Today, the USPTO published a proposed rule: Rule Recognizing Privileged Communications Between Clients and Patent Practitioners at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).
Here is a summary from the USPTO:
"This proposed rule would amend the rules of practice before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to recognize that, in connection with discovery conducted in certain proceedings at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office), communications between U.S. patent agents or foreign patent practitioners and their clients are privileged to the same extent as communications between clients and U.S. attorneys. The rule would apply to inter partes review, post-grant review, the transitional program for covered business method patents, and derivation proceedings. This rule would clarify the protection afforded to such communications, which is currently not addressed in the rules governing Board proceedings at the USPTO. This new rule will not affect the duty of disclosure and candor before the Office under 37 CFR 1.56.
Comment date: The Office solicits comments from the public on this proposed rulemaking. Written comments must be received on or before December 19, 2016 to ensure consideration.
Comments should be sent by electronic mail message over the Internet addressed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments may also be submitted by postal mail addressed to: Mail Stop OPIA Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450, marked to the attention of "Soma Saha, Patent Attorney, Patent Trial Proposed Rule on Privilege."
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