PTAB Braces For Increased AIA Hearings & Reexamination Surge

As we head to the end of the summer months, many of the first patentability trials of the AIA are maturing for decision. Going forward, the USPTO’s Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) will face a growing number of these oral hearings, also the surge of inter partes patent reexamination filings made last September will also be headed to the Board for decision. At last week’s Patent Public Advicory Committee (PPAC) meeting, the PTAB reported on the progress of their workload, and their plans for staffing up in anticipation of the coming reexamination surge.

As show in the overview below, the PTAB is well on their way to receiving 500 petitions for IPR and CBM by the close of the fiscal year. Based upon the number of trials in progress, the PTAB is the busiest patent court in the U.S. (by new filing rate they currently rank fourth).  (Although the chart below shows one PGR filing, this filing is actually an IPR that was filed incorrectly). Overview(CLICK TO ENLARGE).  As the above trial proceeding mature, they will head to oral hearing and written decision in the months to come, as show below.Workflow The PTAB is also gearing up for the influx of reexamination appeals that will result from the filers that rushed in prior to the switch over to the AIA proceedings. This reexamination bubble will hit the PTAB in 2014-2015.reexambubble At present, the PTAB has 169 judges. The goal is to raise that number to 200 by years end, which is necessary if the Board is going to process the growing workload as the busiest patent court in the U.S.