New Patent Appeals Need to be Clear and Precise

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The Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) is presently experiencing a large increase in the number of ex parte appeals. In 2006 (Financial Year), the Board received 3,349 ex parte appeals. In 2007, the Board expects to receive more than 4,000 ex parte appeals; and in 2008, it expects to receive over 5,000 such appeals.

In order to keep the process functioning smoothly in the face of this increasing pressure, the patent office has proposed a new set of rules which have been designed to help the Board avoid new bottlenecks.

According to the patent office,

These rules are proposed to change procedures in such a way as to allow the Board to continue to resolve ex parte appeals in a timely manner.

The proposed rules do not propose to change any of the rules relating to inter partes reexamination appeals. Nor do the proposed rules propose to change any of the rules relating to contested cases.

These new rules might make life easier for the Board, but they also demand more precision and clarity from applicants who are submitting fresh appeals, thereby putting an extra burden on them.

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