Third-Party Art Submission for Pre-grant Review
For the first time in the history of U.S. patent law, the AIA now allows third parties to submit relevant materials to patent examiners in any given examination. Submission of proposed prior art helps examiners determine whether the innovation in the application is patentable. The new provision, 35 U.S.C. 122(e), was implemented by the USPTO on Sept. 16, 2012, and applies to any pending application.
A third party may submit any publication of potential relevance to a patent application before the earlier of (1) a notice of allowance; or (2) the later of six months after the date of first publication, or the date of the first rejection of any claim by the examiner. This new provision allows anyone to challenge another’s filings by bringing forward prior art during prosecution, which is a more cost effective approach to limit a competitor’s patent rights as compared to litigation or reexamination proceedings. Certain provisions will apply to all applications filed before, on, or after effective date. For more information visit: http://www.uspto.gov/aia_implementation/faq.jsp#heading-13