[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 22 (Friday, February 1, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 7411-7412]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-01966]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

United States Patent and Trademark Office

[Docket No. PTO-P-2013-0001]


Notice of Public Hearing and Request for Comments on Matters 
Related to the Harmonization of Substantive Patent Law

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Department of 
Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of Public Hearing and Request for Comments on Matters 
Related to the Harmonization of Substantive Patent Law.

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SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is 
seeking stakeholder input on certain matters relating to international 
harmonization of substantive patent law, in particular, information and 
views on: (1) The grace period; (2) publication of applications; (3) 
the treatment of conflicting applications and (4) prior user rights. To 
assist in gathering this information, the USPTO is holding a public 
hearing at which interested members of the public are invited to 
testify on the issues outlined above. In addition, interested members 
of the public are encouraged to complete an electronic questionnaire 
relating to the above-identified issues. Separate written comments may 
be provided through electronic mail, though completion of the 
questionnaire is strongly preferred in lieu of separate comments. 
Additional details may be found in the supplementary information 
section of this notice.
    Public Hearing: A public hearing will be held on March 21, 2013, 
beginning at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and ending at 12:00 
p.m. EDT. The public hearing will be held at the USPTO, Madison 
Auditorium, Concourse Level, Madison Building, 600 Dulany Street, 
Alexandria, Virginia 22314.
    Those wishing to present oral testimony at the hearing must request 
an opportunity to do so in writing by email to IP.Policy@uspto.gov no 
later than February 28, 2013. Requests to testify at the hearing must 
indicate the following information: (1) The name of the person desiring 
to testify; (2) the person's contact information (telephone number and 
electronic mail address); (3) the organization(s) the person 
represents, if any; and (4) a preliminary written copy of their 
testimony. The opportunity to testify will only be for those physically 
present. Based on the requests received, an agenda of scheduled 
testimony will be sent to testifying respondents, and

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posted on the USPTO Internet Web site (address: http://www.uspto.gov/ip/global/aia_harmonization.jsp). The number of participants 
testifying is limited to ensure that all who are speaking will have a 
meaningful chance to do so. Members of the public who wish solely to 
observe need not submit a request to attend.
    Speakers selected to provide testimony at the hearing should 
provide a final written copy of their testimony for inclusion in the 
record of the proceedings no later than February 28, 2013. In addition, 
any member of the public may submit written comments on issues raised 
at the public hearing or on any issue pertaining to harmonization. 
However, users are strongly encouraged to fill out the questionnaire 
before the roundtable event in lieu of providing separate written 
comments. The questionnaire will also close on February 28, 2013.
    The USPTO plans to make the public roundtable available via 
Webcast. Webcast information will be available on the USPTO's Internet 
Web site (address: http://www.uspto.gov/ip/global/aia_harmonization.jsp) before the public hearing.
    Written Comments: Written comments should be sent by email to 
IP.Policy@uspto.gov. Comments may also be submitted by postal mail 
addressed to: Mail Stop OPEA, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450, 
ATTN: Bijou Mgbojikwe. Written comments should be identified in the 
subject line of the email or postal mailing as ``Harmonization 
Issues.'' Although comments may be submitted by postal mail, the USPTO 
prefers to receive comments via email. It is also strongly preferred 
that interested members of the public undertake the questionnaire in 
lieu of submitting written comments. The questionnaire will be 
available on the USPTO's Web site (address: http://www.uspto.gov/ip/global/patents/tegernsee_survey/index.jsp). However, for those wishing 
to submit supplemental written comments, the deadline for receipt of 
those written comments for consideration by the USPTO is February 28, 
2013.
    Because comments will be made available for public inspection, 
information that is not desired to be made public, such as an address 
or phone number, should not be included in the comments. It should be 
noted that the tenor of the questions posed in the questionnaire should 
not be perceived as an indication that the USPTO has taken a position 
on or is predisposed to any particular views.
    Availability of Hearing Transcript and Written Comments: A 
transcript of the events at the hearing and the written comments will 
be available for public inspection at the USPTO's Office of Policy and 
External Affairs in the Executive Library located in the Madison West 
Building, Tenth Floor, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314. 
Contact: Bijou Mgbojikwe at Bijou.Mgbojikwe@uspto.gov or 571-272-9300. 
In addition, the hearing transcript and the comments from the public 
will also be available via the USPTO Internet Web site (address: http://www.uspto.gov). Contact: Bijou Mgbojikwe at Bijou.Mgbojikwe@uspto.gov 
or 571-272-9300.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bijou Mgbojikwe, Office of Policy and 
External Affairs, by phone 571-272-9300, by email at 
Bijou.Mgbojikwe@uspto.gov or by mail addressed to: Mail Stop OPEA, 
United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, 
Virginia 22313-1450, ATTN: Bijou Mgbojikwe.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: At a meeting convened in Tegernsee, Germany, 
in July 2011, leaders and representatives from the patent offices of 
Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United 
States as well as from the European Patent Office (the ``Tegernsee 
Group'') launched a new dialogue on the state of affairs concerning 
international harmonization of substantive patent law. Since that 
initial meeting, the Tegernsee Group has met twice to consider work 
done by patent experts from each office analyzing comparative aspects 
of each jurisdiction's patent law and practice. In addition, the Group 
mandated detailed studies on four issues of particular interest for 
international harmonization: the grace period, publication of 
applications, treatment of conflicting applications, and prior user 
rights.
    Most recently, on October 4, 2012, Heads of Offices and experts 
from each of the patent offices in the Tegernsee Group met in Geneva, 
Switzerland, to review the results of the Group-mandated studies on 
these four issues. In reviewing these studies and contemplating the 
future of international harmonization, it was agreed that the next step 
in the process would be to solicit stakeholder views. To this end, 
experts from the Tegernsee Group offices were tasked to collaboratively 
develop a joint harmonization questionnaire to aid in the acquisition 
and analysis of stakeholder views across jurisdictions on the 
particular issues of: grace period, publication of applications, 
treatment of conflicting applications, and prior user rights. As such, 
each patent office in the Tegernsee Group will be separately 
administering the joint questionnaire to its respective stakeholders.
    Accordingly, interested members of the public are encouraged to 
respond to the jointly-developed questionnaire being administered by 
the USPTO which is located at address: http://www.uspto.gov/ip/global/patents/tegernsee_survey/index.jsp. Further information and details 
concerning each of the above-identified topics may be found within the 
questionnaire.

    Dated: January 24, 2013.
Teresa Stanek Rea,
Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy 
Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 2013-01966 Filed 1-31-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 2013-16-P