Presentation on theme: "1 New Patent Office Rules. 2 Overview Introduction to Rules Examples of Rule Scenarios Best Practices and Suggestions."— Presentation transcript:
1 New Patent Office Rules
2 Overview Introduction to Rules Examples of Rule Scenarios Best Practices and Suggestions
3 Introduction to Rules Limited No. of Continuations - 2 + 1 Rule Limited No. of Claims - 5/25 Rule Disclosure of Related Patents and Applications Rebuttable Presumption of Patentably Indistinct Claims
4 Themes to Rules More front end work required –Searching –Filing strategy Know the invention better before you file the application –Know what problem(s) it solves and how it differs from what was done before. Focus on maximizing claim potential not on the number of applications Allowance of the application takes the application out of the rules
5 Rules Being Challenged Tafas vs. Dudas –Filed Aug. 22, 2007 (Eastern District of VA) GlaxoSmithKline vs. Dudas –Filed Oct. 10, 2007 (Eastern District of VA) –AIPLA, IBM, etc. supporting GlaxoSmithKline –Hearing October 31 st
6 Limited Number of Continuations 2 + 1 Continuation/RCE Rules
7 Generally: Limited to 2 CONs (or CIPs) of an Initial Application. These are considered an Invention Family. Limited to 1 RCE in an Invention Family. Restriction Requirement creates a new Invention Family. If limits are exceeded: –RCE is abandoned –CONs or CIPs do not get the priority date of the Initial Application
8 2 + 1 Continuation/RCE Rules Although described together in the 2 +1 rule, continuing applications and RCEs are controlled by different rules, which apply differently. –Continuing Applications - Rule 1.78 Claiming benefit of earlier filing date and cross-reference to other applications (Fail to follow - lose earlier priority claim) – RCEs - Rule 1.114 Request for continued examination (Fail to follow - RCE not granted, so still have to respond) As applied, the new rules generally have different applicability dates. –Continuing Applications- Applications filed on or after November 1, 2007 must –Meet the requirements limiting the number of continuing applications under the new rules OR –File a Petition. One More Exception: Applications only claiming priority to applications filed before August 21, 2007 do not need to meet the new requirements if: –The continuing application only claims priority to nonprovisional applications filed before August 21, 2007 AND –No other applications filed on or after August 21, 2007 claim priority to the continuing application. –RCEs - Rules only apply to RCEs filed on or after November 1, 2007 No August 21, 2007 One More Exception.
9 Continuation and CIP Applications Continuation application –Discloses and claims only inventions that were: Disclosed in a prior-filed application (does not need to be claimed). Continuation-in-part –Discloses subject matter that was not disclosed in prior-filed application. Continuation or Continuation-in-part (CIP) Priority Claim (w/o Petition) –Continuation or CIP applications can claim benefit of no more than 2 parent applications (Serial aspect) –Parent applications can only provide priority to one other application (Parallel aspect)
10 Utility CIP CON Petition Family CON and CIP Examples Utility CIPCON Petition Family Serial Parallel
11 Utility CIP CON Petition Family CON and CIP Examples Utility CIPCON Petition Family Serial Parallel Provisional/ Foreign Application(s) Provisional/ Foreign Application(s) Provisional and Outside US (OUS) (i.e., Foreign) Applications Do Not Count
12 Utility CIP CON Petition Family CON and CIP Examples Exceeds the 2 Parent (Serial) Requirement
13 Divisional Applications Divisional application –Discloses and claims only inventions that were: Disclosed in a prior-filed application and Claimed in the prior-filed application. –Required to comply with a PCT unity of invention or US restriction requirement in the prior-filed application. –Inventions were: Not elected for examination and Not examined in any prior-filed application. Note examined does not include PCT examination after filing Demand. Examined only applies to US national stage examination. Continuation of a Divisional (COD) –COD claims the benefit of a Divisional. –COD discloses and claims only the invention(s) disclosed and claimed in the divisional application. –COD claims benefit of divisional and divisionals parents. –COD claims benefit of at most one intervening application between it and the divisional. (Serial aspect) –Divisional parent application can only provide priority to one other application, not including other divisional applications satisfying the above-mentioned conditions (Parallel aspect) –No CIP of Divisional allowed.
14 Utility Claims: A, B Disclose: A, B Restriction Elect: A DIV Claims: B Disclose: A, B COD Claims: B Disclose: A, B COD Claims: B Disclose: A, B Petition CON/CIP Claims: A Disclose: A, B CON/CIP Claims: A Disclose: A, B Petition Divisional & COD Examples
15 Utility Claims: A, B Disclose: A, B, C Restriction Elect: A DIV Claims: B Disclose: A, B, C COD Claims: B Disclose: A, B, C COD Claims: B Disclose: A, B, C Petition CON/CIP Claims: A, C Disclose: A, B, C CON/CIP Claims: C Disclose: A, B, C Petition Divisional & COD Examples Number of Applications to Originally Unclaimed Invention C is Limited
16 Utility Claims: A, B Disclose: A, B, C Restriction Elect: A DIV Claims: B Disclose: A, B, C COD Claims: B Disclose: A, B, C COD Claims: B Disclose: A, B, C Petition CON Claims: A, C Disclose: A, B, C CON Claims: A, C Disclose: A, B, C Divisional & COD Examples
17 Utility Claims: A, B, C Disclose: A, B, C Restriction Elect: A DIV Claims: B Disclose: A, B, C CON Claims: A Disclose: A, B, C Permitted Not Permitted w/o Petition Utility Claims: A, B, C Disclose: A, B, C Restriction Elect: A DIV Claims: B Disclose: A, B, C CON Claims: A Disclose: A, B, C CON Claims: A Disclose: A, B, C 1. Not a proper COD because does not only claim the invention claimed in the divisional application. 2. Not a proper CON because has more than 2 parent applications. Divisional & COD Examples 1. Not a proper COD because does not only claim the invention claimed in the divisional application. BUT 2. Permitted under CON/CIP portion of the Rules.
18 Continuing Application Requirements for Priority Claim Without Petition Continuation of PCT (COP) (Bypass Nationalization) –COP claims benefit under 35 U.S.C. 120 to PCT application in which: PCT application designated US; Demand has not been filed in PCT application; Basic national application fee for PCT has not been paid; AND PCT does not claim benefit of other non-provisional or other PCT application designating US. –COP is a continuation or CIP of no more than 3 parent applications. (Serial aspect) – Parent applications can only provide priority to 2 other applications (Parallel aspect) Continuation of Abandoned Application Due to Failure to Respond to Missing Parts (CAMP) –CAMP claims benefit of a parent non-provisional application Parent non-provisional abandoned due to failure to respond to notice to file missing parts Parent non-provisional application does not claim the benefit of any other non-provisional or US designated PCT applications. –CAMP is a continuation or CIP of no more than 3 parent applications. (Serial aspect) –Parent applications can only provide priority to 2 other applications. (Parallel aspect)
19 One more CON for COP Of a 120 bypass nationalization of an international application –Demand and the basic national fee have not been filed in the international application –The international application does not claim the benefit of any other nonprovisional application or international application designating the U.S.
20 PCT Designate US No Demand No 371 Natl CON/CIP 120 Bypass COP CON/CIP COP Petition CON/CIP COP PCT Designate US No Demand No 371 Natl CON/CIP 120 Bypass COP CON/CIP COP Petition CON/CIP COP Petition One more CON for 120 Bypass Nationalization (COP)
21 One more CON for CAMP Can file 3 rd CON without petition U.S. Application –The initial nonprovisional application abandoned for failure to timely reply to a Notice of Missing Parts 37 CFR 1.53(f) –The initial nonprovisional application does not claim benefit of either a U.S. application or international application designating the U.S.
22 Utility BUT Abandoned Fail Respond to Missing Parts CON/CIP CAMP CON/CIP CAMP Petition CON/CIP CAMP Utility BUT Abandoned Fail Respond to Missing Parts CON/CIP CAMP CON/CIP CAMP Petition CON/CIP CAMP Petition One more CON for Failure to Respond to Missing Parts (CAMP)
23 Summary Number of Parent Applications that Can be Claimed (Serial Aspect) Number of Other Children for Parent Applications (Parallel Aspect) Examination of Claims Continuation21 Continuation-in-part (CIP) 21 DIVN/A Claims unexamined Continuation of Divisional (COD) 2 (1 Intervening application between COD and parent DIV plus all parent applications of DIV) 1, Except Unlimited DIVs Continuation of PCT (COP) 32No demand & no national stage (claims unexamined) Continuation of Abandoned Missing Parts App. (CAMP) 32Claims unexamined
24 One more CON For Applications Filed Before Nov. 1 st Can file 1 more CON/CIP after November 1, 2007 in Invention Families meeting or exceeding the two CONs/CIP limit if no CONs/CIPs were filed after August 21, 2007. Patent Office has clarified that Divisional applications and Continuations of Divisional applications (CODs) do not count against the one more CON/CIP Rule. Note: There is no limit to the number of CONs filed before Nov. 1. The 5/25 rule and the rebuttable presumption of indistinct claims will apply.
25 Aug. 21, 2007 Nov. 1, 2007 Utility CON/CIP Utility CON/CIP Petition One more CON For Applications Filed Before Nov. 1 st
26 Aug. 21, 2007 Nov. 1, 2007 Utility CON/CIP Utility CON/CIP Petition CON/CIP Petition CON/CIP One more CON For Applications Filed Before Nov. 1 st
27 Aug. 21, 2007 Nov. 1, 2007 Utility CON/CIP Utility CON/CIP Petition CON/CIP Petition CON/CIP One more CON For Applications Filed Before Nov. 1 st
28 Utility Claims: A, B Disclose: A, B Restriction Elect: A DIV Claims: B Disclose: A, B COD Claims: B Disclose: A, B COD Claims: B Disclose: A, B Petition CON/CIP Claims: A Disclose: A, B CON/CIP Claims: A Disclose: A, B Petition Aug. 21, 2007 Nov. 1, 2007 One more CON For Applications Filed Before Nov. 1 st Note: Can file more than one if fall under DIV and COD Rules
29 Summary of 2 CONs Rule Number of Con/CIPs Filed Before Aug. 21, 2007 Number of Con/CIP Filed Between Aug. 21, 2007 and Oct. 31, 2007 Number of Con/CIP Filed On or After Nov. 1, 2007 Without a Petition Initial + 0 Con/CIP0 Con/CIP2 Con/CIPs 1 Con/CIP 2 or more Con/CIPs0 Con/CIP Initial + 1 Con/CIPs0 Con/CIP1 Con/CIP 0 Con/CIP 2 or more Con/CIPs0 Con/CIP
30 RCE Can file an RCE without petition if an RCE has not been previously filed in: –The application; –Any parent application (backward priority); or –Any child application (forward priority). Divisional applications - can file an RCE without petition if an RCE has not been previously filed in: –The divisional application; or –Any child application (forward priority). Continuation of Divisional (COD) - can file an RCE without petition if an RCE has not been previously filed in: –The COD; –Any parent application (backward priority); or –Any child application (forward priority).
31 RCE Contrary to the USPTOs initial slide show, you can file RCEs in parallel cases without petition Utility CON RCE CON RCE
32 Summary of 1 RCE Rule Number of RCEs Filed Before Aug. 21, 2007 Number of RCEs Filed Between Aug. 21, 2007 and Oct. 31, 2007 Number of RCEs Filed On or After Nov. 1, 2007 Without a Petition 0 RCEs 1 RCE 1 or more RCEs0 RCEs 1 or more RCEs0 RCEs 1 or more RCEs0 RCEs
33 Petitions to exceed CON/RCE limit 1.Petition 2.$400 fee (1.17(f)) 3.Amendment, argument, or evidence 4.Provide a showing that the amendment, argument, or evidence sought to be entered could not have been submitted during the prosecution of the prior-filed application.
34 Petition Factors Factors considered: Whether applicant should file an appeal or a petition under 1.181 rather than a CON/RCE The number of applications filed in parallel or serially with substantially identical disclosures Whether evidence, amendments, or arguments are being submitted with reasonable diligence.
35 Petitions to exceed CON/RCE limit Sufficient showing: –In a CON, an interference is declared in an application containing both claims corresponding to the counts and claims not corresponding to the counts and an APJ (Admin Patent Judge) suggests that the claims not corresponding to the counts be canceled from the continuing application in the interference and pursued in a separate application.
36 Petitions to exceed CON/RCE limit The following are NOT sufficient showings to grant petitions for one more CON/RCE: –Inadequate examination – file petition under 1.181 –Examiner made new arguments or new ground of rejection in a final Office action –Independent claims of a second CON in which the dependent claims contain allowable subject matter and rewriting the dependent claims as independent claims would result in the application containing more than five independent claims –To include subject matter that was not present at the time of filing the prior-filed application –To submit newly discovered references (IDS)
37 Petitions to exceed CON/RCE limit More examples of what are NOT sufficient showings to grant petitions for one more CON/RCE: –Product becomes commercially viable –A competing product is newly discovered –New information is discovered that could have been provided in the prior application –Applicant discovers new inherent properties to claim –Applicant acquires financial resources to file previously unclaimed inventions –When clinical trials indicate the previously unclaimed subject matter may be useful –When a court determined that the format of a patented claim is improper and applicant wishes to file a continuing application to seek proper protection
38 CIP Must identify the claims that are supported by the parent application. –Does not apply to CIP applications that received a FAOM before Nov. 1, 2007. –CIP applications filed before Nov. 1, 2007 that did not receive a FAOM before Nov. 1, 2007 have a February 1, 2008 deadline to identify claim support. The examiner may require the location in the specification (page and line number) that support those claims. 37 C.F.R. 1.105
39 Streamlined Continuation Placed on examiners Regular Amended docket; not the New Special docket. Requirements –File complete CON application –App must disclose and claim only invention disclosed and claimed in prior-app –Applicant agrees that any election in response to restriction/unity of invention in prior app carries over to the CON –Prior-filed app under final Office action or appeal –Prior-filed app must be expressly abandoned upon filing of CON. –Must request that CON be placed on examiners Regular Amended Docket
40 Streamlined Continuation Request for Streamlined Docketing Procedure PTO/SB/201
41 Limits to Number of Claims 5/25 Claim Rule
42 5/25 Claim Limitation Rules Applicant may present, without an ESD, up to 5 independent claims and 25 total claims –Does not include withdrawn claims, but does include reinstated and rejoined claims –Later amendments sending claims over 5/25 without an ESD are non-responsive (Notice will be mailed) –15/75 limitation considering 2 continuations in invention family If over 5/25, PTO will mail Notice –Applicant must: (1) Amend, (2) file ESD, or (3) file SRR (appl. filed before 11/1/07) Consider PTA, will exist in certain situations
43 5/25 Claim Limitation Rules 5/25 limitation applies collectively to claims in commonly owned pending applications with at least one patentably indistinct claim –If total combined is over 5/25, each application will be deemed to be over 5/25 –Must (1) cancel patentably indistinct claim from all but 1 appl, (2) file ESD before FAOM, or (3) amend to meet 5/25 limitation 5/25 limitation does not apply to a PCT application during international phase.
44 5/25 Claim Limitation Rules What is a patentably indistinct claim? –The standard for patentably indistinct as the term appears in 37 CFR 1.75(b)(4), 1.78 is the same as one-way distinctness in an obviousness-type double patenting analysis. See MPEP 804(II)(B)(1)(a). PTO Questions and Answers, J19, J26. –If the application at issue is the later filed application or both are filed on the same day, only a one-way determination of obviousness is needed in resolving the issue of double patenting, i.e., whether the invention defined in a claim in the application would have been >anticipated by, or,< the invention defined in a claim in the patent. See, e.g., In re Berg, 140 F.3d 1438, 46 USPQ2d 1226 (Fed. Cir. 1998) (the court applied a one-way test where both applications were filed the same day).
45 5/25 Claim Limitation Rules What will count as an independent claim? –A claim that refers to another claim but does not incorporate by reference all the limitations of the claim to which such claim refers –Ex: A method using the apparatus of claim 1, comprising …. Will be counted as an independent claim Dependent claim –A claim which incorporates by reference all the limitations of the previous claim to which it refers and specifies a further limitation of the subject matter of the previous claim
46 5/25 Claim Limitation Rules FAOM = first action on the merits = does not include restriction requirements and requirements for information FAOM received before 11/1/07 –5/25 limitation does not apply (but would apply to CON of app) FAOM not received before 11/1/07 –5/25 limitation does apply –Notice (2 mo. is extendable), Applicant must: (1) Amend, (2) file ESD, or (3) file SRR –Notice may be combined with Rest. Req., if so, cant file SRR Applications filed on or after 11/1/07 –5/25 limitation does apply –Notice (2 mo. not extendable), Applicant must: (1) Amend, or (2) file ESD –No SRR option after Notice, must be filed earlier
47 ESD (Examination Support Document) Requirements –Preexamination search statement –Listing of most closely related references –Identification of claim limitations disclosed by each reference (exempt if small entity) –Detailed explanation of patentability –Showing of support under 112 ESD Guidelines Available at: –http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/dapp/opla/presentation/clm contfinalrule.htmlhttp://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/dapp/opla/presentation/clm contfinalrule.html Consider Accelerated Examination if already preparing ESD If later amend claims out of ESD scope, must supplement ESD
48 ESD Forms ESD Transmittal PTO/SB/216
49 ESD Forms ESD Listing of References PTO/SB/211
50 SRR (Suggested Restriction Requirement) Requirements –Election of no more than 5/25 claims and explanation of why the inventions are independent or distinct –Identification of the elected claims Must be filed before the earlier of a FAOM or Rest. Req. –Best practice tip: file with application If accepted, Examiner will set out the restriction in the FAOM –Note: it is now too late to get refund for cancelled claims If not accepted: –Examiner makes Rest. Req.: Applicant must make election (if over 5/25 must further file ESD or amend) –Examiner makes no Rest. Req.: Notice will be mailed, Applicant must either file ESD or amend
51 Patent Term Adjustment (PTA) Consequences for Failure to Comply with 5/25 Rule PTA (in this context) only applies to applications filed or nationalized on or after November 1, 2007 (see Applicability Date section) –The changes to 37 CFR 1.78(a) [CON, CIP, DIV Definitions], 1.78(d)(1) [Limiting to 2 CONs/CIPs,etc.], 1.495 [Default to treat PCTs entering national stage via 371] and 1.704(c)(11) [PTA failure to comply with 5/25 claim limit] are applicable only to any application, including any continuing application, filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) on or after November 1, 2007, or any application entering the national stage after compliance with 35 U.S.C. 371 on or after November 1, 2007. –Note: The existing PTA rules carryover, such that PTA will exist in applications filed before 11/1/07 in situations where applicant fails to respond to 5/25 Notice within 3 months
52 Patent Term Adjustment (PTA) Consequences for Failure to Comply with 5/25 Rule PTA (in this context) only applies to applications filed or nationalized on or after November 1, 2007 (see Applicability Date for Rule 1.704(c)(11)). –Note: The existing PTA rules carryover, such that PTA will exist in applications filed before 11/1/07 in situations where applicant fails to respond to 5/25 Notice within 3 months Application filed with more than 5/25 claims – no ESD & no SRR within 4 months – PTA will exist –Time begins to run after 4 months and runs until compliance with 5/25 limitation
53 How to Calculate PTA For Failure to Comply with 5/25 Rule Any PTA will be reduced by the number of days –Beginning on the day after the later of: Four months from filing/nationalization date; or Filing date of amendment that created the 5/25 non-compliance. –Ending on : Filing date of amendment satisfying 5/25 Rule; Filing date of response to restriction requirement in which 5/25 Rule satisfied; Filing date of SRR complying with 5/25 Rule; or Filing date of compliant ESD.
54 Refunds for claims fees Applies to fees paid after 12/8/04 Applies to amendments canceling (not just withdrawing) claims filed before FAOM (no certificates to get date) Request must be filed within 2 mo. of amendment, and on or after 11/1/07 Result of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, was set to expire 9/30/07. Congress passed a continuing resolution to continue the Act until 10/19/07. At that time, they will either pass another continuing resolution or enact a new Act.
55 Disclosure of Related Patents and Applications
56 Disclosure of Related Patents and Applications Applicant must, without PTO prompting, identify all related patents and applications. Related patent(s) and application(s) have: –One common inventor, and –A filing or priority date(s) within 2 months of one another, and –A common assignee or obligation to assign
57 Disclosure of Related Patents and Applications Filing or Priority Dates This includes: foreign priority date, actual filing date, and any prior-filed provisional or non-provisional application that is the basis of priority. All priority/filing dates for an application or patent must be considered. Exceptions - do not need to report –PCT application not nationalized in US. PCT Applications - International filing date (and not 371 national stage date) is used to determine same filing date or 2-month window.
58 Disclosure of Related Patents and Applications Common Ownership In the case of more than one assignee, application(s) and/or patent(s) are commonly owned if wholly owned by same (identical) person(s), organization(s)/business entity(ies) at the time the invention was made. Inventions of two, separate, wholly-owned subsidiaries are commonly owned by the parent company. Mergers & acquisitions – determine owner of each, related document at time the invention was made. Parties to a joint research agreement under the CREATE act are considered an owner (§1.78(h)).
59 Disclosure of Related Patents and Applications Common Ownership Example Companies A and B have a joint development agreement in place when invention X is made (as analyzed under the CREATE Act) –The invention is considered to be owned by AB. –Any other pending applications and patents owned by AB (jointly) satisfying the common inventor and filing/priority date window requirements must be reported. –Pending applications and patents owned solely by A, solely by B or by another entity (e.g., ABC) do NOT need to be reported by AB.
60 Disclosure of Related Patents and Applications Submit Listing of Commonly Owned Applications and Patents to PTO (at least by the LATER of): –4 months from filing date of application (or beginning of national stage) –2 months from mailing date of filing receipt in another, related application. –Applications filed before Nov. 1, 2007, have until Feb. 1, 2008, or time periods above.
61 Disclosure of Related Patents and Applications Exception: Applications filed before Nov. 1, 2007 –The two-month window does not apply. –Only need to identify if have identical filing/priority date. Exception: Application filed on or after Nov. 1, 2007 claiming priority to applications/patents filed before Nov. 1, 2007 –The two-month window does not apply to the priority applications filed before Nov. 1, 2007. –Only need to identify applications/patents if they have identical filing/priority date before Nov. 1, 2007. Note: Applications filed on or after Nov. 1, 2007 or claiming priority to applications filed on or after Nov. 1, 2007 still need to identify related applications/patents within the 2 month window.
62 Failure to identify Related Documents Second or subsequent Office Action made final, even when double patenting rejection is new. Possible grounds for making the patent unenforceable due to inequitable conduct. Multiple violations - practitioners may be referred to the Office of Enrollment and Discipline.
63 Listing Of Commonly Owned Applications And Patents PTO/SB/206
64 Rebuttable Presumption of Patentably Indistinct Claims
65 Rebuttable Presumption of Patentably Indistinct Claims 37 C.F.R. §1.78(2)-(3) Rebuttable presumption that there is at least one patentably indistinct claim if: One common inventor, and Common assignee or obligation to assign to common assignee, and Same priority/filing date(s), and Substantial, overlapping disclosure.
66 Rebuttable Presumption of Patentably Indistinct Claims Substantial overlapping disclosure Occurs when one patent/application provides written description support (35 U.S.C. 112, para. 1) for at least one claim in the other patent/application. Expressly or incorporation by reference Single common sentence or disclosed element most likely not enough Drawing(s) in common probably enough
67 Rebuttable Presumption of Patentably Indistinct Claims I have a rebuttable presumption, what now? Applicant must take action on own initiative Appropriate action depends on disposition of cases –Pending application + issued patent / allowed application –Pending application + non-allowed application
68 Rebuttable Presumption of Patentably Indistinct Claims Pending application + issued patent / allowed application Rebut the presumption (one-way obviousness test: M.P.E.P. §804(II)(B)(1)(a)); OR File a terminal disclaimer. Good and sufficient reason not required. Deadline for acting: 4 months from the filing date (or beginning of national stage) of pending application.
69 Rebuttable Presumption of Patentably Indistinct Claims Pending application + non-allowed application Possible actions: 1.Rebut the presumption; OR 2.Amend/cancel claims (and then rebut); OR 3.File terminal disclaimer; And i.Show good and sufficient reason for multiple applications with patentably indistinct claims; AND ii.Meet 5/25 limitation for combined total claims
70 Rebuttable Presumption of Patentably Indistinct Claims good and sufficient reason Exceptional cases (subjective) Examples: – allowance in prior-filed application was withdrawn by PTO; –Interference declared in prior-filed application. Later-filed application claims embodiment not involved in interference.
71 Rebuttable Presumption of Patentably Indistinct Claims Pending application + non-allowed application Must take action in both cases Deadline for acting: (the later of) –4 months from the filing date (or beginning of national stage); OR –2 months from mailing of filing receipt in non- allowed application
72 Rebuttable Presumption of Patentably Indistinct Claims Pending application + non-allowed application If amending claims, determine if amended claim has written description support in related application. Deadline for acting: –Date amendment is filed.
73 Comparison of Rules – When Implicated OwnershipInventorshipFiling/Priority Date(s)DisclosureClaims Reporting: Identification of Pending Applications and Patents 1.78(f)(1) Owned by same person At least one common inventor Look at filing date: If after 11/1/07, 2- month window applies unless priority before 11/1/07; If before 11/1/07, only ID if same date. Rebuttable Presumption of Patentably Indistinct Claims 1.78(f)(2) Owned by same person At least one common inventor Same as other pending non-provisional applications or patents Substantially Overlapping Eliminate Patentably Indistinct Claims From All but One Application w/o Good Reason 1.78(f)(3) Owned by same person At least one claim patentably indistinct Group Applications Together for 5/25 Claim Totals 1.75(b)(4) Owned by same person At least one claim patentably indistinct
74 Comparison of Rules - Actions Required ActionFrom Filing or National Stage Entry Date From Mailing Date of Filing Receipt Other Reporting: Identification of Pending Applications and Patents 1.78(f)(1) Submit form identifying other pending non- provisional applications and patents with filling/priority dates within 2 months (after 11/1/07 unless priority before 11/1/07) or same (before 11/1/07). 4 Months2 Months Rebuttable Presumption of Patentably Indistinct Claims 1.78(f)(2) Submit rebuttal or terminal disclaimer (with explanation, if required) 4 Months2 MonthsDate Patentably Indistinct Claim Presented
75 Scenarios, Actions & Considerations
76 Scenario 1 Scenario: How to satisfy the reporting requirement in large portfolios being handled by both inside and outside counsel? Possible Actions: –Maintain database with all patents and applications Internally or Outside Counsel –Use Private PAIR Each firm has a client specific customer number Each firm (and client) reviews Private PAIR Considerations: –Segregating work between outside counsel based on inventor(s) / subject matter. –Even if consolidating outside counsel will not solve problems if still filing in house.
77 Satisfy Reporting Requirements Solution Generally Needs to Address –Output - How to Easily Check if You Need to Report Other Applications –Where to Store Application Data For Reporting Purposes –How to Maintain Application Data Main issue: communication about applications not yet published
78 How to Easily Check if You Need to Report Other Applications Consider Web Access Solution to Provide Universal Availability Reporting rule requirements are generally divided between –Applications Filed Before Nov. 1 st Common inventor Same Filing/Priority Date –Applications Filed On or After Nov. 1 st Common inventor Filing/Priority Date within 2-month window
79 Sample Online Database Access
80 How to Easily Check if You Need to Report Other Applications Applications Filed Before Nov. 1 st –Common inventor –Same Filing/Priority Date Use Computer Power to Generate Report –Use a database to generate reports –If certain data complete, base report on filing date and check family information to supplement report –Simpler solution is to incorporate priority data when generating report
81 How to Satisfy the Reporting Requirement Applications Filed Before Nov. 1 st - Sample Matching Filing Date and Common Inventor Report
82 How to Easily Check if You Need to Report Other Applications Applications Filed On or After Nov. 1st –Common inventor –Filing/Priority Date within 2-month window Again Use Computer Power to Generate Report –If certain data complete, base report on filing date and check family information to supplement report –Simpler solution is to incorporate priority data when generating report
83 How to Satisfy the Reporting Requirement Applications Filed On or After Nov. 1 st - Sample 2- Month Window and Common Inventor Report
84 How to Satisfy the Reporting Requirement Where to Store Application Data For Reporting Purposes –Options Privately maintain database Access public/semi-publicly available records –No Cookie Cutter Solution Budgetary Factors Past Practices for Maintaining Application Data Information Technology Support Degree of risk willing to bear How to Maintain Application Data –Main issue: communication about applications not yet published
85 Private Records Option Variation - Centralize Application Data –In House; or –Outside Counsel Require Reporting Application Data in Standard Format (e.g., Excel spreadsheet) –When Application Filed –Inventorship, Assignment, and/or Priority Changes –Consider using e-Office Action Pilot Program - email cc: to primary data holder Requests are sent to primary data holder before reporting deadline Data accessed through web portal In House App.Data Outside #1 Outside #2 OR In House App.Data Outside #1 Outside #2
86 How to Satisfy the Reporting Requirement Consider Double Checking Internal Data with Public Data
87 Public Records Option File All Applications via EFS With Unique Customer Numbers for the Client. For Example: –In House For Client A - Customer No. 123 –Outside Counsel #1 For Client A - Customer No. 456 –Outside Counsel #2 For Client A - Customer No. 789 For Each Customer Number Keep Standard Address, but Add All Attorneys/Agents That Work for the Client as Having Power of Attorney In House and Outside Counsel will Obtain Application Reporting Data Via Public Records Using Standard Search Criteria –Private PAIR –USPTO Search –Public Databases (if desired) - Delphion, etc. For a Limited Window of Time - Will Need to Communicate List of Unpublished Applications Pending Applications Not Associated with the Client Specific Customer Number Will Need to Report to Other Counsel When Inventorship, Priority, and/or Inventorship Change Creates an Issue for Other Counsel In House PAIR, USPTO, Delphion Outside #1 Outside #2
88 Reporting Requirements - General Always Cite Family Members –Forwards and Backwards Use USPTO form PTO/SB/206 Consider Preparing Report Prior to 4 Month Deadline and not when filed –Reduces duplicate effort
89 Scenario 2 Scenario: Application currently (before 11/1/07) under final rejection Considerations: –Any unclaimed subject matter? Possible Actions: –Search familys prosecution history to determine if an RCE has already been filed for the claimed invention. If yes, file an RCE to add claims before 11/1/07 –Consider filing CONs or amend to add claims before 11/1/07
90 Scenario 3 Scenario: What is the best way to add unclaimed subject matter ad/or new claims before Nov. 1, 2007? Option #1: File multiple continuation applications in parallel before Nov. 1 st : –Positives Do not need to file SRRs. Assuming an RCE was not filed in parent case(s) you will be able to file an RCE in each line of continuation applications. –Negatives Limited continuations - lose one more continuation. High risk of 5/25 claim violations. Increase reporting requirements. Increase chance for a terminal disclaimer. Expensive. Need to file before Nov. 1 st. Option #2: Add claims to a single case and file SRR –Positives Chance to receive restriction requirement –Increases the number of continuation application opportunities. –Eliminates need for terminal disclaimer. –Eliminates some 5/25 claim limit issues. Reduces reporting burden. Filing fees are less. Not necessary to file before Nov. 1 st –Negatives Restriction requirement not certain. Option #3: Combine Option #1 and Option #2
91 Scenario 4 Scenario: –Invention family with multiple inventions disclosed (e.g., inventions A, B & C), and –At least one invention does not have claims currently pending E.g., only one DIV (claims to invention B) currently pending (before 11/1/07) Considerations: After 11/1/07, all continuing applications claiming priority to DIV may only have claims to invention claimed in DIV (invention B) Possible Actions: –Amend currently pending DIV to add claims covering unclaimed invention (and change priority as a CON) –File CON to unclaimed invention before 11/1/07
92 Scenario 5 Scenario: FAOM received in one application before Nov. 1 st, but not in another invention family application Considerations: 5/25 limitation will apply to case in which FAOM not received (both individually and collectively with all invention family applications) Possible Actions: Determine if claims are patentably distinct –Distinct: rebut presumption in both cases Must still meet 5/25 limitation individually in case not having FAOM –Not Distinct: amend to patentably distinct (and rebut presumption) Must still meet 5/25 limitation individually in case not having FAOM –Not Distinct: consolidate into 1 application Avoid more than one application justification (§1.78(f)(2)-(3)) If over 5/25, file SRR or wait for Rest. Req.; could file ESD
93 Scenario 6 Scenario: Family contains a large number of non-allowed applications Considerations: Rebuttable presumption of patentably indistinct claims Possible Actions: –Get cases allowed before Nov. 1 st –If distinct, rebut presumption of patentably indistinct claims –Consolidate Claims into 1 Case or a CIP If over 5/25, submit SRR or wait for possible Rest. Req.; could submit ESD Avoid more than one application justification (§1.78(f)(2)-(3)) –Amend so each non-allowed application presents distinct claims (and rebut presumption) Must still meet 5/25 limitation in individual applications Avoid more than one application justification (§1.78(f)(2)-(3)) –File terminal disclaimer
94 Scenario 7 Scenario: How to claim previously unclaimed subject matter after 11/1 if application has exhausted 2 CONs + 1 RCE? Possible Actions: –If < 2 years from issuance, file a broadening reissue with claims to previously unclaimed matter. –If > 2 years from issuance, possibility to file narrowing reissue –With the reissue, you will be able to file 2 CONs + 1 RCE. –Consider 1 more CON.
95 Scenario 8 Scenario: Received foreign search report with new references and already exceeded 2+1. The search report was mailed over 3 months ago so you cannot make a certification under 1.97(e). Considerations: –RCE NOT possible (see comments to Rules) Possible Actions: –Consider if one more rule applies –Petition to suspend the rules –Consider Reexamination /Reissue of parent patent –Memo analyzing relevance
96 Scenario 9 Scenario: –Application filed after Nov. 1 st has claims directed to Inventions A, B, C and D. –Receive 1 st Restriction to Group I - A, B & C and Group II - D. –Respond by electing Group I (A, B & C). –Receive and respond to 1 st Non-final OA. –Receive 2 nd Restriction Requirement requiring to elect A, B or C. –Respond by electing C Problem: According to rules cannot file divisional applications to Inventions A & B because A & B already examined. Possible Actions: PTO Less Draconian in FAQ –2 nd restrictions will now be rare - need to be authorized by head of Technology Center. –PTO will consider A & B as not being examined if second restriction issued.
97 Scenario 10 Scenario: –Received restriction and elected invention A –Filed divisional to unexamined invention B Problem: Can you file 2 CONs for invention A claiming the benefit of divisional B? Answer: NO, according FAQ C12, see Rule 1,78(d)(1)(iii). Only can file 2 CONs of divisional B directed to invention B Possible Actions: –Incorporate claims directed to invention A into the divisional B application and change priority claim from the divisional application to a continuation application. No petition required to merely change application type after 4 months There is an unresolved question as to whether you can do this after an Office Action. Not sure questions as to whether Rule 1.145 Subsequent presentation of claims for different invention will be treated as a restriction requirement. –File another divisional to invention B.
98 Scenario 11 Scenario: How to increase the certainty of having multiple divisional applications for applications filed after Nov 1, 2007. Possible Actions: –File the application as a PCT application If possible, designate EP searching authority. Can pay additional search fees & file Article 19 amendments
99 Scenario 12 Scenario: How do you maximize potential to cover future products for applications filed after November 1, 2007? Possible Actions: –File provisional application –File PCT application claiming benefit of provisional Nationalize or file bypass CON & prosecute with small claim set. Appeal often. At second continuation (after using RCE) file a large number of claims with an SRR and hope for restriction so that can file multiple divisional applications. Delays having the restriction requirement set too early before products are developed. Must remain aware of not examined requirement for divisionals because one of the early CONs might hide a similar claim that was examined –For Utility applications use a similar tactic –To reduce SRR risk of not being accepted, instead file large claim set and SRR in 1 st CON so 2 nd CON acts as an insurance policy.
100 Scenario 13 Scenario: How to reduce the risk that a non-US patent office will cite prior art too late during prosecution (i.e., after final or allowance)? Possible Actions: –File in countries outside the US (OUS) that will likely contain the best prior art or where you will likely foreign file. Obtain foreign filing license from USPTO, if needed. Request expedited examination (e.g., EPO - no charge & no reason needed to expedite examination). –File provisional application to avoid intervening 102(b) prior art issue As a practical matter, you might want to file the provisional application first because it makes obtaining an expedited foreign filing license a little easier. –File PCT application claiming benefit of provisional and foreign applications Pay additional search fees & do not file a demand –Nationalize in US close to Chapter II deadline to extend time to receive foreign search results –Possible added benefit: might be able to expedite US examination through patent prosecution highway program (Japan and United Kingdom Patent Offices are participants).
101 Scenario 14 Scenario: How do you reduce the chance of being required by the USPTO to file a terminal disclaimer? Possible Actions: –Remove the rebuttable presumption of patentably indistinct claim of rule 78(f)(2) File applications 1 day apart (e.g., file applications directed to the molecule/apparatus, method of treatment/use, and method of manufacturing on different days). Do not share common specification and/or drawings. Do not incorporate by reference.
102 Scenario 15 Scenario: You want to maximize the number of claims for both a Genus and Species and want to minimize impact of 5/25 Rule, reporting requirements, and patentably indistinct presumption Possible Actions: –Consider Dual PCT and Utility approach claiming benefit of common provisional (file 1 day apart to avoid rebuttable presumption) –File at or near the same time US utility applications with Broader (Genus) Claims & PCT with narrower (Species) claims - large number of independent species claims to get unity of invention rejection so can file multiple divisionals & may strengthen patentably distinct argument for genus. –Try to get utility allowed before PCTs Chap II deadline –Delays 2+1, 5/25, reporting, and presumption issues
103 Scenario 16 Scenario: How to address the 5/25 limitation, as well as others, in large portfolios being handled by multiple firms? Possible Actions: –Maintain claims/subject matter database per invention family Internally or Outside Counsel –Coordinate so that prosecution is serial –Segregating work between outside counsel based on subject matter –Avoid justification (§1.78(f)(2)-(3)) and 5/25 limitation
104 Scenario 17 Scenario: How can you use the new rules against competitors? Possible Actions: –Send competitor prior art just after allowance/issue fee payment so that they waste RCEs or CONs. Note: New IDS rules will allow applicant to consent to 3 rd party protest for unsolicited documents –Litigation-new grounds for inequitable conduct and estoppel - ESDs, reporting, etc.
105 What To Do
106 What You Need to Do Now (Before Nov. 1 st ) Review all applications under final to determine if you can/should file RCE. Submit all IDSs requiring a second RCE. Review all divisional applications to determine if to add claims and change to CON to incorporate unclaimed or previously claimed inventions.
107 What Would be Nice to Do Now Create policy for firms handling work & update data –Reporting requirements –5/25 claim limits Create Docket Entries –February 1, 2008 Deadline File related application/patent reports (for cases having the same filing/priority date) in applications filed before November 1, 2007. CIPs filed before Nov. 1, 2007 to determine if claim support report needed (FAOM received?). –4 Month from filing/national stage date Submit identification of commonly owned applications and patents Check 5/25 - cancel, submit rebuttal of patentably indistinct claims or terminal disclaimer –2 Month from amendment canceling claims Request refund Review CIPs to determine if you should remove priority - avoid limiting number of continuations off parent case and CIP.
108 What You Do NOT Need To Do Now Dont worry about the 5/25 claim limits before Nov. 1st –Although 5/25 rule applies to all applications without FAOM before Nov. 1 st, PTA is NOT a concern because the PTA rule (Rule 1.704(c)(11)) is only applicable to applications filed on or after Nov. 1 st. –You will receive a Notice that you exceed 5/25 2 month time to reply is extendable Applicant must: (1) Amend, (2) file SRR, or (3) file ESD Note may lose opportunity to file SRR if notice is combined with Restriction Requirement –Note PTA rules will apply if you file a late response to the Notice.
109 What You Need to Do Before Feb. 1, 2008 Applications Filed Before Nov. 1 st –Submit report identifying applications with same filing/priority date. –CIPs If FAOM before Nov. 1 st, no action required. If FAOM not before Nov. 1 st, file claim support document. Applications filed After Nov. 1 st –Submit report identifying applications with filing/priority date within 2 month window (note exceptions to priority claim before Nov. 1 st ) within 4 months of filing. –File SRRs even if under 5/25 limit. –Limit claims to 5/25 limit. If over 5/25, file an (1) SRR, (2) wait for possible Rest. Req. (unattractive option – if dont receive Rest. Req., must use a CON), or (3) ESD (consider filing an SRR along with ESD to preserve PTA if ESD is non-compliant). Get applications allowed to take them out of the reporting requirements.
110 What to Consider After Nov. 1st
111 Invention Disclosures Try to segregate invention disclosures to individual inventions –Long term will help with reporting requirements by limiting the number of inventors on an application –Granular Invention Disclosures will help with divisional or separate application decision –Will help limit the number of references found during search which might help with future IDS rules Requires more detailed invention disclosures –No surprises when application drafted (new embodiments) can create unclaimed subject matter and claim limit problems Prioritize Invention Disclosures –How much searching –How the application is drafted –How the application is prosecuted
112 Patent Search Patent Searches are more important –Need a better idea of art for drafting claims, so know weaknesses before the first Office Action (2+1 Rule) When available, follow USPTO Search Templates for ESD purposes –Available at http://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/searchtemplates/http://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/searchtemplates/ If IDS Rules Finalized –Keep inventions (disclosures) compartmentalized to limit number of references from each search Maintain a list of classes and subclasses from search because can be helpful in drafting an SRR to show that the claims cover different classes and subclasses.
113 Patent Search – Types Standard Approach –Quick Search to Find Knockout art ESD or ESD Like Approach –Quick search to find knockout art –Decision to file Draft rough claim with all dependent features Search all claims - Use USPTO search templates –Consider using different searchers for each search –Leaves option open for ESD Consider Filing PCT to Further Gain Benefit of Search Report
114 Patent Application Drafting General –Need to understand overall strategy of the case –Consider if ESD appropriate case (if ever) Specification –Consider limiting incorporation by reference to reduce the chance of patentably indistinct presumption –Limit subject matter described to the invention to avoid describing overlapping subject matter that would support claims in other case(s) that would create patentably indistinct presumption –Cross reference to other related applications where benefit is not claimed needs to be in a separate paragraph (Rule 1.78(d)(6)) Claims –Limit 5/25 –Draft Claims to provoke restriction & consider SRR –Do not leave unclaimed subject matter –Use Markush claims to reduce claim totals –Claim order more important in PCT applications because will dictate the order in which inventions are prosecuted once nationalized –Consider interference like omnibus claim (e.g., A or B) Drawings –Recycling drawings from other applications may invoke presumption of patentably indistinct claims
115 1 st Filed U.S. Applications Provisional Applications –Consider filing a series of provisional applications where product is being developed because provisionals not subject to 2+1 Rule, 5/25 Rule, and reporting rules –Consider provisional to delay examination in order to cover future products Utility –Conduct search for cases that might create presumption –Foreign Priority - Need to Track Dates for Reporting –Rule problem discovered - consider converting to provisional to give time to fix problem (e.g., 5/25 notice - 2 month no EOT)
116 PCT Applications Might be more desirable now – subject to delaying US patent issuance –5/25 Rule does not apply during international phase –Search might provide art which will help decide how to prosecute in the US –Can amend claims without wasting an office action –Not subject to reporting requirements until nationalized –Not subject to rebuttable presumption of patentably indistinct until nationalized Issue: New PCT rules increased filing costs cost more Nationalization - which way is better –371 Route - PCT restriction rules apply Claims subject to unity of invention rejection can file separate divisionals at nationalization. Filing a demand does not cause problem with divisional applications. –120 Bypass Route & 371 Route - get generally the same number of CONs (120 Bypass – one more rule), but must NOT file a Demand, so limited in amendments and arguments Can pay additional search fees without causing problems for divisionals Make standard practice to not file a demand to keep nationalization options open –Note impact of not filing demand: Will lose opportunity to directly nationalize in a few countries (e.g., Switzerland, etc.) if not nationalized by Chap. 1 deadline, but can nationalize through regional office (e.g., EPO, etc.) Consider Dual PCT and Utility approach claiming benefit to common provisional –US Broader (Genus) Claims & PCT Narrower Claims –Try to get allowance before PCTs Chap II deadline –Avoids 2+1, 5/25, reporting, and presumption issues
117 Design Applications Only have a 2 Rule and not 2+1 Rule –Only can file two continuations/CIPs –RCEs not permitted in Design Applications Reporting requirement applies Rules not clear about patentably indistinct presumption –If common drawing with utility application will likely create presumption, but easy to rebut. Rules not clear how or if 5/25 Rule would apply to Design Applications
118 Continuing Applications General –Track number of applications in invention family –Track number of RCEs in invention family –Prosecute Serially –Exhaust CON before filing divisionals –Consider SRR at filing –File Family report when filed & supplement at 4 month from filing Continuation –File rebuttal or terminal disclaimer at filing Continuation-in-part –Avoid due to support reporting requirements –Must identify the claims that are supported by the parent application. –The examiner may require the location in the specification (page and line number) that support those claims. 37 C.F.R. 1.105 –File rebuttal or terminal disclaimer at filing –Cannot File CIP of a divisional Divisional –Still must rebut presumption of indistinct claims - Consider submitting paper at filing indicating that subject to restriction and presumption should not apply –Restarts 2+1 Rule –CIPs of divisionals not permitted
119 Patent Application Filing Identify related applications Consider Terminal Disclaimer, ESD, etc. File SRR even below 5/25 limit so as to create opportunity of more divisional applications When possible, file non-publication request to avoid creating 102(b) art that could be used to invalidate a continuing application that was not granted a priority date
120 Docket Dates Docket 4 month to identify related cases Docket 4 month to take action on rebuttable presumption If over 5/25, docket 2 weeks to file SRR, amend, or ESD. (No set date in Rules for this docket entry, but need to address quickly before the notice.) Feb 1, 2008 –Submit related cases reports in cases where filing/priority date is identical for applications filed before Nov. 1 st. –Identify claim support in CIPs filed before Nov. 1 st, that did not receive a FAOM before Nov. 1 st.
121 Post Filing Notices Receive Notice that application is over 5/25 –Docket 2 months –Appl. filed before 11/1/07 Time is extendable File SRR, Amend, or ESD –Appl. filed after 11/1/07 Time is not extendable File Amend or ESD
122 Patent Application Assignment Common Ownership –Mergers & acquisitions – key is ownership (for all related documents) at the time the invention was made. –Parties to a joint research agreement under the CREATE act are considered an owner (§1.78(h)). –Inventions of two separate, wholly-owned subsidiaries are commonly owned by the parent company.
123 Foreign Filing Need to Track Prior Foreign Application Filing Dates for Reporting Purposes Alternative #1: Consider foreign filing first in countries that typically have relevant prior art so that art is available before US examination. –File counterpart US provisional to avoid 102(b) issues –EPO consider requesting expedited examination Alternative #2: Consider Delaying Examination in Foreign Cases until after US Prosecution concludes for the first case –Avoid burning RCE/CON on an IDS –Might help with limits under new IDS Rules –Request Foreign Associates to promptly report Search/Examination Reports so IDS is timely filed Might Not Foreign File so can file non-publication request to avoid creating 102(b) art.
124 Publication If possible, consider Non-Publication Requests when application is filed to avoid creating 102(b) art where lose priority because of violating 2 CON limit or where want to capture unclaimed subject matter that is disclosed in the application. Consider Filing Application Data Sheet to Identify Current Owner in Published Applications - easier tracking and searching for reporting requirements. If added new claims, consider filing a request for republication so that damages toll.
125 IDS Consider Delaying Examination in Foreign Cases until after US Prosecution concludes –Avoid burning RCE/CON on an IDS –Might help with limits in proposed IDS Rules –Request Foreign Associates to promptly report Search Reports so IDS is timely filed Consider limiting number of search results from patent searches (in view of proposed IDS rules) Be selective in dependent claims so as to eliminate irrelevant art
126 Restriction Never Traverse because a restriction requirement creates a new Invention family which is entitled to 2 CONs/1 RCE Consider filing an SRR in every case where may have more than 1 invention, even if claims are less that 5/25. PCT Applications might help for restrictions
127 Prosecution Practices First Office Action Under New Rules 2 nd Final Office Actions will be more common so prosecution will be more compact –Conduct Interviews –Prepare 1 st response like an Appeal Brief –Submit affidavits or other evidence in 1 st response Make Claims in Condition for Allowance - know number of independent claims available Obviousness Type Double Patenting will be more common –Be careful – more terminal disclaimers greater risk of not being commonly assigned New/Amended Claims - Check for rebuttable presumption –Patentably Distinct: Rebut Presumption –Patentably Indistinct: Other case is allowed application/patent, file Terminal Disclaimer Other case is non-allowed application –Make claims distinct: re-amend or delete –Exceptional circumstances: provide good and sufficient reason for addtl app & dont exceed 5/25 limit Remove Any Claim Interpretation Issues –Aids acceptance into Pre-Appeal Brief Review Program
128 Second / Final Office Action Try to Interview (again) if Examiner Receptive File Response by 2 month deadline Prepare Response like appeal brief Remove Claim Interpretation Issues –So you can use Pre-Appeal Brief Program
129 RCE Final Office Action Before Nov. 1 –File RCE - if one or more RCEs already in Family Use RCE 1 st –want to file petitions off CONS (conservative approach) If a petition filed off an RCE is denied, the application can be abandoned before you receive a decision on the petition. If a petition filed off a CON is denied, the application only loses the priority date Track RCEs in Family –Note RCE on File –Track Electronically
130 Appeal Consider Pre-Appeal Brief Review Pilot Program –Allows to address bad final Office Actions without the need to prepare a full appeal brief –Panel of Examiners (including the Examiner for the case) will reconsider grounds for rejection. –Must file request with Notice of Appeal (No EOT) and cannot file with Appeal Brief. –Proper Grounds to Use Program Clear errors in fact or law in the examiner's rejections; or The examiner's omission of one or more essential elements needed for a prima facie rejection. –Improper Grounds to Use Program - Use Full Appeal Claim interpretation issues –Filing Requirements Notice of Appeal along with any EOTs Pre-Appeal Brief Request for Review Form PTO/SB/33 Arguments - 5 pages or less DO NOT file an Appeal Brief with Request - will remove from program –Decision from Panel Appeal process continues - 1 issue remains for appeal Application allowed Prosecution Reopened Request denied (improper) –Time period for filing an appeal brief will be reset to later of: One-month from mailing of the decision on the request, or Two-month time period running from the receipt of the Notice of Appeal. Proposed Appeals Rules Considerations –Stricter requirements (e.g., brief require claim charts, limited extensions, etc.)
131 Allowance Want Notice of Allowance as soon as possible –Authorize Examiner Amendments For Patentably Indistinct Claims, file Continuation after Notice of Allowance –Avoid good and sufficient reason justification –Avoid 5/25 (multiple applications) limitation Get Applications Allowed Before Nov. 1 –Avoid 5/25 problems (single or multiple applications) –Eliminate multiple, non-allowed applications having patentably indistinct claims (requiring good and sufficient reason) Check Inventorship at allowance to eliminate any non- inventors (reduce reporting load) Consider filing Comments on Reasons for Allowance to preserve Broadening Reissue rights
132 Issuance and Maintenance Fees Issue Fee Payment –Pay issue fee as soon as you receive a Notice of Allowance to window of competitor game playing that will cause you to submit additional CON/RCE –Place assignee on Patent for tracking Issue Notification –Check Patent Term Adjustment Issues Maintenance Fees –Must identify and, when necessary, rebut presumption when a common inventor / common owner situation exists with an application and a patent that has expired due to failure to pay maintenance fees.
133 Reissue Reissues Same standard to file reissue: –Error which causes the patent to be "deemed wholly or partly inoperative or invalid, by reason of a defective specification or drawing, or by reason of the patentee claiming more or less than he had a right to claim in the patent. An attorney's failure to appreciate the full scope of the invention was held to be an error correctable through reissue. MPEP 1402 Applicants may file a reissue application under 35 U.S.C. 251, if appropriate, to submit claims with a different scope. 2+1 Rule Applies to reissue –Can file 2 reissue continuation apps + 1 RCE, w/out justification. Even if app for original patent was a 2 nd continuation app.
134 Reissue Disclosure of Related Documents and Rebuttable Presumption Applies to Reissue 5/25 Rule Applies to Reissue –Changes apply to reissue apps filed on or after Nov. 1, 2007 and any reissue app in which a FAOM was not mailed before Nov. 1, 2007. ESD not reqd if reissue app does not seek to change claims in patent being reissued. –Change in claims is sought either by addition of a claim, or amendment to claim or spec which changes a claim.
135 Other Proceedings Reexamination –Consider if unable to file IDS due to 2+1 limit Interference –Less likely to copy claims due to 5/25 limit
136 Litigation ESD - creates estoppel. Obviousness type double patenting issues magnified by increased number of terminal disclaimer –Common assignee issue Grounds for inequitable conduct if fail to correct improper priority claim (see, Nilssen v. Osram Sylvania (Fed. Cir. 2007)).
137 Other Proposed Rules to Consider PCT Rules - Increased Search Fee IDS - Limit to 20 References More Stringent Appeals Formalities Markush Limits … Well be back
138 New Final PCT Rules Restoration of priority rights - does not yet apply in the US, but the earliest priority date, including restored dates, will be used as a basis to calculate PCT time limits/deadlines Permits the insertion of a missing portion of the application without the loss of a filing date via incorporation by reference on PCT Request PCT Rule changes directed to clarifying the circumstances and procedures under which the correction of an obvious mistake may be made in an international application - No change needed in the US Increased search fee to $1,800.00. The search fee is applicable, regardless of whether there is a corresponding US prior nonprovisional application (i.e., no reduced fees if previously filed counterpart US application)
139 Proposed IDS Rules Requirements for each period has changed –1 st Period - IDS filed within 3 month or before FAOM - just submit IDS (exceptions below). –2 nd Period - IDS filed after FAOM - explanation and non-cumulative description. –3 rd Period - IDS between allowance and issue fee payment - Timeliness certification and patentability justification (including, explanation and non-cumulative description). –4 th Period - IDS after issue fee payment - includes 3 rd Period requirements plus petition to withdraw from allowance, statement of unpatentable claims, amendment, & patentability reasons for amended claims. –IDS fees eliminated Explanation required before FAOM (1 st Period) –Cite over 20 references - explanation for all references. –References over 25 pages. –Non-English language documents. Exceptions –1 st Period Explanation - Not required if submit foreign search report citing the references –2 nd Period Explanation and Non-Cumulative Description - Not required if submit foreign search report and certification submitting within 3 months of first cited. Amendments - re-explanation for IDS or indicate nothing changed. Consent to protest by 3 rd party of unsolicited documents received from 3 rd party.
140 Proposed IDS Rules Time Periods 1 - 4 From USPTO Presentation Application Prosecution Timeline and corresponding IDS requirements Application Filed First Office Action on the Merits (FAOM) Allowance of Application Payment of Issue Fee First Period Up to 20 citations permitted w/o any explanation reqd. Explanations reqd for: each ref. >25 pages, or in non-English language, or for all refs when more than 20 Second Period Explanation, and Non-cumulative description Third Period Timeliness cert., and Patentability Justification which includes: Explanation, Non-cumulative description, and either: (A) Patentability reasons for unamended claims; or (B)(1) Statement of unpatentable claims, (B)(2) Amendment, and (B)(3) Patentability reasons for amended claim(s) Fourth Period Timeliness cert.; Patentability Justification which includes: Explanation, Non-cumulative description, Statement of unpatentable claims, Amendment, and Patentability reasons for amended claim(s); and Petition to w/d from allowance Patent Time Sufficient for Consideration
141 Proposed Appeals Rules Additional format requirements and sections (e.g., claim support, drawing analysis, etc.) Page limits - 25 pages for Appeal Briefs and 15 pages for Reply Briefs Limits Extensions of Times after Appeal Brief Filed Further limits arguments that can be presented Limits amendments that can be made and evidence presented Makes it easier to abandon applications without notice Examiner Makes a New Rejection - the applicant must within 2 months (to avoid abandonment) request appeal to continue (file reply brief) or request reopening of prosecution (file response).
142 Proposed Markush Claims Rules An intra-claim restriction is proper unless all species share a substantial feature essential for common utility or species prima facie obvious over each other. –Can file an explanation why claim limited to a single invention A claim may not incorporate part of the specification by reference unless absolutely necessary. Markush alternatives: –must be substitutable; –may not encompass other alternatives; –may not be a set of further alternatives; and –must not make the claim difficult to construe.
143 Want to know more? Woodard, Emhardt, Moriarty, McNett & Henry LLP Chase Tower 111 Monument Circle, Suite 3700 Indianapolis, IN 46204 317.634.3456 www.uspatent.com