Patent Riffs and Links – Dir. Iancu and the Senate Judiciary Committee

Director Iancu’s opening remarks to the Commitee on the Judiciary for the United States Senate.

Director Iancu tells Senate: 101 is an issue ‘we must all address | IPWATCHDOG
“In his written testimony Director Iancu wrote that the Office is studying issues that ‘include the institution decision, claim construction, the amendment process, and the conduct of hearings. Adding the composition of judging panels to the list could well signal that Director Iancu is specifically considering the possibility of separating the institution decision from the merits decision, which critics of the post grant process have urged. Similarly, reviewing standard operating procedures could mean many things, but suggests that there is some appreciate for structural issues and a lack of transparency that has dogged a stubborn PTAB that at times almost seems to willfully have a tin ear.”

PTO’s Iancu: AI Algorithms Generally Patentable | BROADCASTINGCABLE
Algorithms: “Iancu said it was a key issue, and went beyond AI to Big Data. ‘We have to make sure our policies, including IP, are highly focused on incentivizing that type of innovation,’ he said… Harris pointed out that China was providing patent protections to algorithms. Iancu said the Supreme Court decisions were causing significant confusion.

Iancu said that generally speaking, algorithms were human made and the result of human ingenuity rather than the mathematical representations of the discoveries of laws of nature — E=MC2 for example — which were not patentable…Algorithms are not set from time immemorial or ‘absolutes,’ he said. ‘They depend on human choices, which he said differs from E=MC2 or the Pythagorean theorem, or from a ‘pattern’ being discovered in nature.”

USPTO Director Andrei Iancu Discusses Patentability of Algorithms, PTAB Proceedings at Senate Judiciary Committee | IPWATCHDOG
Sen. Harris on 101: “Sen. Harris made the point that artificial intelligence, a technology sector expected to become much more valuable in the coming years, relies upon software that processes algorithms to perform the mathematical computations required by AI systems. ‘I’m curious, Sen. Harris said. ‘E=mc2. Would that have received any patent protection? Iancu responded that Einstein’s theory of relativity was a mathematical representation of a law of nature and therefore not patentable. Sen. Harris followed up by asking whether algorithms were mathematical representations of laws of nature. ‘You’re getting right to the heart of the issue, Iancu said. What Iancu said after that should be a major breath of fresh air to inventors and patent owners frustrated by Section 101 validity issues in the wake of Alice and Mayo:
‘This is one place where I believe courts have gone off the initial intent. There are human-made algorithms, human-made algorithms that are the result of human ingenuity that are not set from time immemorial and that are not absolutes, they depend on human choices. Those are very different from E=mc2 and they are very different from the Pythagorean theorem, for example.
Sen. Harris pushed Iancu further, asking the USPTO Director whether he felt that an algorithm was distinctly different from the identification of a pattern existing in nature. Although Iancu said that such determinations would have to take place on a case-by-case basis, he did say that, ‘As a general proposition, human-made algorithms that are cooked up, invented as a result of human ingenuity are different from discoveries and mathematical representations of those discoveries.”

USPTO Oversight Hearing by Senate Judiciary Committee | PATENTLYO
Sen. Coons eager to work with USPTO: “Although not speaking for the Senate as a whole, Senator Coons kicked-off the hearing with a statement that AIA Trials: ‘The current review system is systematically biased against patent owners. From Senator Coon’s perspective, the AIA was designed to give the USPTO Director authority to ‘fine-tune the AIA trial proceedings without further congressional actions — and that Director Iancu should take this opportunity to correct the imbalance.”

USPTO Chief Plans Summer Reveal For AIA Review Changes | LAW360
Summer: “A week after a high-profile speech in which he decried ‘a yearslong onslaught’ against the patent system, Iancu told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he is undertaking a complete examination of the AIA review system in the coming months…”

USPTO trying to cut patent pendency, says Andrei Iancu | WORLDIPREVIEW
“Average total pendency has also fallen from 33.8 months in January 2009 to a current level of 24.3 months, with a target of reducing that to less than 24 months… ‘Of critical importance is that we examine patent applications within the statutory patent term adjustment timeframes, said Iancu… Another area of focus for the office is ensuring the quality of patents, something that Iancu describes as a joint responsibility between the applicant and the USPTO…’For example, we recently identified attributes that examiners feel are integral to a patent application filing—such as clarity in the claims, among other attributes—and that enhance the ability of examiners to effectively and efficiently examine an application.”

Statement by John Thorne – General Counsel of the High Tech Inventors Alliance In reaction to Director Andrei Iancu’s Testimony Before the Senate Judiciary Committee | NEWS-JOURNAL
Not happy? “‘IPR has achieved Congress’s goal for the AIA of improving patent quality and restoring public confidence in the patent system, which had eroded due to bad quality patents that were harming innovation.

‘Supreme Court decisions striking down abstract patents have benefited innovation. HTIA looks forward to working with Director Iancu and providing guidance in this critical area regarding the best way to increase the predictability of the patent granting process. However, legislation stripping the vitality of Section 101 is unnecessary and would be harmful to innovation by creating higher levels of uncertainty.’

The High Tech Inventors Alliance is comprised of eight technology companies: Adobe, Amazon, Cisco, Dell, Google, Intel, Oracle and Salesforce. These companies have over 447,000 employees in the United States, have invested $62.9 billion in research and development in the past year, and hold a total of over 115,000 U.S. patents.”

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