As we all know, USPTO has set up many initiatives in recent years to try to reduce the backlog of unexamined patent applications. Many practitioners are familiar with most of these initiatives. It seems, however, that very few patent practitioners are aware of an initiative announced recently by the USPTO. The initiative, called QDPP or “Quick Disposal Pilot Program”, will essentially instantly eliminate approximately two percent of the backlog, and should lead to some applications being allowed very quickly.
In previous postings I have mentioned reasons why filers should use ePCT, WIPO’s system that lets you see the status and content of your pending PCT applications. Here are three more reasons.
The US and Europe do not agree on when to start and when to stop Daylight Saving Time. The US started DST on March 9, 2014, and Europe started DST today, March 30. This is important for US filers who file things at WIPO.
USPTO has announced a Glossary Pilot Program to Promote Patent Claim Clarity. The program promises to push your patent application to the front of the line (make it “special”) if you provide a glossary in the detailed description portion of the specification, providing a definition of each important term used in the application. This Glossary Program is a fascinating concept and it provides yet another reminder that there are smart people inside of the USPTO who are willing to try all kinds of approaches in the hope that some of the approaches will turn out to help with our shared goals such as promoting science and the useful arts. Should you recommend this Glossary Program to your clients?
This coming Monday, March 24, I will be at the Kellogg Center of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, speaking at the 2014 Intellectual Property Law Spring Seminar sponsored by the The Intellectual Property Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan. My topic is “PCT Practice Tactics and Strategies”.
USPTO is closed today, Monday, March 17 as a snow day.
Anything that you might have needed to file today to meet a USPTO due date may be postponed until tomorrow, Tuesday March 18. But there are some things to watch out for.
I never knew this, but it seems that it used to be a patent appellant could pay patent appeal fees by means of a general authorization to charge a Deposit Account.
Starting May 1, 2014, this will no longer be possible. The appellant that tries to rely upon a general authorization will fail and risks having the appeal dismissed.
Track I (also called “prioritized examination”, and not to be confused with Accelerated Examination) has been available since September of 2011, and permits a patent applicant to move to the front of the examination queue upon payment of an extra $4000 (smaller for small and micro entities). USPTO has relaxed the formal requirements for Track I as of March 5, 2014.
Importantly, the rule change is retroactive. If a filer screwed up a Track I request in the past and had it dismissed, the filer may be able to get the request granted now by filing a petition.
The AIA rules published August 14, 2012 gave a patent applicant a free pass on handing in the signed inventor declaration late, indeed extremely late. The 2012 rules permitted the applicant to postpone handing in the declaration until as late as the time of allowance.
But not for CPAs (continued prosecution applications) from design patent applications. Due to an oversight in the 2012 AIA rulemaking, this free pass was not extended to CPAs in that rulemaking. On March 5, 2014 the USPTO published a rule change correcting the oversight and extending the free pass to CPAs.
USPTO has many e-commerce systems that are well known to practitioners and applicants — EFS-Web for e-filing patent documents, TEAS for e-filing trademark documents, ESTTA for e-filing TTAB documents to name three examples. But I find it remarkable how few practitioners and applicants know anything about USPTO’s Financial Profile system. The Financial Profile system is (or should be) a central part of the bookkeeping workflow for any patent firm or trademark firm and for any corporate patent department or corporate trademark department.