9 Tips For 3rd-Party Prior Art Submissions


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.

Timing -

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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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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