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Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences

"The Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences shall, on written appeal of an applicant, review adverse decisions of examiners upon applications for patents and shall determine priority and patentability of invention in interferences ... [35 U.S.C. § 6(b)]."

35 U.S.C. § 6, establishes the Board's membership as the Director, the Deputy Director, the Commissioner for Patents, the Commissioner for Trademarks, and the Administrative Patent Judges. The Chief Judge is James D. Smith.

The Board's two main responsibilities include: (1) the review of ex parte appeals from adverse decisions of examiners in those situations where a written appeal is taken by a dissatisfied patent applicant and (2) the review of interferences to "determine priority" (that is, decide who is the first inventor) whenever an applicant claims the same patentable invention which is already claimed by another applicant or patentee. Each appeal and interference is heard by a merits panel of at least three members of the Board.

Ex parte appeals from adverse decisions by patent examiners in applications for patents and in reexamination proceedings filed pursuant to Chapter 30 of 35 U.S.C. are provided for by 35 U.S.C. §§ 134 and 306. The rules governing ex parte appeals are found at 37 CFR §§ 41.30-41.54. Chapter 1200 of The Manual of Patent Examining Procedure sets forth the current procedures for appellants and patent examiners to follow in ex parte appeals. Sections 2273-2279 of The Manual of Patent Examining Procedure sets forth additional procedures for appellants and patent examiners to follow in ex parte appeals in a reexamination proceeding.

Appeals from adverse decisions by patent examiners in inter partes reexamination proceedings filed pursuant to Chapter 31 of 35 U.S.C. are provided for by 35 U.S.C. § 315. The rules governing these appeals are found at 37 CFR §§ 41.60-41.81. Sections 2674-2682 of The Manual of Patent Examining Procedure set forth procedures for appellants, respondents, and patent examiners to follow in appeals in an inter partes reexamination proceeding.

Interferences are provided for by 35 U.S.C. § 135. The rules governing interferences are found at 37 CFR § 41.100-41.208. Chapter 2300 of The Manual of Patent Examining Procedure and the Standing Order (PDF) sets forth additional guidance for interferences.

 

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Last Modified: 9/8/2011 11:46:04 AM