September 15 Deadline Fast Approaching

Yesterday, the USPTO issued a notice entitled September 15, 2012 Deadline to File Requests for Inter Partes Reexamination Proceedings and Modification of Notice of Failure to Comply Form (here) The notice is essentially a warning to practitioners that although September 15th is the official filing deadline for inter partes patent reexamination filings, the practical filing deadline is likely the week of September 4th.

The Notice explains that Requesters are advised to file any inter partes reexamination requests which they intend to file as soon as possible, in order to provide the United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) with maximum time to: (i) Receive, process, and review such requests for their compliance with all the filing date requirements for inter partes reexamination; and (ii) notify the requester of any deficiencies in the request via a Notice of Failure to Comply with Inter Partes Reexamination Request Filing Requirements (Notice of Failure to Comply) while providing sufficient time for requester to submit a corrected/replacement request prior to September 16, 2012.

In other words, any issues of non-compliance must be corrected by September 15th. If the corrected/replacement request is not received by the Office as of September 15, 2012, the corrected/replacement request will not be accorded a filing date, even though the original request was timely received by the Office. This is so, regardless of when requester receives notification that the original request is not filing-date compliant.

Although not stated in the notice, paper filings should likely be avoided. This is because such filings also have to be scanned into the EFS system and, as a result, may introduce further delay.