Proposed Pilot Program Exploring an Alternative Approach to Institution Decisions in Post Grant Administrative Reviews; Reopening of Period for Comments
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is requesting comments on a proposed pilot program pertaining to the institution and conduct of the post grant administrative trials provided for in the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), Public Law 112-29, 125 Stat. 284 (2011). The AIA provides for the following post grant administrative trials: Inter Partes Review (IPR), Post-Grant Review (PGR), and Covered Business Method Patent Review (CBM). The USPTO currently has a panel of three Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) decide whether to institute a trial, and then normally has the same three-APJ panel conduct the trial, if instituted. The USPTO is considering a pilot program under which the determination of whether to institute an IPR will be made by a single APJ, with two additional APJs being assigned to the IPR if a trial is instituted. Under this pilot program, any IPR trial will be conducted by a panel of three APJs, two of whom were not involved in the determination to institute the IPR. The USPTO published a request for comments in the Federal Register on August 25, 2015, seeking public comment on a proposed pilot program pertaining to the institution and conduct of these post grant administrative trial proceedings. See Request for Comments on a Proposed Pilot Program Exploring an Alternative Approach to Institution Decisions in Post Grant Administrative Reviews, 80 FR 51540 (Aug. 25, 2015). The USPTO is now extending the period for public comment until November 18, 2015.