Originally published in Law360, New York on August 20, 2012.
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office recently issued the final rules on third-party prior art submissions at 77 F.R. 42150 (2012). Previously, third-party submissions of prior art in a patent application were limited to a two-month window after a patent application was published. But the final rules, enacted as part of the recent America Invents Act legislation, expand this time window.
For most patent applications, a third-party prior art submission can now be filed before the first Office Action is mailed. In cases where the USPTO examines a patent application quickly, such submissions can be filed within six months of publication. The USPTO will not consider any submissions after the notice of allowance.
Effective Date: These submissions can be filed starting Sept. 16, 2012. The submissions may be filed in any pending application.
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