June 10, 2008

Yesterday, the USPTO announced that it will be publishing its “final rule” in an attempt to “improve the process of ex parte appeals before the USPTO’s Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI)." Some of the new rules include new processes for Examiners to follow, including a requirement that the Examiner provide his or her reasons for rejection earlier in the process, noting that new grounds for rejection will no longer be permitted within the Examiner’s answers to an appellant’s brief. In addition, Examiners will no longer respond to reply briefs, and supplemental Examiner’s answers will not be permitted in response to an appellant’s reply brief. According to Jon Dudas, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, “These new rules will benefit both the patent community and the USPTO by fostering an ex parte appeals process with improved efficiency and clarity. By exchanging information and crystallizing the issues of the dispute earlier in the process, the result will be more streamlined appeal process and more efficient decision-making.” Additional information regarding these rules changes is provided in the USPTO announcement link below, and a link to the new rules themselves is also provided below.

USPTO Announcement: LINK
New Rules: LINK

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Mark Reichel
Reichel IP LLC

I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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