The New Law the USPTO is Thankful for this Thanksgiving


In the spirit of expressing gratitude this Thanksgiving holiday, Scott McKeown, Partner at Oblon, Spivak, Practice Center Contributor and author of Patents Post Grant Blog, shares the newest law for which the USPTO is thankful. On November 18, 2011, President Obama signed into law H.R. 2112, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act. This bill provides the USPTO with official spending authority through the end of September 2012 (the end of the fiscal year) and the ability to spend up to $2.7 billion dollars. According to Scott’s post

The bill allocates at least $2.7 billion of fee collections in 2012, up from about $2.1 billion in 2011. The Office can spend only what it collects, but estimates suggest a $2.7 billion influx of fees for fiscal 2012.

With the need to reconfigure the Board of Patent Appeals & Interferences (BPAI) into the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) including at least 100 new Administrative Patent Judges, the increased funding was an absolute necessity to implement the new mechanisms of the AIA.

The “new mechanisms of the AIA” are the 3rd party validity challenges to granted patents, including the post grant review process, inter-partes review, as well as review of certain business method patents. Even though half of the AIA’s provisions have already been enacted, with the remaining due to be enacted throughout 2012-2014, these processes will eventually be further defined by the USPTO via the rule-making process. For more on these new mechanisms, check out the following articles contributed to the Patent Law Practice Center by Scott McKeown:

Post Grant Dead Zone Coming Soon“, which explains the post grant review process and its limitations;

How Long Will Inter Partes Review Really Take?” and “New Inter Partes Review Grounds To Stay Most Patent Litigation?“, which detail the inter partes reexamination process and provisions; as well as

Proper Business Method Patent Challenges Under the America Invents Act?“, where Scott discusses the impact of the AIA on business method patents within the technology industry.

The Patent Law Practice Center will be back after the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!

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