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Blog Category: Patent and Trademark Office

Commerce Seeks Comment on Protecting Copyrighted Works on the Internet

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Internet Policy Task Force today issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking comment from all interested stakeholders on the protection of copyrighted works online and the relationship between copyright law and innovation in the Internet economy. 

Considering the vital importance of the Internet in today’s society, the Department of Commerce has made it a top priority to ensure that the Internet remains open for innovation.  The initiative on Copyright Policy, Creativity and Innovation in the Internet economy seeks to identify policies that will: 

  1. Generate benefits for rights holders of creative works accessible online and make recommendations with respect to those who infringe on those rights;
  2. Enable the robust and free flow of information to facilitate innovation and growth of the Internet economy; and
  3. Ensure transparency and due process in cooperative efforts to build confidence in the Internet as a means of distributing copyrighted works.

The comments gathered through this NOI will be used by the Internet Policy Task Force in preparing a report that will contribute to the administration’s domestic policy and international engagement in the area of online copyright protection.

Patent and Trademark Office Incentivizes the Creation and Distribution of Technologies That Address Humanitarian Needs

Humanitarian healthcare workers with childAs world leaders prepare to meet in New York City for the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative to discuss ways to solve the critical challenges that face our world, the Commerce Department’s U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has launched an effort to incentivize the creation and distribution of technologies that address humanitarian needs both domestically and internationally.

The USPTO is seeking comments on a proposed pilot program that would allow patent holders who make their technology available for humanitarian purposes to be eligible for a voucher entitling them to an accelerated re-examination of a patent.Because patents under re-examination are often among the most commercially valuable patents, fast-track re-examination of a patent allows a patent owner to affirm the validity of his or her patent more quickly and less expensively.  This voucher could then be used on any patent owned by the patent holder or transferred on the open market.

Technologies that address humanitarian needs among impoverished populations, such as treatments for tropical diseases, diagnostic medical tools, crops with higher yields or better nutritional value, and treatments for sanitation or clean water, would be considered eligible for the program.  Participants could qualify for the proposed pilot in two ways: by making their patented technologies available to impoverished populations for humanitarian use, or by making their patented technologies available to researchers who are developing technologies that address humanitarian needs.

Learn more about the pilot project and offer your comments (PDF).

USPTO Launches Data Visualization Center

Image of dashboardCommerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) this week launched a beta version of the “USPTO Data Visualization Center.”  This tool will give the public access to important data covering USPTO patent operations in a convenient dashboard format.  The patents dashboard provides more refined pendency information than was previously available, as well as other critical indicators such as the number of applications in the backlog, production, staffing and more.

This information will help the entire intellectual property (IP) community to better understand the USPTO’s processes, and enable applicants to make more informed decisions about their applications, especially as the USPTO develops more opportunities for applicants to control the timing at which their applications are examined.  The new dashboard, which will be updated monthly, will also be used internally by the USPTO to analyze and improve its examination process and to track the effectiveness of its improvement efforts.  The USPTO also plans to add relevant data to track progress in other areas such as Trademarks and worksharing with global IP offices.

The USPTO is pleased to offer this new tool which provides a window into USPTO operations that has not been available to the public before.  To learn more about what the USPTO will be measuring and tracking visit the dashboard at www.uspto.gov/dashboards.  And to read USPTO Director Kappos’ blog about the dashboard, visit www.uspto.gov/blogData Visulization Center

 

Secretary Locke Meets with Music Industry Representatives in Nashville to Discuss Piracy and Global Intellectual Property Protection

Secretary Locke Meets with Music Industry

Locke emphasizes protection of creativity and innovation as vital to jobs and the economy

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met with artists and representatives from the music industry today to discuss the administration’s commitment to global enforcement of laws against intellectual property piracy. Locke was joined by Congressman Jim Cooper and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean for a tour of “Music Row.” After the tour, Governor Phil Bredesen joined the group for a discussion with musicians, including Big Kenny from Big & Rich, songwriters, students and other industry representatives at Belmont University.

“This administration is committed to tackling the challenges facing the music industry, because it is a fundamental issue of economic security and jobs,” Locke said. “We are continually looking for new ways to protect the creativity that is the lifeblood of Nashville and America’s economy.”

As “America’s Music City,” Nashville is an important hub in the U.S. music industry and has been impacted by the recent rise in online intellectual property piracy. With the advent of the Internet and file-sharing technologies, consumers are spending less on recorded music in all formats, and total revenues for recorded music in the U.S. have dropped from a high of $14.6 billion in 1999 to $7.7 billion in 2008. This has affected the local economy, which supports thousands of jobs and a $4 billion industry annually.  |  More  |  Remarks  |  More photos 

USPTO Hosts "Three-Track" Roundtable in Alexandria

Participants at roundtable discussionCommerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) held a public roundtable discussion today on a new proposed patent examination initiative called the “Enhanced Examination Timing Control Initiative,” or “Three-Track” for short, which is currently under consideration by the USPTO. The meeting was held at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Va. 

The proposed initiative would eliminate the “one-size-fits-all” approach the USPTO has traditionally taken to patent examination, provide applicants greater control over the speed with which their applications are examined and promote greater efficiency in the patent examination process. 

More information about the initiative can be found here at http://www.uspto.gov/news/pr/2010/10_24.jsp.

Secretary Locke Addresses Symposium on Copyright Policy in the Internet Economy

Secretary Locke on the podiumU.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke discussed the relationship of copyright policy, creativity, and innovation in the Internet economy at a Commerce Department symposium today. The day-long symposium is part of an ongoing series of events sponsored by the Department’s Internet Policy Task Force. The encourages public discussion of online copyright policy in the United States and seeks comment and input from all interested stakeholders--rights holders, Internet service providers, and consumers--on the impact of current copyright laws, the common and emerging techniques used to illegally distribute and obtain protected works, the extent of such infringement and its effects on creativity and innovation in relevant technologies.

Recognizing the vital importance of the Internet to U.S. innovation, prosperity, education and political and cultural life, the Commerce Department has made it a top priority to ensure that the Internet remains open for innovation.  The newly created Internet Policy Task Force will identify leading public policy and operational challenges in the Internet environment.  The Task Force leverages expertise across many of the Department’s bureaus, including those responsible for domestic and international information and communications technology policy, international trade, cyber security standards and best practices, intellectual property, business advocacy and export control.  For more information, including the agenda and webcast information, go to the Internet Policy Task Force Web site (whttp://www.ntia.doc.gov/category/internet-policy-task-force?type=All&field_month_list_value_many_to_one=February&date_filter%5Bvalue%5D%5Byear%5D=) or (www.uspto.gov).  Secretary remarks

Secretary Locke Discusses Clean Energy Technologies at Energy Efficiency Forum

Secretary Locke on podium in front of audienceU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered the keynote address, "Connections between Energy Efficiency and the Economy” at the 21st annual Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington today. In his remarks, Locke said,

"Investments in emerging technologies like solar, wind and advanced batteries are vital to this nation's future, and the Obama administration is making unprecedented investments to help them grow. . . .  The president has already made $80 billion in clean energy investments through the Recovery Act – with a good portion going to the type of basic R&D that is often too risky or too expensive for private sector investors."

The 2010 Energy Efficiency Forum, sponsored by the U.S. Energy Association and Johnson Controls, brings together leading energy experts, policy makers, business executives, and top administration officials to discuss the critical role that energy efficiency in buildings, vehicles and industry plays as the foundation for international agreements, national strategies and local actions.  Remarks

USPTO: New Exhibit on Food Opens at National Inventors Hall of Fame

Mr. Peanut® character costumeUnder Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) David Kappos and Alexandria, Va.,  Mayor Bill Euille presided at the opening ceremony of this unique, new exhibit today at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria. This is the first major exhibit installation to come to the National Inventors Hall of Fame since it was relocated to Alexandria from Akron, Ohio, in March 2009.

Inventive Eats: Incredible Food Innovations highlights how our breakfast cereals, sandwiches, dinner entrees and more have been transformed by significant events, discoveries and inventions. It features the important role many of the National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees have played in the array of appetizing innovations that have made the food we eat safer, healthier and more economical.

Image of walk-in kitchen from 1950sVisuals include:

  • A full-size Mr. Peanut® character costume from the 1960s, used for Planters marketing, and additional Mr. Peanut artifacts
  • A 1950s fully stocked walk-in kitchen
  • 19th century patent models, including models of a refrigerator, an egg beater, a flour sifter and the original Mason jar
  • Displays of other well-known trademark food characters, such as the Pillsbury Doughboy® and the Green Giant®
  • A Tappan vintage microwave from 1955, the first for home use 
  • A 19th century patented beehive

USPTO Teams With Google to Provide Bulk Patent and Trademark Data to the Public

Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) David Kappos announced today that the USPTO has entered into a no-cost, two-year agreement with Google to make bulk electronic patent and trademark public data available to the public in bulk form. Under this agreement, the USPTO is providing Google with existing bulk, electronic files, which Google will host without modification for the public free of charge.  This bulk data can be accessed at http://www.google.com/googlebooks/uspto.html.

"The USPTO is committed to providing increased transparency as called for by the President’s Open Government Initiative. An important element of that transparency is making valuable public patent and trademark information more widely available in a bulk form so companies and researchers can download it for analysis and research,” said Under Secretary Kappos. “Because the USPTO does not currently have the technical capability to offer the data in bulk form from our own Web site, we have teamed with Google to provide the data in a way that is convenient and at no cost for those who desire it.”

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Commerce Issues Report on Role of Patent Reform in Supporting Innovation and Job Creation

USPTO seal

Reforming America’s patent system will accelerate economic growth and job creation, and expand America’s ability to innovate, according to a new report released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The paper, titled “Patent Reform—Unleashing Innovation, Promoting Economic Growth and Producing High-Paying Jobs,” was authored by the Commerce Department’s Chief Economist Mark Doms, the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) Chief Economist Stuart Graham and USPTO’s Administrator for External Affairs Arti Rai. (More) (Report)