Revision of Patent Term Extension and Adjustment Provisions Relating to Appellate Review and Information Disclosure Statements
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) is proposing to revise the patent term adjustment and extension provisions of the rules of practice in patent cases. The patent term adjustment provisions of the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 (AIPA) and the patent term extension provisions of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA) each provide for patent term extension or adjustment if the issuance of the patent was delayed due to appellate review by the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) or by a Federal court and the patent was issued pursuant to or under a decision in the review reversing an adverse determination of patentability. The Office is proposing to change the rules of practice to indicate that in most circumstances an examiner reopening prosecution of the application after a notice of appeal has been filed will be considered a decision in the review reversing an adverse determination of patentability for purposes of patent term adjustment or extension purposes. Therefore, in such situations, patentees would be entitled to patent term extension or adjustment. In addition, the AIPA provides for a reduction of any patent term adjustment if the applicant failed to engage in reasonable efforts to conclude prosecution of the application. The Office is also proposing to change the rules of practice pertaining to the reduction of patent term adjustment for applicant delays to exclude information disclosure statements resulting from the citation of information by a foreign patent office in a counterpart application that are promptly filed with the Office. For example, under the proposed rule, there would not be a reduction of patent term adjustment in the following situations: When applicant promptly submits a reference in an information disclosure statement after the mailing of a notice of allowance if the reference was cited by the Office in another application, or when applicant promptly submits a copy of an Office communication (e.g., an Office action) in an information disclosure statement after the mailing of a notice of allowance if the Office communication was issued by the Office in another application or by a foreign patent office in a counterpart foreign application.