Comments on proposed rulemaking.
The following comments are not complete, because only those features are being commented on which could be uncombabulated and identified with great difficulty from the long and complex package proposal, as comment-requiring new proposals. The following paragraph designating numbers are section references directed to the proposed 37 C.F.R. sections.
The suggestion of adopting the PCT standard of unity of invention has been long overdue, and it is regrettable that it is still not being implemented at this time, but is still stated as being '' considered."
It is regrettable that a mandatory appeal conference (with out an extra fee) was not proposed at this time, since that would very substantially red uce the volume of appeals which, at this time, is precipitated solely by the decision of a single person with signatory authority. Furthermore, examiners are still not penalized o n the basis of their appeal reversals, especially since most of them are no longer with the Office by the time appeals from their rejections are decided. Furthermore, it is believed that quality control spot checks only review at allowances, but not rejections. Therefore, a mandatory appeal conference would seem practically indispensable for (i) quality controI of examiners, and (ii) maintaining the workload (and backlog) of the Board at a more rea sonable levels.
1.52 (b) (6). Although the introductory "explanation" refe rs to the paragraph numbering requirement as "an optional procedure," the proposed rule uses absolutely mandatory language ("must," and "should be"). Unless this optionaI nature of the requirement is also included in the wording of the proposed rule, as the currently proposed absolute requirement it would be a burdensome one where the other/value ratio would definitely be extremely low. These type of painfully deta iled and unusually highly specific procedures, if not voluntary, but absolutely required, as now in the currently proposed wording, represent the kind of nightmares dreamt up by out-of-touch programmers who had no foot on the ground for years, convincing similarly out-of-touch PTO administrators to agree to propose such unduly burdensome procedures. By ex t ension of this reasoning, the same applies to the mandatorily worded proposal for effecting amendments in 1.121. Electronic filing has nothing to do wi th amendments which are done very substantially after filing. All procedures concerning future electronic processing changes should not be introduced in dribs and drabs along with a great deal of additional unrelated rulemaking, but should rather be proposed in a separate package, and only after a very thorough advance testing among wide layers of the users of the PTO who are the ones who would have to live with the ultimately resulting impositions.
1.115 (b) (1) should be loosened, specifically, to permit applicants to grant themselves time extensions (for like fees as in the case of shortened statutory terms), but requiring the request (with the fee) to be transmitted prior to the expiration of the 3 month deadline, and such requests should be promtly transmitted to the examiner who should be able to postpone consideration of the case if the case were coming up for action.
- (b) (2) The same should apply to CPAs and
-( b) (3) national stage entries,
with an appropriate modification of the negative language in (c).
1.550 (b) brings up a point that is more widely applicable. There should be absolutely no 30 day deadlines. They are most inconvenient to compute to enter, and to follow. All such deadlines (usually minimum deadlines) should be for a '' calendar month, and if such calendar month is less than 30 days, then 30 days."
1.76 If the optional application data sheet is also motiva ted by some future electronic filing program, then for the same reasons as outlined above , it should not be part of the current rule package. There are two additional features that should be included in any new rulemaking proposal:
(1) 35 USC 119 (b) requires the filing of " a certified copy of the original foreign application … Therefore, the following proposal does not need any statutory amendment and is within the Commissioner's power to promulgate. The f oregoing statutory language does not specify who must make the certification. In those numerous cases when the national stage of a PCT-originated application is commenced by filing a continuing applications of the international application under 35 U.S.C. III, then there is already a certified copy of the original priority applications availabl e in the PCT group of the PTO. The certification of that copy was prepared by WIPO from the original priority country application that was certified by the original country of fili ng. That WIPO-certified copy also satisfies the above-quoted statutory language, and should be acceptable also for national stage commencements under 111. Therefore, if the a pplicants makes a timely request (e.g. up[on filing, or within 3 months) for the WIPO-ce rtified copy, and pays a small fee (I can see the gleam coming into the rulemaker's eye upon the mention of a new fee), that certified copy already within the PTO, should be s ufficient to establish the right under D 119.
(2) There is nothing in the proposed rule package about a highly desired, and oft postponed feature, expressly to prohibit the universally despised first action final rejection practice in continuing applications and CPAs. The fee paid by an applicant entitles the applicant under the law to an " examination and a reexami nation ' ' of the application, and the applicant should not be (and most likely it is be yond the Commis sioner's power) to deprive an applicant by permitting the issuance of first action final rejections