We have a case in which we filed a PCT-PPH petition on September 12, 2014. We are now into our seventh month of waiting for the Office of Petitions to rule on the petition. I’ve blogged about this problem at the USPTO before, here and here and here and here. It does not promote science and the useful arts to have PPH petitions sitting untouched for such a long time. Nor does it serve the goals of the PCT-PPH programs to have petitions sitting untouched for such a long time.
In my view the reasonable amount of time that applicants should be made to wait to get their PCT-PPH petitions ruled upon is more like two months or less. But we have at least half a dozen more cases where a PCT-PPH petition has been outstanding for more than two months.
These petitions are not so very difficult to decide. Years ago a USPTO person would have to sift through the claims one by one, working out whether or not the claims “sufficiently corresponded” to the claims previously treated favorably in the foreign or PCT patent office. But now the applicant merely self-certifies that the claims “sufficiently correspond”. Now, no sifting is needed. Other aspects of the petitions are also nowadays self-certified.
It sure would be good if the Office of Petitions could work its way out from under its backlog of easy-to-decide PPH petitions.
How old is your oldest undecided PPH petition? Please drop me a note or post a comment.