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Friday Jan 06, 2012

USPTO Publishes Proposed Rules Implementing Four AIA Provisions

From: Director David Kappos

I am pleased to announce that the USPTO has published this week the first in a series of Notices of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register related to proposed rules implementing various provisions of the America Invents Act.  Specifically, we published proposed rules for the following AIA provisions, which are accessible through the links below:

These Federal Register publications mark important milestones for the agency in our AIA rulemaking efforts.  And I am proud that our publication of these proposed rules occurs *ahead* of schedule.  I thank the US innovation community, our partnering governmental agencies, and the USPTO patent reform teams for working diligently and efficiently to make this early publication happen at the outset of a new year.

Publication of these proposed rules officially opens a sixty-day public comment period for each rule package.  I encourage the patent community to provide feedback to USPTO on our proposals, so that together we can implement a 21st century patent system and create a 21st century patent and trademark office.  I likewise encourage the patent community to attend one of our upcoming cross-country roadshows where we will discuss our proposals and receive direct input on them.  Details about our roadshows follows below.

Finally, in the coming weeks, the USPTO will publish additional AIA-related proposed rules in the Federal Register for public comment.  The soon-to-come proposed rule publications cover supplemental examination, post-grant review, inter partes review, transitional program for covered business methods, and derivation proceedings.  Stay tuned for those Federal Register publications.

The America Invents Act (AIA) calls on the USPTO to establish three satellite offices within three years of the legislation’s enactment (i.e., by September 16, 2014), provided that adequate resources are available.  Recruiting and retaining top patent examiners from across the country and increasing outreach to the nationwide patent applicant community is vital to reducing the patent application backlog, ensuring high quality patents, and moving the fruits of American innovation into the marketplace.  Accordingly, the USPTO will begin opening satellite offices outside of the Washington, D.C. metro area for the first time in the agency’s history.

An initial satellite office is planned for Detroit, Michigan as the “Elijah J. McCoy United States Patent and Trademark Office” and is expected to open in the second half of 2012.  The Detroit Office will bring over 100 technologically-focused, secure jobs and a significant boost to the area’s innovation economy.     

On November 29, 2011, the USPTO published a Notice in the Federal Register seeking public input on potential locations for the other two offices.  Comments are due on or before January 30, 2012.  The USPTO Satellite Office team is considering criteria including patent attorneys and agents in the region, patent applications by state, access to universities with strong engineering programs, public transportation infrastructure, and cost of living. 

We hope to hear from organizations and individuals around the country as we move to select locations that support the business needs of the USPTO and provide the highest quality service to applicants.  For more details on how to submit comments, please see the Federal Register Notice available at:  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-11-29/html/2011-30717.htm

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