5 Written questions
5 Matching questions
- When is one in a position to appeal?
- 1214.06: What happens when the Examiner is sustained in whole or in part:
- What do appeal matters concern and who deals with them?
- 1206: Amendments, affidavits, other evidence that gets filed with or after the appeal:
- a In order to even have an appeal available the USPTO has to have issued a second rejection on a claim. The second rejection could either be a normal final rejection, or it could be a rejection where the claim was initially rejected in the original app, a CIP/CPA/RCE was filed to continue the app, and then the same claim was rejected in the continuation (1 time original + 1 time continuation == 2 rejections).
- b Appeal matters dealing with substantive issues (rejections); actions on the merits that are made to the Board of Patent Appeals & Interferences
- c If no claims are allowed at all: After the Board's decision the 2 month limit for taking the case to court starts running. After that is over, if there has been no court action the app is abandoned.
THIS IS WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO PUT DISPUTED DEPENDENT CLAIMS INTO INDEPENDENT FORM: If it turns out that a parent independent claim is not allowed, but that a dependent claim (that has further limitation) would be allowed except for the fact that it is a dependent claim.... the app is still abandoned anyway! (It is up to the applicant to get the claims ready for this eventuality).
When some of the claims are allowed:
There is no requirement to file any further reply, the claims that are allowed will go back to the examiner (most likely to issue, or perhaps to have the examiner request a re-hearing). If there is no reply the other claims will be canceled.
When the claims require further action: (Like in a case where a generic claim rejection is reversed so more work is needed no the claim by the examiner): It just goes back to the examiner for more work.
- d 1) Must be filed within the greater of: 2 months of PTO receipt of notice; or
2) time left to reply to the action being appealed
3) EOT for up to 5 months
4) Failure to file brief dismisses appeal and abandons application if no allowed claims
- e it is not a matter of right to have new amendments added on to the application during the appeal process. The amendment process during appeals is under 37 CFR 41.33, and not under the (more permissive) 37 CFR 1.116.
5 Multiple choice questions
- (37 CFR 1.4131): Step 1: The applicant has to file notice of appeal, which simply means that the applicant notifies the USPTO of the intent to appeal and includes a fee.
Step 2: Actually file an appeal brief:
TIME LIMITS: The applicant has 2 months from the receipt of the notice to appeal until the appeal brief itself is due. If there is an appeal while there are other outstanding deadlines, the appeal acts to toll the other deadlines (just like a pause button). One weird thing: The notice of appeal is supposed to be sent in person or via the Express Mail system. A mailing certificate does not apply here. Instead the USPTO will consider the "date in" at the post office to be the date of receipt of the notice, and that is the date from which the 2 month period begins counting.
- A failure to provide the appeal brief will result in dismissal of the appeal. However, if some of the claims in the patent were originally allowed, then the parts of the app that are allowed will go back to the examiner and the app will not be immediately abandoned. If however none of the claims were originally allowed, the entire app gets abandoned if the applicant fails to provide a brief. (The normal 37 CFR 1.137 revival terms are available if the abandonment was legally 'unintentional' or 'unavoidable'; remember that a successful 37 CFR 1.137 acts as an RCE).
- 1) Examiner must answer within 2 months from receipt of appeal brief
2) MPEP section 1208 recites 11 content requirements
3) No new ground of rejection
4) If new grounds, examiner must reopen prosecution; like a regular office action
- Patentee can appeal whose claim has been twice or finally (ex parte) rejected in a reexamination filed before Nov. 29, 1999; only finally rejected after said date.
- Say there are 3 disputed claims, but the appellant either does not argue for some of them on appeal or withdraws arguments for some of them. If 2 of the 3 claims are allowed by the Board (reversing the examiner) and the third claim is considered withdrawn since it is not argued, then the 2 reversed claims go into allowance, and the non-argued claim is now canceled by the appellant's acts.
5 True/False questions
What is a caveat for appeals? → One important caveat: Remember that when filing an RCE after a final rejection the applicant has a choice: Either appeal, or file the RCE. By filing an RCE the applicant is agreeing not to file an appeal, at least until the claim is rejected under the RCE itself. So even if there are 2 rejections in the original app, when the applicant files an RCE he is waiving the appeal until there is another rejection.
Option 1: Directly to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals: → If all claims were previously rejected then this court's decision is final on the patent one way or another.
If however some claims were previously allowed, then only the claims that were rejected are at an end, the allowed claims can continue to issuance.
Remand: The court can remand back to prosecution just as the Board can, although the examiner cannot request a re-hearing. The court will give the merits it wants the examiner to consider.
Disclaimers: Remember, there are 2 kinds: → A failure to provide the appeal brief will result in dismissal of the appeal. However, if some of the claims in the patent were originally allowed, then the parts of the app that are allowed will go back to the examiner and the app will not be immediately abandoned. If however none of the claims were originally allowed, the entire app gets abandoned if the applicant fails to provide a brief. (The normal 37 CFR 1.137 revival terms are available if the abandonment was legally 'unintentional' or 'unavoidable'; remember that a successful 37 CFR 1.137 acts as an RCE).
What happens after an oral hearing is requested? → Once the hearing is requested, the USPTO will contact the applicant with the particulars of time/location of the hearing, if the applicant does not confirm this notice, the hearing is waived!
1211.03: Remand for new affidavits or declarations: → There is no obligation to consider new amendments during the appeal, but: If the amendment is just to cancel claims that are not part of the proceeding, or to re-write dependent claims in independent form (this is important to avoid abandonment in some cases, see below) then the board will remand if there is an amendment.