USPTO Announces Amendments to PTAB Trial Rules

On March 31, the USPTO announced in its “Director’s Forum” blog that it is publishing the Final Rule containing the amendments to the Rules of Practice for trials before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the Board). The pre-publication version of the Final Rule is available on the USPTO website. 

The Final Rule will officially publish in the Federal Register on April 1, 2016. It will go into effect 30 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register, and applies to all AIA petitions filed on or after the effective date, and to any ongoing AIA preliminary proceeding or trial before the Patent Office. 

According to the site, the amended rules include the following changes:

- Patent owners can include any relevant testimonial evidence with their opposition to a petition to institute a proceeding;

- Add Rule 11-type certification for papers filed in a proceeding;

- PTAB will use the claim construction standard used by district courts for patents that will expire during a proceeding and will the use broadest reasonable interpretation (BRI) for all other patents; and

- Replace the current page limits with word count limits for major briefings. 

The USPTO decided not to implement the proposed pilot program that would have allowed a single judge to make post-grant proceedings institution decisions.


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