PTAB “Quick Fix” Changes Delayed to Q2, More Substantive Changes Expected Q3/Q4

In June of 2014 the USPTO issued a Request for Information in the Federal Register entitled, Request for Comments on Trial Proceedings Under the America Invents Act Before the Patent Trial & Appeal Board. The notice posed 17 questions to the public. Since that time, the Office has considered the public feedback and has been working on two sets of changes to PTAB current trial practices. The first set of “quick-fix” changes, originally expected in January, is now slated for Q2 according to an announcement made at the most recent Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) meeting. The second, more substantive rule package, is now slated for Q3/Q4 (likely Q4)

As the quick-fix changes will not go through Notice & Comment Rule Making, they will likely become effective after a 30 day period. The quick fix changes will liberalize current practice limitations, such as page limits. As these changes do not take away rights from the public, they are not subject to Notice & Comment Rule Making. The more substantive rule package will follow traditional Notice & Comment Rule Making and will address such things as claim interpretation of “soon to expire” patent claims.