Category Archives: Features

Assignments: Get the full text of the Agreement

At one time, the public record easily accessible from the PTO gave only the barest abstract of title. Assignor, Assignee, date of recordation, reel and frame numbers: that was it.

It was possble to visit the PTO and obtain a copy of the Assignment document, as recorded on microfilm, but the process was cumbersome and time-consuming.

No more. A few years ago, the PTO made it easy to obtain a copy of the actual Assignment document. Continue reading

Your Application Went Abandoned: Now What?

Abandonment of a patent application is sometimes deliberate. Maybe the prior art is too good, maybe the available scope of protection isn’t commercially important.

But sometimes abandonment is unintentional. Maybe you instructed your attorney to abandon the wrong case, based on a mistaken idea of which case should be abandoned.

Most commonly, maybe you simply missed a deadline.

There is a universe of reasons for abandonments that fall under the umbrella of “unintentional abandonment”. What to do if your case is one of them? How do you revive an application abandoned unintentionally, and convert it to a live application? Continue reading

Favorite Patent Sites You Never Heard Of – Part Two: Espacenet for Translations

This post is one part of a multi-part series on web sites helpful in patent work. It will be updated with links to other parts, as they become available. Quick links to: part one, part two.

In this part two of the series, we take a first look at the search site maintained by the European Patent Office (EPO): Espacenet which is found at URL https://worldwide.espacenet.com/.

Espacenet is a wonderfully versatile site. Among its many features, three are particularly notable:

  • field-based queries for patents worldwide, which can help you to search for prior art when evaluating your own inventions, or help you to monitor a competitor’s patent portfolio
  • copies of original patent documents, globally, including foreign and US patent documents, downloadable in both plain-text and pdf format
  • internal filewrapper documents, known as the “Global Dossier”, as exchanged between the Applicant and each different national patent office, during the course of prosecution in the national patent office

It’s this last feature that’s the focus of part two of this series. Continue reading

Fast-Track Your Patent – Part Two: Timing

This post is one part of a multi-part series on expediting the patent process.  It will be updated with links to other parts, as they become available.  Quick links to: part one, part two.

Scenario: The Long Haul

Consider: You filed your patent application five or six years ago, and despite several back-and-forths with the Examiner, it still has not issued. You probably have even filed a few RCEs (Requests For Continued Examination). The process seems to be taking forever.

You recently heard about the PTO’s Track One Prioritized Examination Program (see part one of this feature). According to this program (and it’s a good one), with a proper Track One request, the PTO will issue a final disposition for your application in around 12 months. Ruefully, you think to yourself, the Track One program was not even available back when the application was first filed. If only there were ways to take advantage of it now. Continue reading

Favorite Patent Sites You Never Heard Of – Part One: USPTO PAIR for Filewrappers

This post is one part of a multi-part series on web sites helpful in patent work.  It will be updated with links to other parts, as they become available.

Information is one of the keys to successful patent work.  But before you can begin any patent-related task, you need to reflect on the kinds of information implicated by the task.

Are you evaluating whether an innovation is patentable?  Then you need access to prior art and a way to search for it.  Need to monitor a competitor’s patent portfolio?  Then you need a field-based search, usually global, for patents worldwide.  Need to investigate the progress of an application through the PTO, or find out why a patent was granted?  Then you need an in-depth look at the actual papers exchanged by the PTO and the applicant.  Simply need a copy of a patent, maybe a foreign patent?  Then you need a site that provides copies and translations.

No one site provides it all, although many are quite comprehensive. Continue reading

Fast-Track Your Patent: The USPTO’s Track One Prioritized Examination Program

This post is one part of a multi-part series on expediting the patent process.  It will be updated with links to other parts, as they become available.

In one of the more frustrating aspects of the USPTO, its examination process is notoriously slow.  A typical timeline: you file your application and then sit back and wait two or three years.  And then, even after that wait, you typically still don’t get a patent; instead, you usually get a rejection, which marks the start of the back-and-forth negotiations with the Examiner that might ultimately lead to a patent grant.

Not well-known to many are the various initiatives offered by the USPTO to expedite examination. Continue reading