Robert Hulse Discusses USPTO’s Patent Processing Initiative

I’m sure many of you are still trying to weed through the detailed call for comments on the USPTO’s Three-Track Patent Processing Initiative that was published in the Federal Register last week.  It will be interesting to see the comments that come in from the Patent Community and how the PTO’s proposal will evolve based on the comments.  I had an opportunity to ask Robert Hulse, partner at Fenwick & West, LLP and Contributor on the Patent Center, some general questions that I had regarding the PTO’s initiative:

Are you in favor of or opposed to Three-Track proposal?  Do you believe it’s an improvement from the one-size-fits-all patent system?

Generally, I think this proposal will be good for patent applicants, but I would caution that it is just a general proposal with no specific rules.  Once the PTO published the proposed rules for implementing the Three-Track system, we will have a better understanding of how beneficial the system will be for applicants and how likely this system is to achieve the PTO’s stated goals of reducing pendency while maintaining quality examination. 

 For example, the rules may impose a high fee or otherwise place onerous requirements on applicants to take advantage of the prioritized track, Track 1.  In this case, most applicants simply wouldn’t take advantage of Track 1, which would reduce the effectiveness of the program.  This is the case with the current accelerated examination procedure, which requires a supporting document (the Accelerated Examination Support Document, or AESD) that places a tremendous burden on the applicant. (more…)

USPTO Proposes Three-Track Patent Examination System

The USPTOOn June 4, 2010, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published in the Federal Register a detailed call for comments and the announcement of a public meeting to discuss it’s proposed Three-Track patent processing initiative. Federal Register/ Vol.75, No 71/Friday, June 4, 2010/ notes.  The public meeting will take place at the USPTO office on July 20, 2010.

Under the proposed initiative, for applications filed first in the United States, an applicant may: (1) Request prioritized examination (Track I); (2) for non-continuing applications, request  a delay lasting up to 30 months in docketing for examination (Track III); or (3) obtain processing under the current procedure (Track II) by not requesting either (1) or (2).  As for applications filed in the USPTO that are based on a prior foreign-filed application, the proposed process is quite different.

According to  Jack O’Brien, founder of Law Offices of John A. O’Brien P.C. and Practice Center Contributor,  “All applications filed first in the United States can freely participate this three track system.  However, US patent applications based on a prior foreign filed application are delayed.” (more…)