Post-Grant Outcomes Pilot Identifies 600+ Patent Applications Related to Ongoing AIA Trial Proceedings

Back in February I discussed the USPTO’s plans to launch a pilot program designed to enhance communication between patent examiners and the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB).  The USPTO explained the pilot as an attempt to create a bridge between the PTAB and patent examiners examining patent applications related to an ongoing AIA trial proceeding. That pilot, now known as the Post-Grant Outcomes Pilot is well underway.

Post Grant Outcomes is an Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative (EPQI) designed to develop a process for providing post grant information from sources, such as the Federal Circuit, District Courts, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), and the Central Re-examination Unit CRU), to examiners in a way most useful to their patent application examination process. AIA trial proceedings contain prior art and arguments that can be highly relevant to the patentability determination of related applications currently under examination. The USPTO believes that to support a thorough search and examination of any related applications, it is important for examiners to consider the contents (including prior art) of the AIA trial proceeding of the related issued patent. The Post-Grant Outcomes Pilot is designed to  enhance the quality of patentability determinations in these related pending patent applications by notifying examiners when they have an application related to an AIA trial proceeding, streamlining access to the contents of AIA trial proceedings, and determining and disseminating best practices for evaluating those proceedings.

The Pilot launched on April 25, 2016.  The Pilot will conclude after four months or once 400 surveys are received, whichever occurs first.  As of July 18th, 2016, 687 child applications have been identified in the Pilot, with over 200 surveys completed.  You can find the examiner training materials for this program (here