LES Fireside Chat with USPTO Innovation and Outreach Coordinator Sue Purvis

IP professionals’ favorite holiday is right around the corner: World IP Day is tomorrow, April 26.

In honor of IP’s special day, the Licensing Executives Society (LES) is hosting a month-long celebration with global events “aimed at connecting IP, licensing and business professionals, as well as entrepreneurially-minded students, across the globe in an effort to move innovation forward.”

inovia’s own Foreign Filing Specialists, Jasmine Cruz and Susanne Kennedy, attended one of these celebratory events last week. The LES NYC Chapter hosted a “Fireside Chat” with Sue Purvis, the USTPO’s Innovation and Outreach Coordinator in New York. Ms. Purvis works closely with Cornell University as they build Cornell NYC Tech, a new graduate school for entrepreneurial technologists. Arnold Burstein, Executive Vice President with the BioLumina Group, served as the event’s moderator.

At the event, Ms. Purvis discussed a variety of topics, among the most popular being the America Invents Act (AIA). She said that filings have decreased since the AIA’s final provisions went into effect on March 16, 2013, from about 1400 to 900 daily filings. Also, since the first-to-file provision has put the US in line with the patent law of nearly every other country, Ms. Purvis believes that the US will continue to harmonize its laws with the rest of the world – although the process will take many years.

During the Q&A session, one attendee brought up another hot-button issue – software IP rights. Ms. Purvis replied that patent attorneys need to be more diligent about drafting claims for software applications to avoid infringement. Under 35 U.S.C. § 112, if a claimed means requires programming to carry out its function, then the specification must include an algorithm to support the claim – without it the claim can be rendered invalid.

Ms. Purvis also discussed the USPTO’s prioritized examination program. The program started as a pilot and she is uncertain whether or not it will continue; however, she ensured the audience that the USPTO has a team in place to monitor the quality of the examination of fast-tracked applications. The USPTO provides examiners with a dashboard that outlines what they should be looking for in each application.

She also mentioned that if an applicant feels that they are not getting the type of attention/response that they need from the examiner, the applicant can register a complaint higher up in the organization.

Much of Ms. Purvis’ work at the USPTO focuses on partnerships and the USPTO is constantly seeking organizations to work with in order to support innovation. The USPTO and AutoHarvest, a non-profit organization which aims to foster communication and intellectual property development in the automotive industry, recently announced that they will be working together to spur innovation and generate jobs in advanced manufacturing. The collaboration will also synch with the USPTO’s satellite office in Detroit (which opened in July 2012) and will foster community outreach programs there.

While World IP Day is just one day, the LES is hosting a number of upcoming events for IP professionals to participate in. Today there were 8 events happening in the US and Canada! LES International is also hosting a number of events around the world.  inovia‘s New York office will be celebrating tomorrow (stay tuned) — we hope you find a fun way to celebrate IP’s biggest day!