Patently-O – a patent law blog –

  • On August 12, 2020, Prof. Dennis Crouch discussed a claim construction case considering whether a preamble is limiting. One lesson from the case is that the body of the claim is more determinative than merely reviewing the text of the preamble. The issues also involved introducing elements in a claim with a definite article (“the”) instead of an indefinite article (“a”) Shoes by Firebug LLC v. Stride Rite Children’s Group, slip opinion 2019-1622, 2019-1623 (Fed. Cir. , Jun. 25, 2020) View the PDF here. Details here.


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

  • Upcoming expiration date – Sep. 30, 2020. The USPTO’s After Final Consideration Pilot 2.0 (AFCP 2.0) is scheduled to end effective September 30, 2020. The AFCP 2.0 allows the examiner more time to search or consider responses after a final office action, which may lead to an issued patent instead of filing an RCE or continuing application. You can find information on AFCP 2.0 here.
  • On July 30, 2020, the USPTO announced proposed rulemaking to align the USPTO Rules for Professional Conduct more closely to the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct – PDF here.
  • The USPTO provides a special website for all updates for measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic here.
  • 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. Info here.
  • 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 here. Details here.
  • The USPTO announced on May 6, 2020 that due to the COVID-19 Pandemic it will temporarily permit 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 here, 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. Pilot program 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 is 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, the Boston seminar is to be scheduled for a time in 2021, due to you-know-what. 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