A math student with an eye for a bargain has shaken up the U.S. publishing industry after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of his textbook importation scheme.
Supap Kirtsaeng moved from Thailand to the United States to study mathematics at Cornell University. Frustrated over the high cost of textbooks at the school, he asked friends and family to purchase books in Thailand — where they were available at a much lower retail price — and ship them to him in the U.S. Recognizing the business opportunity, Kirtsaeng began reselling the imported books on eBay. Over time, Kirtsaeng generated about $600,000 in revenue from his textbook resale business. Continue reading
This week will be an active one for changes to U.S. patent filing procedures. In addition to the new first-to-file law taking effect on March 16, significant patent fee changes will take effect on March 19, 2013. The changes include:
- utility patent application total filing, search and examination fees: $1,600 (increase of $340)
- provisional application filing fee: $260 (increase of $10)
- issue fee: $960 (decrease of $780)
- request for continued examination: $1,200 for the first one (increase of $270), and $1700 for the second one.
- maintenance fees: increased by $450 at the first stage, $700 at the second stage, and $2,590 at the third stage.
Applicants who don’t mind delaying the examination process can defer some of the initial fees by filing a basic filing fee of $280, and deferring the search and examination fees to a later date.
The 7.5-year and 11.5-year maintenance fees may spur some patent holders to abandon non-business critical patents: patent holders who wish to maintain a patent must pay $3,600 at the 7.5-year point, and $7,400 at the 11.5-year point. The new maintenance fees total over $12,000 for the life of a patent.
Applicants who qualify as either a small entity or a micro-entity will be entitled to reductions in the standard fees listed above.
The new fees also establish hefty charges for the new post grant patent review proceedings that are available under the America Invents Act:
- Ex parte reexamination: $12,000
- Inter partes review: $23,000
- Post grant review: $30,000
Some charges will go down for applicants who follow procedures that are more efficient for the USPTO. For example, an applicant can avoid the $2,000 Appeal Brief fee if the applicant can settle the case with the Examiner before forwarding the Appeal Brief to the Patent Trial and Appeals Board for review. In addition, recording assignments will now be free if filed electronically.
A summary of the fee increases is available at the USPTO website via this link.
[Photo credit: 401(k) 2013]
A new “loser pays” bill aimed at reducing “patent troll” litigation is getting a lot of attention since its introduction last week.
The Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (SHIELD) Act of 2013 proposes to allow defendants who prevail in patent lawsuits to recover costs from the plaintiff if the plaintiff is not: (i) the inventor or the original assignee; (ii) a party who made substantial investment through production or sale of an item covered by the patent; or (iii) a university or research institution.
According to co-sponsor Congressman Jason Chavetz (R-UT): Continue reading
If a new White House memo directing government agencies to ensure that publications and data resulting from federally funded research seems familiar, that’s because it nearly matches a new bill that was introduced in the House and Senate just a week earlier.
On February 22, 2013, the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memo directing U.S. government agencies who annually fund over $100 million in research to implement a plan for requiring public access to data and publications resulting from that research.
The memo requires that each plan included elements for: Continue reading
Will the across-the-board budget cuts required by the Budget Control Act of 2011 reduce services provided by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office?
In the short term, not likely. According to the Patent Office Professional Association:
While the White House through OPM has designated the USPTO to take a $242 Million hit with sequestration, the agency should not feel a practical hit from that cut in funding. That is because the sequestration amount is taken off of our appropriated funds. However, we are only allowed to spend what we take in through our fee income. . . [Currently] we are funded at . . . about 2.7 Billion. However, our current fee income is running somewhat less than 2.5 B. So even if we took off the 242M sequestration, it only brings us down to about what we are taking in through fees anyhow.
Because of this, patent and trademark applicants are not likely to see any immediate reductions in service. However, given the current fiscal crisis, it’s always possible that Congress could change the rules for USPTO funding in the future. In addition, the potential (although unlikely) prospect of a total government shutdown on March 27, 2013 would affect the USPTO just like all other “non-essential” government programs.
The USPTO has published its long-awaited first-to-file rules and examination guidelines, which will take effect March 16, 2013. The new rules will convert U.S. patent law from a “first-to-invent” system to a “first-to-file” system. In its simplest form, this means that if two people separately invent the same invention, and if both file patent applications for the invention, the first person who filed his or her application will receive the patent.
However, as one might expect when the final rule requires 35 pages in the Federal Register and the examination guidelines require another 29 pages, the rule has more than a few caveats and nuances. Highlights of the new rule include: Continue reading
In one of his final posts on the USPTO Director’s Forum Blog, departing director David Kappos presented some eye-opening statistics about patent quality. The post discussed a study of over 22,000 patent applications in the past five years that assessed whether Examiner interviews help improve the quality of the resulting patent. The conclusion: a resounding yes. According to the post: ”The data shows that interviews help decrease both improper allowances and improper rejections by approximately 40 percent compared to applications without interviews prior to the final disposition.”
This post followed a flurry of recent USPTO activity directed to improving patent quality.
For example, the post coincided with the publication of a Federal Register notice in which the USPTO sought comments on a proposal for new patent application drafting practices that would help improve patent quality. The proposal considers Continue reading
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