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Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership

Tuesday Sep 18, 2012

PTAB Submissions Have Commenced

Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos

I thought I'd write to observe the occasion of the first submissions to our new Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) through their new IT system called Patent Review Processing System (PRPS).

We've had a team of PTAB judges and IT folks working together for several months to prepare IT systems and associated processes so that, from the start, the big new post-grant processes (post-grant opposition, inter partes review, covered business method review) could be submitted and managed electronically using a modern workflow system—PRPS.

The start date for these new submissions was this last Sunday, September 16. In view of the weekend timing—commencement of the new procedures at midnight Saturday/Sunday morning—it would have been business-like for the team to declare that the brand new IT systems would be brought online Monday morning at start of normal business. Anyone wanting to make a submission between midnight Saturday/Sunday and Monday business could do it using the old mail submission approach. But of their own accord the team chose the harder, best way. As you may have learned in Chief Judge James Smith’s guest blog a few days ago, they declared they would bring PRPS up at midnight in the middle of a nice early fall weekend, and accept whatever requests might come in via our spiffy new software from the beginning.

This decision of course necessitated advance planning and staffing to make a significant version 1 IT deployment over a weekend, going live at midnight. So the team worked through last week, then brought staff into the office Saturday evening to prepare for the big bring-up. Frankly we did not even know if any users were going to spend their Saturday night filing new post-grant challenges. But we were ready.

As of midnight on Sunday September 16, just as the new PTAB went into effect per AIA, the team switched online PRPS for intake of post-grant challenges. It worked, and sure enough, users accessed the system immediately to do business. Within minutes numerous users were working with the new software, and soon our first submissions began coming into the Office. In those first 24 hours, we had five inter partes and five covered business method submissions in the system, and all continues to function well. Not without a few glitches to be sure (there always are some glitches in a new system), but it is functioning well overall.

So there you have it. A new, ambitious IT system up and running and USPTO employees electing to work an entire weekend evening and overnight to ensure maximum uptake for the newly effective provisions of the AIA.

I don't often crow externally about the dedication and professionalism of our folks at the USPTO—mostly I think it is for our users to say if we are doing a good job. But in this case I will declare I am enormously proud that our team has reached higher than anyone asked them to, or even had the right to ask them to. And they have made a big success of a big project in a short period of time.

Thanks team for a job superbly done on the PRPS V1 deployment and bring-up of USPTO's new post-grant IT system!

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