of patent applications on May 4, 2011

Washington – The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced today plans for the agency to begin accepting requests for prioritized examination of patent applications – allowing inventors and businesses to have their patents processed within 12 months. It currently takes nearly three years to process the average patent. The program, called Track One, launches May 4, 2011, and is part of a new Three-Track system, which will provide applicants with greater control over when their applications are examined and promote greater efficiency in the patent examination process.

“Track One provides a comprehensive, flexible patent application processing model to our nation’s innovators, offering different processing options that are more responsive to the real-world needs of our applicants,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos. “The Three-Track program will bring the most important new products and services to market more quickly, helping to build businesses and create new jobs in America.”    

Requests for prioritized examination will initially be limited to a maximum of 10,000 applications starting May 4, 2011 through the remainder of fiscal year 2011, ending September 30.  The USPTO will revisit this limit at the end of the fiscal year to evaluate whether adjustments are needed for future years. 

Filing a request for prioritized examination through Track One will include a fee under 37 CFR 1.102(e) of $4,000, in addition to filing fees for the application. For smaller entities, the USPTO is working to offer a 50 percent discount on any filing fee associated with the program, as it does with many other standard processing fees.

Under the Three-Track program, patent applicants may request prioritized examination through Track One, traditional examination under the current procedures through Track Two, and for non-continuing applications first filed with the USPTO, an applicant-controlled delay for up to 30 months prior to docketing for examination under Track Three.  Track Three is expected to be available to applicants by September 30, 2011.

The Federal Register notice announcing the implementation of Track One is now available for review here. For additional background on the Three-Track program which USPTO plans to launch before the end of the fiscal year, see the initial program announcement here.