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An interference proceeding, also known as a priority contest, is an inter partes proceeding to determine the priority issues of multiple patent applications. Until the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011, it was a unique procedure in the patent law of the United States. Unlike in most other countries which had a first-to-file system, the former first-to-invent system of the U.S. allowed a party which has failed to file a patent application on time to challenge the inventorship of another party which had a granted or pending patent, if certain requirements were met.
An interference proceeding is an administrative proceeding conducted by a panel of administrative patent judges (administrative law judges sitting on the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to determine which applicant is not entitled to the patent if both claimed the same invention in:
A panel, composed of judges on the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, a quasi-judicial body in the USPTO, hears an interference contest. Its final judgment adjudicating one party as an earlier inventor is called a priority award, or simply an award. Appeals from this tribunal are heard before either the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit or the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. See 35 U.S.C. § 144, 35 U.S.C. § 146.
At least two parties are involved in an interference proceeding: the inventor(s) or applicant(s) who filed an earlier patent application are called the "senior party", and the other inventor(s) or applicant(s) are called the "junior party". Both parties can be referred as "contestants", but that term is currently more likely to be used to describe the junior party.
Presumptions are stated in 37 C.F.R. 41.207(a):
On September 16, 2011, President Obama signed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act into law. Part of the Act changed the U.S. patent system from a first-to-invent system to a first-to-file system.As such, interference proceedings were eliminated from U.S. patent law. More specifically, any patent application with an effective filing date on or after March 16, 2013, cannot initiate an interference. Derivation proceedings are replacing interference proceedings in the patent statutes, but the dispute surrounding a derivation proceeding is unrelated to that of an interference proceeding.
Prior art, in most systems of patent law, is constituted by all information that has been made available to the public in any form before a given date that might be relevant to a patent's claims of originality. If an invention has been described in the prior art or would have been obvious from what has been described in the prior art, a patent on that invention is not valid.
Novelty is a requirement for a patent claim to be patentable. An invention is not new and therefore not patentable if it was known to the public before the filing date of the patent application, or before its date of priority if the applicant claims priority of an earlier patent application. The purpose of the novelty requirement is to prevent prior art from being patented again.
Under United States patent law, a continuing patent application is a patent application that follows, and claims priority to, an earlier-filed patent application.
In United States patent law, the reduction to practice is the step in the formation of an invention beyond the conception thereof. Reduction to practice may be either actual or constructive. The date of reduction to practice was critical to the determination of priority between inventors in an interference proceeding under the discontinued first-to-invent system as well as for swearing behind a reference under that system.
First to file (FTF) and first to invent (FTI) are legal concepts that define who has the right to the grant of a patent for an invention. The first-to-file system is used in all countries.
Patent prosecution describes the interaction between applicants and their representatives, and a patent office with regard to a patent, or an application for a patent. Broadly, patent prosecution can be split into pre-grant prosecution, which involves negotiation with a patent office for the grant of a patent, and post-grant prosecution, which involves issues such as post-grant amendment and opposition.
Under United States patent law, a provisional application is a legal document filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), that establishes an early filing date, but does not mature into an issued patent unless the applicant files a regular non-provisional patent application within one year. There is no such thing as a "provisional patent".
The Patent Reform Act of 2005 was United States patent legislation proposed in the 109th United States Congress. Texas Republican Congressman Lamar S. Smith introduced the Act on 8 June 2005. Smith called the Act "the most comprehensive change to U.S. patent law since Congress passed the 1952 Patent Act." The Act proposed many of the recommendations made by a 2003 report by the Federal Trade Commission and a 2004 report by the National Academy of Sciences.
Under United States law, a patent is a right granted to the inventor of a (1) process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, (2) that is new, useful, and non-obvious. A patent is the right to exclude others from using a new technology. Specifically, it is the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, importing, inducing others to infringe, and/or offering a product specially adapted for practice of the patent.
In United States patent law, a reexamination is a process whereby anyone—third party or inventor—can have a U.S. patent reexamined by a patent examiner to verify that the subject matter it claims is patentable. To have a patent reexamined, an interested party must submit prior art, in the form of patents or printed publications, that raises a "substantial new question of patentability". The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act makes substantial changes to the U.S. patent system, including new mechanisms for challenging patents at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. One of the new mechanisms is a post-grant review proceeding, which will provide patent challengers expanded bases on which to attack patents.
The Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) is published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for use by patent attorneys and agents and patent examiners. It describes all of the laws and regulations that must be followed in the examination of U.S. patent applications, and articulates their application to an enormous variety of different situations. The MPEP is based on Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which derives its authority from Title 35 of the United States Code, as well as on case law arising under those titles. The first version of the MPEP was published in 1920 by the Patent and Trademark Office Society.
A concurrent use registration, in United States trademark law, is a federal trademark registration of the same trademark to two or more unrelated parties, with each party having a registration limited to a distinct geographic area. Such a registration is achieved by filing a concurrent use application and then prevailing in a concurrent use proceeding before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ("TTAB"), which is a judicial body within the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO"). A concurrent use application may be filed with respect to a trademark which is already registered or otherwise in use by another party, but may be allowed to go forward based on the assertion that the existing use can co-exist with the new registration without causing consumer confusion.
A patent application is a request pending at a patent office for the grant of a patent for an invention described in the patent specification and a set of one or more claims stated in a formal document, including necessary official forms and related correspondence. It is the combination of the document and its processing within the administrative and legal framework of the patent office.
This is a list of legal terms relating to patents. A patent is not a right to practice or use the invention, but a territorial right to exclude others from commercially exploiting the invention, granted to an inventor or his successor in rights in exchange to a public disclosure of the invention.
In former United States patent law, a statutory invention registration (SIR) was a publication of an invention by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The publication was made at the request of the applicant. In order for an applicant to have a patent application published as an SIR, the following conditions had to be met:
Title 35 of the United States Code is a title of United States Code regarding patent law. The sections of Title 35 govern all aspects of patent law in the United States. There are currently 37 chapters, which include 376 sections, in Title 35.
A tax patent is a patent that discloses and claims a system or method for reducing or deferring taxes. Tax patents have been granted predominantly in the United States but can be granted in other countries as well. They are considered to be a form of business method patent. They are also called "tax planning patents", "tax strategy patents", and "tax shelter patents". In September 2011, President Barack Obama signed legislation passed by the U.S. Congress that effectively prohibits the granting of tax patents in general.
The history of United States patent law started even before the U.S. Constitution was adopted, with some state-specific patent laws. The history spans over more than three centuries.
The Leahy–Smith America Invents Act (AIA) is a United States federal statute that was passed by Congress and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on September 16, 2011. The law represents the most significant legislative change to the U.S. patent system since the Patent Act of 1952 and closely resembles previously proposed legislation in the Senate in its previous session.
Return Mail Inc. v. United States Postal Service, No. 17–1594, 587 U.S. ___ (2019), was a case before the United States Supreme Court dealing with whether a government agency can act as a "person" to challenge a patent within the 2011 Leahy-Smith America Invents Act that reformed the patent process within the United States. The Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, ruled that within context of Leahy-Smith, the government does not constitute a "person".