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Audrey Millemann is a shareholder with Weintraub Tobin and practices in the Intellectual Property and Litigation sections. She is a litigator and a registered patent attorney.  Audrey advises clients on all issues of intellectual property law, including infringement, validity, and ownership of patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

Eventually, it was bound to happen. A patent application was filed by a machine. Well, not exactly. A human being filed a patent application naming a machine as the inventor.

The machine was an artificial intelligence machine described as a “creativity machine.” Its name was listed as “DABUS Invention Generated by Artificial Intelligence.” The invention was called “Devices and Methods for Attracting Enhanced Attention.”
Continue Reading No, Machines Cannot Be Inventors!

A party accused of infringing a patent may challenge the validity of the patent in the federal court infringement litigation or in separate administrative proceedings in the Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). One of the methods available in the PTAB is an inter partes review (IPR), which was created by the America Invents Act.

In order to file a petition for IPR, the challenger must argue that some or all of the claims of the patent are invalid on certain grounds, including novelty and nonobviousness, and must show that there is a “reasonable likelihood” that they will prevail on at least one claim.  The statutes require that a petition for IPR be filed within one year of the challenger being served with a complaint for patent infringement.  35 USC section 315(b).   The PTAB reviews the petition and decides whether to institute IPR.  The decision whether to institute IPR is not appealable.  35 USC section 314(d). 
Continue Reading Supreme Court Limits Appeals to Prevent More Bad Patents

On March 31, 2020, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that, pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, certain deadlines for patent and trademark applications would be extended. The CARES Act authorizes the PTO to toll, waive, or modify any patent or trademark deadline in effect during the COVID-19 emergency. The announcements were made in written Notices of Waiver, one each for patents and trademarks, posted on the PTO’s website.

In order to exercise the power under the CARES Act, the PTO Director must determine that the COVID-19 pandemic materially affects the functioning of the PTO; prejudices the rights of patent applicants, trademark registrants, or patent/trademark owners; or prevents patent applicants, trademark registrants, or patent/trademark owners from making a filing or paying a fee in the PTO.
Continue Reading Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Deadlines Extended Due to COVID-19

There are a number of requirements that must be met for an invention to be patentable. The invention must be novel (unique) and nonobvious (i.e., a person skilled in the field of the invention would not have found the invention obvious based on the existing knowledge in the field). In addition, the patent application must meet other requirements, including written description (the application must contain a detailed, clear, and definite written description of the invention) and enablement (the application must describe how to make and use the invention). If the patent application satisfies all of the requirements, a patent is issued.

A third party can challenge an issued patent on several different grounds, either in litigation or in the Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). If the challenge is successful, some or all of the patent’s claims will be invalidated. If only some of the claims are invalidated, those claims will be canceled from the patent and the remaining claims will be enforceable.
Continue Reading IPRs Cannot Be Used to Challenge Patents for Indefiniteness