The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) notified of an interesting pilot program that may be useful if you are a small or micro entity facing an appeal.
"The PTAB is pleased to announce a second pilot program that will allow small or micro entity appellants with only a single ex parte appeal pending before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Board) to expedite review of that appeal in return for agreeing to streamline the appeal. Specifically, the appeal must not involve any claim subject to a rejection under 35 U.S.C. § 112, and the appellant must agree to the disposition of all claims subject to each ground of rejection as a single group and waive any request for an oral hearing.
The Streamlined, Expedited Patent Appeal Pilot for Small Entities will allow small or micro entity appellants who streamline their appeals to have greater control over the priority with which their appeals are decided. The streamlining of appeals under this pilot will also assist the Board to more efficiently reduce the overall inventory of appeals pending before the Board.
Appellants wishing to participate in the pilot program need only make a certification and file a petition to the Chief Judge under 37 C.F.R. § 41.3. The Office has waived the petition fee and provided a form-fillable PDF (Form PTO/SB/441) for use in filing the certification and petition. For more information about the pilot program and how to participate, please refer to the Federal Register notice at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/09/15/2015-23090/streamlined-expedited-patent-appeal-pilot-for-small-entities
PTAB also notified it "has recently published statistics on the Expedited Patent Appeal Pilot program on its Web page at http://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Expedited%20Patent%20Appeal%20Pilot%20ending%2020150909.pdf.
The statistics show that petitions filed under the Expedited Patent Appeal Pilot program are being decided in an average of two days from the date of filing and that decisions on appeals accorded special status under this program currently are issued in an average of one month from the date of grant of the petition."
If you meet the requirements, the PTAB is suggesting you may get an appeal decision in about one month based on the statistics. Yes, appellant must agree to the disposition of all claims subject to each ground of rejection as a single group" and "waive any request for an oral hearing," but if you are willing to do that, meet all requirements, and need a quick decision it sounds useful. A caveat if many people use this procedure -- will the "one month to decision" promise hold?
Copyright © 2015 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.