Rules of Practice To Allocate the Burden of Persuasion on Motions To Amend in Trial Proceedings Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office) revises the rules of practice in inter partes review (IPR), post-grant review (PGR), and the transitional program for covered business method patents (CBM) (collectively post-grant trial) proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB or Board) to allocate the burdens of persuasion in relation to motions to amend and the patentability of substitute claims proposed therein. In light of Federal Circuit case law, and to better ensure the predictability and certainty of post-grant trial proceedings before the Board, the Office revises the rules of practice governing motions to amend, to expressly assign to the petitioner the burden of showing the unpatentability of substitute claims proposed in a motion to amend. In addition, the Office revises the rules to expressly assign to the patent owner the burden of showing that a motion to amend complies with certain statutory and regulatory requirements for such a motion. Notwithstanding the adversarial nature of the proceedings and the burdens described above, however, the Office further revises its rules to expressly provide that the Board itself may, in the interests of justice, exercise its discretion to grant or deny a motion to amend only for reasons supported by readily identifiable and persuasive evidence of record in the proceeding. The Office anticipates the Board will exercise its discretion in the interests of justice only in rare circumstances. In doing so, the Board may make of record only readily identifiable and persuasive evidence in a related proceeding before the Office or evidence that a district court can judicially notice. Where the Board exercises its discretion in such circumstances, the parties will have an opportunity to respond.
The Article of Manufacture Requirement
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) seeks public input on whether its interpretation of the article of manufacture requirement in the United States Code should be revised to protect digital designs that encompass new and emerging technologies.
Small Entity Government Use License Exception
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office) is amending the rules of practice in patent cases to clarify and expand exceptions to the rule pertaining to government use licenses and their effect on small entity status for purposes of paying reduced patent fees. The rule change is designed to support independent inventors, small business concerns, and nonprofit organizations in filing patent applications and to encourage collaboration with the Federal Government by expanding the opportunities to qualify for the small entity patent fees discount for inventions made during the course of federally funded or federally supported research.