He Fought the Law, and the Law Won

The most remarkable thing about Hyatt v Lee, [2014-1596], (August 20, 2015), is that the plaintiff Mr. Hyatt has 400 pending patent applications that were filed before June 8, 1995.  This means that any patent that issues on one of this applications will have a 17 year term from issuance, expiring a minimum of 37 years after they were filed.  Each of these applications averages 116 independent claims, and 299 total claims, which if filed electronically today would cost $35620 in filing fees per application.  The Patent Office estimates that combined, Mr. Hyatt’s 400 applications include 45,000 independent claims and 115,000 total claims.

It is not surprising that the USPTO is not amused with Mr. Hyatt, and in August 2013, the began to issue “Requirements” in each of the application families, asking Mr. Hyatt to select a number of claims from each family (not to exceed 600), identify the earliest applicable priority date and supporting disclosure for each selected claim; and 3) present a copy of the selected claims to the USPTO.

Mr. Hyatt’s concern was that as patents issued, this could make information about unpublished applications public to his detriment.  This seems a legitimate concern, but facing the examination of 115,000 total claims, the USPTO was not sympathetic, and the Federal Circuit backed them up.

You can buck the system, but you have to remember that the system bucks back.