Publication of Patent Applications

Title 35, Section 122 of the U.S. Code mandates that every patent application be published "promptly" after 18 months have passed after the filing date (if the application is still pending at that time--that is, it hasn't issued as a patent nor been abandoned). The publication of pending patent applications in the U.S. is a relatively new concept. This blog post discusses why the Patent Office publishes patent applications and the potential benefits and drawbacks of having your application published.

How Many Patents Are Currently Alive?

In previous blog posts, I've discussed patent maintenance fees and patent term adjustment, both of which may affect how long a patent may remain in force after issuance. In my experience, people seem to forget that not every patent survives up to its life expentancy due the failure of the patent holder to pay maintenance fees (and that some patents may outlive the typical patent lifespan because of patent term adjustment).

Intellectual Property-Intensive Industries Contribute $5 Trillion to the US Economy

According to this recent study by the US Patent and Trademark Office and the Economics and Statistics Administration, industries where intellectual property protection plays a pivotal role made up 34.8 percent of GDP in 2010. To determine which industries are "intellectual property-intensive," the analysis included patent data from 1963 through 2008, trademark data from a recent five-year period, and copyright data from 2009 to calculate the intensity of IP activity for each industry.

Patents Can Cover Non Earth-Shattering Inventions, Too

I recently read this blog post about a couple of patent applications that are owned by Apple that were recently published.

The Historical Idaho Patents Database

The University of Idaho Law School has a neat website called the Historical Idaho Patents Database that I've explored on a few occasions. It is a user-friendly way to search patents that were granted to Idaho residents. According to the website, the database only covers patents granted during the years 1866-1908 and 1928, but it is being added to continuously. However, I found that the database currently includes patents granted as recently as 1976.

Patent Searching Through the US Patent Classification System

During my time as a patent professional, I have been able to gain a fair amount of experience conducting patent searches. Although searching through the USPTO database for a specific disclosure can be more of an art than science, I have come up with a relatively easy method that takes advantage of the USPTO's patent index system. In this post, I'm going to briefly describe the index that the US Patent and Trademark Office uses to classify all patents. Then I'll provide my method for using that system to conduct a patent search.

How to Accelerate Examination of your Patent Application

The United States Patent Office prioritizes certain application types. The USPTO's priorities are manifest in its "Petition to Make Special" program, which will be described in this post. The Petition to Make Special is a program that allows patent applicants to get special status and skip ahead of other applications waiting in line--the result being that the "special" application can issue as a patent much quicker than it otherwise would.

How Strong is Your Brand? (Fanciful Marks)

This is my final blog post in a series discussing the spectrum of distinctiveness and how the spectrum can be used to analyze the relative strength of a trademark. This post is about marks that are fanciful.

How Strong is Your Brand? (Arbitrary Marks)

This is my fifth blog entry in my series detailing the spectrum of distinctiveness and how the spectrum can be used to analyze the relative strength of a trademark. This post is about marks that are arbitrary. I discussed the relatively weaker types of trademarks, generic marks, merely descriptive marks, and suggestive marks, in previous posts.

How Strong is Your Brand? (Suggestive Marks)

In a series of posts, I am discussing the spectrum of distinctiveness, which can be used to evaluate the potential strength of a mark. This post is about marks that are suggestive. I discussed the relatively weaker types of trademarks, generic marks and merely descriptive marks, in previous posts.

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