Are Small Claims Court for Patents on the Horizon?

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is seeking feedback on whether it should create a small claims proceeding for patent enforcement.

As detailed in a notice in the Federal Register, the USPTO wants to assess whether there is a need and desire for this type of proceeding and, if so, what types of features it should possess. More specifically, the USPTO is looking for information information about core characteristics of a patent small claims proceeding, including subject matter jurisdiction, venue, case management, appellate review, available remedies, and conformity with the U.S. constitutional framework.

The idea of a small claims court for patent claims first surfaced more than twenty years ago. After failing to gain traction, it has now resurfaced in recent discussions about how to resolve “small” intellectual property disputes.

The U.S. Copyright Office is considering a similar idea.

The USPTO is hoping to answer some specific questions regarding patent disputes this time around:

·         Your understanding of the need or lack of a need for a patent small claims court or other streamlined proceedings. If you believe there is a need, please provide a description of which types of patent cases would benefit from such proceedings. If you believe that there is not a need for such a court or proceedings, please share why you hold such a view.

·         Your views, along with any corresponding analysis and empirical data, as to what a preferred patent small claims proceeding should look like.

Please share any concerns you may have regarding any unintended negative consequences of a patent small claims proceeding along with any proposed safeguards that would reduce or eliminate the risk of any potential negative unintended consequences, to the extent any such concerns exist.

There are varying degrees of people that are interested in the concept of a patent small claims court.  Since the idea first surface 20 years ago, the patent landscape has changed dramatically and this idea may no longer be a good fit for today.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need help with any Intellectual Property issue, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just advice regarding how best to protect your ideas and your brand, contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +