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Intellectual Property Insights from Fishman Stewart
Mini Article – Volume 24, Issue 9

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Chips That Run Our World

By Anthony Gartrelle

While it may be a myth that you’re never more than a few yards from a spider, you’re rarely more than a few yards from Finny’s favorite chips, semiconductor chips to be precise. But what exactly is a semiconductor chip? 

Thanks, Finny, but why are semiconductors important?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recognizes the importance of semiconductors with the “Semiconductor Technology Pilot Program” that began on December 1, 2023, supported by The CHIPS Act of 2022, specifically Executive Order 14080, released August 25, 2022. As discussed in a previous FishTank article, “Climate Change and the Patenting Process Doing Its Part,” the USPTO addresses current and future problems with pilot programs. 

These pilot programs provide benefits by streamlining the patenting process for applications which meet predetermined requirements, e.g., advances in a specific technology. Applications chosen for these programs are expedited until a certain number of petitions are granted, until a certain deadline is met, or whichever comes first. 

While semiconductors are the topic for this week, the USPTO has many more pilot programs that may assist you, some examples include a “First-Time Filer Expedited Examination Pilot Program,” and a “Cancer Moonshot Expedited Examination Pilot Program” which grant special status to applications by first time filers or applications in the field of oncology or smoking cessation, respectively.

The “Semiconductor Technology Pilot Program” is scheduled to end on December 2, 2024, or when 1,000 petitions are granted, whichever milestone is met first. To qualify for this program, an application must claim a process or apparatus for manufacturing a semiconductor device and correspond to one or more of the technical concepts within certain classifications, specifically H10 (Semiconductor Devices) or H01L (Semiconductor Devices Not Covered by Class H10). In total, 38 petitions have been granted under this pilot program as of May 6, 2024. 

To join this pilot program applicants must file the petition for Semiconductor Pilot, meet the additional listed requirements, and file within the allotted timeframe. For more information on the Semiconductor Technology Pilot Program visit the press release issued on November 30, 2023. 

Anthony M. Gartrelle is an associate at Fishman Stewart, PLLC. Anthony possesses a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University and has experienced a wide range of technology fields while working as an intern for various Intellectual Property law firms as well as a Patent Examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).


Published May 17, 2024

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