Revival of Abandoned Applications, Reinstatement of Abandoned Applications and Cancelled or Expired Registrations, and Petitions to the Director
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office or USPTO) proposes to amend its rules regarding petitions to revive an abandoned application and petitions to the Director of the USPTO (Director) regarding other matters, and to codify USPTO practice regarding requests for reinstatement of abandoned applications and cancelled or expired registrations. The proposed changes will permit the USPTO to provide more detailed procedures regarding the deadlines and requirements for requesting revival, reinstatement, or other action by the Director. These rules will thereby ensure that the public has notice of the deadlines and requirements for making such requests, facilitate the efficient and consistent processing of such requests, and promote the integrity of application/registration information in the trademark electronic records system as an accurate reflection of the status of applications and registrations.
Revision of the Duty To Disclose Information in Patent Applications and Reexamination Proceedings
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office or PTO) is proposing revisions to the materiality standard for the duty to disclose information in patent applications and reexamination proceedings (duty of disclosure) in light of a 2011 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Federal Circuit). The Office previously issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on July 21, 2011, and due to the passage of time since the comment period closed in 2011, the Office considers it appropriate to seek additional comments from our stakeholders before issuing a final rulemaking. In the current notice of proposed rulemaking, the Office is seeking public comments on the rules of practice, as revised in response to the comments received from our stakeholders.
Standard ST.26-Request for Comments on the Recommended Standard for the Presentation of Nucleotide and Amino Acid Sequence Listings Using XML (eXtensible Markup Language)
Patent applications that contain disclosures of nucleotide and/or amino acid sequences must contain sequence information in a separate part of the disclosure in a specified manner. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) is seeking additional comments to obtain views of the public on the continuing international effort to revise the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) standard for the presentation of nucleotide and/or amino acid sequences and the consequent changes to the United States rules of practice. The revised standard will be known as WIPO Standard ST.26. An interim version of WIPO Standard ST.26 was adopted in March 2016 by the Committee on WIPO Standards (CWS), but has not been implemented pending further consideration by the CWS. Since the adoption of the interim version, efforts have been undertaken to finalize WIPO Standard ST.26 and to improve its effectiveness once implemented. One aspect of that continuing effort is a proposed guidance document annex, which will include a variety of sequence disclosure examples, to ensure understanding and uniform application of standard requirements. Comments may be offered on any aspect of this effort, and in particular, (a) the comprehensiveness and clarity of WIPO Standard ST.26 and the proposed guidance document annex, and (b) the proposed authoring/validation tool for creation of a sequence listing in XML.
Trademark Fee Adjustment
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office or USPTO) is amending its rules to set or increase certain trademark fees, as authorized by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). The fees will allow the Office to further USPTO strategic objectives by: Better aligning fees with the full cost of the relevant products and services; protecting the integrity of the register by incentivizing more timely filing or examination of applications and other filings and more efficient resolution of appeals and trials; and promoting the efficiency of the process, in large part through lower-cost electronic filing options. The changes will also continue to recover the aggregate estimated cost of Trademark and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) operations and USPTO administrative services that support Trademark operations.
Notice of Roundtables and Request for Comments Related to Patent Subject Matter Eligibility
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (``USPTO'') seeks public input on patent subject matter eligibility in view of recent decisions by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The USPTO remains interested in feedback from members of the public to improve the USPTO's existing subject matter eligibility guidance and training examples. The USPTO is also interested in facilitating a discussion among members of the public regarding the legal contours of eligible subject matter in the U.S. patent system. The USPTO will be facilitating these discussions by hosting two roundtable events. The first roundtable will be directed to receiving feedback from members of the public to improve the USPTO's existing subject matter eligibility guidance and training examples. The second roundtable will be focused on receiving feedback regarding larger questions concerning the legal contours of eligible subject matter in the U.S. patent system. The roundtables will provide a forum for discussion of the topics identified in this notice.
Secrecy and License To Export
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the extension 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)).
Miscellaneous Changes to Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Rules of Practice
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (``USPTO'' or ``Office'') is amending the Trademark Rules of Practice (``Trademark Rules'' or ``Rules''), in particular the rules pertinent to practice before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (``Board''), to benefit the public by providing for more efficiency and clarity in inter partes and ex parte proceedings. Certain amendments are directed to reducing the burden on the parties, to conforming the rules to current practice, to updating references that have changed, to reflecting technologic changes, and to ensuring the usage of standard, current terminology. This final rule also furthers strategic objectives of the Office to increase end-to-end electronic processing.
Setting and Adjusting Patent Fees During Fiscal Year 2017
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office or USPTO) proposes to set or adjust patent fees as authorized by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (Act or AIA). The USPTO is a business- like operation where external factors affect the productivity of the workforce and the demand for patent products and services. The proposed fee adjustments are needed to provide the Office with a sufficient amount of aggregate revenue to recover its aggregate cost of patent operations (based on current projections), while maintaining momentum towards achieving strategic goals. This rulemaking represents the second iteration of patent fee rulemaking by the USPTO to set fees under the authority of the AIA; the first AIA patent fee setting rule was published in January 2013. This current rulemaking is a result of the USPTO assessing its costs and fees, as is consistent with federal fee setting standards. Following a biennial review of fees, costs, and revenues that began in 2015, the Office concluded that further targeted fee adjustments were necessary to continue funding patent operations, enhance patent quality, and continue to work toward patent pendency goals, strengthen the Office's information technology (IT) capability and infrastructure, and achieve operating reserve targets. Further, in several instances, the fee change proposals offered during the biennial fee review process were enhanced by the availability of cost and workload data (e.g., the number of requests for a service) that was not available in 2013. As a result, the 205 proposed fee adjustments outlined in this proposed rule align directly with the Office's strategic goals and four key fee setting policy factors, discussed in detail in Part V.