Extension of the Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) implemented a pilot program (Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program) in which an applicant, under certain conditions, can request a 12-month time period to pay the search fee, the examination fee, any excess claim fees, and the surcharge (for the late submission of the search fee and the examination fee) in a nonprovisional application. The Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program benefits applicants by permitting additional time to determine if patent protection should be soughtat a relatively low costand by permitting applicants to focus efforts on commercialization during this period. The Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program benefits the USPTO and the public by adding publications to the body of prior art, and by removing from the USPTO's workload those nonprovisional applications for which applicants later decide not to pursue examination. The USPTO is extending the Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program until December 31, 2015, to better gauge whether the Extended Missing Parts Program offers sufficient benefits to the patent community for it to be made permanent. The requirements of the program have not changed.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat for the Arctic Ringed Seal; Public Hearings
We, NMFS, announce the specific dates and locations for four public hearings in Alaska, one each in Nome, Anchorage, Kotzebue, and Barrow, on our proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the threatened Arctic subspecies (Phoca hispida hispida) of the ringed seal (Phoca hispida) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which published in the Federal Register on December 9, 2014. We also announce that a hearing will be held in Bethel, AK.
Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Request for Information for the Issuance of Protective Regulations Under Section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act for the Conservation of Threatened Corals
We, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), are considering proposing protective regulations to provide for the conservation of the 20 coral species recently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Fifteen of the listed species occur in the Indo-Pacific and five occur in the Caribbean. This advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) is intended to alert other agencies and the public of our planning efforts and request public input that will assist in identifying actions and activities that may impact the status of these corals, as well as information on the existence and efficacy of on-going conservation activities. This information will help inform our evaluation of what, if any, protective regulations are necessary and advisable for the conservation of these species.