USPTO Holds Public Roundtable on Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences Ex Parte Appeals Rules

Ex Parte
January 20, 2010
Press Release 10-05

Contact: Peter Pappas or Jennifer Rankin Byrne
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Washington - Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Sharon Barner today opened and moderated a public roundtable at the USPTO's campus in Alexandria, Va. The meeting was an effort to gather public comments on proposed potential modifications to rules governing practice before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) in patent appeals.

"The BPAI provides critical services for the patent process at the USPTO and for the patent system generally," noted Deputy Under Secretary Barner. "This 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."

It's USPTO's goal to reduce the pendency of patent appeals. The pendency of decided appeals, as measured from the time an applicant files a notice of appeal until the BPAI renders a decision, is now 29.3 months, up from 27.5 months at the end of FY 2009. One way to move toward this goal is to modify the rules of practice in patent appeals to streamline and improve the overall appeal process.

Objectives of the proposed modifications to the rules 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.

In the public roundtable, a number of stakeholders in the IP community expressed their views regarding the modifications the USPTO is considering.

The agenda and a list of participants and their affiliations are available on the USPTO's Web site at

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