Carbon capture technologies generally pertain to the capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) by certain materials or systems.  Such materials or systems can then process the captured CO2 in various manners, such as through storage at a remote site, chemical conversion, or secondary uses.

In view of global efforts to reduce CO2 emissions, carbon capture technologies have found numerous commercial applications.  Patent protection can help facilitate and incentivize such commercialization efforts by providing exclusivity.

In the United States, utility patents provide protection for any “new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.” [1]  During the term of a patent, patent holders can exclude others from making, using, offering to sell, or selling any patented invention in the United States, and importing any patented invention into the United States[2].

A proper patent protection strategy can help maximize the commercialization potential of a carbon capture technology.  In devising such a patent protection strategy, patent applicants should at least consider the following guidelines:

  • Conduct prior art searches before seeking patent protection;
  • File a patent application before any sales or public disclosures;
  • Start patent protection early by filing a provisional patent application;
  • Continue patent protection by filing an international patent application;
  • Claim different aspects of the carbon capture technology;
  • Emphasize the unpredictable aspects of the carbon capture technology; and
  • Consider modes of protection other than utility patents.

Continue Reading Clearing the Air: Patent Protection Strategies for Carbon Capture Technologies

In an effort to support ongoing research and development efforts related to treatments and diagnostic tools for COVID-19, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has announced a prioritized examination pilot program (“the Pilot Program”) directed specifically to patent applications claiming products or processes related to COVID-19.[1]  Under the Pilot Program, the USPTO will advance out of turn certain patent applications relating to COVID-19.[2]  Additionally, certain fees normally associated with prioritized examination, will be waived.[3]  Table 1 provides a summary of the requirements to participate in the Pilot Program.

Continue Reading USPTO Introduces Prioritized Examination Pilot Program for Patent Applications Related to COVID-19

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently announced that its offices will be closed to the public “until further notice.”[1] However, the USPTO also assured the public that USPTO “operations will continue without interruption.”[2] Accordingly, applicants can continue to file related documents with the USPTO (e.g., patent applications, trademark applications, and responses to USPTO communications). Applicants can also hold interviews and oral hearings with the USPTO by video or telephone.[3]

Additionally, the USPTO has provided numerous accommodations for applicants that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As explained in more detail below, such accommodations for affected applicants include:

(I) a 30-day extension of certain patent-related and trademark-related filing deadlines that fall between March 27 and April 30;

(II) waiver of revival fees for (a) abandoned patent applications, (b) terminated or limited re-examination proceedings, (c) abandoned trademark applications, and (d) cancelled/expired trademark registrations; and

(III) waiver of original handwritten signature requirements for (a) registration to practice before the USPTO in patent cases, (b) enrollment and disciplinary investigations, (c) disciplinary proceedings, and (d) non-electronic payments by credit card.[4]

Continue Reading The United States Patent and Trademark Office Remains Operational and Flexible During the COVID-19 Pandemic

European and UK patents are not impacted by Brexit. The European Patent Office (EPO) is established under the European Patent Convention (EPC). The EPC is separate from the European Union and the UK is, now, one of several non-EU contracting states. The EPO will continue to validate “European” patents in the UK and the UK

The prosecution of a patent application before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) can be a prolonged and costly process. The patent prosecution process can include the issuance of an Office Action by the USPTO and the subsequent filing of an Office Action response by the applicant. While such communications can occur multiple times

Under the Patent Act, one can patent “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.”[1] Common exceptions to what can be patented include laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas[2].  In Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc. v. Sequenom, Inc. (Sequenom), the

Under the Patent Act, one can patent “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.”[1] Common exceptions to what can be patented include laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas[2]. In a recent decision in Ariosa Diagnostics v. Sequenom (Sequenom

An industrial design generally constitutes the ornamental or aesthetic aspects of various articles, such as the three dimensional features (e.g., shapes) or two dimensional features (e.g., patterns, lines or colors) of packages, containers, furniture, household goods, lighting equipment, jewelry, electronic devices, and textiles. Industrial designs can be protected in many countries by a design patent.

According to the United States Patent Office’s annual report, the average total patent pendency in 2012 for patent applications was 32.4 months.  For many patent applicants, this delay is unexpected and may significantly impact future business plans.  However, there are special avenues for accelerating examination.

A petition requesting prioritized examination (or petition to make special)

Patent prosecution can be a slow and expensive process.  A business or an applicant may wish to accelerate the process of procuring a patent for a number of reasons including, engaging in enforcement activity and reducing investor’s or licensee’s perceived risks.  A decisive factor for businesses and applicants seeking patent protection in key global markets