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A Functional Approach To Judicial Review Of Ptab Rulings On Mixed Questions Of Law And Fact, Rebecca S. Eisenberg Jul 2019

A Functional Approach To Judicial Review Of Ptab Rulings On Mixed Questions Of Law And Fact, Rebecca S. Eisenberg

Articles

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) has long relied on active appellate review to bring uniformity and clarity to patent law. It initially treated the PTO the same as the federal district courts, reviewing its factual findings for clear error and its legal conclusions de novo. Following reversal by the Supreme Court in Dickinson v. Zurko, the Federal Circuit began giving greater deference to PTO factual findings. But it continued to review the PTO’s legal conclusions de novo, while coding an expansive list of disputed issues in patent cases as legal conclusions, even when they ...


Irrational Ignorance At The Patent Office, Michael D. Frakes, Melissa F. Wasserman Jan 2019

Irrational Ignorance At The Patent Office, Michael D. Frakes, Melissa F. Wasserman

Faculty Scholarship

There is widespread belief that the Patent Office issues too many bad patents that impose significant harms on society. At first glance, the solution to the patent quality crisis seems straightforward: give patent examiners more time to review applications so they grant patents only to those inventions that deserve them. Yet the answer to the harms of invalid patents may not be that easy. It is possible that the Patent Office is, as Mark Lemley famously wrote, “rationally ignorant.” In Rational Ignorance at the Patent Office, Lemley argued that because so few patents are economically significant, it makes sense to ...


Patent Trial And Appeal Board's Consistency-Enhancing Function, Michael D. Frakes, Melissa F. Wasserman Jan 2019

Patent Trial And Appeal Board's Consistency-Enhancing Function, Michael D. Frakes, Melissa F. Wasserman

Faculty Scholarship

Agency heads, who have the primary responsibility for setting an agency's policy preferences, have a variety of tools by which they attempt to minimize the discretion of their staff officials in an effort to ensure agency policy preferences are consistently applied. One such mechanism is subjecting agency official's determinations to higher-level agency review. While scholars have long surmised that judges seek to minimize reversal of their decisions by a higher-level court, how agency officials' decisions are influenced by higher-level agency reconsideration has mostly eluded analysis.

In this Essay, we begin to fill this gap by examining the extent ...


From Venetian Glass To Contemporary Intellectual Property: Revisiting Tailored Patent Regimes (Book Review), Ana Santos Rutschman Jan 2019

From Venetian Glass To Contemporary Intellectual Property: Revisiting Tailored Patent Regimes (Book Review), Ana Santos Rutschman

All Faculty Scholarship

This piece reviews Stefania Fusco's “Murano Glass Vase" and "Lessons from the Past." In Murano Glass Vase, Fusco recounts the history of the glassmaking industry in Venice, framing it as the natural experiment from which the patent system sprang into the world. Fusco emphasizes the mix of exclusionary rights and trade secrecy that formed the backbone of Venetian innovation policy against the backdrop of a heavily regulated and protectionist economy. In “Lessons from the Past,” Fusco draws on original research performed at the Venetian State Archives to further the Murano narrative by looking at how the Venetian government fueled ...


Is The Time Allocated To Review Patent Applications Inducing Examiners To Grant Invalid Patents?: Evidence From Micro-Level Application Data, Michael D. Frakes, Melissa F. Wasserman Jan 2016

Is The Time Allocated To Review Patent Applications Inducing Examiners To Grant Invalid Patents?: Evidence From Micro-Level Application Data, Michael D. Frakes, Melissa F. Wasserman

Faculty Scholarship

We explore how examiner behavior is altered by the time allocated for reviewing patent applications. Insufficient examination time may hamper examiner search and rejection efforts, leaving examiners more inclined to grant invalid applications. To test this prediction, we use application-level data to trace the behavior of individual examiners over the course of a series of promotions that carry with them reductions in examination-time allocations. We find evidence demonstrating that such promotions are associated with reductions in examination scrutiny and increases in granting tendencies, as well as evidence that those additional patents being issued on the margin are of below-average quality.


Empirical Scholarship On The Prosecution Process At The Pto, Michael D. Frakes, Melissa F. Wasserman Jan 2016

Empirical Scholarship On The Prosecution Process At The Pto, Michael D. Frakes, Melissa F. Wasserman

Faculty Scholarship

In this book chapter, we summarize empirical scholarship examining the patent prosecution process at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.


Procrastination In The Workplace: Evidence From The U.S. Patent Office, Michael D. Frakes, Melissa F. Wasserman Jan 2016

Procrastination In The Workplace: Evidence From The U.S. Patent Office, Michael D. Frakes, Melissa F. Wasserman

Faculty Scholarship

Despite much theoretical attention to the concept of procrastination and much exploration of this phenomenon in laboratory settings, there remain few empirical investigations into the practice of procrastination in real world contexts, especially in the workplace. In this paper, we attempt to fill these gaps by exploring procrastination among U.S. patent examiners. We find that nearly half of examiners’ first substantive reports are completed immediately prior to the operable deadlines. Moreover, we find a range of additional empirical markers to support that this “end-loading” of reviews results from a model of procrastination rather than various alternative time-consistent models of ...


Diagnostics Need Not Apply, Rebecca S. Eisenberg Sep 2015

Diagnostics Need Not Apply, Rebecca S. Eisenberg

Articles

Diagnostic testing helps caregivers and patients understand a patient's condition, predict future outcomes, select appropriate treatments, and determine whether treatment is working. Improvements in diagnostic testing are essential to bringing about the long-heralded promise of personalized medicine. Yet it seems increasingly clear that most important advances in this type of medical technology lie outside the boundaries of patent-eligible subject matter. The clarity of this conclusion has been obscured by ambiguity in the recent decisions of the Supreme Court concerning patent eligibility. Since its 2010 decision in Bilski v. Kappos, the Court has followed a discipline of limiting judicial exclusions ...


Does The U.S. Patent And Trademark Office Grant Too Many Bad Patents?: Evidence From A Quasi-Experiment, Michael D. Frakes, Melissa F. Wasserman Jan 2015

Does The U.S. Patent And Trademark Office Grant Too Many Bad Patents?: Evidence From A Quasi-Experiment, Michael D. Frakes, Melissa F. Wasserman

Faculty Scholarship

Many believe the root cause of the patent system’s dysfunction is that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO or Agency) is issuing too many invalid patents that unnecessarily drain consumer welfare. Concerns regarding the Agency’s overgranting tendencies have recently spurred the Supreme Court to take a renewed interest in substantive patent law and have driven Congress to enact the first major patent reform act in over sixty years. Policymakers, however, have been modifying the system in an effort to increase patent quality in the dark. As there exists little to no compelling empirical evidence the PTO ...


The Failed Promise Of User Fees: Empirical Evidence From The United States Patent And Trademark Office, Michael D. Frakes, Melissa F. Wasserman Jan 2014

The Failed Promise Of User Fees: Empirical Evidence From The United States Patent And Trademark Office, Michael D. Frakes, Melissa F. Wasserman

Faculty Scholarship

In an attempt to shed light on the impact of user-fee financing structures on the behavior of administrative agencies, we explore the relationship between the funding structure of the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and its examination practices. We suggest that the PTO’s reliance on prior grantees to subsidize current applicants exposes the Agency to a risk that its obligatory costs will surpass incoming fee collections. When such risks materialize, we hypothesize, and thereafter document, that the PTO will restore financial balance by extending preferential examination treatment—i.e., higher granting propensities and/or shorter wait times—to some ...


Does Agency Funding Affect Decisionmaking?: An Empirical Assessment Of The Pto’S Granting Patterns, Michael D. Frakes, Melissa F. Wasserman Jan 2013

Does Agency Funding Affect Decisionmaking?: An Empirical Assessment Of The Pto’S Granting Patterns, Michael D. Frakes, Melissa F. Wasserman

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Improving (Software) Patent Quality Through The Administrative Process, Arti K. Rai Jan 2013

Improving (Software) Patent Quality Through The Administrative Process, Arti K. Rai

Faculty Scholarship

The available evidence indicates that patent quality, particularly in the area of software, needs improvement. This Article argues that even an agency as institutionally constrained as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) could implement a portfolio of pragmatic, cost-effective quality improvement strategies. The argument in favor of these strategies draws upon not only legal theory and doctrine but also new data from a PTO software examination unit with relatively strict practices. Strategies that resolve around Section 112 of the patent statute could usefully be deployed at the initial examination stage. Other strategies could be deployed within the new ...


Who’S Afraid Of The Federal Circuit?, Arti K. Rai Jan 2011

Who’S Afraid Of The Federal Circuit?, Arti K. Rai

Faculty Scholarship

In this brief Essay, Professor Rai responds to Professor Jonathan Masur's Yale Law Journal article "Patent Inflation." Professor Masur's argument rests on the assumption that U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO") behavior is determined almost entirely by a desire to avoid reversal by the Federal Circuit. Although the PTO is certainly a weak agency over which the Federal Circuit has considerable power, Masur overestimates the extent to which high-level PTO administrators are concerned about Federal Circuit reversals and underestimates institutional influences that are likely to operate in a deflationary direction. The PTO is influenced not only by ...


The Ptos Fast Track Takes Us In The Wrong Direction, Kristen Jakobsen Osenga Jun 2010

The Ptos Fast Track Takes Us In The Wrong Direction, Kristen Jakobsen Osenga

Law Faculty Publications

On June 3, 2010, the Patent Office issued a press release touting an initiative to reduce patent pendency by allowing patent applicants to pick the speed at which their applications are examined. Patent pendency has been an increasing problem in the Patent Office, jumping to 34.6 months last year from 26.7 months in 2003. The proposal has two main prongs: first, provide three paths to patent examination, and second, rely more heavily on foreign patent office efforts. While the press release provides some preliminary details about the proposal, further information is expected to be published in the Federal ...


Growing Pains In The Administrative State: The Patent Office’S Troubled Quest For Managerial Control, Arti K. Rai Jan 2009

Growing Pains In The Administrative State: The Patent Office’S Troubled Quest For Managerial Control, Arti K. Rai

Faculty Scholarship

In the last ten years, the workload of the Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO") has increased dramatically. Complaints about the PTO's ability to manage its workload have increased in tandem. Interestingly, although Congress has explicitly given the PTO rulemaking authority over the processing of patent applications, and withheld from it authority over "substantive" patent law, the PTO has arguably enjoyed more success in influencing substantive law than in executing direct efforts to manage its workload. This Article explores the multiple, mutually reinforcing reasons for this anomaly. It argues that although there are good reasons to be frustrated with the ...


Ants, Elephant Guns, And Statutory Subject Matter, Kristen Jakobsen Osenga Jan 2007

Ants, Elephant Guns, And Statutory Subject Matter, Kristen Jakobsen Osenga

Law Faculty Publications

Questions about whether software qualifies for patent protection are becoming increasingly more prevalent, despite the fact the issue seemed settled. The Supreme Court has indicated its interest in the topic and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office-which had previously been liberally issuing patents in the computer-related arts-now appears to be leading the groundswell against the subject-matter eligibility of these inventions, rejecting an increasing number of applications in this area for lack of statutory subject matter. Despite the broad definitions of patentable subject matter provided by the Constitution, Patent Act, and Supreme Court, the Patent Office has grafted various additional ...


Rule-Making Petition Concerning Eligibility, Under 37 C.F.R. § 11.7 To Sit For The Examination For Registration To Practice In Patent Cases Before The United States Patent And Trademark Office, Thomas G. Field Jr. Feb 2006

Rule-Making Petition Concerning Eligibility, Under 37 C.F.R. § 11.7 To Sit For The Examination For Registration To Practice In Patent Cases Before The United States Patent And Trademark Office, Thomas G. Field Jr.

Law Faculty Scholarship

This Petition under 5 U.S.C. § 553(e) is filed on behalf of Petitioner and other parties with legally-cognizable interest (hereafter “Signatories”) in the specification of credentials under guidelines promulgated by the PTO Office of Enrollment and Discipline (“OED”) and amended from time without public notice or opportunity to comment. Signatories include individuals likely to be unfairly refused permission to sit, individuals whose status is uncertain, and professors with an interest in whether their students may or may not be permitted to sit. Signatories hereby request that the PTO, in accordance with 35 U.S.C. § 2(b)(2 ...


Entrance Ramps, Tolls, And Express Lanes – Proposals For Decreasing Traffic Congestion In The Patent Office, Kristen Jakobsen Osenga Jan 2005

Entrance Ramps, Tolls, And Express Lanes – Proposals For Decreasing Traffic Congestion In The Patent Office, Kristen Jakobsen Osenga

Law Faculty Publications

This Article proposes implementing a multitier patent system by the creation of two additional "roads" or routes that a patent application may follow. Because many patents are not sought with the intention of pursuing the traditional patent reward of commercialization or profit through access control, that is, the exercise of the limited patent monopoly, there is no reason for every single application to follow the current route. The creation of an auxiliary, or "side road," would decrease crowding on the current patent grant highway while still allowing the nontraditional applications to enter and traverse the patent grant system with different ...


Zurko, Gartside, And Lee: How Might They Affect Patent Prosecution?, Thomas G. Field Jr Jan 2004

Zurko, Gartside, And Lee: How Might They Affect Patent Prosecution?, Thomas G. Field Jr

Law Faculty Scholarship

Interactions between the PTO and the courts are more complex than for most agencies. PTO decisions may be challenged not only directly but also collaterally. In the latter context, the Supreme Court has sometimes been critical of the lax standards applied when issuing patents.

While being upheld in collateral review is the ultimate issue of concern to patentees, patents must first be obtained. Thus, this paper focuses on direct challenges to PTO actions--and more specifically, on the review arising under 35 U.S.C. §§ 141-44 as addressed in Zurko, Gartside, and Lee.

Since the Supreme Court reversed the Federal Circuit ...


The Implementation Of Fda Determinations In Litigation - Why Do We Defer To The Pto But Not To The Fda?, William G. Childs Jan 2004

The Implementation Of Fda Determinations In Litigation - Why Do We Defer To The Pto But Not To The Fda?, William G. Childs

Faculty Scholarship

This Article examines the possible inequity of the treatment of licensees' rights in tort litigation in comparison to patent rights in patent litigation. In particular, this Article presents the presumptions afforded from issued patents as a valid model for the proper treatment of FDA approval in litigation. Presently, most academic discussion proposes either preclusion of tort claims or leaving the system more or less as it stands. This Article, on the other hand, proposes a middle ground.

This Article begins by examining the differences between the USPTO and the FDA. In particular, the quantity and quality of the review provided ...


Obvious To Whom? Evaluating Inventions From The Perspective Of Phosita, Rebecca S. Eisenberg Jan 2004

Obvious To Whom? Evaluating Inventions From The Perspective Of Phosita, Rebecca S. Eisenberg

Articles

In this Article, I consider the possibility of giving the USPTO input from currently active technological practitioners in evaluating the obviousness of claimed inventions. Such input could potentially serve three useful functions. First, it could improve the accuracy of USPTO decisionmaking by providing access to the perspective of actual practitioners as to the obviousness of inventions from the perspective of the hypothetical PHOSITA. Second, it could help the USPTO document the evidentiary basis for rejections that rest in part upon tacit knowledge within technological communities. Third, it could provide a quality control mechanism that would improve the credibility of USPTO ...


Patents, Product Exclusivity, And Information Dissemination: How Law Directs Biopharmaceutical Research And Development, Rebecca S. Eisenberg Jan 2003

Patents, Product Exclusivity, And Information Dissemination: How Law Directs Biopharmaceutical Research And Development, Rebecca S. Eisenberg

Other Publications

It's a great honor for me to be invited to deliver the Levine Distinguished Lecture at Fordham, and a great opportunity to try out some new ideas before this audience. As some of you know, I've been studying the role of patents in biomedical research and product development ("R&D") for close to twenty years now, with a particular focus on how patents work in "upstream" research in universities and biotechnology companies that are working on research problems that arise prior to "downstream" product development. But, of course, the patent strategies of these institutions are designed around the ...


Direct Judicial Review Of Pto Decisions: Jurisdictional Proposals, Thomas G. Field Jr Jan 2002

Direct Judicial Review Of Pto Decisions: Jurisdictional Proposals, Thomas G. Field Jr

Law Faculty Scholarship

Judicial review of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO") decisions is complex-- perhaps more than that of any other agency. One source of complexity is that courts review its decisions both collaterally and directly.

One goal of this article is to map possible routes to judicial review and suggest strategies for avoiding jurisdictional uncertainties and delay. The core thesis of this article, however, is that parties should not need to cope with arcane review schemes. Direct PTO review can and ought to be simplified. This can be accomplished by adjusting the Federal Circuit's original and appellate jurisdiction.


Chevron Deference To The Uspto At The Federal Circuit, Thomas G. Field Jr. Jan 2002

Chevron Deference To The Uspto At The Federal Circuit, Thomas G. Field Jr.

Law Faculty Scholarship

Courts have long deferred to agency views of law, but they have also often refused. The Federal Circuit, too, defers on some occasions but not others. This paper examines the apparent inconsistency in its cases.


Re-Examining The Role Of Patents In Appropriating The Value Of Dna Sequences, Rebecca S. Eisenberg Jan 2000

Re-Examining The Role Of Patents In Appropriating The Value Of Dna Sequences, Rebecca S. Eisenberg

Articles

As public and private sector initiatives race to complete the sequence of the human genome, patent issues have played a prominent role in speculations about the significance of this achievement. How much of the genome will be subject to the control of patent holders, and what will this mean for future research and the development of products for the improvement of human health? Is a patent system developed to establish rights in mechanical inventions of an earlier era up to the task of resolving competing claims to the genome on behalf of the many sequential innovators who elucidate its sequence ...


Zurko Raises Issue Of Patentability Standards, Thomas G. Field Jr. Feb 1999

Zurko Raises Issue Of Patentability Standards, Thomas G. Field Jr.

Law Faculty Scholarship

In re Zurko isolated one of the oldest U.S. agencies from mainstream administrative law because the Federal Circuit has chosen to review the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office more as it would a federal district court. The case is important, if only because the Supreme Court rarely treats the PTO as an agency. Also, regardless of whether the issue or the Federal Circuit itself is the primary target, the decision could have a major effect on the type of case most commonly encountered by that court.


Brief Amici Curiae Of Intellectual Property Professors In Support Of Petitoner, Thomas G. Field Jr., John F. Duffy, Craig Allen Nard Dec 1998

Brief Amici Curiae Of Intellectual Property Professors In Support Of Petitoner, Thomas G. Field Jr., John F. Duffy, Craig Allen Nard

Law Faculty Scholarship

Congress enacted the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in 1946 as a comprehensive statute to regulate the field of federal administrative law. In holding that the PTO Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences is not subject to the standards of judicial review set forth in the APA, the [Zurko] decision isolates patent law from the rest of administrative law and undermines the APA’s goal of achieving consistency and uniformity in federal administrative law.


Amicus Brief Of Thomas G. Field, Jr., Pro Se Supporting In Principle, On Rehearing The Commissioner Of Patents And Trademarks, Thomas G. Field Jr. Sep 1998

Amicus Brief Of Thomas G. Field, Jr., Pro Se Supporting In Principle, On Rehearing The Commissioner Of Patents And Trademarks, Thomas G. Field Jr.

Law Faculty Scholarship

To those unfamiliar with the long, often bitter, struggle over equally compelling needs to provide, on the one hand, innovators with an adequate opportunity to recoup risk capital and to avoid, on the other, erecting unwarranted barriers to competition, a dispute over the proper scope of review for Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) patent appeals will seem both trivial and arcane. This case involves more than semantics -- its resolution turns on the allocation of power among three, and arguably four, branches of government. This Court, itself, has a stake.


Promulgating Requirements For Admission To Prosecute Patent Applications, Michelle J. Burke, Thomas G. Field Jr Jul 1997

Promulgating Requirements For Admission To Prosecute Patent Applications, Michelle J. Burke, Thomas G. Field Jr

Law Faculty Scholarship

Among federal agencies, the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office is unique in its ability to require attorneys to submit to special requirements, such as passing a six hour examination, before being permitted to practice before it in patent cases. Indeed, the Supreme Court has held that an individual so admitted to practice before the PTO need not comply with state requirements otherwise applicable to those practicing law.

The first part of this article discusses how this requirement came to be. It then discusses how the PTO determines whether an individual is fit to sit for the patent examination, focusing ...


Intellectual Property Issues In Genomics, Rebecca S. Eisenberg Aug 1996

Intellectual Property Issues In Genomics, Rebecca S. Eisenberg

Articles

Controversy over intellectual property rights in the results of large-scale cDNA sequencing raises intriguing questions about the roles of the public and private sectors in genomics research, and about who stands to benefit (and who stands to lose) from the private appropriation of genomic information. While the US Patent and Trademark Office has rejected patent applications on cDNA fragments of unknown function from the National Institutes of Health, private firms have pursued three distinct strategies for exploiting unpatented cDNA sequence information: exclusive licensing, non-exclusive licensing and dedication to the public domain.