Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
patent office, patents, re-exam, subdomains


US Patent Office Does Initial Rejection On All Claims For Patent On Creating Subdomains

from the so-why-was-it-approved-in-the-first-place? dept

You may recall, a few years back, some news around a patent holding company getting a patent on virtual subdomains. As part of its Patent Busting project, the EFF submitted a ton of prior art to the Patent Office, who has now done an initial rejection of all of the patent's claims. The patent holder (and, it's worth pointing out that it's changed hands since this started) can now respond or just give up on the patent. Either way though, it highlights the silliness of considering any granted patent as automatically "valid." Considering how many patents that are reviews end up having claims (sometimes all of them) rejected, it seems pretty clear that the initial patent review is simply not even close to effective as a judge of patent-worthiness.

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  1. identicon
    Lonnie E. Holder, 23 Jan 2009 @ 8:39pm

    Seems a bit distorted...

    Only about 600 reexaminations are requested per year, out of about 3 million patents in force. So using the word "silliness" seems an unjustified exaggeration.

    You also stated that EFF submitted a "ton" of prior art in order to make their case. Ergo, it took a lot of work to find invalidating art. Is it any wonder that the USPTO was unable to reject the claims initially? It is unlikely that they had any of the "ton" of prior art submitted by EFF.

    FYI: Only about 12% of patents reexamined have all claims completely invalidated. About 26% have all claims affirmed. The others lose one or more claims.

    I continue to hope that the USPTO will improve their pre and post-opposition process. In the meantime, I recommend everyone use PatentFizz to record their factual information. I assume EFF uses PatentFizz as a resource.

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