All posts by: Robert Yarbrough

About Robert Yarbrough

David Kappos, the newly-sworn Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (‘PTO’), is moving quickly to place his mark upon the agency.  In one of his first acts, Director Kappos launched an internal PTO task force to change fundamentally the way that patent examiners review patent applications. At present, the PTO measures the productivity […]

David Kappos was sworn in as the new Administrator of the PTO this month. As Administrator, he will be the chief executive officer of the agency and in charge of the PTO’s several thousand employees, including patent and trademark examiners.  Mr. Kappos has spent his career as in-house patent counsel to IBM, the single largest […]

For several years, the U.S. has considered methods of doing business and computer software as proper subjects for patents, while the rest of the world generally does not. In October 2008, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals considered the issue of what processes can be patented in the case of In Re Bilski.  The Federal […]

Creative people are, well, creative.  The late Michael Jackson was an inventor as well as an entertainer.  He held U.S. Patent 5,255,452 issued October 26, 1993 for a “Method and Means for Creating Anti-Gravity Illusion.”  His invention was a dance shoe featuring a heel that he could secure to the floor while performing a dance […]

Why not skip the cost and uncertainty of the patent process and simply mark your product as patented or as ‘patent pending’ when you have no patent or no patent pending? The patent statute at 35 U.S.C. 292 provides that falsely labeling something as ‘patented’ or ‘patent pending’ is subject to a fine of up […]

“Design patents” address how something looks; namely, the ornamental design of the object. Examples of patented designs include the appearance of a chest of drawers and the appearance. of silverware. “Design patents” are different from “utility patents,” which protect how something works, such as a better mousetrap. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is speeding […]

The Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (“BPAI”) is the body within the Patent and Trademark Office that hears appeals. If a patent application is rejected twice by an examiner, the applicant can appeal to the BPAI and ask that the examiner’s decision be reversed. If the applicant is not happy with the decision of […]

If two inventors working independently create the same invention, which one is entitled to a patent?  Is it the person who invents first or the person who files a patent application first? Under current U.S. law, the person who is “first to invent” is entitled to the patent.  In the rest of the world, the […]

The United States District Court for the District of Utah Central Division has issued permanent injunctions and issued a judgment for approximately $9.7 in a case dealing with theft of trade secrets. Clearone Communications alleged that two individuals appropriated computer code known as “honeybee code” in violation of an asset purchase agreement and in violation […]

Based on patent filings thus far in 2009, the number of new applications filed in 2009 is projected to drop by more than 11 percent from 2008.   The drop in applications translates into a significant decrease in current revenue to the Patent and Trademark Office (‘PTO’) from fees.  The drop in revenue creates a major […]