USPTO announces plan to reduce the time required for appeals in patent applications

This week USPTO director David Kappos announced a plan to speed up the time involved with appeals from final rejections of patent applications.  Under the current process, when an appellant files an Appeal Brief, the Brief is reviewed by the Examiner, the Patent Appeals Center, and the Chief Judge of the Board of Patent Appeals to determine whether the Brief complies with the USPTO’s formality requirements.  This three-level review has contributed to an increase in patent appeal pendency.  For example, Patently-O recently reported that the wait period from Notice of Appeal to final resolution is now nearly two years. 

Under the new plan, review will be completed only by the Chief Judge — eliminating the Examiner and the Patent Appeals Center from the initial review process.

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