- EFS-Web has been updated to process several types of petitions automatically. See the PTO notice here. You fill out an online form and the petition is granted in real time by EFS software, without action by a human at the Petitions Office. The list of auto-granted petitions includes Withdraw from Issue and Withdraw as Attorney. Auto granting of Withdraw from Issue is particularly helpful, because under the old procedure the petition was ineffective unless it was "actually received and granted by the appropriate officials before the date of issue."
- The PTO is working on new regulations to change Patent Term Adjustment (PTA) and Patent Term Extension (PTE). (See Federal Reigster notice here.) The biggest change appears to be handling of appeals to the BPAI. PatentDocs reports (here) that under the proposed new rules, reopening of prosecution by the Examiner after a Notice of Appeal results in an increase in term via the PTA or PTE adjustment.
- PharmaPatents reports here on a recent district court lawsuit challenging the PTO's calculation of PTA. This tidbit from the post highlights how PTA is affected by a Non-Compliant Response:
PTA penalty for a "non-compliant" response is particularly harsh, because no matter how long the USPTO takes to notice the alleged defect in the response, and no matter how promptly the defect is corrected, the PTA rules charge Applicants with "delay" for the entire time period from the filing of the original response until the filing of a corrected response.