USPTO Launches Pilot to Expedite Small Entity Appeals By Jennifer J. Jedra

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is launching a pilot program intended to expedite the appeals process for individuals or small businesses with just one pending ex parte appeal. The program is called the Streamlined, Expedited Patent Appeal Pilot for Small Entities.

The program will allow small or micro entitles with a single ex parte appeal to be granted fast-track status if the applicant meets certain requirements. In return, the small entity must agree to the disposition of all claims subject to each ground of rejection as a single group and waive any request for an oral hearing. The streamlining will assist the USPTO to more efficiently reduce the overall inventory of appeals pending before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

An appeal that is accorded special status under the program will be advanced out of turn for a decision on the appeal by the PTAB. The goal is for the PTAB to render a decision in the appeal no later than six months from the date of the petition’s filing. Small entities wishing to participate in the pilot program need to fill out a certification and petition. The program is being adopted on a temporary basis and will run until 2,000 appeals have been accorded special status, or until September 16, 2016, whichever occurs earlier. The Federal Register notice regard the pilot program can be seen here:

Your Patent Attorney can help guide you through the ex parte appeals process, including certification and petition at the USPTO.