Report: Judge Backs Inventor In Suit Over Long-Stalled Patent Apps

Law360 covers inventor Gilbert Hyatt’s recent litigation victories against the PTO:

A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to issue three patents to prolific inventor Gilbert Hyatt, finding that many of his patent claims were incorrectly rejected, a win for Hyatt in his case alleging the office is wrongly stalling his patent applications.

The three patents at issue in the decision represent a small fraction of the nearly 400 applications Hyatt has pending at the USPTO. He alleges in a related suit that the office is using a variety of unlawful tactics to ensure those applications are never approved.

Hyatt’s attorney, Andrew Grossman of Baker & Hostetler LLP, said Tuesday that Judge Lamberth’s decision is an important development in the case that shows when Hyatt’s applications are given fair and impartial review, he will win.

“The decision is a vindication of Gilbert Hyatt’s vision as an inventor and persistence in the face of an agency that was determined to violate his rights at every turn,” Grossman said. “The PTO played hardball against Mr. Hyatt, and that makes its loss all the more devastating for the agency and all the more valuable for Mr. Hyatt.”

Read the full article here (PDF):

Judge Backs Inventor In Suit Over Long-Stalled Patent Apps


Mr. Hyatt’s court wins also received coverage from Bloomberg News.

Expert: Secret PTO SAWS Program Likely Illegal

Law360 reports on an analysis by former Commerce Department Inspector General Todd Zinser of the PTO’s secret “SAWS” program to block issuance of patent applications:

In an interview, Zinser said the policy of keeping applicants in the dark about SAWS was “just not right” and the secrecy of the program may have violated federal record-keeping requirements.

“They basically instructed examiners to provide misleading information to applicants. That’s outrageous,” he said. “It’s really bothersome that the leaders of the office would conduct themselves that way, systemically.”

Zinser said that if the board, which rules on whether an application was correctly rejected, was in fact made aware of the SAWS designation during the appeal, it would be “especially unfair.” The applicant would be unaware of the program and could not address with the board the issues that caused the patent to be singled out.

“The applicant and the applicant’s attorney would have had no idea what they were arguing against. It’s a secret process within a secret process,” Zinser said. “The SAWS designation gives the application some type of stigma.”

The article also reports new details on how SAWS operated:

How this worked in practice is illustrated in a 2012 email exchange produced by the office, in which an examiner asks a supervisor how to respond when an applicant calls to ask about the status of an application that the examiner has allowed but has been put in SAWS.

“What should I tell them? That the case is under SAWS review and for [an] update they should contact [another official]?” the examiner asked.

Two minutes later, the supervisor responded, “NO … you do not [say] anything about it being a SAWS case. Just tell them that it has been submitted by you … and appears to be going through [some] additional review which happens every now and again.”

Read the full article here (PDF).

Attorney: PTO “has no response to our overwhelming evidence of its bad faith” against inventor

Legal trade publication Law360 covers inventor Gilbert Hyatt’s suit against the PTO challenging its decision to never issue him another patent.  As the article reports, the PTO recent filed its motion to dismiss the lawsuit, but the PTO motion has no response to Mr. Hyatt’s central claim in the suit:

Hyatt’s attorney, Andrew Grossman of Baker & Hostetler LLP, said Monday that the USPTO’s motion simply ignores the complaint’s allegations that the office has unfairly put Hyatt’s applications in “bureaucratic purgatory.”

“The fundamental issue in this case is that the PTO has decided never to issue another patent to Mr. Hyatt ever again, no matter his entitlement to one, no matter his constitutional due process rights, no matter the merits of his inventions,” he said. “It’s bizarre that the PTO’s motion to dismiss has nothing to say about that fundamental claim. It just has no response to our overwhelming evidence of its bad faith.”

The USPTO is wrong to say that judicial review is unavailable in this situation, Grossman said, because “when agency processes run off the rails, the courts exist to put them back on track.”

Read the full article here.