The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently published its Final rules to adjust its protocols and policies in light of the Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012 (PLTIA). The rule goes into effect December 18, 2013.
PLTIA amends the patent laws to implement the provisions of the Hague Agreement Concerning International Registration of Industrial Designs (Hague Agreement) in title I, and the Patent Law Treaty (PLT) in title II. The PLT harmonizes and streamlines formal procedures pertaining to the filing and processing of patent applications.
This final rule revises the rules of practice for consistency with the changes in the PLT and title II of the PLTIA. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) is implementing the Hague Agreement and title I of the PLTIA in a separate rulemaking.
The notable changes in the PLT and title II of the PLTIA pertain to: The filing date requirements for a patent application; the restoration of patent rights via the revival of abandoned applications and acceptance of delayed maintenance fee payments; and the restoration of the right of priority to a foreign application or the benefit of a provisional application in a subsequent application filed within two months of the expiration of the twelve- month period (six-month period for design applications) for filing such a subsequent application.
This final rule also revises the patent term adjustment provisions to provide for a reduction of any patent term adjustment if an application is not in condition for examination within eight months of its filing date or date of commencement of national stage in an international application, and contains miscellaneous changes pertaining to the supplemental examination, inventor’s oath or declaration, and first inventor to file provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA).