This column highlights some of the more notable recent online notices, newsletters, and blogs dealing with IP prosecution issues.

IPWatchdog – a patent law blog –

  • On May 24, 2020, Susan Russell and Paula Estrada de Martin posted an article explaining how the USPTO’s COVID-19 Pilot Program may benefit small entities and micro-entities regarding exploiting COVID-related technologies (prevention or treatment). Details here.

Patently-O – a patent law blog –

  • On May 21, 2020, Prof. Dennis Crouch discussed a pending petition to the Supreme Court relating to § 101 eligibility.  The Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Techtronic Indus. Co.  (Supreme Court 2020) PDF here. The patentee contends that the Federal Circuit’s analysis in Alice Step 2 should not have looked at the wireless transmission of status element in isolation from the remaining elements of the claim in question. The Federal Circuit Opinion is The Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Techtronic Indus. Co., slip opinion, 2018-2103, 2018-2228 (Fed. Cir., Aug. 21, 2019) PDF here. Referring to the Federal Circuit’s rule that seems to be stripping many inventions of patent protection, the petition begins with the statement, “This is a patent emergency.” Details here.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office – The U.S. agency for patents and trademark registrations –

  • The USPTO provides a special website for all updates for measures related to the COVID-19pandemic
  • All in-person meetings, interviews, and oral hearings scheduled to be held at USPTO offices will now be conducted remotely by video or telephone, until further notice. Parties will receive further instructions in advance of the interview, hearing, or meeting.
  • On March 19, 2020, the USPTO waived any requirements for original handwritten signatures due to the COVID-19 outbreak. PDF here.
  • On May 4, 2020, the USPTO announced in Press Release 20-10 launch of a platform for licensing patents for key technologies, focusing initially on COVID-19 technologies. The platform is called “Pants 4 Partnerships.” The platform is located at Details here.
  • The USPTO announced on May 6, 2020, that due to the COVID-19 Pandemic it will temporarily permit the online filing of plant patent applications. Details here.
  • On May 8, 2020, in Press Release 20-11 the USPTO announced the COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program for small entities and micro-entities. Details here. On May 18, 2020, the USPTO provided further information on the program ( including providing a dedicated webpage.
  • On July 1, 2020, the USPTO announced a Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program to accept petitions for expeditiously resolving ex parte appeals. The plan is that most appeals under this program will be decided within six months of granting the petition. Details here.
  • The USPTO provides FAQs for patent time extensions and trademark time extensions related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • One may keep apprised as to the status of USPTO events, cancellations, and postponements here.

AIPLA – the profession’s national organization – see

  • AIPLA has its annual meeting scheduled for October 22-24, 2020. Information on this meeting and other AIPLA meetings are available here. Check to make sure a meeting has not switched to a virtual format due to you-know-what.

The Chisum Patent Academy was scheduled to hold one seminar in 2020, in Boston, Massachusetts on October 1-2, 2020. Instead, their seminars are canceled until 2021, due to you-don’t-need-to-ask. More information available here 

For more information about any of the patent topics mentioned consult Patent Application Practice. Trademark topics are discussed in Trademark Registration Practice. Both are published by West and updated twice a year. For patent prosecution or litigation questions, contact Fred Douglas at 949/293-0442 or by email at