A nudge at the Patent and Trademark Office

Of interest to lawyers, the PTO has switched the default procedure with respect to the handling of what are called Requests for Continued Examination, which are essentially appeals to the patent board to keep considering an application. Dennis Crouch of the Patently-O blog reports on this change:

In the past, one benefit of RCEs was that they were quickly examined as part of the theory of compact-prosecution – in essence, RCE filings were treated almost just like an office action response. Under a new procedure, the PTO will now be placing RCE applications in the same queue as divisional and continuation applications. Although that category is identified as “special new,” cases are typically taken-up more slowly than ones already on the docket and in-prosecution. According to a memo from Director Kappos, “The change to the docketing of requests for continued examination means that examiners are no longer required to act on a request for continued examination within two months of the entry of the request for continued examination on their docket. This change to the docketing of requests for continued examination is being made to allow examiners greater flexibility in managing their workload and allocating their time among requests for continued examination and new applications.”

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