Pilot Program Seeks to Convey AIA Trial Art & Arguments to Examiners

At yesterday’s Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) meeting, USPTO Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Patent Operations Jack Harvey explained a new pilot program to be launched in the spring of 2016.  The Pilot seeks to establish a “bridge between the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) and patent examiners” examining patent applications relating to an ongoing AIA trial proceeding.

The goals of the program are to ensure that examiners are: (1) aware of the ongoing AIA trial proceedings and consider the records during examination; (2) study the results of these proceedings; and (3) adapt examination practices based on the PTAB feedback.  It was explained during the PPAC meeting that of the publication-based prior art submitted in AIA trial requests only 25% was found of record in co-pending patent applications, 50% for patent-based prior art.  Once the information is conveyed to the examiners (via an electronic dossier), it may be made of record as appropriate.

In addition to improving coordination between the PTAB and examiners of related cases, the pilot is designed to provide longer term goals such as adapting patent examination practices based PTAB feedback on such matters as claim construction. Also, feedback from petitioners as to the most commonly utilized art may focus examiner searching in niche areas.  The initial pilot will include 40-60 cases, the length of the Pilot is not yet known.