Preparing an ex parte appeal brief

Are you an independent inventor looking to appeal a patent examiner’s rejection of your claims without the assistance of an attorney, which is called acting “pro se” in your appeal? If so, you’re in the right place.

If any of the claims in a patent application has been twice rejected or finally rejected by a patent examiner, you may seek review as an appellant before the Patent and Trial Appeal Board (PTAB).
An appellant and the examiner may submit written papers known as “briefs” to explain their respective positions. The process begins when an appellant files a "notice of appeal" followed by an appellant’s “appeal brief.” The examiner usually responds with an “answer” to address the appellant's argument made in the "appeal brief." The appellant may, but doesn't have to, then file a “reply brief” to address the "answer."

Once fully briefed, your appeal will be considered by a panel of three administrative patent judges at the Board. The panel will review the briefs and render a decision, either maintaining (“affirming”) or not maintaining (“reversing”) all or part of the examiner’s rejection.

For help creating your appeal brief, see the documents below: 

  • Word document template that features the various required sections of a brief, for example, a summary of the claimed subject matter, arguments, and claim appendix
  • A PDF that provides general guidance on the information required in the various sections of the brief along with helpful examples to use as models
  • An instructional video on how to use these documents.

With these two documents and, if needed, the relevant cited rules and the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure, you should be well on your way to drafting your appeal brief.  

Other resources:

To file your appeal brief, go to Patent Center
New to PTAB 
Contact information for the Board