On January 29, 2013, ACC Advocacy staff attended the USPTO’s BioTech/Medical Device Technology Customer Partnership Forum. The forum was designed to promote discussion between practitioners and the USPTO on current practices and challenges facing all parties in the biotech and medical device technology areas. Participants discussed cooperative patent classification, how to evaluate subject matter eligibility under 35 USC § 101, and the America Invents Act, including first-to-file.
A number of in-house counsel were present, as the forum allowed for increased dialogue among stakeholder-applicants and USPTO officials and examiners. During the dialogue, the USPTO recognized the growing issues related to Requests for Continuation of Examinations (RCE). The agency emphasized the need for continued and constant dialogue with stakeholders around this and other issues. However, the agency was careful to also place some onus on examiners in generating the desired dialogue. USPTO officials emphasized the need for patent examiners to be proactive in reaching out to applicants to understand the art.
On February 12 and 27, 2013, the USPTO will hold similar meetings with the software community in Silicon Valley and New York City, respectively, to discuss enhancing the quality of software-related patents.
As ACC seeks to increase opportunities for members to connect directly with regulators, we will continue to bring you news of events like these, as well as events with regulators that are ACC-member only. For more information or to discuss opportunities, please contact China Terrell at Terrell@acc.com.