New SOPs Demystify Internal Practices & Consolidate PTAB Policy Control to Director
The PTAB has substantially revised its Standard Operating Procedures (“SOPs”) regarding paneling of matters before the PTAB (SOP1) and precedential and informative decisions (SOP2).
SOP1 largely explains existing internal processes relating to assignment/reassignment of judges in the interests of increasing transparency, predictability, and reliability across the USPTO. More specifically, revised SOP1 explains the procedures for panel assignment and for informing parties regarding panel changes. It also explains the process for designating panels with more than three judges, and notes that such panels should be rare and will only occur with the approval of the Director.(here)
Revised SOP2 is likely to draw the most interests as it creates a Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) that effectively moves the previous PTAB precedent setting power away from the judges to the domain of the agency executives.