(April 24, 2014) The Medical Device Manufacturer’s Association (MDMA) announced that it submitted comments to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in regard to the USPTO’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Proposing Changes to Require Identification of Attributable Ownership. The proposed rule, published in the Federal Register at 79 Fed. Reg. 9677 on February 20, 2014, would require more transparent identification of the patent owner. In particular, the proposed rule would require that the attributable owner, including the ultimate parent entity, be identified during the pendency of a patent application and at specified times during the life of a patent. Specifically, the attributable owner would need to be identified on the filing of an application (or shortly thereafter), when there is a change in the attributable owner during the pendency of an application, at the time of issue fee and maintenance fee payments, and when a patent is involved in supplemental examination, ex parte reexamination, or a trial proceeding before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).
According to the announcement, the comments by the MDMA expressed concern over proposed changes that “would require identification of attributable ownership, which would be extremely costly and burdensome for innovative and entrepreneurial medical technology companies.” The MDMA states that their position on patent reform is “supportive of efforts to curb abusive practices of patent assertion entities (PAEs) or ‘patent trolls’ but not while making it more costly and burdensome for innovators when defending or asserting their intellectual property rights.”
Several other organizations expressed similar concerns to the proposed rule; two public hearings were conducted in March. Final rulemaking is scheduled for later this month.