Electronic Delivery of Search Results From the United States Patent and Trademark Office to the European Patent Office
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has recently begun electronic delivery of search results from U.S. patent applications to the European Patent Office (EPO) to assist U.S. applicants who later file in the EPO to comply with amended Rule 141(1) of the EPO's implementing regulations to the European Patent Convention (EPC). As a result, U.S. applicants subject to amended Rule 141(1) EPC will not need to separately file their U.S. search results with the EPO, thereby providing time and cost savings to these applicants.
Revision of Patent Term Adjustment Provisions Relating to Appellate Review
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) is proposing to revise the patent term adjustment provisions of the rules of practice in patent cases. The patent term adjustment provisions of the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 (AIPA) provide for patent term adjustment if, inter alia, 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 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 the period of appellate review under the patent term adjustment provisions of the AIPA begins when jurisdiction over the application passes to the BPAI rather than the date on which a notice of appeal to the BPAI is filed. The Office recently published the final rule (eff. date Jan 23, 2012) concerning practice before the BPAI in ex parte appeals and defined that jurisdiction of the appeal passes to the BPAI at the earlier of the filing of the reply brief or upon the expiration of the time in which to file a reply brief. See Rules Of Practice Before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences in Ex Parte Appeals 76 FR 72270, 72273 (November 22, 2011). Accordingly, for purposes of calculating patent term adjustment based upon appellate review, the impact of the rule change would be to reduce the amount of patent term adjustment awarded for successful appeal under 35 USC 154(b)(1)(C)(iii). However, the impact may be offset by potentially increasing the amount of patent term adjustment awarded for failing to issue the patent within three years of the actual filing date in the United States under 35 USC 154(b)(1)(B). The patent term adjustment award for the three year provision may increase when the examiner reopens prosecution after a notice of appeal is filed (e.g., following a pre-appeal conference or an appeal conference) and the patent issues thereafter, because the period of time between the filing of the notice of appeal and the examiner's reopening of prosecution would no longer be deducted under 35 USC 154(b)(1)(B)(ii).
National Medal of Technology and Innovation Nomination Evaluation Committee
The Department of Commerce (United States Patent and Trademark Office) is requesting nominations of individuals to serve on the National Medal of Technology and Innovation Nomination Evaluation Committee. The United States Patent and Trademark Office will consider all timely nominations received in response to this notice as well as from other sources.
Extension of the Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) implemented a pilot program (Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program) in which an applicant, under certain conditions, can request a twelve- month time period to pay the search fee, the examination fee, any excess claim fees, and the surcharge (for the late submission of the search fee and the examination fee) in a nonprovisional application. The Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program benefits applicants by permitting additional time to determine if patent protection should be soughtat a relatively low costand by permitting applicants to focus efforts on commercialization during this period. The Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program benefits the USPTO and the public by adding publications to the body of prior art, and by removing from the USPTO's workload those nonprovisional applications for which applicants later decide not to pursue examination. The USPTO is extending the Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program until December 31, 2012, to better gauge whether the Extended Missing Parts Program offers sufficient benefits to the patent community for it to be made permanent.
Extension of Comment Period Regarding Comments on Intellectual Property Enforcement in China
To provide interested parties with the opportunity to comment further to the original request for public comment (see https:// www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-10-17/pdf/2011-26757.pdf), The United States Patent and Trademark Office (``USPTO'') is extending the period for public comment regarding any challenges that U.S. inventors and companies are facing with the judicial and/or administrative patent enforcement systems of the People's Republic of China. USPTO invites any member of the public to submit written comments on China's patent enforcement system, including, but not limited to, the following five topics: acquisition and enforcement of utility model and design patents; evidence collection and preservation in Chinese courts; obtaining damages and injunctions; enforceability of court orders and judgments; and administrative patent enforcement. The USPTO would like to resolve rights holders' concerns by working with them to identify problems regarding these and other areas of China's patent enforcement system so that it can then address these issues with the Chinese Government. To help the USPTO address these issues, it encourages interested members of the public to respond to this request.