Public Notice & Transparency

Yesterday the PTAB announced an update to its Standard Operating Procedure (SOP 1). The update explains how judges are paneled, recused, and staffed on a given case. This latest revision aligns with recently updated Paneling Guidance, Standard Operating Procedure 4, and Director Review procedures. In other words, this SOP is just memorializing how the Board has been internally managed. (Such transparency has become increasingly important over the years given the cottage industry of PTAB conspiracy theorists, which is certainly not lost on the agency)

The SOP update (here), explains in relevant part:

  • The SOP does not include a procedure for panel expansion, a process that was discontinued in 2018
  • Clarification of conflict of interest procedures for judges
  • Explanation of judge jurisdiction (ex parte only, etc.)
  • Explanation of judge paneling by technology and cluster (design, reexamination, reissue, ex parte technology cluster)
  • Explanation of judge paneling cases related to previous PTAB decisions
  • Explanation of judge paneling of related AIA filings
  • Explanation of recusal procedures