Wednesday, April 30, 2008


If you're in the vicinity of the Twin Cities this summer, check this out:

The Minneapolis Central Library’s “Minnovation: 150 Years of Ingenuity”

What do Rollerblades, Scotch tape, seat belts and the Tilt-a-Whirl have in common? All were invented in Minnesota. The Minneapolis Central Library is hosting “Minnovations: 150 Years of Ingenuity,” a celebration of Minnesota inventions and inventors. Paying tribute to Minnesota’s thriving culture of invention, the exhibition highlights the best of the library’s patent collection.

Minneapolis Central Library is Minnesota’s Patent and Trademark Depository Library. The exhibition is made possible by a Legacy Grant from the Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission. Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, Cargill Hall, Library Atrium and Space 144
May 1-Aug. 17, Tues and Thurs, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Wed, Fri, Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Related events at Minneapolis Central Library:

Patent Workshops
Wednesdays; May 7, June 4, July 2, Aug. 6; 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Best Buy Technology Center
Saturdays; May 10, June 14, July 12, Aug. 9; 10-11 a.m., RKMC Meeting Room, S-275
Minneapolis Central Library has the only Patent and Trademark Depository Library in Minnesota. Join library staff and learn the basics about patents, patenting and how to conduct your own patent search.

Minnovation: Meet the Inventors
June 7, 2-4 p.m.
Children’s LibraryFor kids entering grade 2 and up. Have you ever wanted to invent something to make life easier or more fun? Discover how to spark your inventive imagination. Meet some award-winning kid inventors and Scott Olson, the inventor of Rollerblades.

Finding Betty Crocker
June 10, 7-8 p.m.
Minneapolis Central Library, Doty Board Room
For more than 80 years, Betty Crocker has been one of America’s most recognized trademarks and the most successful branding campaign in the world. What is it about Betty? Susan Marks, author of Finding Betty Crocker, offers an entertaining, charming and utterly unique look at an American icon. Join us and discover all things Betty.

For more info: and

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Poor, Poor Patent System

There's an interesting discussion about the state of patent submissions going on at geek forum slashdot right now. Seems USPTO Director Jon Dudas kicked up a storm for noting the poor quality of patent applications and the woeful state of the current patent system. Among his oberservations: the U.S. patent system "rewards those people ... well out of proportion with their contribution to any product."

Monday, April 14, 2008

USPTO launches new pilot

The United States Patent and Trademark Office is initiating a six-month pilot program that will allow an applicant to have an interview with the patent examiner prior to the first Office action on the merits in a new utility application.

The First Action Interview Pilot program will expedite prosecution of the patent application by enhancing the interaction between the applicant and the examiner, providing the applicant an opportunity to resolve patentability issues one-on-one with the examiner at the beginning of the review process. The program will begin on April 28.

“As we have learned from our Accelerated Examination program, an interview between the applicant and examiner early in the review process can help resolve issues more quickly and expedite a final decision,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Jon Dudas. “We believe the enhanced information exchange in the First Action Interview Pilot program will offer dual benefits of reduced pendency and improved patent quality.”

Currently, an applicant may request an interview prior to a first action. Granting of an interview is within the discretion of the examiner who has not yet reviewed the case, and the applicant may be required to identify relevant documents and explain how the invention is patentable over these documents.

Under the pilot program, the examiner will conduct a prior art search and provide the applicant a pre-interview communication which is a condensed preview of objections or rejections proposed against the claims. Within 30 days from the issue date of the pre-interview communication, the applicant must either choose not to have a first action interview with the examiner, or schedule the interview and file a proposed amendment and/or remarks.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

National Trademark Expo

U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Jon Dudas will formally open the National Trademark Expo on Thursday, April 10. Joining Under Secretary Dudas will be Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille, Smokey Bear, the Pillsbury Doughboy®, Sprout® and other iconic trademarked characters. Also on hand will be Anson Williams, who played “Potsie” on the 1970s TV series, “Happy Days.” His firm Starmaker Products is an exhibitor at the Expo.

Twelve other corporate exhibitors including Microsoft®, Owens-Corning®, Burberry®, Callaway Golf® and NASCAR® will provide exciting interactive displays that illustrate the vital role trademarks play in the global economy. The Expo also will highlight the Federal Government’s efforts to combat counterfeit goods, which costs America billons of dollars each year. The Expo is free, fun, and informative for the whole family.

WHO: Speaking at 10:00 a.m., Thursday
• City of Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille
• Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property Jon Dudas
• Commissioner for Trademarks Lynne Beresford

For a complete list and description of the exhibits, see:

WHAT: National Trademark Expo

WHEN: Opening ceremony – Thursday, April 10, at 10:00 a.m.
Expo is open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Thursday - Saturday

WHERE: USPTO campus, atrium of the Madison building, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Va.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

USPTO Can't Change the Rules

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has no substantive rulemaking authority, so says a U.S. District Court. Good news for those who think the USPTO over-reaches; bad for USPTO Director Jon Dudas, who came out on the losing side of this court case.

GlaxoSmithKline, et al. (collectively, “GSK”) and Triantafyllos Tafas (“Tafas”) filed a lawsuit to permanently enjoin the USPTO from changing longstanding rules on how patent applications are examined.

In a twenty-six page opinion, District Court Judge Cacheris found "the USPTO’s rulemaking authority under 35 U.S.C. § 2(b)(2) does not extend to substantive rules, and because the Final Rules are substantive in nature, the Court finds that the Final Rules are void as ‘otherwise not in accordance with law’ and ‘in excess of statutory jurisdiction [and] authority.’ 5 U.S.C. § 706(2).”

You can find the opinion here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Patent Off-Shoring, Down Under

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has forged another patent examination deal with a foreign country ... this time Australia. The release says:

Washington, D.C. – The Commerce Department’s U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Intellectual Property Office of Australia (IP Australia) today announced that they will launch a new trial cooperation initiative called the Patent Prosecution Highway in April. The Patent Prosecution Highway will leverage fast-track patent examination procedures already available in both offices to allow applicants in both countries to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently. It also will permit each office to benefit from work previously done by the other office, in turn reducing examination workload and improving patent quality.

This pilot project with IP Australia builds on the success of a pilot with the Japan Patent office, which was made permanent in January. Pendency to first action was substantially reduced in many cases relative to the normal pendency in the particular technology area.
Under the Patent Prosecution Highway, an applicant receiving a ruling from either IP Australia or the USPTO that at least one claim in an application is patentable may request that the other office fast track the examination of corresponding claims in corresponding applications. Full requirements for participation in the trial program can be found at and