During the course of our review, we identified three recent instances in which the practice of dismissing petitions as untimely was expanded to dismiss timely-filed petitions.
Based on an obscure and essentially uncirculated 2017 final agency decision (“FA Decision”), the USPTO recently revised Manual of Patent Examination Procedure (“MPEP”) § 706.07(b) to retroactively impose a first action final rejection (“FAFR”) legal standard that creates uncertainty and significantly reduces patent applicant’s options.
With little fanfare, the latest Manual of Patent Examining Procedure revision in June inserted a subtle, but potentially significant, change to the first-action final rejection practice that may make the patent examination process more costly for patent applicants, and more profitable for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
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