Proposed Patent Rule Would Allow Third Party Prior Art Submissions

As I mentioned last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently published several proposed patent rule changes in connection with the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. One of those changes relates to third party submissions of prior art in a patent application.

Specifically, the proposed rule is needed to implement the preissuance submissions by third parties provision of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. Under this provision, third parties may submit, for consideration and inclusion in the record of patent applications, any patents, published patent applications, or other printed publications of potential relevance to the examination of the applications.

Below are a few additional details regarding the proposed rule:

  • A preissuance submission may be made in any non-provisional utility, design, and plant application, as well as in any continuing or reissue application.
  • A third-party preissuance submission must include a concise description of the asserted relevance of each document submitted and be submitted within a certain statutorily specified time period.
  • The third party must submit a fee as prescribed by the Director and a statement that the submission complies with all of the statutory requirements.
  • The third-party preissuance submission provision of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act is effective on September 16, 2012, and applies to any application filed before, on, or after September 16, 2012.

The USPTO is soliciting feedback on the proposed rule changes and will accept public comments through March 5, 2012.

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