February 21, 2007

In Friday’s Federal Register (excerpt link below), the USPTO announced that it is proposing to amend Title 37 of the CFR so that it conforms to amendments made under the PCT that take effect on April 1st. According to the Federal Register, “[t]hese amendments will result in the addition of a mechanism to the PCT system whereby applicants may request that the right to claim priority be restored in applications that meet certain requirements” and providing “a means for applicants to insert a missing portion of an international application without the loss of the international filing date.” In addition, a clarification of circumstances surrounding when an applicant may correct an obvious mistake in an international application is provided, as is a revision of the search fee structure for international applications. The affected sections of Title 37 of the CFR include sections 1.17(t), 1.57(a)(2), 1.437(a), 1.445(a), 1.452 (general and subsections a through d), and 1.465(c) and (d). Regarding the search fee (noting that the Federal Register excerpt section pertaining to the search fee is relatively lengthy compared to the other section revisions), 37 C.F.R. § 1.445(a)(2) is being revised to increase the search fee to $1,800.00 across the board. Currently 37 C.F.R. §1.445(a)(2)(i) and (ii) allow for a reduced search fee of $300.00 when certain conditions are met (including the filing of a prior U.S. national application under 35 U.S.C. § 111(a) and other conditions), and if the conditions for these two subsections are net met, a search fee of $1,000.00. According to the Federal Register, “[t]he Activity-Based-Cost analysis for the search and preparation of search and preparing Chapter I written opinions for international applications reveals that the average cost of this activity is over $1,800.00,” and that “the international search fee increase of $800.00 is not significant in comparison to the overall costs that a small entity must incur to obtain international patent protection.” Comments to the proposed rules will be accepted through March 19th.

Federal Register Excerpt: LINK


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Mark Reichel
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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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