The U.S. Patent Office has learned of a new technological advance called “rss feed” and has instituted the system for the USPTO Systems Status and Availability site a mere 10 years after Netscape started using it.

On the Electronic Business Center, you can check the web page for the latest information on operating status and availability of Online Business Systems.  However, subscribing to the available feeds will be much easier and more immediate.

For Standard Hours of Availability for Online Business Systems, System Descriptions, and Operating Requirements/Compatibilities, see the links here:

Also, don’t forget the Director’s Forum: David Kappos’ Public Blog.  [No word on David Kappos’ Secret Blog] The site, ostensibly by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos, features fairly frequent updates of the goings-on at the Patent Office.  This blog, while it can’t be completely open, is a good way for the public to dialog on patent issues.

In a post on the Supreme Court’s April 2007 decision in KSR v. Teleflex regarding obviousness, Kappos details how the Office’s first step toward addressing the implications of the KSR decision was to publish examination guidelines – available at – for its personnel to follow when determining obviousness. In accordance with the Supreme Court’s instructions regarding flexibility, the guidelines recognized that an examiner’s approach to obviousness had been broadened beyond the strict teaching-suggestion-motivation test. At the same time, they also stressed that in order to arrive at a proper conclusion of obviousness, examiners still needed to couple sound reasoning with particular findings of fact.

Some have suggested that the Office is determining obviousness in a way that stifles innovation by refusing patents for truly inventive subject matter. Practitioners asked the PTO to provide examples of non-obvious claims in view of KSR to serve as a complement to the examples of obvious claims already in the guidelines.  He indicated that now that a body of case law has been decided in light of the KSR decision, they are able to undertake that task.

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