Issue 06/44 | August 25, 2006
USPTO Patent Rule Change Proposals Website

Official information on the USPTO's "Proposed Rule Changes to Focus the Patent Process in the 21st Century" is discussed at the following links:

1. Claims Practice
2. Continuation Practice
3. Accelerated Examination
4. IDS Practice

Presentation Materials
Presentation Schedule

According to the USPTO, "These pages have been developed to provide full transparency to the public about these ongoing efforts" and "will be updated as new information or proposals are unveiled." The information includes an explanation of the challenges the USPTO faces, the reasons why proposed rule changes are necessary, the proposed rule changes, and supporting material. The site also includes a schedule of dates and places where USPTO representatives have made presentations concerning the proposed rule changes, and scheduling information for new presentations. "No rule change will be effective before October 1, 2006, and at least 30 days advance notice of the changes shall be given."

The USPTO inaugurated these pages with information about rule changes proposed on January 3, 2006 related to claims practice and continuation practice. These proposed rule changes will make the patent examination process more effective and efficient by reducing the amount of rework by the USPTO and reducing the time it takes for the patent review process.

On June 26, 2006, the USPTO published new procedures for accelerated examination, offering filers a final decision by the examiner within 12 months on whether their application for a patent will be granted or denied. The accelerated examination procedure is designed to give applicants quality patents in less time.

On July 10, 2006, the USPTO proposed new rule changes related to Information Disclosure Statements. Applicants list information for the examiner to consider in a communication called an Information Disclosure Statement (IDS). These proposed IDS rule changes are designed to encourage patent applicants to provide the USPTO the most relevant information related to their inventions in the early stages of the review process.

For more information on this topic, please contact William F. Heinze (bill.heinze@tkhr.com) at Thomas, Kayden, Horstemeyer & Risley LLP in Atlanta, Georgia USA.

The information contained in this email is provided for informational purposes only and does not represent legal advice. Neither the APLF nor the author intends to create an attorney client relationship by providing this information to you through this message.

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