PTO Director Initiates Reexamination against Gift Tax Patent in Week of January 10, 2011

Scott Daniels | January 19, 2011

In a very unusual step, the Director of the PTO has initiated a reexamination of U.S. Patent No. 6,567,790 claiming a method of estate planning (ex parte Request No. (17)). In its reexamination order, the PTO explained that Director initiates reexamination when it appears “that an examining procedure has not been followed which has resulted in the issuance of a claim in a patent that is prima facie unpatentable, and there is a compelling reason to order reexamination at the Director’s initiative.” 

In this instance, the original examiner’s failure to consider a specific article “has created an extraordinary situation” requiring reexamination.  According to the reexamination order, the article was not considered or discussed in the original prosecution, even though it disclosed the claimed feature noted by the original examiner as the reason for allowance.  Whether such methods related to legal and tax matters should be eligible for patent protection has been hotly disputed.

Whirlpool requested reexamination of an LG refrigerator patent (inter partes Request No. (2)).  The two companies have been in litigation regarding refrigerator patents in the past.  A request was filed against a Nikon patent, but it is not yet clear who filed it (inter partes Request No. (3)). 

The following inter partes requests were filed:

(1)   95/001,522 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 6,640,086 entitled Method and APPARATUS FOR CREATING AND DISTRIBUTING REAL-TIME INTERACTIVE MEDIA CONTENT THROUGH WIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS AND THE INTERNET and owned by Filed January 11, 2011, by Sony.  The ‘086 patent is currently the subject of a litigation styled Wall Wireless v. Nintendo et al. (Case No. 6:09-cv-00064 ( E.D. Tex.)).

(2)         95/001,523 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 7,428,820 entitled REFRIGERATOR and owned by LG.  Filed January 14, 2011, by Whirlpool Corporation.  The ‘820 patent is currently the subject of a litigation styled LG et al.  v. Whirlpool (Case No. 2:09-cv-05142 (D.N.J.)).

(3)         95/001,524 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 7,283,206 entitled PROJECTION OPTICAL SYSTEM, EXPOSURE APPARATUS, AND DEVICE MANUFACTURING METHOD and owned by Nikon.  Filed January 14, 2011.

The following ex parte requests were filed:

(1)         90/011,423 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 7,785,109 entitled MONITORING CLEANING OF SURFACES and owned by Kleancheck Systems. Filed January 10, 2011.

(2)         90/011,424 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 7,315,818 entitled ERROR CORRECTION IN SPEECH RECOGNITION and owned by Nuance Communications.  Filed January 10, 2011.  

(3)         90/011,425 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 7,735,512 entitled FLOOR DRAIN INSTALLATION SYSTEM and owned by Sioux Chief MFG. Co.  Filed January 10, 2011, by owner.  

(4)         90/011,426 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 5,893,120 entitled METHODS AND APPARATUS FOR INFORMATION STORAGE AND RETRIEVAL USING A HASHING TECHNIQUE WITH EXTERNAL CHAINING AND ON-THE-FLY REMOVAL OF EXPIRED DATA and owned by Bedrock Computer Technologies. Filed, January 10, 2011 by.   The ‘120 patent is currently the subject of a litigation styled Bedrock Computer Tech. v. Softlayer (Case No. 6:09-cv-269 (E.D. Tex.)).

(5)         90/011,427 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 7,364,756 entitled ANTI-VIRUS HYDROPHILIC POLYMERIC MATERIAL and owned by The Cupron Corp.  Filed January 10, 2011.

(6)         90/011,428 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 6,118,976 entitled ASYMMETRIC DATA COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM and owned by BellSouth. Filed January 10, 2011.

(7)         90/011,429 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 7,870,599 entitled MULTICHANNEL DEVICE UTILIZING A CENTRALIZED OUT-OF-BAND AUTHENTICATION SYSTEMS (COBAS) and owned by Filed January 11, 2011.

(8)         90/011,430 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 7,585,311 entitled SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR ATTACHING SOFT TISSUE TO BONE and owned by KFx Medical.  Filed January 11, 2011.

(9)         90/011,431 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 6,057,221 entitled LASER-INDUCED CUTTING OF METAL INTERCONNECT and owned by U.S. Air Force. Filed January 13, 2011, by owner.  

(10)     90/011,432 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 6,903,699 entitled WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DEVICE FOR ELECTRIC METER AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURE THEREOF and owned by Transdata.  Filed January 14, 2011.

(11)     90/011,433 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 6,055,439 entitled MOBILE TELEPHONE USER INTERFACE and owned by Mobilemedia Ideas.  Filed January 14, 2011.

(12)     90/011,434 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 7,249,372 entitled NETWORK BASED DOCUMENT DISTRIBUTION METHOD and owned by Target Training Int’l.  Filed January 14, 2011. 

(13)     90/011,435 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 5,845,219 entitled MOBILE STATION HAVING PRIORITY CALL ALTERING FUNCTION DURING SILENT SERVICE MODE and owned by Mobilemedia Ideas.  Filed January 14, 2011.

(14)     90/011,436 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 6,253,075 entitled METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR INCOMING CALL REJECTION and owned by Mobilemedia Ideas.  Filed January 14, 2011.

(15)     90/011,437 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 6,542,673 entitled IDENTIFIER SYSTEM AND COMPONENTS FOR OPTICAL ASSEMBLIES and owned by Graywire. Filed, by.   The ‘673 patent is currently the subject of a litigation styled Graywire v. Ciena et al. (Case No. 1:08-cv-2993 (N.D. Ga.)).

(16)     90/009,867 (paper filed) – U.S. Patent No. 5,335,512 entitled REFRIGERANT RECOVERY DEVICE and owned by SPX.  Filed January 11, 2011.  

(17)     90/009,868 (paper filed) – U.S. Patent No. 6,567,790 entitled ESTABLISHING AND MANAGING GRANTOR RETAINED ANNUITY TRUSTS FUNDED BY NONQUALIFIED STOCK OPTIONS and owned by Wealth Transfer Group. Director initiated January 13, 2011.

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