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PROSECUTION APPEALS Presented at: Webb & Co. Rehovot, Israel Date: February 14, 2013 Presented by: Roy D. Gross Associate St. Onge Steward Johnston & Reens.

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Presentation on theme: "PROSECUTION APPEALS Presented at: Webb & Co. Rehovot, Israel Date: February 14, 2013 Presented by: Roy D. Gross Associate St. Onge Steward Johnston & Reens."— Presentation transcript:

1 PROSECUTION APPEALS Presented at: Webb & Co. Rehovot, Israel Date: February 14, 2013 Presented by: Roy D. Gross Associate St. Onge Steward Johnston & Reens LLC Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.

2 You are prosecuting a patent application on a chemical composition and method where all of the elements of the claims are known individually, however, the combination is novel and unobvious over the prior art. You are staring at a Final Office Action where the Examiner has rejected your claims under 35 U.S.C. 103. The Examiner has said that she believes that your claims are obvious over a combination of the prior art and cites two or more difference references against you in a combination. What do you do now? How do you further proceed? The Story

3 Conduct an Examiner’s Interview. File a Response after Final and hope the Examiner enters the amendments made in the Response. File a Request for Continued Examination (RCE). File a Prosecution Appeal accompanied by a Pre-Appeal Brief Request for Review. File a Prosecution Appeal with Appeal Brief. Abandon Application and/or file a continuation and/or divisional application. Options After a Final Rejection

4 Only appealable issues (e.g., rejections under 35 U.S.C. §§101, 102, 103 and 112) are eligible for review. The Request may include up to five pages of arguments detailing why review is being requested. After a panel of three PTO personnel reviews the Request, the panel issues one of four decisions: (1) the application remains under appeal because there is at least one actual issue ripe for appeal, (2) the rejection is withdrawn and a Notice of Allowance will be mailed, (3) prosecution is reopened and a new Office Action will be mailed, (4) the Request fails to comply with the submission requirements and is deemed improper. The Examiner and her supervisor (SPE) may be and typically are on the panel of three PTO personnel. Pre-Appeal Brief Request

5 Pre-Appeal Brief Statistics FYRequestsProceed to the Board (%) Prosecution Reopened (%) All Rejections Withdrawn (%) Defective Request (%) 20066,525553753 20077,240563842 20088,255593722 20099,967563932 201012,019563851

6 A Prosecution Appeal is a formal request by a Patent Applicant to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to reverse rejections set forth by an based upon the pending prior art in front of the Examiner. An Appeal can be filed after claims have been twice rejected. An Appeal is typically filed when an Applicant disagrees with an Examiner’s Rejection and does not want to further amend the claims. What is a Prosecution Appeal and why is it filed?

7 An Appeal takes the case away from the Examiner and the Appeal is considered by the PTAB. By filing an Appeal Brief, the Examiner is required to speak with his or her supervisor and conduct an Appeal Conference. This is beneficial when an Examiner is junior. Sometimes, after filing a Notice of Appeal and/or Appeal Brief, an Examiner may withdraw the rejections and reopen prosecution. An Appeal is decided by a panel of three Administrative Patent Judges – typically ex-Examiners that are skilled in patent examination. Fees paid in a First Appeal if Prosecution is Reopened are transferred to a second Appeal. Benefits of filing an Appeal

8 Claims cannot be further amended during an Appeal. An Appeal can take over 2 years (more time than an RCE, however there is now a backlog of RCEs at the USPTO). Appeals typically cost more than filing an RCE and are more complex. There is a res judicata effect on claims found invalid by PTAB, i.e. a RCE cannot be filed on rejected claims that are not further appealed without new evidence in the record. Disadvantages of filing an Appeal

9 Conduct an Examiner’s Interview. File a Response to a Final Office Action within two months after receiving a Final Office Action. Have a back up plan during appeal (i.e., file a continuation application, have additional fall back positions and amendments ready if Appeal is unsuccessful). Tips Prior to Filing a Notice of Appeal

10 USPTO Filing Fees through March 18, 2013 Large Entity Small Entity Notice of Appeal $630$315 Appeal Brief $630$315 Reply Brief $0 Request for Oral Hearing $1,260$630 Minimum Cost (on papers)$1,260$630 Maximum Cost (with hearing)$2,520$1,260 Large EntitySmall Entity RCE $930$465 AppealRCE

11 USPTO Filing Fees after March 19, 2013 Large EntitySmall Entity Notice of Appeal $800$400 Appeal Brief $0 Reply Brief $0 Forwarding Request to Board $2,000$1,000 Request for Oral Hearing $1,300$650 Minimum Cost (on papers)$800$400 Minimum Cost (Appeal reaches Board) $2,800$1,400 Maximum Cost (with hearing)$4,100$2,050 Large EntitySmall Entity RCE (1 st ) RCE (subseq uent) $1,200 $1,700 $600 $850 AppealRCE

12 Advisory Action indicates whether amendments after Final considered in Appeal

13 Notice of Appeal Appeal Brief Examiner’s Answer Reply Brief to Examiner’s Answer If Oral Hearing is requested, Appeal will proceed as follows PTAB DECISION Rejection can be reversed Rejection can be affirmed Rejection can be affirmed in part and reversed in part New Grounds of Rejection can be asserted Request for Oral Hearing Due within 2 mos (no ext available) Oral Hearing Office Action Issued; Prosecution Reopened Notice of Allowance Office Action Issued; Prosecution Reopened Notice of Allowance RCE Filed; Prosecution Reopened Appeal Overview

14 File Notice of Appeal by 3-month deadline or with additional one-month extension fees. Applicant has two (2) months to file Appeal Brief after filing Notice of Appeal. Applicant has two months to file Reply Brief after Examiner’s Answer. Simultaneously with filing Reply Brief, Applicant may file Request for Oral Hearing. Appeal is Docketed at PTAB. Confirmation of Oral Hearing (Applicant must confirm participation in hearing 21 days after notice of mailing from USPTO). Conduct Oral Hearing (typically 2 years after filing Notice of Appeal) Important Dates During Appeal

15 File an RCE with amendments to claims or with additional evidence such as an Affidavit under 1.132 where Board of Examiners “hints” that evidence is necessary – i.e., by saying “attorney argument is not evidence”) File a Request for Reconsideration by the PTAB. File an Appeal of PTAB decision to the Federal Circuit. File an Appeal to District Court (benefit is that new evidence can be introduced, however, new issues cannot be raised that were not considered in the Appeal). What to Do if Appeal Not Successful

16 Number of Appeals - in 2012  12,433 Ex Parte Appeals received by USPTO. Pendency of Time – Approximately 36 months from Notice of Appeal Success Rate Appeals Statistics

17 Appeals Statistics (continued) What are the numbers of success of appeal per technology unit (2010 through September 2012)? Technology Center NameAffirmedAffirmed in part PercentReversedComplete Reversal At least partial reversal 1600Biotechnology, Organic Chemistry & Pharmaceuticals 286479%18535%44% 1700Chemical and Materials Engineering 107718710%67735%45% 3700Mechanical Engineering, Manufacturing and Medical Devices/Processes 65131318%80746%64% ----------------------- ------------- --------------------------- Board Totals 5023146615%330934%49%

18 SSJR files a very large number of appeals at the US Patent and Trademark Office and is extremely successful in pursuing patents for its prosecution clients. Fully 87% of appeals that have been filed and resolved in the last four years have been decided in favor of SSJR and its clients. This translates into the USPTO affirming its Examiner’s rejections about 13% of the time in SSJR appeals and compares very favorably with the Board’s average rate of affirmance which stands at about 50% over the same time period. SSJR Success in Appeals


20 Overview of US Court System for Patents District Court Federal Circuit US Supreme Court PTAB (Patent Trial and Appeal Board) Allowed Patent Application Rejected RCE Motion for Reconsideration Litigation

21 US Court System (continued) Allowed Inter Partes and Ex Parte Reexamination Reissue Appeal to PTAB Federal Circuit Appeal to PTAB

22 The End

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