United States Patent and Trademark Office June 2010 – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents
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Correspondence With the United States Patent and Trademark Office
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) is
Clarification on the Procedure for Seeking Review of a Finding of a Substantial New Question of Patentability in Ex Parte
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is clarifying the procedure for seeking review of a determination that a substantial new question of patentability (SNQ) has been raised in an ex parte reexamination proceeding. This notice clarifies that while issues related to a SNQ determination are procedural, the Chief Judge of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) has been delegated the authority to review issues related to the examiner's determination that a reference raises a SNQ in an ex parte reexamination proceeding. The Chief Judge of the BPAI may further delegate that authority to the panel of Administrative Patent Judges who are deciding the appeal in an ex parte reexamination proceeding. This clarification of procedure will facilitate more efficient resolution of SNQ issues.
Expansion and Extension of the Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a notice in the Federal Register providing an additional temporary basis (the Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan) under which a small entity applicant may have an application accorded special status for examination if the applicant expressly abandons another copending unexamined application. The Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan allows small entity applicants having multiple applications currently pending before the USPTO to have greater control over the priority with which their applications are examined while also stimulating a reduction of the backlog of unexamined patent applications pending before the USPTO. The USPTO is expanding the Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan to permit all applicants to participate by eliminating the small entity status requirement and adding a few new requirements in view of the expansion. The program is also being extended until December 31, 2010, or the date that 10,000 applications have been accorded special status for examination under the Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan, whichever occurs earlier. These changes allow more applicants to take advantage of the program.
Trademark Technical and Conforming Amendments
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (``USPTO'') is amending the Rules of Practice in Trademark Cases to implement the Trademark Technical and Conforming Amendment Act of 2010. The rule changes harmonize the framework for submitting trademark registration maintenance filings to the USPTO by permitting holders of international registrations with an extension of protection to the United States under the Madrid Protocol (``Madrid Protocol registrants'') to file Affidavits or Declarations of Use or Excusable Nonuse at intervals identical to those for nationally issued registrations. The changes additionally allow all trademark owners to cure deficiencies in their maintenance filings, including when the affidavit or declaration is not filed in the name of the owner of the registration.
National Telecommunications and Information Administration; Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Information Economy
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), on behalf of the U.S. Department of Commerce (Department), will hold a public meeting on July 1, 2010, to discuss the relationship of copyright policy, creativity, and innovation in the Internet economy.
Request for Comments on Proposed Changes to Restriction Practice in Patent Applications
In situations in which two or more independent and distinct inventions are claimed in a single patent application, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) is authorized by the patent laws and implementing regulations to require the applicant to restrict the application to one invention. The practice for requiring an applicant to restrict an application to one invention in such situations is known as restriction practice. The Office is considering changes to restriction practice to improve the quality and consistency of restriction requirements made by Office personnel.
Enhanced Examination Timing Control Initiative; Notice of Public Meeting
This notice announces a public meeting to solicit public opinions on an initiative being considered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to provide applicants with greater control over when their applications are examined and to enhance work sharing between intellectual property offices. Under the initiative, for applications filed in the USPTO that are not based on a prior foreign- filed application (e.g., that do not claim foreign priority benefit), applicant would be able to: (1) Request prioritized examination (Track I); (2) for non-continuing applications, request a delay lasting up to 30 months in docketing for examination (Track III); or (3) obtain processing under the current procedure (Track II) by not requesting either (1) or (2). For applications filed in the USPTO that are based on a prior foreign-filed application, no action would be taken by the USPTO until the USPTO receives a copy of the search report, if any, and first office action from the foreign office and an appropriate reply to the foreign office action as if the foreign office action was made in the application filed in the USPTO. Following or concurrent with the submission of the foreign office action and reply, applicant may request prioritized examination or obtain processing under the current procedure.