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USIPA 2022: Vidal says policy now her focus


In her keynote talk in Atlanta, the USPTO director said she wanted to update IP processes and guidance and help shape legislative and judicial rules on patent eligibility

After six months on the road travelling and getting input from stakeholders, USPTO director Kathi Vidal will now focus on policymaking.

The announcement came during Vidal’s keynote talk with AT&T intellectual property CEO Scott Frank at the USIPA’s first national conference in Atlanta yesterday, October 20.

“As we move forward, it’s going to be about policymaking, working on process, updating guidance, et cetera,” she said.

“We don’t just want to do that within the USPTO – we’re going to provide technical comment to Congress as they work on Section 101 and at the Supreme Court level on 101.

“If we can get the system to work better for everyone, that’s what we’re going to do.”

Vidal, who was nominated in October 2021 and became the USPTO chief in April, made pro-bono work her focus when she first took office.

She has already introduced policy change and started processes for policy alterations at the USPTO.

Vidal introduced updated prior art guidance for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in June and announced that the office would revisit patent eligibility guidance in July.

The director also introduced guidance on Fintiv, the rule that compels PTAB judges to discretionarily deny institution on the basis that parallel district court proceedings will conclude first, in July.

Vidal added that the Global IP Alliance’s founding principles of collaboration, education and diversity and inclusion were fundamental in her mission to improve the IP system and get more people involved in it.

She said that like WIPO, the USPTO had signed at memorandum of understanding with the USIPA, setting out that the two organisations would collaborate on projects designed to improve the global IP ecosystem.

“GLIPA is brilliant. There are so many great ideas out there and we need to make sure there’s more collaboration and that we’re leveraging off each other to bring those to fruition faster.”

Frank, who is also the founder of the Georgia IP Alliance and US IP Alliance, officially launched GLIPA on Wednesday, October 19, after the organisation’s first board meeting.

Disclaimed: Patrick Wingrove is a board member of GLIPA

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