California Patent Attorney® Blog

February 2011 Archives

Fountain of Youth Promised in New Patent

February 22, 2011,

youth.jpgCalifornia - The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has recently awarded the Geron Corporation the TA-65 patent, which will bring the world's first telomerase activator to market. Telomerase Activation Sciences (T.A. Sciences), a subsidiary of the Geron Corp. owns sole rights under this patent for cosmetic and nutraceutical applications.

The Telomerase Activation technology targets immune cells in the human body, and has been shown to slow cell death and increase quality of life. Results from a study performed by T.A. Sciences show that participants who took the TA-65 for a 12-month period demonstrated a substantial increase in their immunological function. This improvement was due to a reduced amount of short telomeres in immune cells. Telomeres are at the end of every chromosomes, acting like bookends and protecting chromosomes from fusing into rings and binding with other DNA. The placebo-controlled study results also showed improvements in vision, skin appearance and male libido, with no reported side effects.

"This foundational patent is a validation of the millions of dollars and more than 8 years of effort invested to bring TA-65, the world's first telomerase activator, to market," stated T.A. Sciences Chairman, Noel Thomas Patton. He added that the issuance of the breakthrough patent will amplify Geron's proprietary rights to its already strong resume of anti-aging inventions and will make it much more difficult for infringers to copy them.

T.A. Sciences has been selling the supplement for almost four years. Results from the TA-65 study can be found on the company's website: www.tasciences.com.

Practitioner Registration Examination: In with KSR, Bilski, and the MPEP Ed.8 Rev.8

February 16, 2011,

open book.jpgCalifornia - For those contemplating soon taking the Examination for Registration to Practice in Patent Matters before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), be advised that the USPTO is updating the content of the exam in April. According to information released by the USPTO on February 11th, the current exam will cease to be administered after April 4th and it's replacement is scheduled to become operational on April 12th. There will be a blackout period between these dates during which the exam will not be administered at all. And, with David Kappos as Director of the Patent Office, and the revitalization efforts therein, these dates are probably firm.

Generally, the update in the content of the exam will be accompanied by an update in the source material for the questions. Source material will be updated to include sources beyond the MPEP itself in an effort to more-closely conform exam content to current practice. These reference materials will be available on the computer monitor during the examination and are centered around A) the revised MPEP, B) developments in the obviousness inquiry after KSR v. Teleflex, C) determining subject matter eligibility for process claims in view of Bilski v. Kappos, and D) supplementary guidelines for determining compliance with 35 U.S.C. § 112.

For more information, the updated reference materials are listed below (PDF files):
1. Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP), Edition 8, Revision 8.

2. Examination Guidelines Update: Developments in the Obviousness Inquiry After KSR v. Teleflex.

3. New Interim Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Examination Instructions, August 2009.

4. Interim Guidance for Determining Subject Matter Eligibility for Process Claims in View of Bilski v. Kappos.

5. Interim Guidance for Determining Subject Matter Eligibility for Process Claims in View of Bilski v. Kappos, July 2010.

6. Supplementary Examination Guidelines for Determining Compliance with 35 U.S.C. § 112 and for Treatment of Related Issues in Patent Applications.

However, the overall format of the exam will remain the same, consisting of 100 multiple-choice questions. So, while the adventurous types wait for the new exam to arrive just before Tax Day, the rest had better get back to studying.

Regional Patent offices to reduce backlog

February 8, 2011,

ideadice.jpgCalifornia - As part of President Obama's plan to double domestic exports over the next five years, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is creating regional offices across the country in an effort to reduce the backlog of pending patent applications. The speedier process will enable businesses to bring their products to market sooner thus boosting our economy.

The first regional office will be in Detroit and is slated to open in late spring or early summer of this year. The increased number of examining experts is expected to reduce the average wait time for approval of a patent application from three years to one. Additional offices will be opened if Detroit proves to be successful.

The USPTO employs more than 6,000 patent examiners at its sole office in Alexandria, VA. The examiners consist of scientists and engineers and are trained on the basic legal precedents of issuing patents. With a turnover rate of one examiner leaving for every two that are hired, the USPTO has had the highest employee attrition rate of any government agency. This has led to the backlog and delayed examination and approval processes.

The goal of the USPTO is to match a particular patent application with an examiner who is an expert in that particular field, thus increasing efficiency and quality in the examination process. This plan for increased efficiency will be put to test in the Detroit office, where automotive-related applications will be appropriately matched with the large pool of highly trained engineers and scientists with experience in the automotive industry.

Another benefit of the regional offices will be the personalization of face-to-face meetings of examiners and the inventors and their patent attorneys. This helps them gain a better understanding of the patent at issue and will reduce travel costs for the inventor who wishes to meet with their examiner. Another benefit of the regional offices will be the expanded congressional support and increased likelihood of remaining fully funded.

Even though the 3 year to 1 year goal sounds a little ambitious, the USPTO appears to be headed in the right direction.

Apple adds 3D TV Patent to Portfolio

February 4, 2011,

3d_glasses.jpgCalifornia - The latest Apple patent appears to be the complement to a closely related patent filed back in 2006.

The technology contained in these patents have the potential to overcome the three principal limitations currently affecting today's commercial 3D televisions. The first is headgear. Bulky glasses are seen as a major impediment to the widespread adoption of those 3D TV's dependent on their use.

TV's which do not require headgear, however, are called "autostereoscopic" and basically come in two flavors, each with their own pluses and minuses. The first category includes parallax barrier and lenticular lens devices featuring screens containing precision-machined barriers or numerous rows of tiny lenses capable of redirecting images to one or more stereoscopic "sweet spots" within a viewing area. While this technology does accommodate multiple viewers, the sweet spots are typically small and tightly fixed in space.

Other displays utilize eye tracking in order to enlarge the stereoscopic sweet spot. However, multiple viewers are not supported by this technology, limiting the display to a single viewer. Consequently, it is not widely favored for consumer products despite the existence of a few laptop computers and other personal electronic devices for sale.

Undaunted, Apple seems intent on leapfrogging ahead with a glasses-free, whole-room, multi-viewer TV system. The first patent claims a 3D display system which utilizes a projection screen possessing an angularly-responsive reflective surface. This allows for coordinated modulation of 3D images to define a programmable mirror with a programmable deflection angle.

The claims of the second patent cover a system which not only tracks the eyes of the observer but then projects independent 3D pseudo-holographic sub-images to the left and right eyes of the viewer, thereby mimicking a hologram.

The system includes a projector, 3D imager, sensor and responsive screen which work together to allow multiple people to view 3D images from almost anywhere in a room. All without glasses!

So, although no timetable has been set for affordable, hassle-free 3D TV's, consumers can expect ever-better products in the marketplace, so that soon we may all have our 3D experiences not only in the theater, but also from the comfort of home.