Intellectual Property Alert: Notes from the USPTO and Patent Public Advisory Committee Quarterly Meeting – Part 1 of 8

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The United States Patent and Trademark Office (the Office) and the Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) recently held their Patent Public Advisory Committee Quarterly Meeting to review policies, goals, performance, budget, and user fees. Topics addressed included 1) Update on Patents business units; 2) Finance/Budget; 3) IT update; 4) Artificial Intelligence (AI); 5) International update; 6) Pendency and Quality; and 7) PTAB update

This is the first of eight alerts Vorys will publish to summarize the topics discussed at the Quarterly Meeting.  This alert summarizes introductory remarks provided by U.S. Patent Office Director Andrei Iancu.

In his opening remarks, Director Iancu noted a letter from Congress in which both chambers applauded the Office regarding the measures implemented to adapt to the unprecedented circumstances following the COVID-19 pandemic. The Office has been teleworking since March 23rd, effectively closing all campuses until further notice. Despite a substantial number of employees teleworking to maintain a “business as usual” mode, and in conjunction with expansion of the Office’s “Increase Flex Time Policy Program,” the Office has recorded an increase in its efficiency and productivity.

Director Iancu also highlighted some of the recent accomplishments of the Office:

In discussing the Office’s communication with foreign patent offices regarding relief initiatives that might be available to Applicants, Director Iancu assured attendees that the Office is working very closely with patent offices across the world, with direct communication with the heads of each office, to exchange thoughts, ideas, and practices.

In addition, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has been having bi-weekly calls with various patent offices around the world.  WIPO launched the “COVID-19 IP Policy Tracker,” a new tool that tracks COVID-19 related IP policy changes or other measures being implemented by WIPO member states. 

Director Iancu concluded his statement by affirming that the Office will continue to focus on its core mission of fostering innovation, competitiveness, and economic growth, both domestically and abroad, stressing the importance of the longstanding partnership between the Office and PPAC.