Now that the first-to-file system is officially in place, everyone is working to come up to speed on the changes, including patent examiners.
The first phase of examiner training ran through April 4, 2013 provided a three-part overview:
- An introductory video that familiarizes the examiners with the America Invents Act’s first-to-file statute and highlights some of the major changes;
- A live, lecture-style training session that delves deeper into rejections under 35 USC §§102 (a) (1) and (a)(2) and the exceptions to these rejections under 35 USC §§102(b)(1)(A-B) and (b)(2)(A-C), showcasing practical examples of each; and
- A follow-up video that re-emphasizes the statutory framework and provides additional practical examples of the provisions discussed in the live training.
The second training phase involves one-on-one training with a first-to-file subject matter expert. It assisted examiners in applying the provisions to particular applications in need of immediate examination, such as prioritized applications.
The third phase will took place in July and provided all examiners with an in-depth understanding of the first-to-file provisions, including how they impact prosecution, and consisted of small workshops where examiners had the opportunity to have specific questions answered.
All of the training materials will be made publicly available. This is good news for patent applicants and practitioners, as it will help ensure that everyone is on the same page. The materials can be found on the AIA microsite.
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