Patent Trial and Appeal Board (as of September 16, 2012)

The Patent Review Processing System (PRPS)

PRPS is an electronic filing system being designed for the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (Board), which becomes the Patent Trial and Appeal Board effective September 16, 2012. The system is designed for the purpose of filing documents in connection with the trial proceedings established under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA).

The Office is seeking input from potential users of the PRPS electronic filing system. As outlined in the attached form, the Office is seeking participants for testing and feedback of the new system on August 21 and 22, 2012 with each day having two separate two hour sessions open to participation. If you are interested in volunteering to help refine the system, please fill out the attached form (LINK) and return it to ptab@uspto.gov. We look forward to your participation.

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"There shall be in the Office a Patent Trial and Appeal Board." 35 U.S.C. § 6(a).

35 U.S.C. § 6(a), establishes the Board's membership as the Director, the Deputy Director, the Commissioner for Patents, the Commissioner for Trademarks, and the Administrative Patent Judges. The Chief Judge is James D. Smith.

The Board's duties are:

"(1) on written appeal of an applicant, review adverse decisions of examiners upon applications for patents pursuant to section 134(a);

(2) review appeals of reexaminations pursuant to section 134(b);

(3) conduct derivation proceedings pursuant to section 135; and

(4) conduct inter partes reviews and post-grant reviews pursuant to chapters 31 and 32."

35 U.S.C. § 6(b).

The Board also continues to decide patent interferences pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 135 (continuing under residual authority after March 16, 2013). Interferences are provided for by 35 U.S.C. § 135. The rules governing interferences are found at 37 CFR § 41.100-41.208. Chapter 2300 of The Manual of Patent Examining Procedure and the Standing Order (PDF) sets forth additional guidance for interferences.

Ex parte appeals from adverse decisions by patent examiners in applications for patents and in reexamination proceedings are provided for by 35 U.S.C. §§ 134 and 306. The rules governing ex parte appeals are found at 37 CFR §§ 41.30-41.54. Chapter 1200 of The Manual of Patent Examining Procedure sets forth the current procedures for appellants and patent examiners to follow in ex parte appeals. Sections 2273-2279 of The Manual of Patent Examining Procedure sets forth additional procedures for appellants and patent examiners to follow in ex parte appeals in a reexamination proceeding.

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