In our November issue, we highlighted some patent rule changes that have since taken effect as part of the Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012; the changes took effect on December 18, 2013. One effect of these rules not previously discussed in our earlier write-up is the additional amount of time now afforded to applicants to reply to: (1) Restriction Requirements; (2) Notices of Informal or Non-Responsive Amendments; (3) Notices of Informal or Non-Responsive RCE Amendment; (4) Notices of Required Fees Due; and (5) Letters Requiring Computer Readable Format because it was unreadable, non-compliant, or not submitted. Previously, applicants had one month to respond to the USPTO for these matters before extension fees began to accrue, but now applicants have two months to respond without paying a fee. This additional amount of allotted time harmonizes the United States laws with those set forth in the Patent Law Treaty adopted at Geneva, which require a time period for reply by applicants be at least two months. So, don’t be alarmed when your docketing department begins docketing restriction requirements for a response time of two months instead of one!
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