GameChanger: New ‘Code’ at USPTO! The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has recently introduced few sweeping changes in the examination procedures in an effort to cut down the number of pending patent applications. The USPTO has put forward two new proposals that restrict the number of filings. As per the proposed changes, a patent applicant would be allowed to file no more than ten claims in the patent application. This rule would be applied with retrospective effect and include any patent application that is pending but has not yet been examined. The second proposal relates to restricting the number of ‘continuation applications’ to only one, contrary to the traditional practice of repeating the applications until the applicant developed legitimate new positions. A second continuation application could, however, be submitted, provided the filer proves that the issues raised in the second continuation application necessitates such a filing. This new development is said to have a negative impact on the patent applicants who feel that patents limited to only 10 claims will fail to achieve their strategic objectives. In the new scenario, the patent agents/attorneys who understand the business strategies will be best suited to draft patent applications. According to the USPTO, about 400,000 new applications were filed in 2005, and 900,000 were pending hitherto, which is further expected to grow. The USPTO fears that if the current trend of patent applications continues, then the average period of issuing patent would substantially increase from the current 2-3 years. Analysts are of the opinion that the increase in patent filings in the USA is indicative of the increasing importance of patents in the current business world. Just when the world’s patent attorneys had understood the game, USPTO has changed the rules. Patent agents/attorneys may now have to upgrade their skills. IndiaGra? Farmers in India are vying to cultivate the ‘Desi Viagra.’ About 600 farmers in Madhya Pradesh, out of a total of 800, sought permission to cultivate ‘Safed Musli,’ more popularly known as ‘Desi Viagra.’ Safed Musli, found in the Central regions of India, is considered as a natural alternative to Viagra because of its aphrodisiac qualities. Scientifically known as ‘Chlorophytum borivilianum,’ Safed Musli belongs to the family of Liliaceae, and has been identified by the Indian Medicinal Plants Board as the sixth important herb to be preserved and marketed. The grounded roots of the plant are used as a tonic for stimulating sexual impetus, and also in a number of other herbal drug formulations. 17 of the 256 species of Chlorophytum exist in India, and have high demand both domestically and globally. It is estimated that the overall demand for Safed Musli’s dried tubers in Indian and foreign markets is more than 35,000 tonnes per year, while the supply is only a meager 500 tonnes per year. In foreign market alone, the demand is estimated between 300 and 700 tons per year. Using the Intellectual Property Rights with a good marketing strategy, India can seize this opportunity to earn some “hard” currency. Patent Scoreboard The USPTO issued the seven millionth patent to DuPont Senior Researcher John P. O’Brien for ‘polysaccharide fibers’ and a process for their production in 2006. It took the USPTO 75 years to get from patent No.1 to patent No.1 million. However, it has taken less than one-tenth of that time to go from 6 million to 7 million patents. The USPTO issued patent No.1 on August 8, 1911, for a tubeless vehicle tire. Approximately 400,000 patent applications were filed with the USPTO in 2005. Indian inventors were granted 495 patents in the US in 2004-05 while China had 943 US patents to its credit. The USPTO issued 151,079 utility patents in fiscal year 2005. The highest number of patent applications in India during the period 1995-2005 was filed by Pfizer. A total of 8,900 patent applications were filed in India during 1995-2005. 7,500 of these applications were filed by foreign companies, while 1400 applications belonged to Indian companies. There are around 1 million IT-related patents in the US alone. ‘Maha’ Damages: Yamaha Sues Yamoto Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, and Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd., sued Yamoto Motor Corporation (Yamoto) and Patriot Motorcycles Corporation for trademark infringement in the Los Angeles Federal Court. Yamoto faces charges of trademark infringement, copyright infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition, and misleading advertising. Yamoto imitated Yamaha’s Raptor ATVs and TT-R 125 line of off-road motorbikes by manufacturing look-alike bikes with inferior quality and cheaper price. Yamaha has claimed triple damages as well as legal damages from Yamoto for confusing the public and misleading them with similar logo, colour, trademark, and appearance. Yamaha has also sought delivery of all of Yamoto’s products and advertising material to Yamaha Corporation. So, it is quite possible that even without getting into an accident, your bike may be damaging someone’s name and reputation. Do you have insurance for that? Jet Airways Asked To Change its Name Jet Airways (India) faces a lot of turbulence as it got into trademark infringement row when a Maryland-based airline carrier, Jet Airways Inc., filed a case with the US Transport Department alleging that the Indian carrier immediately abstain from using the “Jet Airways” trademark. Jet Airways (India) had obtained exclusive licensing rights of the “Jet Airways” trademark in India, from Jet Enterprise Pvt. Ltd. (JEPL), in an agreement signed with them on October 15, 2000. JEPL is jointly held by Mr. Naresh Goyal and Mr. Hasmukh Gardi. Jet Airways (India) has subsequently bought the ‘right, interest and title’ in “Jet Airways” from JEPL for a one-time payment of $7 million. Jet Airways (India) has now roped in two law firms to fight their case before the US Transport Department. Enter: The Power Shave In Gillette’s world, this can be the fifth wonder. Gillette launched the world’s first ever manual five-blade razor, ‘Gillette Fusion,’ and an equivalent battery-powered version, ‘Gillette Fusion Power.’ The new razor alleviates pain and increases shaving glide and comfort. Fusion comes with a breakthrough ‘shaving surface technology’ that integrates a frictionless coating on its blades, with an expanded “Lubrastrip” blended with vitamin ‘E’ and aloe vera. The enhanced Lubrastrip turns white, indicating the end of optimum shave conditions. Gillette Fusion Power integrates sophisticated technology into wet shaving. Gillette has patented its on-board microchip that adjusts the voltage and frequency, and maximizes razor performance. The razor’s ‘Low Battery Indicator Light’ glows when the battery has to be replaced. In case the razor is activated accidentally, the Auto Shut-off feature turns the razor off after about 8 minutes of operation. In 1998, Gillette Mach 3 became the market leader in the U.S., with 34 percent market share, and is now the world’s highest selling razor in its category. Mach 3 skyrocketed Gillette’s sales in 2004 by 50 percent, to $4.3 billion, while sales witnessed a record $1.63 billion. With all those shaves, looks like it’s still a man’s world. Blackberry Still in Motion BlackBerry saw a silver lining in a dark cloud when Research in Motion (RIM), the Canadian-based manufacturer of BlackBerry, agreed to settle the long-standing patent litigation dispute with NTP for a full-and-final one-time settlement of $612.5 million. As per the latest agreement, NTP need not refund the amount to RIM even if USPTO ruled in favor of RIM. NTP Inc., a small patent troll company based in Arlington, Virginia, founded by late Thomas J. Campana Jr., and his northern Virginia lawyer, Donald Stout, has no products and little infrastructure. It acquires patent portfolios with the intention to file lawsuits against potential infringers. NTP – who claim to own the US patents for the software that powers BlackBerry, and which expires on May 20, 2012 – filed a lawsuit against RIM in 2002 for infringing upon their patent. It is estimated that NTP’s patents have 1920 claims. In 2003, the US District Judge, James R. Spencer, who heard the case, found RIM to have infringed upon NTP’s patents, and invoked an injunction against RIM that prevented them from manufacturing, using, or offering to sell handhelds, services or software in the US. However, the court stayed the injunction pending an appeal by RIM. RIM and NTP made an endeavor to settle their dispute amicably, when RIM agreed to pay NTP a sum of $450 million in March 2005. But, the deal fell through. The intense dispute resulted in RIM’s sales dwindling from the forecasted $590-$620 million to $550-$560 million. The Earnings Per Share (EPS) declined from the company’s forecast of 76-81 cents to 64-66 cents. However, the settlement news made RIM’s stock jump from $10.43 to $82.35. The stock owners were happier than the product owners. Indian American Named in Top Ten An Indian American has been named as the youngest ever-IBM fellow, with more than 300 patents, and has been listed among the top ten living patent-holders in the United States. Mr. Ravi Arimilli is a researcher, based in Austin, Texas, who specializes in computer chip innards. His most recent patent issued on November 29 is for ‘’Layered local cache with lower level cache optimizing allocation mechanism'. In 2002 alone, Mr. Arimilli won 78 patents, i.e., three patents every two weeks. He is forging ahead as Chief Scientist on the 500-person Power 7 eServer development team. An IBM Fellow is an appointed position at IBM, made by IBM’s CEO. Usually, only 4 or 5 IBM Fellows are appointed each year, at the annual Corporate Technical Recognition Event (CTRE) in June. It is considered to be the highest honor a technologist at IBM can achieve. iPrex Solutions on the Cover Page Several articles written by iPrex experts have been published on the cover pages in the USA and UK media. Here is a couple. Patent Insurance: Teflon Coating on Armour? Thankfully, there is always some insurance protection available against all the dreadful calamities that can befall the human race: accident, fire, earthquake, floods, death, and now, patent infringement. But wait! Patent insurance sounds like re-fried beans. A patent itself is a kind of insurance. A patent, by definition, is an exclusive right granted by the government to make, use or sell the patented products. In other words, no one other than the patent-holder can manufacture or market the patented products. This appears to be a sort of insurance. What then, is a patent insurance?....... To read more, go to http://www.iprexsolutions.com/images/Patent%20Insurance%20Article.pdf Patent-Holder Deserves the Monopolistic Rights Picture this: A man sits on an ergonomically designed chair that reduces fatigue, and clicks away on a key-pad technologically enhanced to ‘sense’ the touch of his fingers enough to type the letter just once (not twice) on his laptop screen, which has the right resolution of horizontal and vertical lines to perfect the illumination on his screen so that his eyes are better protected. He finishes typing, checks his spelling and grammar on word processing software, which has a thousand features, and saves his document on his miniscule thumb-drive, using a high-speed USB port through a giga-powered processor. He e-mails it to his publisher, who will soon use the full power of the available technology to get the article to the readers with the shortest elapsed time and best quality print or even a web-cast. He sits back and sips his drink, which has sugar-free ‘Equal,’ non-dairy creamer, and de-caffeinated coffee. He has just written an article criticizing Intellectual Property Rights, (IPRs), patents and innovations – ironically, the key drivers which made all of the above possible… To read more, go to http://www.iprexsolutions.com/images/Patent-Holder%20Deserves%20Monopolistic%20Rights.pdf. Did You Know? Texas Instruments (TI) was one of the first organizations to understand that IP was more profitable than actual products. TI earned more than half of its annual revenues through patents. The brand name “Coca Cola” in 2004 was valued at more than $67.5 billion, equivalent to approximately 51 percent of shareholder value. Less than 1 percent of brand names are globally protected. Google’s brand is worth about $18 billion. China is the world’s largest market for pirated/counterfeited goods. Indian government loses more than Rs. 9 billion (900 crores) every year in counterfeit products due to loss of excise revenues and tax evasion. The loss to Indian companies every year because of counterfeit products is estimated at Rs. 40 billion (4000 crores). Lebanon has the highest level of piracy among Middle East countries at 75 percent, followed by Kuwait at 59 percent and Saudi Arabia at 43 percent. The year 2005 saw a record number of international patent filings of 134,000 applications through Patent Cooperation Treaty, which represented an increase of 9.4 percent over 2004. The top five patent filing countries were USA, Japan, Germany, France and the UK. For more details and queries about our services and support in India and other countries, please visit www.iprexsolutions.com or call 91-40-66756868.