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ABA-IPL Chair’s Town Hall: Planning a Better Patent System

Presented Virtually
March – August 2024

ABA-IPL is pleased to present The Chair’s Town Hall: Building a Better Patent System, a series of six CLE webinars. Each 90-minute CLE program will be followed by a half-hour interactive exchange among panel members and the audience.

The goal of the series is to address the most vexing issues confronting the patent system today.  This undertaking will involve bringing together thought leaders and interested members of the public to build consensus and ultimately propose concrete solutions to improve the patent system.  All are encouraged to register and add their voices to the discussion.

A schedule of programs and a brief overview of individual session topics appears below.  Visit registration links for detailed descriptions. 


March 21, 4:00 pm (Eastern)
Session One: The Quest for More Globally Harmonized, Transparent “Prior Art”– Adoption of a Publicly Available ”Standard”– Listen to the On-Demand Program Now.

Should “secret prior art”, i.e., prior art that is not publicly available, be eliminated?

Session One Description: 

The America Invents Act (AIA), enacted by Congress in 2011, was more than a decade in the making. The AIA rewrote from scratch the section of the patent statute (35 U.S.C. §102) defining “prior art.”  It did so by injecting into the AIA statute what the AIA’s congressional sponsors characterized as an overarching “available to the public” limitation on subject matter that could qualify as prior art, explaining that this aspect of the AIA was an effort to conform U.S. law to international norms, by precluding secret, non-public disclosures from barring patent claims on prior art grounds.  The Supreme Court held that the new statute failed to accomplish this objective and had instead retained all of the pre-AIA law allowing non-public, on-sale activities to constitute prior art. This webinar brings together a group of thought leaders to discuss and debate whether prior art should be defined to be fully transparent, as it is in all other industrialized countries, and confined to publicly accessible subject matter.  The webinar will address two “straw proposals” containing specific amendments to the patent statute that would address these prior art “transparency” issues.

April 25, 4:00 pm (Eastern):   
Session Two: Inequitable Conduct – Registration Now Open!
Does the non-statutory defense act as a barrier to procuring reliable and durable patents? 

May 9, 2024
Session 3: Incorrect Inventorship – Registration Opening Soon!
Should misjoinder be eliminated as a ground of invalidity and should Section 262 be amended to require accounting to unnamed inventors later found to be inventors to motivate applicants to get it right in the first instance?

June 13, 4:00 pm (Eastern)
Session 4: Continuations  – Registration Opening Soon!
Some would argue that continuation patents have become the modern version of “submarine” patents from the era before patent application publication; should adjustments be made to the patent system to mitigate the alleged “patent thickets” created by continuation practice?

July 2024
Session 5: Obviousness-Type Double Patenting (OTDP) – Registration Opening April 2024!
Does OTDP serve any policy purpose in a patent system that provides a term of 20-years from filing? 


August 2024
Session 6: Functional Claiming – Registration Opening June 2024!
How does one provide a reasonable scope of patent protection while meeting the disclosure requirements of the underlying bargain?


Register for each session individually.  ABA-IPL Section members register at no charge. General attendance costs $100 for each program.

Don’t miss the chance to be a part of this exciting series! Contact [email protected] with any questions.