[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 83 (Friday, April 29, 2011)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 23876]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-10376]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

Patent and Trademark Office

37 CFR Part 1

[Docket No.: PTO-P-2010-0092]
RIN 0651-AC52


Changes To Implement the Prioritized Examination Track (Track I) 
of the Enhanced Examination Timing Control Procedures

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

ACTION: Final rule; delay of effective and applicability dates.

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SUMMARY: On April 4, 2011, the United States Patent and Trademark 
Office (Office) published a final rule that revises the rules of 
practice in patent cases to implement a procedure under which 
applicants may request prioritized examination at the time of filing of 
an application upon payment of appropriate fees and compliance with 
certain requirements (Track I final rule). The prioritized examination 
procedure is the first track (Track I) of a 3-Track examination process 
designed to provide applicants with greater control over when their 
nonprovisional utility and plant applications are examined and to 
promote greater efficiency in the patent examination process. The Track 
I final rule states that the effective date is May 4, 2011, and that a 
request for prioritized examination may be submitted with any original 
utility or plant application filed on or after May 4, 2011. The Office 
is hereby notifying the public that the Track I final rule effective 
date and applicability date have been delayed until further notice.

DATES: Effective Date: The effective date for the amendments to 37 CFR 
1.17 and 1.102 published at 76 FR 18399, April 4, 2011 (the Track I 
final rule) is delayed until further notice. The Office will publish a 
document in the Federal Register announcing the new effective date.
    Applicability date: No request for prioritized examination will be 
accepted until further notice.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Eugenia A. Jones, Kathleen Kahler 
Fonda, or Michael T. Cygan, Office of Patent Legal Administration, 
Office of the Associate Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy, by 
telephone at (571) 272-7727, (571) 272-7754 or (571) 272-7700, or by 
mail addressed to: Mail Stop Comments Patents, Commissioner for 
Patents, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450, marked to the 
attention of Eugenia A. Jones.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On April 4, 2011, the Office published a 
final rule that revises the rules of practice in patent cases to 
implement a procedure under which applicants may request prioritized 
examination at the time of filing of an application upon payment of 
appropriate fees and compliance with certain requirements (Track I 
final rule). See Changes to Implement the Prioritized Examination Track 
(Track I) of the Enhanced Examination Timing Control Procedures, 76 FR 
18399 (Apr. 4, 2011). The Office set an aggregate goal for the 
prioritized examination procedure of providing a final disposition 
within twelve months of prioritized status being granted. See Changes 
to Implement the Prioritized Examination Track (Track I) of the 
Enhanced Examination Timing Control Procedures, 76 FR at 18401. The 
Office, however, has found it necessary to revise its patent examiner 
hiring plan due to funding limitations. The revised hiring plan does 
not permit the Office to hire new examiners. With the current level of 
resources, the Office will not be able to meet the twelve-month 
pendency goal in prioritized examination applications without impacting 
the non-prioritized examination applications at this time. Therefore, 
the Office is delaying the effective date and applicability date of the 
Track I final rule until further notice. When the funding limitations 
are resolved, the Office will issue a subsequent notice identifying a 
revised effective date and applicability date on which the final rule 
shall apply.

    Dated: April 25, 2011.
David J. Kappos,
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of 
the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 2011-10376 Filed 4-28-11; 8:45 am]
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