Monday, September 15, 2014

Provisional Patents

When inventors visit our Saint Louis Public Library Patent and Trademark Resource Center, one of the first things they ask me is, "Do I need a provisional patent?" Of course, as a librarian, I kindly advise them that I am not an attorney and can not provide them any legal advice. However, I can provide them a paper brochure and web site link that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has created to help inventors solve that question.

Since June 8, 1995, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has offered inventors the option of filing a provisional application for a patent which was designed to provide a lower-cost first patent filing in the United States and to give U.S. applicants parity with foreign application under the GATT Uruguay Round Agreements.

According to the USPTO, "a provisional patent application for a patent is a U.S. national application for patent filed in the USPTO under 35 U.S.C. 111(b). It allows filing without a formal patent claim,
oath, or declaration, or any information disclosure (prior art) statement.  It provides the means to establish an early effective filing date in a later filed non-provisional patent application files under 35 U.S.C. 111(a). It also allows the term "Patent Pending" to be applied in connection with the description of the invention."

So, do still come in to visit the PTRC to talk with the Patent and Trademark Resource Center librarian. However, just do not expect to walk out with their decision of what you should be doing - filing a patent or a provisional patent. That will always be your decision.




Wednesday, September 10, 2014

South Florida Federal Courts Ends Pilot Patent Program

Daily Business Review, September 8, 2014

As the Southern District of Florida became a mecca for patent cases, judges decided to opt out of a 10-year pilot program assigning the bulk of newly filed cases to a handful of judges.
John Pacenti, Daily Business Review
The patent troll has struck again.
As the Southern District of Florida became a mecca for patent cases, judges decided to opt out of a 10-year pilot program assigning the bulk of newly filed cases to a handful of judges.
Three years into the program, the district decided to pull the plug, partly because the complex cases are led by claims from parties that don't make real products. They just purchase patents for the sake of litigation.
In one of his final acts as chief judge, U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno in June issued an administrative order terminating the pilot program for patent case assignments.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

United States Patent and Trademark Office - New Kids Web Site


Commerce Blog - September 08, 2014
Did you know that only one U.S. president earned a patent? Do you know which one? Have you ever wondered where the famous expression “The Real McCoy” comes from? The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) launched a newly redesigned section of its website for kids, but not kids alone! Parents, teachers, and teens will find lots of resources as well as hands-on activities for anyone from preschool to high school. The website encourages students of all ages to engage making, inventing, and discovering the importance of intellectual property. The site also exposes future inventors and entrepreneurs to the inventive thinking process. Come see something new and exciting!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hear ye! Hear ye!

Grand Opening of Central Library's cafe!

 You're invited................. at 

Saint Louis Public Library, 1301 Olive Street, Saint Louis, MO 63103.



 


Free parking at Olive and 15th Streets.
 
Saint Louis University School of Law (SLULAW) is joining the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)'s Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program



Our neighbor to our Saint Louis Public Library Central Library's Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) is in the news:

Press Release, 14-22

USPTO Adds Additional Schools To Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program

Newly selected law schools to join the patent and trademark programs in fall 2014
Washington – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced the selection of 19 law schools that will join the USPTO’s Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program this fall. Five law schools will join both the Patent and Trademark portions of the Program, four law schools will join the Patent portion of the Program, and ten law schools will join the Trademark portion of the Program.  These law schools join the 28 law schools currently participating in the Program.

The selection committees chose these schools based on their solid IP curricula, pro bono services to the public, and community networking and outreach.  The Program enables law students to practice patent and/or trademark law before the USPTO under the guidance of an approved faculty clinic supervisor.

“Expanding the USPTO’s Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program will provide more students – future intellectual property lawyers – with the real-world experience and tools crucial to tackle the complexities of today’s IP law landscape,” said Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee. “The addition of law schools and students in the program will also increase pro bono representation to American businesses and entrepreneurs, thereby helping ensure they have the resources to grow, create jobs and compete globally."

The law schools selected to participate in the Patent Program are: Brooklyn Law School; Indiana University School of Law; Lincoln Law School; New York Law School; South Texas College of Law; Southern Methodist University School of Law; Texas A&M University School of Law; University of California, Los Angeles School of Law; and University of Detroit School of Law.

The law schools selected to participate in the Trademark Program are: Indiana University School of Law; Lewis and Clark College School of Law; Lincoln Law School; Loyola University Chicago School of Law; Northwestern University School of Law; Roger Williams University School of Law; Saint Louis University School of Law; Southern Methodist University School of Law; Texas A&M University School of Law; The John Marshall Law School; University of California, Los Angeles School of Law; University of Idaho School of Law; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law; University of Tennessee School of Law; and Western New England University School of Law.

The participating law school clinical programs provide patent and trademark legal services to independent inventors and small businesses on a pro bono basis. Clinic clients can expect to receive searches and opinions, advice from clinic law students regarding their intellectual property (IP) needs under the supervision of a faculty practitioner, drafting and filing of applications, and representation before the USPTO. The law school clinical programs possess solid Intellectual Property curricula supporting a participating student’s hands-on learning in the Program; a commitment to networking in the community; comprehensive pro bono services; and excellent case management systems. Students in the patent and/or trademark portions of the Program can expect to draft and file applications and respond to Office Actions. Each law school clinic must meet and maintain the requirements for USPTO certification in order for student practitioners to practice before the USPTO.

For more information, contact Will Covey, Deputy General Counsel for Enrollment and Discipline and Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline, at (571) 272‐8898 or Will.Covey@uspto.gov.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Plant Patents and Exactly What Are They?

Today it is July, 2014, and as a Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) librarian, I can share with you the information that many United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and PTRC librarians already know, the only paper patents that we receive at our PTRC's are plant patents. According to the USPTO, due to the nature of color photography, plant patents will probably always remain. Design and utility patents are no longer printed and sent to us in a paper format. Instead, everyone can access them via the www.uspto.gov web site, or using PubEast or PubWest. All which are accessible at the Saint Louis Public Library PTRC, seven days a week.

"What is a plant patent?" you may ask. Well,  defined by the USPTO, a plant patent is "granted by the Government to an inventor (or the inventor's heirs or assigns) who has invented or discovered and asexually reproduced a distinct and  new variety of plant, other than an edible tuber propagated plant or a plant found in a uncultivated state."

"How long does a plant patent last?" you may wonder. According to the USPTO, "the grant lasts for 20 years from the date of filing the application (or if the application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121 or 365(c) to an earlier-filed application, 20 years from the earliest filing date for which a benefit is claimed under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121 or 365 (c))."

Next, you may ask, "What does a plant patent do?"Again, as defined by the USPTO, a plant patent  "... protects the inventor's right to exclude others from asexually reproducing, selling, or using the plant so reproduced or any of its parts throughout the United States, or from importing the plant so reproduced, or any parts thereof.  This protection is limited to a plant in its ordinary meaning:
  •  A living plant organism which expresses a set of characteristics determined by its single, genetic makeup or genotype, which can be duplicated through asexual reproduction, but which can not otherwise be "made" or "manufactured."
  • Sports, mutants, hydrids, and transformed plants are comprehended;  sport of mutants may be spontaneous or induced. Hybrids may be natural, from a planned breeding program,or somatic in source.  While natural, from a planned breeding program, or somatic in source. While natural plant mutants might have naturally occurred, they must have been discovered in a cultivated area.
  • Algae and macro fungi are regarded as plants, but bacteria are not."
Please visit our SLPL PTRC if you are interested to actually see a plant patent. We store all plant patents from the USPTO in our off-site Compton location. Weekly I received brown envelopes from the USPTO filled with newly approved plant patents. After I receive two inches of unbound plant patents, I prepare them into a format that I then send to get bound. It usually takes several weeks before they are returned from the bindery. If there is a specific plant that you are interested to see their plant patent, if there is one, please give me a call at (314) 539-0390, and ask for the Patent and Trademark Librarian and I will try to help you locate one.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Let's Learn About the New Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC)

What is CPC?

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) was initiated as a joint partnership between the USPTO and the European Patent Office (EPO) where the Offices have agreed to harmonize their existing classification systems (ECLA and USPC, respectively) and migrate towards a common classification scheme.  This was a strategic decision by both offices and is seen as an important step towards advancing harmonization efforts currently being undertaken through the IP5's Working Group 1 on Classification. 

Beginning on January 1, 2015, the CPC will be used to classify patents that are approved by the USPTO. Actually,  the conversion to CPC by the USPTO has already been occurring. By January 1, 2015, the conversion by the USPTO will provide an up-to-date classification system that is internationally compatible.   This is really neat, as you can then be able to search in Europe and the United States using the same classification numbering system. This partnership has developed a common, internationally compatible classification system for technical documents, in particular patent publications, which will be used by both offices in the patent granting process.

CPC and IPC present the same hierachical structure, from sections to groups.  All information available in IPC is also available in CPC and classified practically in the same way.  CPC does not have many more subdivisions than the IPC, that is, many more subgroups.  An IPC group is not used in the CPC.

The CPC is constantly revised in collaboration between USPTO and EPO experts.  The revision process is flexible enough as to ensure the structure is up-to-date.  The CPC is an international, fexible, and highly specific classification scheme, which takes the patent world one step further towards global harmonization.