New Developments USPTO & Why You Should Reconsider Your Patent Appeal

“User-centered design will be a top priority” announces the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which has made plans to develop a new online patent filing and viewing system, said agency CIO John Owens to FedScoop. The USPTO hopes to get feedback from intellectual property lawyers, firms and other users before it starts creating its eCommerce Modernization, or eMod, platform, Owens said.

Announced last month, eMod aims to improve how patents are submitted, reviewed and appealed. Once the office receives feedback, a special team will review suggestions about what stays and what goes, explains Owens. See, the patent-seeking process today is just too long, too confusing, too convoluted to keep. Even the USPTO is investigating its organizational process. Perhaps your firm should, too.

Among changes at the USPTO office, there are myriad reasons your firm may consider waiting to write that long list of grounds for appeal–and most of them involve re-organization–including:

1. Assume Backlog Means Quicker Consideration Of Your Arguments

To begin, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) is severely overloaded. In fact, the BPAI is behind on opinions for more than 20,000 pending appeals—a number that is only increasing, reports the Patently-O Blog.

To catch up, each case will need to be read more quickly and efficiently than before. With so many appeals to review, there will be little tolerance for errors or frivolry. Thus, if you aim to join the appellate fight and win, your legal arguments better be, well, appealing.

2. Mimic The Concise Style of BPAI Opinions In Your Appeal

In addition, since 2009, the number of words per BPAI opinion has declined at an alarming rate. In just two years, the average number of words per opinion has dropped from over 3,000 words to almost 2,000 words, according to Dennis Crouch of the Patently-O Blog.

Not only has the average words per opinion changed drastically, but the median words per opinion has also changed notably. The median opinion from February 2009 contained 60 percent more words than the median opinion from January 2011, says Crouch. This means the board has become less and less verbose, and likely prefers you to be as well.

3. Determine If A New Chief Judge Means Changes In Your Patent Appeal

Finally, there’s a new lawmaker in town. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is still seeking a new Chief Administrative Patent Judge to serve as a member of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the USPTO. Where will he or she be from? What will their legal style be? Perhaps it’s worth a wait-and-see.

And, if you couldn’t tell from this blog post already, arguments are best understood in to-the-point, succinct lists. Unconvinced? Wired Magazine has frequently heralded the success of a list-making site, Cracked.com, and the fact that its various mobile app counterparts have ammassed 7.3 million unique users each month. According to Wired, the list-making site’s success is based on its ability to “crowdsource and filter and other buzz-worthy things.” 

It’s important to find a hook for your audience (say, a judge or patent board) and filter subject matter down to the most critical (content managers for cracked.com commission six article items in order to edit them down to the five best).

The result is a list of popular and prolific points that sell. So, with this in mind, you should be able to create a case that is equally captivating as “The 7 Most Ridiculous Cases of Misplaced Priorities” and “9 Words You’ve Used Today With Bizarre Criminal Origins,” read on Cracked.com.

In the end, when you’re rewriting your patent, your legal brief or a simple inter-office memo, don’t forget to express your ideas in short, succinct, eye-grabbing lists. That way, dear attorneys, you have time to get back to what you really want to read, “7 Items You Won’t Believe Are Actually Legal.”

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