ACET uses government publications, court records, Freedom of Information Act requests made by ACET and by other interested parties, to gather information of potential interest to the public from the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). ACET disseminates this information to advance public understanding both of government process and of the effect such process has on technological innovation, intellectual property protection, and economic prosperity.  ACET posts this information for public review and also publishes on ACET Blog analyses and commentary on such information.  Please visit again soon to view new items as they become available.

Paperwork Reduction Act

February 2, 2017. ACET's second FOIA request from USPTO on derivation of paperwork burden estimates and on guidance for complying with OMB PRA reviews. [FOIA Rrequest No. F-17-112].

December 19, 2016. USPTO Denial of ACET's Appeal on F-16-215. [USPTO FOIA Appeal denial of F-16-215].

November 16, 2016.  ACET second appeal to the USPTO on failure to produce responsive records for FOIA request F-16-215. [FOIA 2nd Appeal on D-16-215].

October 5, 2016. USPTO issued an initial decision and produced 901 pages of extensively redacted records. [Cover Letter, Records Produced].

September 6, 2016.  ACET appeal to the USPTO on it’s constructive denial of ACET's first FOIA Request. [FOIA Appeal on F-16-215].

June-10-2016. ACET’s USPTO FOIA Request on derivation of paperwork burden estimates of ICR on Patent Processing (Updating), OMB Control No. 0651-0031. [FOIA Request No. F-16-215].

Sensitive Applications Warning System (SAWS)

The SAWS was created to provide advance warning to USPTO management regarding patent applications that, if issued, would generate negative publicity or would otherwise embarrass the USPTO. The program appears as a mechanism for delay or avoidance of issuance of allowable  application. The secret nature of the program and the vague and expansive criteria for flagging patent applications into the program lacked legal or technical merit.

Class Action under the Privacy Act.  Paul Morinville, et al., v. USPTO, Case 1:19-cv-01779-CKK.  A class of patent applicants sued the USPTO under the Privacy Act over the Office's implementation of the secret Sensitive Applications Warning System ("SAWS").  The Plaintiffs allege that the USPTO violated the Privacy Act by not including SAWS flags or SAWS reports in their patent application files, despite the fact that those patent application files are a System of Records under the Privacy Act.  Uninformed of the designation of their applications under the SAWS, Plaintiffs were unable to challenge the designation.  Plaintiffs allege that the collection and maintenance of such SAWS records was not expressly authorized by statute nor by the applicant about whom the record is maintained, as required by the Privacy Act.  Plaintiffs contend that because the SAWS flags and reports describe the content of their patent applications without their consent, the USPTO violated the Privacy Act by maintaining prohibited records describing how patent applicants exercise rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. See details.

Class Action. eVideo Owners et al. v. U.S., Federal Court of Claims, Case No. 15-413-LKG.  The suit names eVideo as the lead plaintiff in a class of (yet unknown) applicants whose patent applications were flagged under the SAWS. eVideo’s video on-demand technology is covered by two patent applications that have been languishing in the USPTO for over 13 years.  The suit seeks damages in USPTO fees and prosecution costs in applications after they were designated under the SAWS.  See details.

Intellectual Ventures I LLC("IV") Action under the Patent Act and the Administrative Procedures Act against the USPTO.  IV alleged that its patent application was repeatedly rejected including on appeal because it was flagged under the SAWS program. It provided testimony from former Commissioner for Patents Jon Doll on his part in managing the SAWS. See details.

Danny Huntington FOIA Requests and litigation.  Comprehensive FOIA requests on the operation of the secret SAWS since its inception in 1994 until its retirement in March 2015. Records include memos, directives, reports, emails, and SAWS guidance for examiners. Records show that all pending pre-GATT applications were flagged under the SAWS and that the Board of Appeals received SAWS information on appeals for applications flagged under the SAWS.  See details.

Gilbert Hyatt Mandamus Action against the USPTO, which admitted that his applications were flagged under the SAWS.  See complaint filed May 7, 2018.