Fall 2014 Preview

With the summer vacation months behind us, the USPTO approaches the close of their fiscal year on September 30th. The end of the fiscal year is always a busy time for the agency. Both examiners and administrative patent law judges (APJs) will be focusing on finalizing their production quotas for the year. Historically, workflow from the agency peaks in September.

This month, the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) will accept its 2000th post-grant trial petition. As I pointed out previously, this two year volume of filings has already exceeded the previous 13 year history of inter partes reexamination. September and October filings are expected to reach 200 petitions per month.

aia statistics 082814

With increased hirings, the AIA trial section will become the largest section of the PTAB in October.

In addition to dealing with the rising workflow, this fall the PTAB will also work to refine post-grant trial practices based on public feedback. Public comments responsive to the June Federal Register Notice, entitled: Request for Comments on Trial Proceedings Under the America Invents Act Before the Patent Trial & Appeal Board, are due on September 16th. A rule package implementing proposed changes is expected to issue thereafter.

Later this week I will begin walking through each of the issues presented for discussion by the PTAB in the Request for Comments.