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.