Interference practice is unique to the United States and is, in fact, a sub-specialty even among patent practitioners. The United States, in contrast to nearly all other nations, awards patent rights to the first to invent, rather than the first to file a patent application. When competing parties claim the same invention, a patent interference before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences determines which party is entitled to obtain a patent.
This highly specialized area of patent practice requires experience in navigating the unconventional rules and procedures that govern interference proceedings and an in-depth understanding of the technical field of the invention. It also requires strategic and tactical analysis with respect to count formation, motion practice, discovery, testimony, and settlement procedures.
The members of the Woodcock Washburn interference practice group possess the expertise that is necessary to provide effective representation in interference proceedings before the Board, as well as in any subsequent appeal to a Federal District Court and/or the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.