With the ramifications of the America Invents Act beginning to be felt, Michelle Holoubek looks at the ins and outs of covered business method patent review.
On September 16, 2011, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) was signed into law. The AIA represents the most dramatic changes to US patent law since the 1950s. One of the more controversial aspects of the new law is a provision that especially impacts patents directed to financial products or services, as well as software patents and patents whose technology might interact with financial products or services.
Section 18 of the AIA created a new contested proceeding before the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO): a “transitional post-grant review (PGR) proceeding” for reviewing the validity of “covered business method patents”.
Ambiguities in the definition of a covered business method (CBM) leave many in the industry wondering just how broadly the USPTO will apply the definition. Also, unique stay and estoppel provisions for CBMs will likely be attractive to defendants in infringement suits, making this an important issue for patent owners as well.
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AIA, CBM, USPTO, patent review