After Final Consideration Pilot 2.0 (AFCP 2.0)

The USPTO announced the updated After Final Consideration Pilot 2.0 which expands the abilities of patent applicants to work with USPTO Examiners after a Final Office Action has been received.  To participate in the After Final Consideration Pilot 2.0, after receiving a Final Office Action, patent applicants simply need to file a response that includes: 

  1. Transmittal Form.  A transmittal form, such as form PTO/SB/434, that identifies the submission as an AFCP 2.0 submission and requests consideration under AFCP 2.0;
  2. Non-Broadening Amendment to Independent Claim.  A response that includes an amendment to at least one independent claim that does not broaden the scope of the independent claim in any aspect;  and
  3. Availability Statement.  A statement that the applicant is willing and available to participate in any interview initiated by the examiner concerning the accompanying response.

You can request the AFCP 2.0 with any response to a final rejection filed after May 18, 2013 and up to September 30, 2013.  Hopefully the USPTO will implement a permanent version of this program after the AFCP 2.0 which has been successful in helping expedited prosecution of patent applications.

Government Information About the AFCP 2.0

Virtual Patent Markings

Under the AIA, patent owners may now “virtually mark” their products with a patent notice by affixing to the patented article the word “Patent” (or abbreviated to “Pat.”) followed by the URL address of the web page that will have the patent(s) associated with the product.  We have more information about Virtual Patent Markings on our patent law firm website including examples of how to mark your products and example virtual marking web pages.

America Invents Act – AIA

On September 16, 2011, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) became law and significantly changed the U.S. patent system.  The AIA not only changes the patentability standards for patent applicants, but it also changes the role of the public in the patenting process which previously was very limited.  Neustel Law Offices has posted more information about the America Invents Act – AIA.

USPTO – Warning About Third-Party Solicitations

October 23, 2012 Leave a comment

The USPTO has an excellent page that informs the public about non-USPTO solicitations that may resemble official USPTO communications.  You can view the USPTO’s warning page at http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/solicitation_warnings.jsp.

Below is the text from the USPTO website as of October 23, 2012:

*********************** FROM USPTO WEB PAGE **************************

WARNING: Non-USPTO Solicitations That May Resemble Official USPTO Communications

Be aware that private companies not associated with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) often use trademark application and registration information from the USPTO’s databases to mail or e-mail trademark-related solicitations.  Trademark applicants and registrants continue to submit a significant number of inquiries and complaints to the USPTO about such solicitations, which may include offers: (1) for legal services; (2) for trademark monitoring services; (3) to record trademarks with U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and (4) to “register” trademarks in the company’s own private registry. 

These companies may use names that resemble the USPTO name, including, for example, the terms “United States” or “U.S.”  Increasingly, some of the more unscrupulous companies attempt to make their solicitations mimic the look of official government documents rather than the look of a typical commercial or legal solicitation by emphasizing official government data like the USPTO application serial number, the registration number, the International Class(es), filing dates, and other information that is publicly available from USPTO records.  Many refer to other government agencies and sections of the U.S. Code.  Most require “fees” to be paid.  

Some applicants and registrants have reported paying fees to these private companies, mistakenly thinking that they were paying required fees to the USPTO.  So, be sure to read trademark-related communications carefully before making a decision about whether to respond.  All official correspondence will be from the “United States Patent and Trademark Office” in Alexandria, VA, and if by e-mail, specifically from the domain “@uspto.gov.”

If you receive a trademark-related solicitation that you believe is deceptive, you may file an on-line consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), at www.FTC.gov.  Although the FTC does not resolve individual consumer complaints, it may institute, as the nation’s consumer protection agency, investigations and prosecutions based on widespread complaints about particular companies or business practices.  

If you have received a communication that you believe is misleading, the USPTO encourages you to e-mail us at TMFeedback@uspto.gov.  When notifying us, please also:

  1. Include a copy of the communication (including the envelope it came in) if available;
  2. Indicate whether the recipient thought the communication was an official U.S. government communication or had to ask an attorney or the USPTO whether it was legitimate;
  3. Indicate whether fees were mistakenly paid in response to the communication and, if so, provide a copy of the cancelled check.  Please also specify what services, if any, were provided in exchange for the payment made.

The following are examples of just some of the non-USPTO solicitations about which we have received complaints within the past several months.  None of these are official U.S. government or international governmental notices.  Please click on the name below if you wish to see an image of that entity’s solicitation.

United States Trademark Registration Office

Patent & Trademark Agency

Trademark Registration and Monitoring Office

United States Trademark Maintenance Service

U.S. Trademark Compliance Service

WDTP

WIPT

TM Collection

TM Edition

Patent Trademark Register

Register of International Patents and Trademarks

Trademark Renewal Service

Trademark Safeguard – Trademark Monitoring Service

New Patent Fees – Effective October 5, 2012

September 26, 2012 Leave a comment

The USPTO has announced the new patent and trademark fee schedule effective October 5, 2012.  Below is a listing of common USPTO patent fees currently being paid and the fees effective October 5, 2012.

Fee Type

Current Fee

New Fee

Provisional Filing Fee

$125

$125

Utility Filing Fee

$95

$98

Utility Search Fee

$310

$310

Utility Exam Fee

$125

$125

1 Month Extension

$75

$75

2 Month Extension

$280

$285

3 Month Extension

$635

$645

RCE

$465

$465

Terminal Disclaimer

$80

$80

Issue Fee

$870

$885

1st Maintenance Fee

$565

$575

2nd Maintenance Fee

$1,425

$1,450

3rd Maintenance Fee

$2,365

$2,405

7 Provisions of America Invents Act (AIA) Implemented Today

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Seven provisions of the AIA and USPTO implementing final rules for these provisions went into effect on September 16, 2012:

  • Inventor’s oath or declaration;
  • Preissuance submissions;
  • Supplemental examination;
  • Citation of patent owner claim scope statements;
  • Post grant review;
  • Inter partes review; and
  • Covered business method review

Third-Parties Can Now Submit Prior Art Documents to USPTO

September 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Effective September 16, 2012 under the AIA, third-parties can now submit prior art documents for a pending patent application at the USPTO.  35 U.S.C. 122(e) specifies the following for third-party prior art submissions:

(e) PREISSUANCE SUBMISSIONS BY THIRD PARTIES.–

(1) IN GENERAL.–Any third party may submit for consideration and inclusion in the record of a patent application, any patent, published patent application, or other printed publication of potential relevance to the examination of the application, if such submission is made in writing before the earlier of–

     (A) the date a notice of allowance under section 151 is given or mailed in the application for patent; or

     (B) THE LATER OF.–

          (i) 6 months after the date on which the application for patent is first published under section 122 by the Office, or

          (ii) the date of the first rejection under section 132 of any claim by the examiner during the examination of the application for patent.

(2) OTHER REQUIREMENTS.–Any submission under paragraph (1) shall–

     (A) set forth a concise description of the asserted relevance of each submitted document;

     (B) be accompanied by such fee as the Director may prescribe; and

     (C) include a statement by the person making such submission affirming that the submission was made in compliance with this section.

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