Six months and counting …

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.


10 Replies to “Six months and counting …”

    1. Yes you are quite right about this. (I mentioned this in my original posting at on November 19, 2014.) It doesn’t seem fair to me, however, that the applicant should have to cough up $400, and prepare and file an extra petition, just to get the Office of Petitions to do its job promptly.

    2. Any chance one of you could share a copy of one of these 1.182 petitions or the application number where I can find one as an example? I’m planning to file one of these petitions, and hope I can be as successful as you have been in getting the original PPH petition picked up. I’m having the same issue where petitions are sitting for months. Office of Petitions said to not expect any decisions before 6 months because that is the current backlog.

    1. Thank you for posting. Back in the old days, when PPH petitions tended to get decided at about two months, we would call the Office of Petitions whenever a particular petition was still undecided at about nine weeks. Often this would yield a decided PPH petition within a week or two of the call. Then the backlog started creeping up to about four months, and the result from the Office of Petitions in response to a call was a sort of lecture that we ought to have known that the backlog was at four months or more and (communicated fairly nicely but firmly) would we please stop bothering the Office of Petitions. So we have gotten a bit discouraged about contacting the Office of Petitions lately.

  1. Our US PPH Petitions are backed up as well (a few months), but just as a comparison to other countries, these are my latest positive PPH experiences:

    – Korea: 1st OA the day after the PPH Request was filed (yes, we asked agent to double check, but indeed they issued the OA right away, because of the PPH Request)
    – Japan: 1st OA within six weeks of the PPH Request
    – Israel: PPH accepted within a day or two, 1st OA takes a bit longer (between a week to a few months)

  2. Very few Examiners seem to give any faith or credit to the ISR in a PPH case anyway; many don’t know what PPH says.

    This suggests that the PTO has never bought into PPH. Yes, for awhile PPH seemed to have the same effect as a Petition to Make Special (which they also take forever to review). What we now see is that PPH is window dressing, and for the most part, it has been since its nominal adoption.

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