It’s a narrow legal question but it could have broad implications because there are a lot of patent agents doing this work, Jane Robinson of Ahmad Zavitsanos Anaipakos Alavi & Mensing PC or AZA, a lawyer for Silver, told Law360 on Friday. Robinson said before federal courts made clear patent agent communications about patent prosecution are privileged, inventors would hire patent lawyers “just as an extra layer of protection” to ensure they didn’t have to turn over confidential communications — but that’s an expensive proposition for inventors of modest means, she said. And that federal privilege could be vitiated if parties use a state law breach of contract claim to get around those discovery protections to obtain confidential communications about the patent prosecution, she said. What we need is a uniform national system where this privilege is recognized, she said.
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