United States Patent and Trademark Office January 5, 2012 – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents

Implementation of Statute of Limitations Provisions for Office Disciplinary Proceedings
Document Number: 2011-33814
Type: Proposed Rule
Date: 2012-01-05
Agency: Department of Commerce, United States Patent and Trademark Office
The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) requires that disciplinary proceedings be commenced not later than the earlier of the date that is 10 years after the date on which the misconduct forming the basis of the proceeding occurred, or one year from the date on which the misconduct forming the basis of the proceeding was made known to an officer or employee of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office or USPTO), as prescribed in the regulations governing disciplinary proceedings. The Office initiates disciplinary proceedings via three types of disciplinary complaints: complaints predicated on the receipt of a probable cause determination from the Committee on Discipline; complaints seeking reciprocal discipline; and complaints seeking interim suspension based on a serious crime conviction. This notice proposes that the one-year statute of limitations commences, with respect to complaints predicated on the receipt of a probable cause determination from the Committee on Discipline, the date on which the Director, Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED Director) receives from the practitioner a complete, written response to a request for information and evidence; with respect to complaints based on reciprocal discipline, the date on which the OED Director receives a certified copy of the record or order regarding the practitioner being publicly censured, publicly reprimanded, subjected to probation, disbarred, suspended, or disciplinarily disqualified; and, with respect to complaints for interim suspension based on a serious crime conviction, the date on which the OED Director receives a certified copy of the record, docket entry, or judgment demonstrating that the practitioner has been convicted of a serious crime.
Changes To Implement Miscellaneous Post Patent Provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act
Document Number: 2011-33813
Type: Proposed Rule
Date: 2012-01-05
Agency: Department of Commerce, United States Patent and Trademark Office
The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act expands the scope of information that any party may cite in a patent file, to include written statements made by a patent owner before a Federal court or the United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) regarding the scope of any claim of the patent, and it provides for how such information may be considered in ex parte reexamination, inter partes review, and post grant review. The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act also provides for an estoppel that may attach with respect to ex parte reexamination based on an inter partes review or post grant review proceeding. The Office is revising the rules of practice to implement these post-patent provisions, as well as other miscellaneous provisions of the Leahy- Smith America Invents Act.
Changes To Implement the Preissuance Submissions by Third Parties Provision of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act
Document Number: 2011-33811
Type: Proposed Rule
Date: 2012-01-05
Agency: Department of Commerce, United States Patent and Trademark Office
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) is proposing changes to the rules of patent practice to implement the preissuance submissions by third parties provision of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. This provision provides a mechanism for third parties to contribute to the quality of issued patents by submitting to the Office, for consideration and inclusion in the record of patent applications, any patents, published patent applications, or other printed publications of potential relevance to the examination of the applications. A preissuance submission may be made in any non- provisional utility, design, and plant application, as well as in any continuing or reissue application. A third-party preissuance submission must include a concise description of the asserted relevance of each document submitted and be submitted within a certain statutorily specified time period. The third party must submit a fee as prescribed by the Director and a statement that the submission complies with all of the statutory requirements. The third-party preissuance submission provision of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act is effective on September 16, 2012, and applies to any application filed before, on, or after September 16, 2012. Comment Deadline: Written comments must be received on or before March 5, 2012.