Some Thoughts of the Study in the U.S.A.
Author: Yu Min

The company arranged for me to stay in the United States from Nov. 11 to 29, 2013 for the 5th Training Class on U.S. Patent Law and the Practice Thereof, which was jointly organized by the ACPAA and John Marshall Law School. During the 17-day training, I, together with patent attorneys from other patent agencies, learned the practice of U.S. Patent Law, and visited a U.S. patent agency, a district court, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, and other business entities and government agencies related to patent practice in the United States. The whole process was both diversified and beneficial.

The first stop along our American trip was Chicago, where we took classes at John Marshall Law School. In the classes, we learned the practice of U.S. Patent Law, including the U.S. court system and patent system, the impact of the America Invents Act (or AIA, for short) upon the application system and the novelty, the patent entity with regard to Article 101 of the U.S. Patent Law, the obviousness with regard to Article 103 of the U.S. Patent Law, the comparison between the old and new U.S. Patent Law, means plus function limitations, important patent cases concerning biology, chemistry, and pharmaceuticals, post-licensing procedure, and patent proceedings in AIA. While teaching lessons, our teacher would give explanations based on relevant points and typical examples, and conclude the notes in practical operations, which benefitted us a great deal. At the end of the classes, the president of John Marshall Law School issued a certificate of completion to each trainee and posed for photos with each of us.

During our stay in Chicago, the Chinese-American lawyer of the school, Yuan Danji, showed us around the District Court in Illinois, where we listened to a trial and felt the court atmosphere. In addition, the school showed us around a U.S. lawyers' office in Chicago, Loeb & Loeb, LLP. The head of the office told us about the history and culture of Chicago and the scale and history of the office, and arranged an exchange between the office's U.S. patent attorneys and us. In the end, he presented us with books as souvenirs.

After the study in Chicago, we paid a short two-day trip to New York, where we visited some famous scenic spots and were impressed by the cityscape of this world economic center. At last, we came to Washington, D.C. where we visited the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. At the USPTO, we learned about the organization and history of the office and had an intensive discussion with the Chinese-American examiners there. We were told that U.S. examiners set a degree of difficulty for each case and that U.S. examiners work in a flexible, people-oriented manner and may apply to work at home, provided certain requirements are satisfied. Concerning the visit to U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, I was deeply impressed by the red external wall of court buildings and the solemnity and serenity therein.

Thanks to the training in the U.S.A., I have not only learned specific operations of the U.S. patent practice but also realized that much is yet to be learned to fully master the U.S. patent practice. In the meantime, the spare-time visit taught me local history and culture in the United States, by which I have been deeply impressed and remarkably inspired. In general, the U.S. trip was a very pleasant and memorable experience.