Thursday, February 02, 2006

USPTO GRANTS REEXAM ON FORGENT'S JPEG PATENT AT THE BEHEST OF PUBPAT: Last November, the Public Patent Foundation ("PUBPAT") filed a reexamination request with the USPTO, asking it to invalidate Forgent's "JPEG" patent (US 4,698,672).

PUBPAT is a not-for-profit legal services organization that "represents the public's interests against the harms caused by the patent system, particularly the harms caused by wrongly issued patents and unsound patent policy." According to the organization, PUBPAT provides the general public and specific persons or entities otherwise deprived of access to the system governing patents with representation, advocacy and education.

Lately, PUBPAT has been making headlines acting as the agent provocateur of the anti-software movement.

As this blog previously predicted, the USPTO granted the reexam request. According to the USPTO website, this reexam is the first one ever requested on the '672 patent despite a literal tidal wave of litigation (see reexam documents here). The reexamination request cites another Forgent patent (i.e., Compression Labs), US Patent 4,541,012, as invalidating art under 102(b).

According to the Reexam order, the examiner found that there was sufficient evidence to show a substantial new question of patentability, and that the reexam would be placed under "special dispatch" (think "rocket-docket"). In the next 2-3 months, the Examiner should be issuing a Non-Final rejection.

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