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USPTO Seeks Dismissal of Class Action Inventor Suit Filed Over SAWS Program

On September 26, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office filed a motion to dismiss a class action complaint  filed by two inventors alleging violations of the Privacy Act created by the agency’s handling of its Sensitive Application Warning System (SAWS). The USPTO is seeking a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal for failure to state a claim, arguing that application flags under the SAWS program don’t concern individual patent applicants and that omission of those flags from patent application files isn’t the proximate cause of adverse determinations such as increased scrutiny holding up patent grants. The case was first filed this June in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by Paul Morinville and Gil Hyatt, two inventors who allege that they have filed patent applications on inventions that have been flagged by the SAWS program. Morinville is an inventor on nine patents who has had 26 patent applications pending at the USPTO since February 2000. Hyatt is listed as an inventor on 70 patent applications and has had patent applications pending at the agency since 1990. Hyatt was first informed that he had patent applications flagged by the SAWS system in June 2017, more than two years after the USPTO officially retired the SAWS program.

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