Streamlined, Expedited Patent Appeal Program for Small Entities Announced by USPTOSeptember 23, 2015

As of September 18, 2015, small or micro entities with only a single ex parte appeal pending before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) will be able to expedite review of their appeal in exchange for streamlining the process.

According to the information provided on the USPTO website, the criteria for qualification for this new program include:

  1. The appeal must not involve any claim subject to a rejection under 35 U.S.C. § 112; and
  2. The appellant must agree
    1. to the disposition of all claims subject to each ground of rejection as a single group; and
    2. waive any request for oral hearing.

It is the USPTO’s view that this will allow appellants to have greater control over the priority of their appeals within the PTAB’s docket and will assist the PTAB in reducing the number of appeals pending.

While appeals to the PTAB have rendered decisions in the order in which they are docketed, this pilot program will allow the streamlined appeals to be advanced out of turn, with the goal of rendering a decision no later than six months from the date of filing of the petition for streamlined appeal.

To participate in the program, appellants need only make a certification and file a petition to the Chief Judge of the PTAB under 37 C.F.R. § 41.3. The petition fee has been waived and form-fillable PDFs are available on the USPTO’s website. Additionally, the appeal must be the appellant’s only appeal pending and have been docketed with the PTAB as of September 18, 2015.

The USPTO has provided a series of Frequently Asked Questions available here.

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