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Intellectual Property
USPTO and IPOS to Pilot Patent Prosecution Highway
Trial program to improve quality and pendency at both offices
Washington, D.C. - The Commerce Department's United States Patent and
Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore
(IPOS) today announced that they intend to launch a new trial cooperation
initiative called the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) on February 2, 2009.
The Patent Prosecution Highway will leverage fast-track patent examination
procedures already available in both offices to allow applicants to obtain
corresponding patents faster and more efficiently. It also will permit each
office to exploit the work previously done by the other office and reduce
duplication. In turn, the initiative will reduce examination workload and
improve patent quality.

Innovation Week will be held at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria,
VA June 22-27, 2009
INNOVATION WEEK 2009 is a weeklong celebration of the vital role patents
and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) play in our
economy and for the advancement of science and technology. The USPTO’
s goal in hosting Innovation Week 2009 is to engage Patent employees,
stakeholders and the general public through educational forums, general
presentations, and exhibits. Innovation Week will be held at the USPTO
headquarters in Alexandria, VA June 22-27, 2009. The week long event will
include technology specific presentations for patent examiners, lunch time
programs open to the public and employees, exhibits on display
throughout the week and a two-day conference for independent inventors.

Expanded Online Archive of the Trademark Official Gazette
In response to requests from the public, the United States Patent and
Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has significantly expanded its online archive
of weekly issues of the Trademark Official Gazette (“TMOG”). The USPTO is
now making available the most recent 52 issues of the TMOG on the
USPTO website at Previously,
only the most recent five issues were available on the USPTO website.

The USPTO website provides the TMOG in .PDF format. In addition,
Registration Certificates for marks registering on the Tuesday TMOG issue
date and Updated Registration Certificates being issued on the Tuesday
TMOG issue date are also provided in .PDF format.

USPTO 2008 Fiscal Year-End Results Demonstrate Commitment to
Sustaining High Performance
Patent and Trademark Operations Rose to Highest Performance Levels
in Agency’s History
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States
Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today released fiscal year-end
numbers that demonstrate the agency’s commitment to sustaining high
performance in the quality and timely examination of patent and trademark
applications. For the first time the USPTO met 100 percent of its
Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) goals. The results are
contained in the USPTO’s FY 2008 Performance and Accountability Report,
which was released to the public today.

“Our exceptional performance reflects the hard work and dedication of the
USPTO management team and most importantly, the more than 9,500
bright, quality-focused and results-driven USPTO employees,” said Under
Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO
Jon Dudas. “Their perseverance in sustaining high performance for the
USPTO will carry the agency into the future and continue to help strengthen
the IP system for years to come.”

USPTO, NIHFF and the Ad Council Launch "Inspiring Invention" PSA
Part of Multi-Year Campaign to Inspire Inventiveness in Kids, Winning
Contest Entries Receive Prizes from Sony and Potential National
Television Broadcast Exposure

Washington, D.C. -The United States Patent and Trademark Office
(USPTO) and the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation (NIHFF) have
teamed with the Ad Council to announce the "Inspiring Invention" public
service advertising (PSA) development contest to engage a new generation
of children in innovation. This contest is part of the Ad Council’s "Inspiring
Invention" campaign, sponsored by the USPTO and NIHFF. The contest is
open to school groups at the elementary, middle and high school levels
nationwide. In addition to prizes including Sony video and audio production
software and hardware, the winning entries will be distributed to media
outlets throughout the country in spring of 2009. The contest Web site,
developed by Discovery Education, is

The "Inspiring Invention" campaign, launched in April 2007, seeks to make
inventing and developing new ideas part of American children’s lives, while
also introducing children to how inventions are protected through patents,
trademarks and other forms of intellectual property (IP) protection. The
campaign aims to primarily reach tweens (ages 8-11), with a goal of
motivating these children to pursue inventing and innovating as part of their
educations and, later, in their careers. The PSAs developed for the
campaign direct children to visit to explore and
discover their own innate inventiveness.

Warning to USPTO Customers: Trademark Monitoring and Document
Filing Companies
You may receive unsolicited communications from companies requesting
fees for trademark related services, such as monitoring and document
filing. Although solicitations from these companies frequently display
customer-specific information, including USPTO serial number or
registration number and owner name, companies who offer these services
are not affiliated or associated with the USPTO or any other federal agency.
The USPTO does not provide trademark monitoring or any similar services.

Such companies typically charge a service fee in addition to applicable
USPTO fees. In many instances, applicants and registrants have
mistakenly believed that the USPTO has issued these communications or
that these companies are affiliated with the USPTO. Complaints about
such companies or communications may be made to the Federal Trade
Commission, at
What Is a Patent?
A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the
inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  
Generally, the term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which
the application for the patent was filed in the United States or, in
special cases, from the date an earlier related application was filed,
subject to the payment of maintenance fees. U.S. patent grants are
effective only within the United States, U.S. territories, and U.S.
possessions. Under certain circumstances, patent term extensions or
adjustments may be available.

The right conferred by the patent grant is, in the language of the
statute and of the grant itself, “the right to exclude others from
making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United
States or “importing” the invention into the United States. What is
granted is not the right to make, use, offer for sale, sell or import, but
the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, selling
or importing the invention. Once a patent is issued, the patentee must
enforce the patent without aid of the USPTO.

There are three types of patents:
1) Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers
any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or
composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof;
2) Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new,
original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture; and
3) Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers
and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.

Who May Apply For A Patent?
According to the law, only the inventor may apply for a patent, with
certain exceptions. If a person who is not the inventor should apply for
a patent, the patent, if it were obtained, would be invalid. The person
applying in such a case who falsely states that he/she is the inventor
would also be subject to criminal penalties. If the inventor is dead, the
application may be made by legal representatives, that is, the
administrator or executor of the estate. If the inventor is insane, the
application for patent may be made by a guardian. If an inventor refuses
to apply for a patent or cannot be found, a joint inventor or, if there is
no joint inventor available, a person having a proprietary interest in the
invention may apply on behalf of the non-signing inventor.

If two or more persons make an invention jointly, they apply for a
patent as joint inventors. A person who makes only a financial
contribution is not a joint inventor and cannot be joined in the
application as an inventor. It is possible to correct an innocent mistake
in erroneously omitting an inventor or in erroneously naming a person
as an inventor.

Officers and employees of the United States Patent and Trademark
Office are prohibited by law from applying for a patent or acquiring,
directly or indirectly, except by inheritance or bequest, any patent or
any right or interest in any patent.

What can and cannot be patented?

What can be patented – utility patents are provided for a new,
nonobvious and useful:
  • Process
  • Machine
  • Article of manufacture
  • Composition of matter
  • Improvement of any of the above
  • Note: In addition to utility patents, encompassing one of the
    categories above, patent protection is available for (1)
    ornamental design of an article of manufacture or (2) asexually
    reproduced plant varieties by design and plant patents.

What cannot be patented:
  • Laws of nature
  • Physical phenomena
  • Abstract ideas
  • Literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works (these can be
    Copyright protected).  Go to the Copyright Office.
  • Inventions which are:
  • Not useful (such as perpetual motion machines); or
  • Offensive to public morality

Invention must also be:
  • Novel
  • Nonobvious
  • Adequately described or enabled (for one of ordinary skill in the
    art to make and use the invention)
  • Claimed by the inventor in clear and definite terms

What is a trademark?

The term "trademark" is often used to refer to any of the four types of
marks that can be registered with the USPTO.  The two primary types
of marks that can be registered with the USPTO are:
Trademarks - used by their owners to identify goods, that is, physical
commodities, which may be natural, manufactured, or produced, and
which are sold or otherwise transported or distributed via interstate
Service marks - used by their owners to identify services, that is,
intangible activities, which are performed by one person for the
benefit of a person or persons other than himself, either for pay or
There are other types of marks that can be registered in the USPTO,
but they occur infrequently and have some different requirements for
registration than the more commonly applied for trademarks and
service marks. They are:
  • Certification marks
  • Collective marks
          Collective trademarks and collective service marks
          Collective membership marks  

PLEASE NOTE: Since the benefits conferred by registration are
essentially the same for all types of marks, the term "trademark" is often
used in general information that applies to service marks, certification
marks, and collective marks as well as to true trademarks (marks used
on goods) as defined above.
Click on here to read more articles on IP

  • USPTO 2008 Fiscal Year-End
    Results Demonstrate
    Commitment to Sustaining
    High Performance
  • What is a patent?
  • What can and cannot be
  • Who may apply for patent?
  • What is a trademark?  
  • Why should I obtain a
  • What is a copyright?
  • How do I finance and/or
    market my invention?

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