USPTO Patent Public Advisory Committee Meeting – May 16, 2013

By Renee Dopplick, ACM Director of Public Policy
May 2, 2013

The USPTO Patent Public Advisory Committee will hold its quarterly meeting on Thursday, May 16, 2013 from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm at the USPTO campus in Alexandria, Virginia. The meeting is open to the public. The meeting will also be available by WebEx.

Below are a few of the agenda topics in bold, with my notes for additional context.

  • Patent quality

    The USPTO has established the Software Partnership initiative to get input from the software community on possible ways to enhance the quality of software-related patents.

  • Patent End-to-End (PE2E) system

    The PE2E system is intended for use by both patent applicants and examiners to allow patent applications to be submitted, handled, examined, and prosecuted electronically.

  • Legislative update

    • Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced on May 2 that he intends to introduce new legislation to address patent trolls and unwarranted lawsuits. His press release states, “Specifically, this has been an enormous problem among technology start-up companies: 62% of patents asserted by trolls from 1990-2010 were software patents; 75% were in computer and communications technology. And this is a particular problem for small businesses: 82% of companies targeted by trolls of annual revenues less than $100 million.”

    • H.R. 845, Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (SHIELD) Act of 2013. This bill, sponsored by Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Pete DeFazio (D-OR), would enable the winner in patent litigation to recover litigation costs from the loser, known as the “loser pays” model. Although similar to their bill from the last Congress, which never made it out of Committee, the bill includes two major changes. First, it would apply to all types of patents, not just computer hardware and software patent litigation. Second, the loser-pays model would apply if the losing party is not able to meet at least one of three criteria: (1) original inventor, (2) exploitation of the patent, such as showing substantial investment through production or sale, and (3) university or technology transfer organization. So-called patent trolls likely would not meet any of the three criteria and thus would be subject to the loser-pays model.

    • S. 712, Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act of 2013. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Committee member Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) reintroduced this bill to encourage the use of patented technology to address humanitarian needs by allowing acceleration certificates awarded under the Patents for Humanity Program to be transferrable.

    • The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet held two hearings on patent litigation since the PPAC’s last quarterly meeting:

      • “Abusive Patent Litigation: The Impact on American Innovation and Jobs and Potential Solutions,” March 14, 2013, written testimony and video

      • “Abusive Patent Litigation: The Issues Impacting American Competitiveness and Job Creation at the International Trade Commission and Beyond,” April 16, 2013, written testimony and video

  • Finance/Budget Update/Sequestration

    The USPTO, a user fee-funded agency, faces possible funding challenges.

The meeting details and full agenda are available at:
http://www.uspto.gov/about/advisory/ppac/20130516-ppac-quarterly-meeting.jsp