January 25, 2010

On January 20, 2010, the USPTO moderated a public roundtable discussion to obtain public comments on the proposed rules modifications in connection with ex parte appeals before the USPTO’s Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI). As noted in a recent USPTO release (link HERE), the USPTO has a goal of reducing the pendency of its ex parte appeals, noting that the time from when a patent applicant files a notice of appeal until the time the BPAI renders its decision now averages nearly 2 and a half years (29.3 months), an increase from the 27.5 month pendency calculated at the end of FY2009. Sharon Barner, the Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, Deputy Director of the USPTO, and moderator of the roundtable, stated that "[t]his roundtable was an important step to gather valuable insight from the public on these proposed modifications and to work together with stakeholders toward a more efficient appeal process and more timely Board decisions."

The proposed rules were published in the December 22, 2009 Federal Register (excerpt link HERE). As noted within the USPTO press release, the proposed rule change objectives are "to provide clarity so that appellants know exactly what the rules require, and so that examiners know what they need to do; to streamline the process so that cases move from notice of appeal to decision in a more efficient and timely manner; to allow appellants and examiners an opportunity to fully respond to each other’s positions; and to ensure the appeal process allows for issues to be crystallized so that the Board receives fully-developed issues to be decided." A list of roundtable participants is available HERE, noting that Dennis Crouch, a fellow blogger and University of Missouri School of Law faculty member, was among the participants. If you are interested, you can review the PowerPoint slides used with the roundtable by clicking HERE.


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The DDIP Author

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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