The USPTO recently announced that the Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program that was implemented last year will be extended for another year. Under conventional missing parts practice, applicants must pay filing fees and submit an oath or declaration within a two-month time period after receiving a Notice to File Missing Parts. Under the Pilot Program, applicants must still pay the basic filing fee and submit an oath or declaration but can, under certain conditions, request a twelve-month period to pay the search, examination, excess claims fees, and the surcharge for late submission of these fees. The Pilot Program can benefit applicants by providing an additional year to decide whether the nonprovisional application should be completed by paying the remaining fees.
To participate in the program, applicants must file a nonprovisional application within twelve months of the filing date of a provisional application, directly claim the benefit of that provisional application, and submit a certification and request to participate in the program.
The additional time provided under the program does offset a positive patent term adjustment that might be accrued by the applicant. Also, applications will still publish eighteen months from the earliest filing date for which benefit is sought. Most importantly, the extended missing parts period does not affect the twelve-month priority period for foreign filing under the Paris Convention.
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