20Nov 2015

Another Pilot Program Aims to Accelerate Patent Appeals By Silvia Salvadori, PhD{2:30 minutes to read} The Patent Trial and Appeal Board  of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has just announced another new pilot program designed to reduce the backlog of ex parte appeals waiting to be heard by the Board. It will allow small or micro-entity appellants with only a single appeal pending before the Board to expedite review of the appeal in return for agreeing to streamline the process.

To be eligible for this pilot program, the appeal must:

  • Not involve any claims subject to a rejection under 35 USC section 112;
  • Agree to the disposition of all claims subject to each ground of rejection as a single group;
  • Agree to waive any request for an oral hearing; and
  • Have been docketed by the Board on or before September 18, 2015.

The name of the program is The Streamlined, Expedited Patent Appeal Pilot Program For Small Entities. The hope is that it will allow small or micro-entity appellants who streamline their appeals to have greater control over the priorities with which their appeals are decided. This streamlining will also assist the Board to more efficiently reduce the overall inventory of the appeals pending before it.

Appeals to the Board usually get decided in the order in which they are docketed, and the current average time of an appeal decision is approximately 30 months. The goal of the pilot program is for the Board to enter a decision on the appeals accorded special status no later than six months from the date of filing of the petition.

If it is successful, the program will permit small or micro-entity appellants to accelerate the Board’s decision on appeals, possibly hastening the pace at which inventions are patented and products or services embodying the patents are brought to the marketplace. In turn, this will spur more innovation, economic growth and job creation.

To apply to have your appeal accelerated by this pilot program, make a certification that your appeal meets all of the required criteria and file a petition to the Chief Judge under 37 C.F.R. § 41.3 The filing must be signed by an authorized registered practitioner.


Silvia Salvadori, PhDSilvia Salvadori, PhD
(212) 897-1938