USPTO Extends Missing Parts Pilot Program Once Again

by McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP

USPTO SealIn a Federal Register notice published last week (79 Fed. Reg. 642), the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that the Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program that was implemented three years would be extended for another year.  The pilot program allows applicants to request a twelve-month extension to pay the search fee, examination fee, any excess claim fees, and surcharge for late submission of the search and examination fees in a nonprovisional application.  The notice indicates that the pilot program benefits applicants by providing additional time to determine if patent protection should be sought and focus on commercialization efforts, benefits the public by adding publications to the prior art, and benefits the Office by removing nonprovisional applications that applicants decline to pursue from its workload.  The pilot program has been extended through December 31, 2014.

In December 2010, the Office implemented the Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program, noting that it would "effectively provide a 12-month extension to the existing 12-month provisional application period, providing applicants additional time to find financial help, evaluate a product's worth in the marketplace or further develop the invention for commercialization" (see "USPTO Implements Pilot Program Extending Provisional Application Period").  The Office initially sought comments regarding the program in April 2010 (see "USPTO Seeks to Effectively Double Provisional Application Period").  Under the pilot program, the Office modified its missing parts practice -- which permits an applicant to pay the filing fees and submit an executed oath or declaration after the filing of a nonprovisional application within a two-month time period that is extendable for an additional five months on payment of extension of time fees -- such that applicants would file a nonprovisional application with at least one claim within the 12-month statutory period after the provisional application was filed (as well as pay the basic filing fee, submit an executed oath or declaration, and not file a nonpublication request) and then be given a 12-month period within which to decide whether the nonprovisional application should be completed by paying the required surcharge and the search, examination, and any excess claim fees.

Applicants wishing to participate in the pilot program must satisfy the following requirements, which remain unchanged under the extension of the pilot program:

(1) submit a certification and request to participate in the program at the time of filing of a nonprovisional application (preferably using Form PTO/AIA/421);
(2) the application must be an original (not reissue) nonprovisional utility or plant application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a);
(3) the nonprovisional application must directly claim the benefit under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) and 37 C.F.R. § 1.78 of a prior provisional application filed within the previous twelve months, with the specific reference to the provisional application being made in an application data sheet; and
(4) the applicant must not have filed a nonpublication request.

In last week's notice regarding the extension of the pilot program, the Office once again:

[C]autions all applicants that, in order to claim the benefit of a prior provisional application, the statute requires a nonprovisional application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) to be filed within twelve months after the date on which the corresponding provisional application was filed.  See 35 U.S.C. 119(e).  It is essential that applicants understand that the Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program cannot and does not change this statutory requirement.

However, in view of the changes in the rules of practice made pursuant to title II of the Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012 (PLTIA), which amends U.S. Patent Law to implement the provisions of the Patent Law Treaty (PLT), the Office notes that an applicant may now file a petition to restore the benefit of a provisional application filed up to fourteen months earlier.  More importantly, the notice indicates that "if a petition to restore the benefit claim of a prior provisional application is required, the application is not eligible for participation in the Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program."

The form for requesting participation in the program (PTO/AIA/421) also outlines the PTA effects of participation in the program, stating that:

Any patent term adjustment (PTA) accrued by applicant based on certain administrative delays by the USPTO is offset by a reduction for failing to reply to a notice by the USPTO within three months.  See 37 CFR 1.704(b).  Thus, if applicant replies to a notice to file missing parts more than three months after the mailing date of the notice, the additional time that applicant takes to reply to the notice will be treated as an offset to any positive PTA accrued by the applicant.

In addition, under the pilot program, nonprovisional applications are still published according to the existing eighteen-month publication provisions.  More importantly, the Office "advises" that:

[T]he extended missing parts period does not affect the twelve-month priority period provided by the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris Convention).  Accordingly, any foreign filings must still be made within twelve months of the filing date of the provisional application if applicant wishes to rely on the provisional application in the foreign-filed application or if protection is desired in a country requiring filing within twelve months of the earliest application for which rights are left outstanding in order to be entitled to priority.

In the notice regarding the most recent extension of the pilot program, the Office notes that applications that are not filed electronically will still be assessed a $400 additional fee (or $200 for small entities) pursuant to the AIA, that this fee will be due within the two-month (extendable) time period to reply to the Notice to File Missing Parts of Nonprovisional Application, and that applicants will not be given the 12-month time period under the pilot program to pay this fee.


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.

© McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP

McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.