Streamlined Procedure for Appeal Brief Review in Ex Parte Reexamination Proceedings
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is streamlining the procedure for the review of appeal briefs in ex parte reexamination proceeding appeals to increase the efficiency of the appeal process and reduce pendency of appeals. The Chief Judge of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) or his designee (collectively, ``Chief Judge''), will have the sole responsibility for determining whether appeal briefs filed in ex parte reexamination proceeding appeals comply with the applicable regulations, and will complete the determination before the appeal brief is forwarded to the examiner for consideration. The examiner will no longer review appeal briefs for compliance with the applicable regulations. The USPTO expects to achieve a reduction in ex parte reexamination proceeding appeal pendency as measured from the filing of a notice of appeal to docketing of the appeal by eliminating duplicate reviews by the examiner and the BPAI. We are expecting further reduction in pendency because the streamlined procedure will increase consistency in the determination, and thereby reduce the number of notices of noncompliant appeal brief and non-substantive returns from the BPAI that require appellants to file corrected appeal briefs in ex parte reexamination proceeding appeals.
Notice Regarding the Elimination of the Fee for Petitions To Make Special Filed Under the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Programs
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is eliminating the fee for the petition to make special under the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programs. Currently, applicants must pay a petition fee under 37 CFR 1.17(h) to have an application to enter into the PPH program. With the elimination of the fee, applicants will no longer have to pay the petition to make special fee in order to request an application enter all current pilot and fully implemented PPH programs. The elimination of the petition fee will simplify the PPH requirements and is expected to encourage greater PPH participation.
Elimination of Classification Requirement in the Green Technology Pilot Program
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) implemented the Green Technology Pilot Program on December 8, 2009, which permits patent applications pertaining to environmental quality, energy conservation, development of renewable energy resources, and greenhouse gas emission reduction to be advanced out of turn for examination and reviewed earlier (accorded special status). The program is designed to promote the development of green technologies. However, the pilot program was limited to only applications classified in a number of U.S. classifications to assist the USPTO to balance the workload and gauge resources needed for the program. The USPTO has determined that the classification requirement is unnecessary because the workload has been balanced with other mechanism, and this requirement was causing the denial of petitions for applications that are drawn to green technologies. The USPTO is hereby eliminating the classification requirement for any petitions that are decided on or after the publication date of this notice. This will permit more applications to qualify for the program, thereby allowing more inventions related to green technologies to be advanced out of turn for examination and reviewed earlier.
Electronic Filing System-Web (EFS-Web) Contingency Option
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is increasing the availability of its patent electronic filing system, Electronic Filing SystemWeb (EFS-Web) by providing a new contingency option when the primary portal to EFS-Web has an unscheduled outage. Previously, the entire EFS-Web system is not available to the users during such an outage. The contingency option in EFS-Web will permit users to sign-on as unregistered EFS-Web users to file new applications, national stage submissions under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) submitted with the basic national fee necessary to enter the national stage, requests for reexamination, and certain petitions, during an unscheduled outage of the primary portal to EFS-Web.
Initial Patent Applications
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), as part of its continuing efforts to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on this revision of a continuing information collection, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)).