The Korean giant was also accused of infringing the same technology, moving it to persuade the USPTO to review the validity of the patents in the first place. Apple still faces a review of the other two patents, verdicts for which should arrive on April 4 and May 30. Only then will we know if the iPhone-maker needs to issue a payout, and for how much. For Apple's part, it not only claims the patents are invalid, but that it doesn't even use the techniques they cover. SmartFlash, which makes its money licensing patents, can challenge the USPTO's decision.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a request for information seeking industry and academia feedback on the latest artificial intelligence tools to bolster the agency's internal search function. Patent examiners have a tough job: reviewing millions of applications submitted each year to discover whether they truly add anything unique to the body of human knowledge. As the amount of knowledge--data--in the world increases exponentially, those examiners are looking for help from a digital counterpart. When an application is submitted to USPTO, an examiner is assigned the case and begins sifting through all available data related to the invention in an effort to find "prior art," or "all information that has been made available to the public in any form before a given date that might be relevant to a patent application's claims of novelty and non-obviousness," according to the office. This task is fast becoming too large for any human to accomplish on their own.
The Commerce Department has tapped Joseph Matal, an associate solicitor at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, to succeed Michelle Lee as interim director of the intellectual property agency, according to the USPTO. Matal's appointment comes one day after Lee abruptly resigned from her position. As a temporary replacement, Matal does not need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Matal has served at the patent office for nearly five years, representing the agency in federal court. Before coming to the USPTO, Matal played key roles on Capitol Hill crafting patent-related legislation, including the America Invents Act, which became law in 2011.
It's not surprising that we've experienced an explosion in artificial intelligence (AI) patent activity over the past several years. As recently as 2016, the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) issued less than 1,000 AI-related patents. As this explosion has occurred, so have interesting questions concerning patentability, inventorship, ownership, and disclosure issues. To address these (and other) concerns, the USPTO launched its Artificial Intelligence Initiative in 2019, engaging the innovation community and experts to determine whether AI required any changes to the U.S. Patent system. In response to requests for public comments on these topics, the USPTO received comments from 43 organizations, ranging from domestic and international patent/IP bar associations to companies such as Ford Motor Co. and Merck, and also from 55 individuals.