In re Giacomini (Fed. Cir. 2009) (discussion of the briefs)
Giacomini is appealing the BPAI's 102(e) rejection -- arguing that the patent asserted as prior art does not actually qualify as prior art. Giacomini's application claims priority back to November 2000. The asserted prior art patent issued in 2006, but was filed in December 2000. The prior art patent also claims priority to a provisional application filed in September 2000. The PTO claims that the 102(e) date of the patent is the filing date of the provisional -- thus making it prior art over Giacomini.
When a patent is asserted under 102(e)(2), the patent's filing date is considered the priority date. In the language of the statute, the PTO must consider whether the putative prior art patent was "granted on an application for patent ... filed in the United States before the invention by the applicant for patent." The provision makes clear that a patent claiming priority to an international application will be given the international application filing date if that application "designated the United states and was published . .. in the English Language." Under US case law, when being considered as prior art, divisional and continuation patents are also given the filing dates of their parents as their 102(e) date. See In re Klesper (CCPA 1968)("provided the disclosure was contained in substance in the earliest application"). However, patents claiming priority to a foreign filing under Section 119 are not given the foreign priority date.
The novel question here on appeal is how to interpreted the statute's silence regarding provisional applications.
- Appeal Brief: cafc_appeal_brief_2009-1400_500-002us-2.pdf
- cafc_appeal_brief_2009-1400_500-002us-2.pdfPTO Opposition: Giacomini - Director's Brief (Red Brief).pdf
- BPAI Decision: BPAI Decision in Giacomini
- Related Discussion: Patently-O Discussion of Ex Parte Yamaguchi (BPAI 2008)