Revision of Patent Fees for Fiscal Year 2007
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) (referred to as ``Office'' in this notice) is adjusting certain patent fee amounts to reflect fluctuations in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Also, the Office is adjusting, by a corresponding amount, a few patent fee rates that track the affected fee amounts. The Director is authorized to adjust these fee amounts annually by the CPI to recover the higher costs associated with doing business. The USPTO is adjusting the patent fee amounts under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005 (Consolidated Appropriations Act), which revised certain patent fee rates, and provided for a search fee and examination fee separate from the filing fee, during fiscal years 2005 and 2006; and continued in fiscal year 2007 under the revised Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2007 (Continuing Appropriations Resolution). Legislation has been introduced that would extend the fee rate revisions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act. In the event legislation is not enacted to continue the patent fee amounts under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, the USPTO will be adjusting patent statutory fee rates that were in application prior to implementation of the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The prior fee rates, adjusted for CPI, will be effective for fiscal year 2008.
Changes To Practice for Continued Examination Filings, Patent Applications Containing Patentably Indistinct Claims, and Examination of Claims in Patent Applications
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) is revising the rules of practice in patent cases relating to continuing applications and requests for continued examination practices, and for the examination of claims in patent applications. The Office is revising the rules of practice to require that any third or subsequent continuing application that is a continuation application or a continuation-in-part application, and any second or subsequent request for continued examination in an application family, be filed to obtain consideration of an amendment, argument, or evidence, and be supported by a showing as to why the amendment, argument, or evidence sought to be entered could not have been previously submitted. The Office is also revising the rules of practice to provide that an applicant must provide an examination support document that covers all of the claims in an application if the application contains more than five independent claims or more than twenty-five total claims. The Office is also revising the rules of practice with respect to multiple applications that have the same claimed filing or priority date, substantial overlapping disclosure, a common inventor, and common ownership. These changes will allow the Office to conduct a better and more thorough and reliable examination of patent applications.
Examination of Patent Applications That Include Claims Containing Alternative Language
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) is proposing to revise the rules of practice pertaining to any claim using alternative language to claim one or more species. The search and examination of such claims often consume a disproportionate amount of Office resources as compared to other types of claims, because determining the patentability of these claims often requires a separate examination of each of the alternatives within the claims. The Office expects that requiring applicants who choose to draft claims that read on multiple species using alternative language to maintain a certain degree of relatedness among the alternatives will enable the Office to do a more thorough and more reliable examination of such claims.
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) gives notice of a proposed new system of records entitled ``COMMERCE/ PAT-TM-20 Customer Call Center, Assistance and Satisfaction Survey Records.'' We invite the public to comment on the system announced in this publication.
Miscellaneous Changes to Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Rules
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) is amending the Trademark Rules of Practice (trademark rules) to require plaintiffs in Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (Board) inter partes proceedings to serve on defendants their complaints or claims; to utilize in Board inter partes proceedings a modified form of the disclosure practices included in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; and to delete the option of making submissions to the Board in CD-ROM form. In addition, certain amendments are being made to clarify rules, conform the rules to current practice, and correct typographical errors or deviations from standard terminology.