二零一二年九月十六日開始實施之美國專利制度 -2012/09/19 , 申請專利.專利研討會.專利申請-聯誠國際專利商標聯合事務所
二零一二年九月十六日開始實施之美國專利制度 -2012/09/19

二零一二年九月十六日開始實施之美國專利制度


Inventor's oath or declaration

發明人宣誓,9/16/2012施行(Final Rule, 77 Fed. Reg. 48776 (August, 14, 2012)


為了簡化美國專利申請程序,以往可能造成申請人要求發明人簽署宣誓書時產生延遲或是其他困擾,在新的修法中,將簡化了宣誓書的內容,並提供更彈性的規定,包括:
申請時無需提供發明人宣誓書(可後補),可以重複提出宣誓書(後送者取代前者,或是讓新的發明人加入),可以利用替代陳述取代發明人簽署,以及可用讓渡書(assignment)包括宣誓內容等。

並且,過去認定發明人為當然申請人的規定也被挑戰,因此「當然」申請人可以自行先提出專利申請,之後利用前述方式提出後補。


但這個申請人要確實是發明人理應讓渡的對象才是(讓渡對象、應讓渡的對象,或是證明可以擁有專屬權利的一方),如果申請人(自然人或是法人)並不能取得專 利的所有權,則不能成為合法的申請人,之後專利取得會被挑戰。相關證明申請人權利(ownership)的證據應於專利獲准領證前提出,比如發明人簽署的 讓渡書,或是證明發明人為受聘的對象(職務上發明)。

一個合法的專利申請人除了取得發明人宣誓書以外,上述資訊可配合一個申請人資料書(Applicant Data Sheet, ADS)提出,其中內容應有:
The assignee;
Person to whom the inventor is under an obligation to assign the invention; or
Person who otherwise shows sufficient proprietary interest in the matter.


Preissuance submissions

預先發布提交(pre-issuance submission)方案於09/16/2012施行(Final Rule, 77 Fed. Reg. 42150 (July 17, 2012)


「預先發布提交」提供除了專利權人的第三方在專利核准通知(notice of allowance)後,或公開六個月後提出先前技術,讓第三方有充分表達意見的機會,以免專利誤准,或是造成後續專利權不穩定、訴訟困擾等問題。此方案 可針對發明案、設計案、植物發明案以及各種延續案,而相關前案文件除了規定的期限內提出外,不得對已領證專利、再領證申請案以及再審 reexamination)案提出。

提交的文件包括:任何專利、公開專利申請案、印刷文件等,並應附上各先前技術文件的簡要說明、費用、以及告知符合35 U.S.C. 122(e)的相關陳述。時間範例如下:


新增法條:35 U.S.C. 122(e)
(e) PREISSUANCE SUBMISSIONS BY THIRD PARTIES.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--Any third party may submit for consideration and inclusion in the record of a patent application, any patent, published patent application, or other printed publication of potential relevance to the examination of the application, if such submission is made in writing before the earlier of--
(A) the date a notice of allowance under section 151 is given or mailed in the application for patent; or
(B) THE LATER OF.--
(i) 6 months after the date on which the application for patent is first published under section 122 by the Office, or
(ii) the date of the first rejection under section 132 of any claim by the examiner during the examination of the application for patent.
(2) OTHER REQUIREMENTS.--Any submission under paragraph (1) shall--
(A) set forth a concise description of the asserted relevance of each submitted document;
(B) be accompanied by such fee as the Director may prescribe; and
(C) include a statement by the person making such submission affirming that the submission was made in compliance with this section.



Supplemental examination

補充審查(Supplemental Examination),施行於09/16/2012Final Rule, 77 Fed. Reg. 48828 (August 14, 2012)


這方案是提供給專利權人(擁有全部的專利權的一方)對於已經獲准領證的專利提出再審的程序,再次與USPTO確認專利可實施的措施,尤其是在提起訴訟之 前,可以利用此程序確認專利權的穩定性,而且官方會在提出後3個月內提出決定,或許可能產生新的專利性議題。在此補充審查程序中,所提出的任何資訊不會影 像專利權人行使專利權的正當性。

經補充審查後,可以透過刪除與修正更改專利範圍,且應由全部專利權人同意執行。


補充審查提出的相關資訊不得超出12筆。
任何形式的資訊都可,包括影音資料(應有文字描述)。


Citation of patent owner claim scope statements
專利權人主張權利範圍陳述(Patent Owner Claim Scope Statements),於09/16/2012施行


此方案提供專利權人提出包括有關已獲得專利的專利性專利、印刷文件等前案,或在專利爭議進入專利局或聯邦法院之前提出有關專利範圍爭議的陳述意見。


此類陳述意見主要是讓專利局取得關聯該專利的資訊,包括至少涉及一個專利項的文字描述、引用文件,以及可以補入專利範圍為何根據這些前案仍具有專利性的陳述等,這陳述意見可用來鞏固專利權,且不會被公開。


值得一提的是,專利審查委員在此程序中將會對各權利項以最廣而合理的解釋來判斷專利範圍。但此標準不會影響日後可能產生再審程序的爭議。


法條修正及刪除部分如下:
35 U.S.C. 301 Citation of prior art and written statements.
(a) IN GENERAL.--Any person at any time may cite to the Office in writing--(1) prior art consisting of patents or printed publications which that person believes to have a bearing on the patentability of any claim of a particular patent; or
(2) statements of the patent owner filed in a proceeding before a Federal court or the Office in which the patent owner took a position on the scope of any claim of a particular patent.
(b) OFFICIAL FILE.--If the person citing prior art or written statements pursuant to subsection (a) explains in writing the pertinence and manner of applying the prior art or written statements to at least 1 claim of the patent, the citation of the prior art or written statements and the explanation thereof shall become a part of the official file of the patent.
(c) ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.--A party that submits a written statement pursuant to subsection (a)(2) shall include any other documents, pleadings, or evidence from the proceeding in which the statement was filed that addresses the written statement.
(d) LIMITATIONS.--A written statement submitted pursuant to subsection (a)(2), and additional information submitted pursuant to subsection (c), shall not be considered by the Office for any purpose other than to determine the proper meaning of a patent claim in a proceeding that is ordered or instituted pursuant to section 304, 314, or 324. If any such written statement or additional information is subject to an applicable protective order, such statement or information shall be redacted to exclude information that is subject to that order.
(e) CONFIDENTIALITY.--Upon the written request of the person citing prior art or written statements pursuant to subsection (a), that person's identity shall be excluded from the patent file and kept confidential.

Any person at any time may cite to the Office in writing prior art consisting of patents or printed publications which that person believes to have a bearing on the patentability of any claim of a particular patent. If the person explains in writing the pertinency and manner of applying such prior art to at least one claim of the patent, the citation of such prior art and the explanation thereof will become a part of the official file of the patent. At the written request of the person citing the prior art, his or her identity will be excluded from the patent file and kept confidential.


Post grant review
(核准後復審)以及Inter partes review(第三方復審)

為不同時間點 卻有相同規範的核准專利異議制度,相同的部份有針對已領證專利、first-inventor-to-file制度下的核准專利。不同的部份為提出時間的 規定,而PGR可於專利領證後9個月內針對專利的101,102,103,112等核駁理由提出復審;而IPR可於專利領證後的任何時間提出(除了PGR 時間以外),僅針對102,103核駁理由。

Covered business method review
Covered Business Methods
CBM,姑且翻譯為「被涵蓋的商業方法」),於09/16/2012施行


由於商業方法(包括方法、裝置、資料處理、服務)充滿了爭議,不少有關商業方法的專利在訴訟階段產生很大的爭議,甚至造成上下法院不同意見,也可能無法主張權利。


CBM
採用PGR的標準與程序,只是是用於「侵權被告」的階段,主要的目的是處理在之前「first-to-invent」的「商業方法」專利的相關前案,CBM程序適用於first-to-inventfirst-inventor-to-file制度下獲准的專利。

提出CBM的專利案是否為技術思想下的發明為主要爭議議題:其中是否有解決技術問題的技術特徵,而此特徵是否有新穎性、進步性。提出申請的時間不能在"可能"會提出PGR的時間,比如為專利領證後9個月內。請願的人應該有責要證明使用CBM的合法性。



詳細資訊可參考USPTO提供的電子檔:
http://www.uspto.gov/aia_implementation/120910-aia-reference-guide-to-statutory-provisions-and-final-rules.pdf

 
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