The USPTO currently has nine published notices and proposed rule changes that are open for comment. Most of these involve changes to USPTO procedure that implement aspects of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). Under the AIA, the USPTO has been granted broader authority through this notice-and-comment period.
- Proposed Rule: Eliciting More Complete Patent Assignment Information – Comments Due January 23, 2012. The USPTO is proposing a rule that would require the timely recordation of patent and application ownership and changes to ownership. [DDC: This appears to be a straw-man proposal and will likely be significantly changed or dropped based upon public input.]
- Proposed Rule: Revision of Patent Term Adjustment Provisions Relating to Appellate Review – Comments Due January 27, 2012. [DDC: The new rule would largely lengthen PTA, but in some circumstances would reduce PTA depending upon the results of your appeal to the BPAI.]
- Notice: Request for Comments on Additional USPTO Satellite Offices for the Nationwide Workforce Program – Comments Due January 30, 2012. The USPTO is planning to open additional satellite offices in 2012-2013 and is seeking input on the proper location.
- Proposed Rule: Changes to Implement the Pre-issuance Submissions by Third Parties Provision of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act – Comments Due March 5, 2012. Third party submissions will be allowed beginning in September 2012. The proposed rules sets up requirements that such a submission must include "a concise description of the asserted relevance of each document submitted." The proposed rule suggests that a fee of $180 for the submission of up to ten documents. In order to promote submissions, the Office has proposed a fee exemption for the first submission by each third-party for each application (with a limit of three documents in that submission). Under the new rules, submissions must be filed by the later of: (i) Six months after the date on which the application is first published by the Office or (ii) The date the first office action.
- Proposed Rule: Implementation of Statute of Limitations Provisions for Office Disciplinary Proceedings – Comments Due March 5, 2012. The AIA sets a new statute of limitations for USPTO disciplinary proceedings at the earlier of (i) 10 years after the date on of the alleged misconduct; or (ii) one year from the date on which the misconduct was made known to an officer or employee of the USPTO. The rule proposed by the PTO would further define the one-year deadline as being triggered only once the USPTO has completed a preliminary review of the case and received a "complete, written response" from the accused practitioner. Depending upon the circumstances, the one-year deadline may otherwise be triggered by the OED's receipt of a certified copy of a record of censure from another Bar or conviction of a serious crime. [DDC: The USPTO's interpretation of the one-year deadline appears to be in tension to the text of the new statute, but the PTO may be fine because of the deference for OED matters under Lavacara v. Dudas.]
- Proposed Rule: Changes to Implement Miscellaneous Post Patent Provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act – Comments Due March 5, 2012.
- Proposed Rule: Changes to Implement the Inventors Oath or Declaration Provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act – Comments Due March 6, 2012.
- Notice: Changing the USPTO's Collection of Information in Matters Related to National Medal of Technology and Innovation Nomination Application – Comments Due February 6, 2012.
- Notice: Changing the USPTO's Collection of Information in Matters Related to Patent Appeals – Comments Due March 5, 2012.