Temporary Patent Office Guidelines on Patentable Subject Matter

Posted Thursday, September 03, 2009 by Jim Ruttler.

The Patent Office has released interim guidelines for determining whether a process defines patentable subject matter. A flow chart outlining the guidelines is provided by the Patently-O blog: http://www.patentlyo.com/files/flowchartmort-8-24-09.pdf. Unfortunately, these guidelines are almost certain to change in the coming months when the Supreme Court issues its decision on the standard for determining patentable subject matter in the Bilski case. For the time being, however, these guidelines can help in preparing an application for examination. But, one should also include in the application subject matter that may not currently be patentable in the hopes that that subject matter becomes patentable by the time examination of the application occurs.

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Trademark Requests for Reconsideration and Appeals

Posted Monday, August 24, 2009 by Katie Long.

Upon receipt of a final refusal, a trademark applicant may file a Request for Reconsideration with the examining attorney, or an Appeal with the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (TTAB). An office action is considered final when the examining attorney has issued the same refusal twice on the same application. All evidence argued during an Appeal must be part of the record, ie: submitted during responses to Office Actions and Requests for Reconsideration. Both a Request for Reconsideration and an Appeal must be filed within six months of the date of the final refusal. An applicant should consider filing both a Request for Reconsideration as well a Notice of Appeal during the allotted time period. The filing fee for the notice of Appeal is $100, and the Appeal proceeding is suspended pending the outcome of the Request for Reconsideration. If the examining attorney rules in the applicant’s favor on the Request for Reconsideration, the application will advance to the next phase of the application process. If the applicant’s Request for Reconsideration fails, the applicant has secured its position in the Appeals process.

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Business Legal Issues

Posted Friday, August 21, 2009 by Jim Ruttler.

Entrepreneurs naturally gravitate towards patent and trademark legal issues to protect newly developed brands and ideas. However, equally important, are business legal issues, such as legal entity formation, partnership and operating agreements, licensing, and other similar issues. There are many options for business law attorneys. One in particular is Michelle Bomberger in Bellevue, Washington. Michelle is personable and knowledgeable and she has actual business experience prior to becoming a lawyer.

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Prior Art from Related Application

Posted Thursday, August 13, 2009 by Jim Ruttler.

When prosecuting two or more applications with the Patent Office, such as divisionals, continuations, or continuation-in-part applications, there will invariably be different art cited during examination of each of the applications, especially when there is a different examiner handling each of the applications. While one would assume that each of the examiners were aware of the other art cited in related applications, this is unfortunately not always the case. Accordingly, it is required that art cited in one case be submitted for consideration in all other related cases through individual information disclosure statements.

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Delicious Little Candies

Posted Thursday, August 06, 2009 by Katie Long.

NPR recently aired an interesting copyright infringement story about PEZ Candy Inc. Pez is seeking to have its copyrights enforced against the owner/operators of a PEZ candy dispenser museum. The small museum located in California houses over 800 pieces of PEZ memorabilia. According to the story, it is not the museum itself that PEZ Candy Inc. objects to, but rather the sale of non official PEZ gear that is so offensive. PEZ is protecting its rights by seeking an injunction against the museum. The museum owners feel unfairly attacked since they see themselves and free advertisement for the candy company. The museum charges admission and sells items such as shirts, gift packs, books, and pens. To allow the museum to sell unofficial merchandise will severely dilute the value of Pez’s intellectual property. On the other hand, to go after the small business owner makes Pez look like a big bad corporation. Pez Candy Inc. is placed in an interesting position in situations like this. Check out the NPR article here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106859982 .

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