Interim process for PTAB decision circulation and internal PTAB review

This page describes an interim process that is no longer in effect. It was replaced by Standard Operating Procedure 4 (SOP4) on October 5, 2023.


On July 20, 2022, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a Request for Comment (RFC) on Director review, Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) review, and internal circulation and review of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decisions.

Until these processes are formalized, this page shares the PTAB’s interim process for decision circulation. This interim process, which is based on decision circulation processes used by the Federal Circuit, is an evolution of the PTAB’s prior process, which is described below for context. Notably, the interim process makes clear that the Director is not involved, pre-issuance, in directing or otherwise influencing panel decisions, and the PTAB panel has final authority and responsibility for the content of a decision.

It is important for a robust and reliable patent system that the PTAB maintain a consistent and clear approach to substantive areas of patent law and PTAB specific procedures. To further the USPTO’s goals of promoting innovation through consistent, clear, and open decision-making, the PTAB is using the following interim internal review process until the USPTO receives stakeholder feedback and operationally formalizes the process.