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Marylee Jenkins Finishes Term as USPTO Patent Advisory Committee Chairperson, Committee Publishes 2019 Annual Report

Arent Fox Intellectual Property Partner Marylee Jenkins has served as a member of the Patent Public Advisory Committee for the US Patent and Trademark Office since January 2013 and as Chair since December 2016.

After serving as a member, Vice-Chairperson, and Chairperson of the Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) for the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Marylee’s term will come to a close on December 1, 2019.

Technological advances are rapid and boundless and those innovations need intellectual property laws to develop and advance so that we can protect our most precious assets. As Chair of PPAC, Marylee was committed to keeping the USPTO on track and high-performing for the community of innovators and its stakeholders. The PPAC’s work includes the focused review of the USPTO’s patent policies, goals, performance, and budget along with providing recommendations to the Director of the USPTO, Andrei Iancu.

The PPAC review and recommendations for the year are published in its Annual Report which is sent to the President, the US Secretary of Commerce, the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, the Senate’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee, and the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet. Some of the highlights of this year’s Annual Report include:

  • Commending the USPTO in fast-tracking and investing in immediate improvements to modernize its information technology systems so as to meet its goals of improving the reliability and certainty of patent rights, to support patent examiners in achieving and maintaining higher quality searching and examination, and to keep applicants’ critical technical information secure from theft and fraud by private and state actors.
  • Applauding the USPTO for its agile management of expenditures during the lapse in appropriation authority, which thereby enabled the USPTO to maintain its patent operations—without interruption—for all users of the US patent system. In any future appropriation lapses, the PPAC recommends that the USPTO be able to spend the funds that it collects from users during such a time period. Any interruption in USPTO operations negatively impacts patent filers and users in the US as well as internationally and harms our US patent system.
  • Commending the USPTO’s efforts—culminating in the issuance of the 2019 Revised Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance—to increase clarity, predictability, and consistency in how subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. §101 is applied in examination and to enable examiners to readily determine if a claim recites an abstract idea.
  • Recommending the need for more consistency in Patent Trial and Appeal Board decisions relating to multiple or serial challenges in inter partes reexamination and making post-grant proceedings more accessible to small and micro-entity patent owners by formally requesting Congress to permit reduced fees for such entities.
  • Recommending that, with respect to the implementation of the SUCCESS Act, the USPTO consider whether an initiative is feasible, in which inventors from underrepresented groups, their employers or assignors, are incentivized to highlight qualified inventor applications so as to increase their representation and meet the objectives of the SUCCESS Act.

“Our US patent system is a vital part of the world economy. Our collective and continued commitment and support of our patent system keeps the USPTO on track and high-performing for its diverse stakeholder and user community while, at the same time, planning for its future,” said Marylee. “It has been an honor and privilege to serve on this committee with these goals in mind and I wish PPAC much continued success.”

Read PPAC’s 2019 Annual Report

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