The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a final rule on Monday, October 21, 2013 that harmonizes U.S. practice with the World intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Patent Law Treaty.

A summary of the more significant changes include:

  • Restoration of the right of priority to a foreign application or the benefit of a provisional application in a subsequent application will be possible if the application is filed within two months of the expiration of the twelve-month period for filing the application, and if the Applicant can show the delay was unintentional.
  • Nonprovisional utility patent applications may receive a filing date even if filed without claims.
  • Nonprovisional utility patent applications will be able to incorporate by reference a previously filed application’s drawings and specification in the initial filing.
  • Late payment of patent maintenance fees, at any time after the six-month grace period, will be accepted if the Patentee can show that the delay was unintentional.
  • Revival of abandoned applications will be possible if the Applicant can show the abandonment was unintentional.
  • Patent term adjustment reductions will be applied if the application is not in condition for examination within eight months of the filing date.
  • Miscellaneous changes pertaining to supplemental examination, inventor’s oath or declaration, and first inventor to file provisions of the America Invents Act.

These new rules will become effective on December 18, 2013.

If you would like a copy of the new regulations, please click the following link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-10-21/pdf/2013-24471.pdf

If you have any questions about the new regulations, please contact Bill Rowland or Kyle Tsui.