Changes To Information Disclosure Statement Requirements and Other Related Matters
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) is proposing changes to information disclosure statement (IDS) requirements and other related matters to improve the quality and efficiency of the examination process. The proposed changes will enable the examiner to focus on the relevant portions of submitted information at the very beginning of the examination process, give higher quality first actions, and minimize wasted steps. The Office is proposing the following changes relating to submissions of IDSs by applicants/patent owners: Before a first Office action on the merits, require additional disclosure for English language documents over twenty-five pages, for any foreign language documents, or if more than twenty documents are submitted, but documents submitted in reply to a requirement for information or resulting from a foreign search or examination report would not count towards the twenty document limit; permit the filing of an IDS after a first Office action on the merits only if certain additional disclosure requirements have been met; and eliminate the fees for submitting an IDS. Updates to the additional disclosure requirements would be required as needed for every substantive amendment. The Office is also proposing to revise the protest rule to better set forth options that applicants have for dealing with unsolicited information received from third parties.
Size Standard for Purposes of United States Patent and Trademark Office Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Patent-Related Regulations
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) uses the Small Business Administration (SBA) size standard for the purpose of paying reduced patent fees as its size standard when conducting an analysis or making a certification under the Regulatory Flexibility Act for patent-related regulations. The Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy (SBA-Advocacy) has questioned whether this is the appropriate size standard for conducting an analysis or making a certification under the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the USPTO is providing this opportunity for public comment on the establishment of the SBA's definition of ``small business concern'' for the purpose of paying reduced patent fees as the definition of ``small business concern'' for Regulatory Flexibility Act purposes for patent-related regulations. Comment Deadline Date: To be ensured of consideration, written comments must be received on or before August 7, 2006. No public hearing will be held.
Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records
In accordance with the requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is amending the system of records currently listed under ``COMMERCE/ PAT-TM-10 Patent Deposit Accounts System.'' This action is being taken to update the Privacy Act notice and to include user profiles for electronic funds transfers (EFT). The system of records will also be renamed ``COMMERCE/PAT-TM-10 Deposit Accounts and Electronic Funds Transfer Profiles.'' We invite the public to comment on the amendments noted in this publication.