Monday, September 14, 2009

Director Kappos to patent examiners: Higher rejection rates does not equal higher quality

Professor Dennis Crouch of Patently O has reported that new USPTO Director Kappos sent an email to patent examiners rejecting the past leadership's attitude that higher rejections rates in recent years was a sign of increased patent quality. As discussed in a previous post, the USPTO needs a dramatic change in institutional culture and attitude if it is to restore its damaged relationship with the patent community and meaningfully address problems such as application backlog and declining revenues. The trend for several years has been for rejections to be more arbitrary and subjective, in part due to recent court decisions, but Director Kappos' message may be a sign that improvement is coming. They say "the proof of the pudding is in the eating." In the this case, the proof that the Examiners are listening will be if and when the examiner's corp improves the quality of its examination.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

CAFC Reins in TTAB Fraud Decisions

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled yesterday that fraud on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) requires proof of actual intent to deceive, which may not be inferred merely because a trademark applicant made a misstatement that it should have known was false. The court held that “a trademark is obtained fraudently under the Lanham Act only if the applicant or registrant knowingly makes a false, material representation with the intent to deceive the PTO.” In re Bose Corp., 2008-1448, slip op. p. 7 (Fed. Cir., Aug. 31, 2009).