Seeking patent protection can be a major challenge, especially if something goes wrong in the early stages of the process. In some cases, businesses and inventors that attempt to submit a patent application on their own behalf will make mistakes or will provide an insufficient explanation about the concept or product that they wish to patent, thereby leaving themselves at risk of a denial.
Sometimes, patent cases end up subject to hearings, where a judge will determine whether issuing a patent is warranted or not. Other times, patents end up in court due to enforcement efforts. Occasionally, it will be the need to amend a patent which results in a hearing.
Since 2019, there has been a pilot program underway trying out a new system to streamline that patent-changing hearing process. Those with patents have had the option to file a motion to amend (MTA) to obtain a hearing in front of a judge. That pilot program could soon become a permanent option depending on public feedback.
The review process has begun
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has asked for public feedback on the pilot program and the changes to the existing program that could make the MTA process more useful or accessible. Depending on how patent holders respond, the pilot program could transition into a permanent policy. The final policy may be somewhat different if enough people suggest similar changes and the USPTO sees the benefits of such adjustments.
Being able to file an MTA when there are omissions or errors in initial paperwork or when a company fine-tunes its new process or technology is very important. Including all of the right details in the patent will help ensure the company can continue protecting its new ideas and products.
Patent law requires precision
The practice of law focusing on intellectual property rights, particularly the pursuit, amendment and enforcement of patents, requires a thorough understanding of federal law and research for each individual case.
It can take quite a bit to establish that a concept or new technology does not infringe on any existing patents and that it is a sufficient advancement to warrant a new patent. Businesses and individuals interested in patent protection and enforcement often require the help of specialized lawyers as opposed to those with a general law practice who may not have any experience with intellectual property cases.
Seeking legal guidance about the need to update a patent could result in necessary protection for a company’s concepts.