In a new Patently-O Patent Law Journal essay, Professor Joshua Sarnoff (DePaul) highlights a set of important problems in the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. The essay, titled Derivation and Prior Art Problems with the New Patent Act focuses primarily on the elimination of 35 U.S.C. § 102(f) and its implications regarding the patentability of material that was either wholly or partially derived from another source.
Professor Sarnoff writes:
Legislation sometimes is enacted that obviously requires either immediate revision or creative administrative and judicial interpretation. The new Leahy-Smith America Invents Act's derivation and prior art provisions fall in that category. Whether or not the move from a first-to-invent to a first-inventor-to-file system is viewed as good policy and as authorized by the Constitution, the particular changes made to the prior art provisions may not prevent or invalidate patents on inventions derived from others, i.e., when the applicant has obtained knowledge of an invention from another, original inventor and then files for a patent on the same or a similar invention. In particular, obvious inventions made with unauthorized derived knowledge will now be patentable, given the elimination of prior art section § 102(f). Absent creative interpretations by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and the courts, the new derivation proceedings will not prevent a first filer from obtaining a patent even if the first filer's invention is merely an obvious extension of information derived from another. Further, the new act adds a narrow and poorly understood category of prior art that may generate years of needless litigation to re-settle the currently well-understood boundaries of the public domain. I discuss these problems in detail below.
There is some hope that Congress and the Administration will take Professor Sarnoff's concerns to heart.
Read the article: Joshua D. Sarnoff, Derivation and Prior Art Problems with the New Patent Act, 2011 Patently-O Patent Law Review 12 at http://www.patentlyo.com/files/sarnoff.2011.derivation.pdf.
Prior Patently-O Patent Law Journal Articles include:
- Bernard Chao, Not So Confidential: A Call for Restraint in Sealing Court Records, 2011 Patently-O Patent L.J. 6.
- Benjamin Levi and Rodney R. Sweetland, The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Recommendations to the International Trade Commission (ITC): Unsound, Unmeasured, and Unauthoritative, 2011 Patently-O Patent L.J. 1.
- Kevin Emerson Collins, An Initial Comment on King Pharmaceuticals: The Printed Matter Doctrine as a Structural Doctrine and Its Implications for Prometheus Laboratories, 2010 Patently-O Patent L.J. 111.
- Robert A. Matthews, Jr., When Multiple Plaintiffs/Relators Sue for the Same Act of Patent False Marking, 2010 Patently-O Patent L.J. 95.
- Kristen Osenga, The Patent Office's Fast Track Will Not Take Us in the Right Direction, 2010 Patently-O Patent L.J. 89.
- Peter S. Menell, The International Trade Commission's Section 337 Authority, 2010 Patently-O Patent L.J. 79.
- Donald S. Chisum, Written Description of the Invention: Ariad (2010) and the Overlooked Invention Priority Principle, 2010 Patently-O Patent L.J. 72.
- Kevin Emerson Collins, An Initial Comment on Ariad: Written Description and the Baseline of Patent Protection for After-Arising Technology, 2010 Patently-O Patent L.J. 60.
- Etan Chatlynne, Investigating Patent Law's Presumption of Validity—An Empirical Analysis, 2010 Patently-O Patent L.J. 37.
- Michael Kasdan and Joseph Casino, Federal Courts Closely Scrutinizing and Slashing Patent Damage Awards, 2010 Patently-O Patent L.J. 24.
- Dennis Crouch, Broadening Federal Circuit Jurisprudence: Moving Beyond Federal Circuit Patent Cases, 2010 Patently-O Patent L.J. 19.
- Edward Reines and Nathan Greenblatt, Interlocutory Appeals of Claim Construction in the Patent Reform Act of 2009, Part II, 2010 Patently-O Patent L.J. 7.
- Gregory P. Landis & Loria B. Yeadon, Selecting the Next Nominee for the Federal Circuit: Patently Obvious to Consider Diversity, 2010 Patently-O Patent L.J. 1.
- Edward Reines, and Nathan Greenblatt, Interlocutory Appeals of Claim Construction in the Patent Reform Act of 2009, 2009 Patently-O Patent L.J. 1.
- Paul Cole, Patentability of Computer Software As Such, 2008 Patently-O Patent L.J. 1.
- Mark R. Patterson, Reestablishing the Doctrine of Patent Exhaustion, 2007 Patently-O Patent L.J. 38
- Arti K. Rai, The GSK Case: An Administrative Perspective, 2007 Patently-O Patent L.J. 36.
- Joshua D. Sarnoff, BIO v. DC and the New Need to Eliminate Federal Patent Law Preemption of State and Local Price and Product Regulation, 2007 Patently-O Patent L.J. 30
- John F. Duffy, Are Administrative Patent Judges Unconstitutional?, 2007 Patently-O Patent L.J. 21.
- Joseph Casino and Michael Kasdan, In re Seagate Technology: Willfulness and Waiver, a Summary and a Proposal, 2007 Patently-O Patent L.J. 1.