Streamlined Procedure for Appeal Brief Review in Inter Partes
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is streamlining the procedure for the review of appeal briefs filed in inter partes reexamination proceeding appeals to increase the efficiency of the appellate process and to reduce the 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 inter partes reexamination proceedings (i.e., appellant's briefs, respondent's briefs, and rebuttal briefs) 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 inter partes reexamination proceeding appeal pendency as measured from the filing of a notice of appeal to the BPAI's docketing of the appeal by eliminating duplicate reviews by the examiner and the BPAI. The USPTO expects further reduction in pendency because the streamlined procedure will increase consistency in the determination, and thereby reduce the number of notices of noncompliant appeal briefs and non- substantive returns from the BPAI that require parties to file corrected appeal briefs in inter partes reexamination proceeding appeals.