Thursday, August 13, 2015

Elegant Patent Sentence

"The foregoing aspects and others will be readily appreciated by the skilled artisan from the following description of illustrative embodiments when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings."

The most elegant sentence I've seen in a patent application in a while.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Sad Situation on Edge

This morning my email contained a communique from USPTO on their latest technology issue. It seems that EFS-Web won't work with Windows 10 and its new Edge browser.

Because their authentication requires Java, their friendly vendor, Oracle, recommends using a different browser - Firefox (ok) or IE (noooooo).  No Chrome, no Opera. Definitely not Tor. The good part of this is that lawyers tend to not be very early adopters of new operating systems and a lot of folks are Apple fan girls and fan boys. So for a lot of folks this won't be an issue until it's time for the corporate IT people to do a desk drop of a new laptop.  But still. IP intense firms and more important small, young innovative companies are supposed to hold off in upgrading their tech because USPTO can't keep their tech fresh. 

USPTO needs to keep its tech up to date and at the same version as their stakeholders (queue the guy on the hunt for a vampire.). Enough with the patent listening tours. Spend the money in tech.

Here's what The Office had to say,

Windows 10/Microsoft Edge: Compatibility Issue for EFS-Web and Private PAIR Authentication

For users who are updating their operating systems to Windows 10, please be aware that Windows 10 comes installed with a new web browser, Microsoft Edge, that does not support plug-ins and will not run Java. Because Java is required for authentication to EFS-Web and Private PAIR, this impacts your ability to access EFS-Web and Private PAIR via Microsoft Edge.
To access EFS-Web and Private PAIR using Windows 10, Oracle is recommending the use of alternative browsers such as Firefox and Internet Explorer. IE11 will also be available on Windows10. For additional information regarding Java compatibility and instructions on how to access IE11 on Windows 10, please visit:
The USPTO is working on a longer term plan to improve the overall authentication process. For USPTO updates regarding this issue please visit either of our Announcements pages:
• EFS – Web Announcements:
• PAIR Announcements:
If you need assistance with this matter, or have questions on any eFiling topic, please visit the Patent Electronic Business Center webpage: for comprehensive contact information, FAQ’s, and other eFiling resources.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Finding Stuff Now

On June 2, 2014 USPTO concluded its transition to the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system.  Even though we knew it was coming, things have been a little more complex as we are transitioning all of our year-to-date So Far analytics to map to the new system.  We're getting there and should be publishing our digests soon.

One of the things we've assembled over the last year or so has been our own cheat sheet on how the new classification system works and how to figure out all the new patent-speak that goes with the new classification system.  (We now appropriate classification symbols instead of classifying stuff.)

There are lots and lots of pages of information on how the system works on both the USPTO and EPO websites.  The primer is designed as a quick start before you take the deep dive of trying to find things on your own or get a deeper understanding of how this new system works.  Let us know what you think at -- and let us know how you are doing finding patents using this new system.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Small and Micro Entity Voodoo

We All Love Discounts Don't We?

Especially if you are a funds strapped inventor, university, professor, or small business.

We have long felt that one of the best ways to figure out what's going on with patents held by independent inventors; small businesses, under 500 employees - small but not really small; and non-profit organizations, universities, research institutes, organizations focused on research for particular diseases; is to watch their status information and assignee data.

  • Has the assignment information on the patent changed?
  • Is there security lien on the patent?  This usually means someone thinks the business is worth making an investment in and is looking at the patent as collateral.
  • Has their entity status changed from Small or Micro Entity status to Large Entity status?
We make the argument that patentistas - patent attorneys, agents, patent licensing people, are serious enough about their patent assets and those of the clients they support to be careful about how they claim their status. USPTO frowns on not being truthful in your dealings with The Office.  Falsely claiming small entity status and not paying the right fees could render your patent invalid.  So, as a rule, people follow the requirements in their Oath paperwork.  Besides, if you have a hot property that someone wants to license, you aren't going to deliberately establish the wrong entity status to save $1,000 and mess up the revenue gravy train.  But there are those out there who disagree with us, mostly because they don't understand the process.


We wrote up how the process works, inserted a little USPTO MPEP head exploding patent mumbo jumbo, and created a timeline so that you can understand how the whole thing works.   We added a bunch of links to the bills, and other statutory stuff so everything is in one place.  And for you fans of public science and Bayh-Dole, the whole maintenance fee regime started with Bayh-Dole and went on from there. Links included.

Here for your reading pleasure is a link to our Maintenance Fee and Small Entity Background paper or if you prefer a fully annotated, footnote rich version, the Small Entity Paper is in PDF form.

If anyone has any research or thoughts on the whole small entity/micro entity regime, please send us your thoughts at

Enjoy.  And get that paperwork going.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Browser Roulette 2015 Edition

It's Browser Roulette Time again at USPTO.  What follows is the latest communique for people who file their patent applications electronically.

The trials and tribulations of running an online site.  We feel you pain USPTO.

USPTO's Latest Communique

Chrome to Discontinue Java Plug-in Support and Impacts to EFS-Web and Private PAIR

In April 2015, Google Chrome removed the default ability to use the Java plug-in for browser version 42. This impacts your ability to access EFS-Web and Private PAIR because Java is required for your authentication into these systems. Currently, Chrome has a temporary workaround that will allow you to use the Java plug-in so that you can continue to log into EFS-Web and Private PAIR:

This workaround will only work through September 2015, when Google Chrome plans to end their support for Java plug-ins with their newest browser, Chrome versions 45 and above. Therefore, Chrome users using version 45 and above will no longer be able to use the workaround and thus will not be able to log into EFS-Web or Private PAIR. Oracle is recommending the use of alternative browsers such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. For additional information regarding Java and Chrome please visit:

Although the above browsers should continue to work with EFS-Web and Private PAIR, there is always a possibility that these providers may decide to discontinue support of Java plug-ins as well. The USPTO is closely monitoring for any changes, and is committed to keep the IP Community informed accordingly.

Furthermore, the USPTO is investigating if there are possible strategies to mitigate the impact. The Agency is working on a longer term plan to improve the overall authentication process. For USPTO updates regarding this issue please visit either of our Announcements pages:

EFS – Web Announcements:
PAIR Announcements:
If you need assistance with this matter, or have questions on any eFiling topic, please visit the Patent Electronic Business Center webpage: for comprehensive contact information, FAQ’s, and other eFiling resources.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

CPC's Happy Flat Line

This week we say goodbye to the Weekly CPC Monitor where we watched the progress of the transition of newly granted patents containing CPC data.  As you can see on the graph above, the CPC line is moving along in a nice horizontal fashion indicating that things are going well.  Since USPTO hit 100% in April and has been consistently hitting this mark of all new patent grants containing CPC data the transition appears complete.  A happy flat line across the top.

We also note that the backlog of unprocessed patent applications has dropped below 600,000 to 585,811 in April with pendency to first office action also declining.  Now that this complex transition is underway and has been integrated into the examination processes, USPTO can return to its efforts to reduce the backlog as spelled out in their Strategic Plan.

Next up, the June 2 transition of the Official Patent Gazette and other supporting data shifting from using the USPC for worklfow and work management purposes to using the CPC.  This is a really big change for external users and eventually for inventors and assignees applying for new patents.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Corrections Conundrum

8,800 And Counting...

Corrections total 8,800 year–to–date. USPTO added another 623 new corrections this week. So we're up to 8,800 corrections this year that the Average Citizen wouldn't know to look for when using the patent search tools available to the public.

No one bothers to correct patents that are abandoned or aren't perceived as having value.  Why waste your time.

Most of the corrections are on patents that are not new, have paid maintenance fees, and are in interesting scientific and technical domains where new innovation are emerging. Corrections are an indicator that patents are in play.  We did a quick analysis of corrections in August.  This review revealed that patents related to internet connected vehicle control systems were having every i dotted and every t crossed.  When you look carefully, the corrections point to a portfolio building effort and clean-up action before a monetization effort we suspect.

But here's the rub.  The corrections are an undercover action generally unknown to most people who aren't patentistas.  All the corrections of colons and semi-colons is lovely but it's the one where the change says that dependent claim 17 really should be pointing to claim 5 and not claim 1, fundamentally changing the public presentation of what the invention was all about. That are troubling.  These changes are only available in non-text accessible old school image format with only some of the pages in the USPTO full-text database pointing the user to images. This stuff is torture.

Especially when you consider the logic which goes like this:

1) Patent owner sends in a digital form requesting the change.
2) It floats all around USPTO to get approved.
3) USPTO types up the change language and have the Director sign it (our guess is this is done with the magic automated pen but maybe not which would be even more ridiculous.)
4) Then someone at USPTO creates an image of the change and adds it to the image version of the patent.

Something's gotta give here.

Check out this week's Box Scores here.