TTAB now allows citation of nonprecedential opinionsJanuary 24, 2007

In a notice posted in the USPTO Official Gazette yesterday, the TTAB has changed its rules, now allowing citation to TTAB decisions designated non-precedential. Under the former rule, any non-precedential decisions cited before the TTAB were disregarded. Now, while only opinions designated as precedential are binding on the TTAB, a non-precedential opinion “may be cited for whatever persuasive value it might have.” According to John Welch of the TTABlog, Chief Judge Sams of the TTAB stated that this rule is retroactive, meaning non-precedential decisions issued before the change may also be cited. An update to the TBMP reflecting this change will be issued in due course. This change comes shortly after new Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1, which requires the United States Courts of Appeal to permit citation of unpublished opinions went into effect on December 1, 2006. Therefore, it looks at though the TTAB is bringing its practice in line with the various Federal Appellate Courts.

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