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Friday Jun 29, 2012

Rules Delivered to OMB for Interagency Clearance

From Janet Gongola, Patent Reform Coordinator:

The USPTO is progressing well in its preparation and clearance of various final rules for provisions that become effective on September 16, 2012.  These provisions include inventor's oath/declaration, preissuance submissions, citation of patent owner statements, supplemental examination, inter partes review, post grant review, and covered business method review. 

Specifically, as of mid-June 2012, the USPTO submitted all of these final rules to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for interagency clearance.  As soon as this process concludes, the agency will publish the final rules in the Federal Register, which will occur no later than August 16, 2012--one month before the provisions are effective.  In comparison with the proposed rules, the agency made numerous changes based upon the feedback we received from the public, and we are eager to share our final rules with you.

Additionally, the agency is on schedule with its development of proposed rules and guidance to implement the first-inventor-to-file provision, which becomes effective on March 16, 2013.  To that end, we submitted our first-inventor-to-file proposed rules and guidance document to OMB for interagency clearance on mid-June 2012.  Upon completion of interagency clearance, the USPTO will publish the proposed rules and guidance document also in the Federal Register, triggering a public comment period that will run until early October 2012. 

 Further, the USPTO is moving forward in its promulgation of proposed rules to set or adjust all patent service fees under Section 10 of the AIA.  Indeed, in late June 2012, the agency delivered its proposed fee rules to OMB for interagency clearance. 

As background regarding our fee setting process, in February 2012, we released a preliminary proposed fee schedule and participated in two public fee setting hearings held by our Patent Public Advisory Committee.  Based on the public input we received at those hearings, we made many modifications to our preliminary proposed fees.  Thus, the actual proposed fees that we will publish in the Federal Register following completion of the interagency clearance process will not be identical to the preliminary proposed fee schedule that we issued in February 2012.  Also, publication of the proposed fee rules in the Federal Register will open a 60-day public comment period, where the public again may offer feedback to the agency about the actual proposed rules.

In conclusion, our timelines found at the link below have been updated to reflect the steady progress of our rulemaking efforts.  Stay tuned for the release of several final and proposed rules in the coming weeks.  If you would like to be automatically notified of these publications, please register for an email alert at our AIA subscription center.

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