Standard for Invalidity Tested at SCOTUS: In Microsoft Corp. v. z4 Tech., Microsoft argued that z4's patent was invalid under 102(g), and sought a lowered standard of invalidity for art that was not considered by the PTO. Relying partly on the dicta from the SCOTUS KSR decision ("[w]e nevertheless think it appropriate to note that the rationale underlying the presumption [of validity] - that the PTO, in its expertise, has approved the claim - seems much diminished here"), Microsoft is asking the SCOTUS to formally take a stance on the presumption. The question presented is:
When a defense of invalidity under Section 282 rests on documentary evidence that was not considered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, whether the factual predicates of the defense must be proved by “clear and convincing evidence” or some lower burden of proof.Read the petition here (link), and read more over at Patently-O.
Reduced Patent Grants - the EPO Gets On Board: the EPO has announced that, despite an increase in patent applications, the grant rate has now dropped almost 13% over the last year:
Last year, the EPO received a record total of 218,200 patent filings, compared to 210,600 the previous year. At the same time, the 54,700 European patents granted in 2007 represented a decrease of 12.9% over the previous year (62,800 granted patents).Read the press release over at the EPO (link)
Debate on Patent Reform Act to Begin "As Early As Next Week": A spokeswoman for Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the majority leader is committed to bring S.1145 to the Senate floor in the current working session which ends in late May. "It could come up as early as next week," she said (link).
Sen. Clinton Questioned on Patent Reform on Campaign Stop: A local inventor and entrepreneur reportedly pushed and shoved his way through a crowd in Pennsylvania to ask Sen. Hillary Clinton a question on the Patent Reform Act. According to the inventor, she opposes anything in the bill that would hurt manufacturers (link).
Rating the Examiners: A new website has been created that has a message board allowing people to "rate" examiners (and also allow examiners to rate practitioners). There's even a kind post from an alleged EPO examiner that names yours truly (in case you're feeling cynical, no: I didn't put that post there myself). Click here for more info (link).