Fact & Rumor
As noted last Friday, the final rule packages to implement the new patent validity trials of the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) are expected to issue this week. (if publication agencies cooperate). While the USPTO has been tight lipped as to the modifications made to the originally proposed rules, some changes have been discussed publicly, while others are beginning to leak out.
First, the USPTO has stated publicly that the proposed fee schedule will be re-calibrated to provide for a more balanced escalation in fees based on the number of claims challenged. While the fee schedule may become more consistent with respect to claim surcharges, the general price levels to initiate these proceedings is not expected to change at all, which is at least $27,500 for Inter Partes Review. Other changes are expected that would synchronize the proposed page limits with fee schedule. (as opposed to a fixed 50 pages regardless if 1 claim or 100 claims are challenged)
As to rumored changes, sources indicate that the USPTO will soften the controversial Patent Owner estoppel provision in the final rules.
For a discussion of the proposed rules, public comments, and perceived issues, see my earlier post (here). In the meantime, keep an eye on the Federal Register.