Articles Posted in USPTO News


Alexandria, Virginia – The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) will hold its next in a series of Patent Quality Chats on Tuesday, July 14th, with its second Chat on this month’s topic – Face-to-Face Examiner Interviews: A Demonstration of USPTO Tools hosted by Director of Technology Center 2400 Timothy Callahan. Mr. Callahan will be demonstrating USPTO tools for virtual, face-to-face interviews and discussing various initiatives for enhancing the quality of Examiner-Applicant interviews while collecting feedback and listening for new stakeholder ideas on the same.

The USPTO held its first Patent Quality Chat webinar in June; that month’s topic was Clarity of the Record, hosted by Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy Drew Hirshfeld. Deputy Commissioner Hirshfeld discussed various patent examiner training modules covering the topics of 35 U.S.C § 112, functional claiming, and making the record clear; he also reviewed the Clarity of the Record Quality Initiative. A video recording of this 1-hour inaugural event can be found here and is also linked on the USPTO’s Patent Quality Chat webpage where the slide presentation from the June 9th event can also be found.

Regularly scheduled on the second Tuesday of each month, these Patent Quality Chats are a lunchtime webinar series designed to provide information on various patent quality topics and to continue the dialogue between the USPTO and its stakeholders about enhancing patent quality.

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Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) is seeking nominations to fill upcoming vacancies for the Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) and the Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC). Nominations must be postmarked or electronically transmitted on or before July 25, 2015. Submission details can be found in the Federal Register Notice.


The Public Advisory Committees for the USPTO were created through the Patent and Trademark Office Efficiency Act statute in the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 to advise the Secretary of Commerce and the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO on the management of patent and trademark operations. The Public Advisory Committees review the policies, goals, performance, budget, and user fees of the patent and trademark operations, respectively, and advise the director on these matters. Each committee has nine voting members who are appointed by, and serve at the pleasure of, the Secretary of Commerce. Each member serves a three-year term.

For more information you may contact, Andrew C. Byrnes, Chief of Staff, Office of the Under Secretary and Director, USPTO, by facsimile transmission marked to his attention at (571) 273-0464.

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) will host an Additive Manufacturing Partnership Meeting on Wednesday, July 8, 2015 on the Alexandria campus. Additive manufacturing, sometimes called “3D printing,” refers to a group of new technologies that create objects from 3D computer models, usually by joining thin materials, layer upon layer. The meeting will serve as a forum for sharing ideas, experiences, and insights between individual users and representatives from the USPTO.


Additive manufacturing is used in the fields of jewelry, footwear, architecture, engineering and construction, automotive, aerospace, dental and medical industries, education, geographic information systems, civil engineering, and many others.

What: Additive Manufacturing Partnership Meeting


Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) recently announced the release of the Patent Application Alert Service. This system provides customized email alerts to the public for free when patent applications of interest are published. Additionally, the system offers direct access to the published applications that meet users’ search criteria.

After receipt of these customized email alerts, the public may identify prior art for “pre-issuance” submission into these applications. The pre-issuance submission process was established under the America Invents Act and, to date, the Office has received more than 2,600 submissions across all technologies. More information on the pre-issuance submission program and how members of the public can participate can be found here.

The idea for the patent application alert service came from a public roundtable held at the USPTO in April 2014 where the USPTO solicited input regarding the use of crowdsourcing and pre-issuance submissions to identify relevant prior art. The USPTO expects that this new service may be used to enhance the quality of examination and issued patents.

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) recently announced the latest winners of the Patents for Humanity program. The Patents for Humanity program was launched by the USPTO in February 2012 as part of an Obama administration initiative promoting game-changing innovations to solve long-standing development challenges.

“As innovation and economic progress have made the world increasingly connected, more and more industries are realizing that their technologies can improve lives everywhere,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Michelle K. Lee. “The experiences of businesses across industries have shown that helping the less fortunate can go hand in hand with developing commercial markets, and that humanitarian entrepreneurship provides new opportunities for those with vision to pursue them.”

The Patents for Humanity Award is the top award for applicants best representing the Patents for Humanity principles. Award recipients will receive public recognition at an award ceremony sponsored by the USPTO. They will also receive a certificate to accelerate certain matters before the USPTO: a patent application, ex parte reexam, or an ex parte appeal to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Inter partes matters and other post-grant proceedings may not currently be accelerated. Honorable mentions will receive accelerated examination of one patent application and a featured write-up on the USPTO website. A portion of honorable mentions may be awarded for the best up-and-coming technologies.

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Commerce‘s United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) announced last week the appointment of Meryl Hershkowitz as Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Operations. In her new position, Hershkowitz will oversee the examination and processing of applications throughout trademark operations.

“Meryl Hershkowitz is a talented, committed professional who is going to excel in her position as Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Operations,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee. “Her extensive background at the USPTO gives her a unique expertise from which I believe her whole team will benefit.”

“Meryl has done a stellar job here at the USPTO in a variety of roles over the years,” said Commissioner of Trademarks Mary Boney Denison. “She has an impressive track record of success in Trademark Operations. She has much to offer the agency and its customers in her new role.”


On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the appointment of Russell Slifer as the next Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). Slifer left his role as the Director of the USPTO’s Rocky Mountain Regional Office in Denver. He began his new duties at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, VA, on the day of the announcement.

While Director of the USPTO’s Denver office, which opened on June 30, 2014, Slifer served as the agency’s primary liaison with the innovation community in the Rocky Mountain Region. He was actively engaged in education and outreach initiatives, empowering the USPTO to develop programs, policies, and procedures to meet the needs of the Rocky Mountain West innovation community.

“Russell has an impressive track record of success across several disciplines and will be a tremendous asset to the USPTO,” said Secretary Pritzker. “His leadership will be instrumental in the USPTO’s efforts to foster economic growth and promote American innovation by reducing the patent application backlog and enhancing patent and trademark quality. I look forward to working with Russell in his new role, along with Director Lee and the rest of the USPTO team.”


Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) recently announced that the United States has deposited its instrument of ratification to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (“Hague Agreement”) with the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”) in Geneva, Switzerland. This marks the last step in the membership process for the United States to become a Member of the Hague Union. The treaty will go into effect for the United States on May 13, 2015.

Currently, U.S. applicants wishing to pursue protection for industrial designs in multiple jurisdictions must file individual applications in each of the respective jurisdictions where industrial design rights are desired. When the Hague Agreement enters into force for the United States, it will be possible for U.S. applicants to file a single international design application either with WIPO in Geneva, Switzerland, or the USPTO to obtain protection in multiple economies. The Hague system for the protection of industrial designs provides a practical solution for registering up to 100 designs in over 62 territories with the filing of one single international application.

“U.S. accession to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement will provide applicants with the opportunity for improved efficiencies and cost savings in protecting their innovative designs in the global economy,” said Deputy Under Secretary for Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee. “We are extremely excited about joining the Hague Union and contributing to the continued expansion and development of the Hague system which facilitates protection of industrial designs in design registration and examination systems alike.”


Alexandria, Virginia – A two-day event to be held by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) will include patent-quality discussions among USPTO leadership as well as experts from industry, academia, and the public.

The USPTO will host this public meeting on Wednesday, March 25 and Thursday, March 26, 2015 at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The Quality Summit will encourage robust discussions among USPTO leadership; patent prosecutors, litigators, applicants and licensees; and other members of the public interested in USPTO’s efforts to further improve patent quality through its Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative.

The USPTO is seeking public input and guidance to direct its continued efforts towards enhancing patent quality. These efforts focus on improving patent operations and procedures to provide the best possible work products, to enhance the customer experience, and to improve existing quality metrics. USPTO has already set in motion several quality initiatives, including robust technical and legal training for patent examiners, as well as a Glossary Pilot, Quick Patent IDS Program, First Action Interview Pilot, and After Final Consideration Pilot.  The two-day Quality Summit is one of many ways the USPTO is engaging with the public on this important effort.

On January 17, 2015, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued the January 2015 Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (“TMEP”), which incorporates changes made in accordance with the following rules:

• Renaming of Express Mail® to Priority Mail Express®, published October 22, 2014 at 79 FR 63036;

• Reduction of Fees for Trademark Applications and Renewals, published December 16, 2014 at 79 FR 74633; and

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