All posts by: Robert Yarbrough

About Robert Yarbrough

When most inventors think of a patent, they think of a better-mousetrap type patent, known as a utility patent.  A utility patent protects what an invention is and how it works.  U.S. Patent 269,766 for a mousetrap that plugs a mouse with  a bullet from  a  .44 is an example of a utility patent.  Our […]

‘It’ being the nonsensical state of U.S. patent eligibility, that is.   Over the last decade or so the U.S. Supreme Court has restricted the patentability of numerous inventions as ‘abstract’ or ‘laws of nature,’ including business techniques (Bilski v Kappos), medical inventions (Mayo v Prometheus), biotech inventions (Myriad Genetics), and computer software (Alice v […]

Patent and invention owners should care.  You should care. Barely a decade ago, Congress created the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and gave it the power of life and death over patents.  In the years since, the PTAB has done exactly what Congress intended – reduce the cost to challenge and kill patents and […]

The story today demonstrates that even experienced and sophisticated patent owners, like Apple, can trip over the fundamentals. ‘Inter partes review’ is a way* for a person or company to challenge someone else’s patent before the USPTO.  A person who wants to challenge a patent can petition the USPTO and submit prior patents, applications or other […]

The horizon of which inventions are patentable, that is.  For the last decade or so, the Supreme Court has been steadily excluding one technology after another from patent protection.  The recent series of cases started in 2010 with Bilski v Kappos, which determined that a method of hedging utility fuel prices was not patentable.  Then the […]

VirnetX Holding Corporation is a 20-employee, publicly-traded (NYSE: VHC) corporation with a market capitalization of $505 million and with unusual family compensation.  VirnetX owns 190 patents for some of the key technologies of the last fifteen years, including technologies used for Skype, iMessage, FaceTime and virtual private networks. VirnetX is in the business of licensing those patent […]

After the patent examiner issues a decision (an ‘office action’) on a patent application, the applicant has the right to an ‘interview’ with the examiner.  The interview can be in person, by video or by telephone.  During Covid-19, in-person interviews are out, but video and telephone interviews are available.  In the interview, the applicant can […]

Utility patents protect what things are, how they work, or ways of doing things.  An example is the guillotine mousetrap that works by, well, the name says it all.  Design patents protect the ornamental design of a product, for example this mousetrap that looks like a demented cat.  The topic this month is design patents. Let’s say that […]

The patent application process is essentially a negotiation  between the patent applicant, represented by his or her patent attorney or patent agent, and the Federal government, represented by the patent examiner.  Most communications between the applicant and the examiner are written, in the form of the application itself, office actions by the examiner, and responses and […]