[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 112 (Tuesday, June 10, 2008)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 32937-32977]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-12451]



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Part IV





Department of Commerce





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Patent and Trademark Office



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37 CFR Part 41



Rules of Practice Before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences 
in Ex Parte Appeals; Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 112 / Tuesday, June 10, 2008 / Rules 
and Regulations

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

United States Patent and Trademark Office

37 CFR Part 41

[Docket No. PTO-P-2007-0006]
RIN 0651-AC12


Rules of Practice Before the Board of Patent Appeals and 
Interferences in Ex Parte Appeals

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and 
Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office amends the 
rules governing practice before the Board of Patent Appeals and 
Interferences in ex parte patent appeals. Amendments to the rules 
governing practice before the Board in ex parte appeals are needed to 
permit the Board to handle an increasing number of ex parte appeals in 
a timely manner.

DATES: Effective Date: December 10, 2008.
    Applicability Date: The final rule shall apply to all appeals in 
which an appeal brief is filed on or after the effective date.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Fred E. McKelvey or Allen R. MacDonald 
at 571-272-9797.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    A notice of proposed rulemaking was published in the Federal 
Register (72 FR 41,472-41,490 (Jul. 30, 2007)). The notice was also 
published in the Official Gazette. 1321 Off. Gaz. Pat. Office 95 (Aug. 
21, 2007). The public was invited to submit written comments. Comments 
were to be received on or before September 30, 2007. Comments received 
on or before October 15, 2007, were considered. Comments received after 
October 15, 2007, were not considered.
    Existing rules in Part 1 are denominated as ``Rule x'' in this 
supplementary information. A reference to Rule 136(a) is a reference to 
37 CFR 1.136(a) (2007).
    Existing rules in Part 41 are denominated as ``Rule 41.x'' in this 
supplementary information. A reference to Rule 41.3 is a reference to 
37 CFR 41.3 (2007).
    Proposed rules in the notice of proposed rulemaking and this final 
rule are denominated as ``Bd.R. x'' in this supplementary information. 
A reference to Bd.R. 41.3 is a reference to Bd.R. 41.3, as proposed to 
be amended in the notice of proposed rulemaking, or Bd.R. 41.3 as 
amended by this final rule.
    A portion of the Board's jurisdiction is to consider and decide ex 
parte appeals in patent applications (including reissue, design and 
plant patent applications) and ex parte reexamination proceedings.
    Presently, the Board is experiencing a rapid increase in ex parte 
appeals. In FY 2007, the Board received 4639 ex parte appeals. The 
number of appeals received in FY 2007 exceeded the appeals received in 
FY 2006 by more than 1000 appeals. In FY 2008, the Board expects to 
receive more than 6000 ex parte appeals. The amendments to the rules 
governing ex parte appeals are one item of a five point plan to ensure 
that the Board will be able to handle an increasing number of ex parte 
appeals in a timely manner. Some of the changes are modeled after the 
Federal Circuit rules.
    The amended rules make clear that the Board is not a tribunal for 
de novo examination. The rules establish procedures to determine 
whether an appellant has established that the examiner erred. For 
example, the rules require the appellant's argument shall explain why 
the examiner is believed to have erred as to each rejection to be 
reviewed. Arguments not made are waived.
    A major objective of the amended rules is to avoid unnecessary 
returns to examiners by the Appeals Center and the Board, along with 
the resulting delays in application and appeal pendency. The 
requirements of the amended rules are believed to be more objective 
and, therefore, both appellants and examiners will have a better 
understanding of what is required, thereby minimizing, if not 
eliminating, a need to hold appeal briefs defective. If a rule does not 
require an action to be taken in connection with an appeal brief, then 
a brief will not be held defective for failure to take that action. 
Some former rules have turned out in practice to be too subjective. For 
example, the former rules require a summary of the invention. 
Appellants, as well as examiners, have given different interpretations 
to the requirement for a summary of the invention. The amended rules 
replace the requirement for a summary of the invention with a claims 
and drawing analysis and a means or step plus function analysis. 
Appellants have also had difficulty complying with the evidence 
appendix requirement. Compliance with the amended rules is expected to 
ensure that the Appeals Center and the Board, working together, can 
minimize, possibly eliminate, unwarranted returns to examiners based on 
non-compliant appeal brief requirements.
    The amended rules are directed to improving appellant briefing. A 
30-page limit for the brief will promote concise and precise writing. 
Any statement of the real party in interest, statement of related 
cases, table of contents, table of authorities, status of amendments, 
jurisdictional statement, signature block, and appendix are excluded 
from the 30-page limit. The amended rules also require a ``statement of 
facts'' section where the appellant is required to set out the material 
facts relevant to the rejections on appeal.
    The amended rules require an ``argument'' section where an 
appellant shall explain why the examiner is believed to have erred as 
to each rejection to be reviewed. Any explanation must address all 
points made by the examiner with which the appellant disagrees and must 
identify where the argument was made in the first instance to the 
examiner or state that the argument has not previously been made to the 
examiner. By having a clear focus on the dispute and making clear what 
arguments have been and have not been presented to the examiner, the 
USPTO reviewers as well as the examiner can make a well-informed 
decision on (1) whether to proceed with the appeal or (2) whether to 
withdraw the rejection.
    Finally, the amended rules improve uniform enforcement of the 
rules. Petitions are decided by the Chief Administrative Patent Judge 
of the Board. Under former rules, petitions are decided by the Director 
of each Technology Center. The rules also allow for sanctions which may 
be imposed against an appellant for failure to comply with an 
applicable rule.
    The rules do not amend any of the rules relating to inter partes 
reexamination appeals. Except for citation of authorities, the rules do 
not amend any of the rules relating to contested cases.

Explanation of New Rules

    What follows is a discussion of the new appeal rules. Further 
information relevant to particular rules appears in the analysis of 
comments portion of this final rule.

Definitions

    Bd.R. 41.2 amends Rule 41.2 to eliminate from the definition of 
``Board'' any reference to a proceeding under Bd.R. 41.3 relating to 
petitions to the Chief Administrative Patent Judge. Action by the Chief 
Administrative

[[Page 32939]]

Patent Judge is action on behalf of the Director by delegation to the 
Chief Administrative Patent Judge. See MPEP Sec.  1002.02(f) (8th ed., 
Aug., 2006).
    Bd.R. 41.2 also amends Rule 41.2 to eliminate a petition under 
Bd.R. 41.3 from the definition of contested case. At the present time, 
there are no petitions authorized in a contested case.

Petitions

    Bd.R. 41.3 is amended to include a delegation of authority from the 
Director to the Chief Administrative Patent Judge to decide certain 
petitions authorized by Part 41. The delegation of authority would be 
in addition to that already set out in the MPEP Sec.  1002.02(f) (8th 
ed., Aug., 2006). The petitions would include (1) seeking an extension 
of time to file certain papers after an appeal brief is filed in an ex 
parte appeal and (2) enlarging the page limit of an appeal brief, reply 
brief, or request for rehearing.
    Bd.R. 41.3(b) is amended to define the scope of petitions which can 
be filed pursuant to the rules. Under Bd.R. 41.3(b), a petition could 
not be filed to seek review of issues committed by statute to a panel. 
See, e.g., In re Dickinson, 299 F.2d 954, 958 (CCPA 1962).

Timeliness

    Bd.R. 41.4(c) is amended to add the phrase ``Except to the extent 
provided in this part'' and to revise paragraph 2 to read: ``Filing of 
a notice of appeal and an appeal brief (see Sec. Sec.  41.31(c) and 
41.37(c)).'' The amendment restricts Bd.R. 41.4(c)(2) to the notice of 
appeal and appeal brief. The Chief Administrative Patent Judge would 
determine whether extensions are to be granted for the filing of most 
other papers during the pendency of the appeal.

Citation of Authority

    The notice of proposed rulemaking did not propose a change to Bd.R. 
41.12 which concerns citation of authority. Rule 41.12 currently 
requires the public to cite to specific reporters, including some 
parallel citations. The Board, however, no longer follows the practice 
specified in Rule 41.12, and does not use parallel citations. 
Accordingly, Bd.R. 41.12 is being amended to make the rule consistent 
with Board practice and minimize the citation burden on the public. 
Under Bd.R. 41.12, as amended, a citation to a single source, in the 
priority order set out in the rule, will be sufficient.

Definitions

    Bd.R. 41.30 is amended to add a definition of ``Record.'' The 
Record on appeal would be the official content of the file of an 
application or reexamination proceeding on appeal. In the rules, a 
reference to ``Record'' with a capital R is a reference to the Record 
as defined in Bd.R. 41.30. The definition advises applicants of what 
documents the Board will consider in resolving the appeal. The 
definition also makes it clear to any reviewing court what record was 
considered by the Board.

 Appeal to Board

    Bd.R. 41.31(a) provides that an appeal is taken from a decision of 
the examiner to the Board by filing a notice of appeal. The following 
language would be acceptable under the rule: ``An appeal is taken from 
the decision of the examiner mailed [specify date appealed rejection 
was mailed].'' An appeal can be taken when authorized by the statute 35 
U.S.C. 134. The provision of Rule 41.31(b) that a notice of appeal need 
not be signed has been removed. Papers filed in connection with an 
appeal, including the notice of appeal, would need to be signed in 
accordance with Sec.  1.33 of this title.
    Bd.R. 41.31(b) requires that the notice of appeal be accompanied by 
the fee required by law and would refer to the rule that specifies the 
required fee.
    Bd.R. 41.31(c) specifies the time within which a notice of appeal 
would have to be filed in order to be considered timely. The time for 
filing a notice of appeal appears in Rule 134.
    Bd.R. 41.31(d) provides that a request for an extension of time to 
file a notice of appeal in an application is governed by Rule 136(a). 
Bd.R. 41.31(d) also provides that a request for an extension of time to 
file a notice of appeal in an ex parte reexamination proceeding is 
governed by Rule 550(c).
    Bd.R. 41.31(e) defines a ``non-appealable issue'' as an issue that 
is not subject to an appeal under 35 U.S.C. 134. Non-appealable issues 
are issues (1) over which the Board does not exercise authority in 
appeal proceedings and (2) which are handled by a petition. Non-
appealable issues include such matters as an examiner's refusal to (1) 
enter a response to a final rejection, (2) enter evidence presented 
after a final rejection, (3) enter an appeal brief or a reply brief, or 
(4) withdraw a restriction requirement. The rules contemplate that some 
petitions relating to non-appealable issues are to be decided by the 
Chief Administrative Patent Judge. Some of those non-appealable issues 
include: (1) A petition to exceed the page limit and (2) a petition to 
extend the time for filing a paper in the appeal after the filing of 
the appeal brief. An applicant or patent owner dissatisfied with a 
decision of an examiner on a non-appealable issue would be required to 
seek review by petition before an appeal is considered on the merits. 
Failure to timely file a petition seeking review of a decision of the 
examiner related to a non-appealable issue would generally constitute a 
waiver to have those issues considered. The language ``[f]ailure to 
timely file'' would be interpreted to mean not filed within the time 
set out in the rules. For example, Rule 1.181(f) provides that any 
petition under Rule 181 not filed within two months of the mailing date 
of the action or notice from which relief is requested may be dismissed 
as untimely. The object of the amendment to the rule is to maximize 
resolution of non-appealable issues before an appeal is considered on 
the merits. Under current practice, an applicant or a patent owner 
often does not timely seek to have non-appealable issues resolved, 
thereby necessitating a remand by the Board to the examiner to have a 
non-appealable issue resolved. The remand adds to the pendency of an 
application or reexamination proceeding and, in some instances, may 
unnecessarily enlarge patent term adjustment. The Office intends to 
strictly enforce the waiver provisions of Bd.R. 41.31(e) with the view 
of making the appeal process administratively efficient. While the 
Office will retain discretion to excuse a failure to timely settle non-
appealable issues, it is expected that exercise of that discretion will 
be reserved for truly unusual circumstances.

Amendments and Evidence Filed After Appeal and Before Brief

    Bd.R. 41.33(a) provides that an amendment filed after the date a 
notice of appeal is filed and before an appeal brief is filed may be 
admitted as provided in Rule 116.
    Bd.R. 41.33(b), under two circumstances, gives the examiner 
discretion to enter an amendment filed with or after an appeal brief is 
filed. A first circumstance would be to cancel claims, provided 
cancellation of claims does not affect the scope of any other pending 
claim in the proceedings. A second circumstance would be to rewrite 
dependent claims into independent form.
    Bd.R. 41.33(c) provides that all other amendments filed after the 
date an appeal brief is filed will not be admitted, except as permitted 
by (1) Bd.R. 41.50(b)(1) (request for amendment after remand), (2) 
Bd.R.

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41.50(d)(1) (request to reopen prosecution after entry of new ground of 
rejection by the Board), and (3) Bd.R. 41.50(e) (amendment after 
recommendation by the Board).
    Bd.R. 41.33(d) provides that evidence filed after a notice of 
appeal is filed and before an appeal brief is filed may be admitted if 
(1) the examiner determines that the evidence overcomes at least one 
rejection under appeal and (2) appellant shows good cause why the 
evidence was not earlier presented. The first step in an analysis of 
whether evidence may be admitted is a showing of good cause why the 
evidence was not earlier presented. The Office has found that too often 
an applicant or a patent owner belatedly presents evidence as an 
afterthought and that the evidence was, or should have been, readily 
available. Late presentation of evidence is not consistent with 
efficient administration of the appeal process. Under the rule, the 
Office would strictly apply the good cause standard. Cf. Hahn v. Wong, 
892 F.2d 1028 (Fed. Cir. 1989). For example, a change of attorneys at 
the appeal stage or an unawareness of the requirement of a rule would 
not constitute a showing of good cause. If good cause is not shown, the 
analysis ends and the evidence would not be admitted. In those cases 
where good cause is shown, a second analysis will be made to determine 
if the evidence would overcome at least one rejection. Even where good 
cause is shown, if the evidence does not overcome at least one 
rejection, the evidence would not be admitted. Alternatively, the 
examiner could determine that the evidence does not overcome at least 
one rejection under appeal and does not necessitate any new ground of 
rejection and on that basis alone could refuse to admit the evidence.
    Bd.R. 41.33(e) provides that evidence filed after an appeal brief 
is filed will not be admitted except as permitted by (1) Bd.R. 
41.50(b)(1) (request to reopen prosecution after entry of a remand by 
the Board), and (2) Bd.R. 41.50(d)(1) (request to reopen prosecution 
after new ground of rejection entered by the Board).

Jurisdiction Over Appeal

    Bd.R. 41.35(a) provides that the Board acquires jurisdiction when 
the Board mails a docket notice. At an appropriate time after 
proceedings are completed before the examiner, a docket notice 
identifying the appeal number would be entered in the application or 
reexamination proceeding file and mailed to the appellant. A new docket 
notice identifying a new appeal number would be mailed upon return of 
the case to the Board following remand. By delaying the transfer of 
jurisdiction until the appeal is fully briefed and the position of the 
appellant is fully presented for consideration by the examiner and the 
Office reviewers (appeal conferees), the possibility exists that the 
examiner will find some or all of the appealed claims patentable 
without the necessity of proceeding with the appeal and invoking the 
jurisdiction of the Board. For this reason, jurisdiction transfers to 
the Board only after (1) the appellant has filed an appeal brief, (2) 
the examiner's answer has been mailed, and (3) the appellant has filed 
a reply brief or the time for filing a reply brief has expired. Rule 
41.35(a) provides that the Board acquires jurisdiction upon transmittal 
of the file, including all briefs and examiner's answers, to the Board. 
Under that practice, however, an appellant may or may not know the date 
when a file is transmitted to the Board. Most files are now electronic 
files (Image File Wrapper or IFW file) as opposed to a paper file 
wrapper. Accordingly, a paper file wrapper is no longer transmitted to 
the Board. Under current practice, the Board prepares a docket notice 
which is (1) entered in the IFW file and (2) mailed to appellant. Upon 
receipt of the docket notice, appellant knows that the Board has 
acquired jurisdiction over the appeal. Bd.R. 41.35(a) codifies current 
practice and establishes a precise date, known to all involved, as to 
when jurisdiction is transferred to the Board.
    Bd.R. 41.35(b) provides that the jurisdiction of the Board ends 
when (1) the Board mails a remand order (see Sec.  41.50(b) or Sec.  
41.50(d)(1)), (2) the Board mails a final decision (see Sec.  41.50(a) 
and judicial review is sought or the time for seeking judicial review 
has expired, (3) an express abandonment is filed which complies with 
Sec.  1.138 of this title, or (4) a request for continued examination 
is filed which complies with Sec.  1.114 of this title. The Board knows 
when it mails a remand order and when it mails a final decision. The 
Board does not know if an express abandonment or a request for 
continued examination is filed. One problem the Board has had in the 
past is that an appellant does not notify the Board that it has filed 
an express abandonment or a request for continued examination and the 
Board continues to work on the appeal. Often failure to notify occurs 
after oral hearing. Accordingly, an appellant should notify the Board 
immediately if an express abandonment or a request for continued 
examination is filed. If any notification reaches the Board after a 
remand order or a final decision is mailed, the remand order or final 
decision will not be removed from the file.
    There are two occasions when a remand is entered. First, a remand 
is entered when the Board is of the opinion that clarification on a 
point of fact or law is needed. See Bd.R. 41.50(b). Second, a remand is 
entered when an appellant elects further prosecution before the 
examiner following entry of a new ground of rejection by the Board. See 
Bd.R. 41.50(d)(1). Upon entry of a remand, the Board's jurisdiction 
ends.
    The Board also no longer has jurisdiction as a matter of law when 
an appeal to the Federal Circuit is filed in the USPTO. See In re 
Allen, 115 F.2d 936, 939 (CCPA 1940) and In re Graves, 69 F.3d 1147, 
1149 (Fed. Cir. 1995). A final decision is a panel decision which 
disposes of all issues with regard to a party eligible to seek judicial 
review and does not indicate that further action is needed. See Rule 
41.2 (definition of ``final''). When a party requests rehearing, a 
decision becomes final when the Board decides the request for 
rehearing. A decision including a remand or a new ground of rejection 
is an interlocutory order and is not a final decision. If an appellant 
elects to ask for rehearing to contest a new ground of rejection, the 
decision on rehearing is a final decision for the purpose of judicial 
review.
    Bd.R. 41.35(c) would continue current practice and provide that the 
Director could sua sponte order an appeal to be remanded to an examiner 
before entry of a Board decision has been mailed. The Director has 
inherent authority to order a sua sponte remand to the examiner. 
Ordinarily, a rule is not necessary for the Director to exercise 
inherent authority. However, in this particular instance, it is 
believed that a statement in the rule of the Director's inherent 
authority serves an appropriate public notice function.

Appeal Brief

    Bd.R. 41.37 provides for filing an appeal brief to perfect an 
appeal and sets out the requirements for appeal briefs. The appeal 
brief is a highly significant document in an ex parte appeal. Appeal 
brief experience under Rule 41.37 has been mixed. Bd.R. 41.37 seeks to 
(1) take advantage of provisions of Rule 41.37 which have proved 
useful, (2) clarify provisions which have been subject to varying 
interpretations by counsel, and (3) add provisions which are expected 
to make the decision-making process more focused and efficient.

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    Bd.R. 41.37(a) provides that an appeal brief shall be filed to 
perfect an appeal. Upon a failure to timely file an appeal brief, 
proceedings on the appeal would be considered terminated. The language 
``without further action on the part of the Office'' gives notice that 
no action, including entry of a paper by the Office, would be necessary 
for the appeal to be considered terminated. Bd.R. 41.37(a) does not 
preclude the Office from entering a paper notifying an applicant or 
patent owner that the appeal has been terminated. Any failure of the 
Office to enter a paper notifying an applicant or patent owner that an 
appeal stands terminated would not affect the terminated status of the 
appeal. The language ``proceedings are considered terminated'' provides 
notice that when (1) no appeal brief is filed and (2) no claims are 
allowed, the time for filing a continuing application under 35 U.S.C. 
120 would be before the time expires for filing an appeal brief. The 
language ``terminated'' is used because proceedings on appeal are over 
prior to mailing of a docket notice pursuant to Bd.R. 41.35(a). 
Dismissal of an appeal takes place after a docket notice is mailed 
since only the Board dismisses an appeal (Bd.R. 41.35(b)(2)).
    Bd.R. 41.37(b) provides that the appeal brief shall be accompanied 
by the fee required by Bd.R. 41.20(b)(2).
    Bd.R. 41.37(c) provides that an appellant must file an appeal brief 
within two months from the filing of the notice of appeal.
    Bd.R. 41.37(d) provides that the time for filing an appeal brief is 
extendable under the provisions of Rule 136(a) for applications and 
Rule 550(c) for ex parte reexamination proceedings. Consideration was 
given to proposing a requirement for a petition to extend the time for 
filing an appeal brief. However, in view of the pre-appeal conference 
pilot program (see Official Gazette of July 12, 2005; http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/sol/og/2005/week28/patbref.htm), and in 
an effort to encourage continued participation in that pilot program, 
further consideration on whether to require a petition will be deferred 
pending further experience by the Office in the pre-appeal conference 
pilot program.
    Bd.R. 41.37(e) provides that an appeal brief must contain, under 
appropriate headings and in the order indicated, the following items: 
(1) Statement of the real party in interest, (2) statement of related 
cases, (3) jurisdictional statement, (4) table of contents, (5) table 
of authorities, (6) [reserved], (7) status of amendments, (8) grounds 
of rejection to be reviewed, (9) statement of facts, (10) argument, and 
(11) an appendix containing (a) claims section, (b) claim support and 
drawing analysis section, (c) means or step plus function analysis 
section, (d) evidence section, and (e) related cases section. The items 
are otherwise defined in other subsections of Bd.R. 41.37 and, where 
applicable, would apply to appeal briefs and reply briefs (Bd.R. 
41.41).
    Bd.R. 41.37(f) requires a ``statement of real party in interest'' 
which would include an identification of the name of the real party in 
interest. The principal purpose of an identification of the name of the 
real party in interest is to permit members of the Board to assess 
whether recusal is required or would otherwise be appropriate. Another 
purpose is to assist employees of the Board to comply with the Ethics 
in Government Act. Since a real party in interest can change during the 
pendency of an appeal, there would be a continuing obligation to update 
the real party in interest during the pendency of the appeal. If an 
appeal brief does not contain a statement of real party in interest, 
the Office will assume that the named inventors are the real party in 
interest.
    Bd.R. 41.37(g) requires an appeal brief to include a ``statement of 
related cases.'' The statement of related cases would identify related 
cases by (1) application number, patent number, appeal number or 
interference number or (2) court docket number. The statement would 
encompass all prior or pending appeals, interferences or judicial 
proceedings known to any inventors, any attorneys or agents who 
prepared or prosecuted the application on appeal and any other person 
who was substantively involved in the preparation or prosecution of the 
application on appeal. A related case is one which would directly 
affect, or would be directly affected by or have a bearing on the 
Board's decision in the appeal. A copy of any final or significant 
interlocutory decision rendered by the Board or a court in any 
proceeding identified under this paragraph shall be included in the 
related cases section in the appendix (Bd.R. 41.37(u)). A significant 
interlocutory decision would include (1) a decision on a patentability 
motion in an interference or (2) a decision in an interference or a 
court interpreting a claim. A related case includes any continuing 
application of the application on appeal. If an appellant fails to 
advise the Board that it has filed a continuing application or a 
request for continued examination, or that it has filed an express 
abandonment of the application on appeal and the Board mails a decision 
on appeal in the application on appeal, the appellant should expect 
that the decision will not be removed from the file. The time to update 
a statement of related cases, or notify the Board that an application 
on appeal has been abandoned, is when the continuing application, 
request for continued examination, or express abandonment is filed. 
Appellant would be under a continuing obligation to update a statement 
of related cases during the pendency of the appeal. If an appeal brief 
does not contain a statement of related cases, the Office will assume 
that there are no related cases.
    Bd.R. 41.37(h) requires an appeal brief to contain a 
``jurisdictional statement'' which would set out why an appellant 
believes that the Board has jurisdiction to consider the appeal. The 
jurisdictional statement would include a statement of (1) the statute 
under which the appeal is taken, (2) the date of the decision from 
which the appeal is taken, (3) the date the notice of appeal was filed, 
and (4) the date the appeal brief is being filed. If a notice of appeal 
or an appeal brief is filed after the time specified in the rules, the 
appellant also would have to indicate (1) the date an extension of time 
was requested, and (2) if known, the date the request was granted. A 
jurisdictional statement will minimize the chance that the Board will 
consider an appeal when the application on appeal is abandoned or a 
reexamination proceeding on appeal has terminated. An example of a 
jurisdictional statement is: ``The Board has jurisdiction under 35 
U.S.C. 134(a). The Examiner mailed a final rejection on August 1, 2006, 
setting a three-month shortened statutory period for response. The time 
for responding to the final rejection expired on November 1, 2006. Rule 
134. A notice of appeal and a request for a one-month extension of time 
under Rule 136(a) was filed on November 15, 2006. The time for filing 
an appeal brief is two months after the filing of a notice of appeal. 
Bd.R. 41.37(c). The time for filing an appeal brief expired on January 
16, 2007 (Monday, January 15, 2007, being a Federal holiday). The 
appeal brief is being filed on January 16, 2007.'' If during the 
preparation of a jurisdictional statement, an appellant becomes aware 
that its application is abandoned, the appellant could then take steps 
to revive the application, if revival is appropriate. See Rule 137.
    Bd.R. 41.37(i) requires an appeal brief to contain a ``table of 
contents'' identifying the items listed in Bd.R. 41.37(e) along with a 
page reference where each item begins. In the case of a reply brief, 
the table of contents would

[[Page 32942]]

identify the items required by the reply brief rule (Bd.R. 41.41(d)).
    Bd.R. 41.37(j) requires an appeal brief to contain a ``table of 
authorities.'' This item would list (1) court and administrative 
decisions (alphabetically arranged), (2) statutes, and (3) other 
authorities, along with a reference to the pages of the appeal brief 
where each authority is cited. A similar requirement applies to a reply 
brief.
    Bd.R. 41.37(k) is reserved.
    Bd.R. 41.37(l) requires an appeal brief to indicate the ``status of 
amendments'' for all amendments filed after final rejection (e.g., 
entered or not entered). Examples of a status of amendments might read 
as follows: (1) ``No amendment was filed after final rejection.'' (2) 
``An amendment filed October 31, 2006, was not entered by the 
examiner.'' (3) ``An amendment filed November 1, 2006, was entered by 
the examiner.'' (4) ``An amendment filed October 31, 2006, was not 
entered by the examiner, but an amendment filed November 1, 2006, was 
entered by the examiner.''
    Bd.R. 41.37(m) requires an appeal brief to set out the grounds of 
rejection to be reviewed, including the claims subject to each 
rejection. Examples might read as follows: (1) ``Rejection of claim 2 
as being anticipated under 35 U.S.C. 102(b) over Johnson.'' (2) 
``Rejection of claims 2-3 as being unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. 103(a) 
over Johnson and Young.'' (3) ``Rejection of claim 2 as failing to 
comply with the written description requirement of the first paragraph 
of 35 U.S.C. 112.'' (4) ``Rejection of claim 2 as failing to comply 
with the enablement requirement of the first paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 
112.'' (5) ``Rejection of claim 3 under 35 U.S.C. 251 based on 
recapture.''
    Bd.R. 41.37(n) requires a ``statement of facts.'' Appellant will 
set out in an objective and non-argumentative manner the material facts 
relevant to the rejections on appeal, preferably in numbered 
paragraphs. A clear, concise and complete statement of relevant facts 
will clarify the position of an appellant on dispositive issues and 
assist the examiner in reconsidering the patentability of the rejected 
claims.
    A significant requirement of Bd.R. 41.37(n) is that a fact would be 
required to be supported by a reference to the page number of the 
Record. Where appropriate, the citation should also be to a specific 
line or paragraph and to a drawing figure and element number of the 
Record (see Bd.R. 41.37(t)). Statements of facts should be set out in 
short declarative sentences, and each sentence should address a single 
fact. For example, ``In rejecting claims 1-5, the examiner cites Jones 
(col. 4, lines 1-4).'' ``Jones describes a widget (col. 5, lines 56-61 
and Figure 1, elements 12 and 13).'' A compound statement of fact is 
not proper, e.g., ``Jones describes a widget (col. 8, lines 3-4) and 
Smith does not describe a widget.'' A statement of facts would have to 
be non-argumentative, meaning that an appellant would not be able to 
argue its appeal in the statement of facts. Rather, the statement of 
facts is designed to require an appellant to set out the facts which 
the appellant considers material for resolution of the appeal, thereby 
assisting the examiner initially and, if necessary, the Board 
thereafter to focus on the dispositive portions of the record. For 
example, in the case of a rejection for obviousness under section 103, 
the facts should address at least the scope and content of the prior 
art, any differences between the claim on appeal and the prior art, and 
the level of skill in the art. In the past, some appellants have 
provided minimal factual development in an appeal brief, apparently 
believing that the Board will scour the record to divine the facts. It 
should be remembered that when the appeal reaches the Board, the panel 
members do not know anything about the appellant's invention or the 
prosecution history of the application on appeal.
    Likewise, too often an appellant will not support a statement of 
fact in an appeal brief by an explicit reference to the evidence. A 
statement of fact based on the specification would be proper if 
supported by a reference to page and line or paragraph (and where 
appropriate also to drawing figure and element number). A statement of 
fact based on a patent would be proper if it is supported by a 
reference to a column and line (and where appropriate also to a drawing 
figure and element number). A statement of fact based on an affidavit 
would be proper if supported by a reference to a page and line number 
or to a page and paragraph number of the affidavit; the affidavit would 
appear in the evidence section (Bd.R. 41.37(t)) in the appendix.
    A specific citation is required because an appellant should not 
expect the examiner or the Board to search the record to determine 
whether a statement of fact is supported by the evidence. Bd.R. 
41.37(n) is consistent with the approaches taken by federal courts 
concerning appeal brief practice and other briefing practice: (1) 
Clintec Nutrition Co. v. Baxa Corp., 988 F. Supp. 1109, 1114, n.16 
(N.D. Ill. 1997) (where a party points the court to a multi-page 
exhibit without citing a specific portion or page, the court will not 
pour over the documents to extract the relevant information); (2) Ernst 
Haas Studio, Inc. v. Palm Press, Inc., 164 F.3d 110, 112 (2d Cir. 1999) 
(``Appellant's Brief is at best an invitation to the court to scour the 
record, research any legal theory that comes to mind, and serve 
generally as an advocate for appellant. We decline the invitation.''); 
(3) Winner Int'l Royalty Corp. v. Wang, 202 F.3d 1340, 1351 (Fed. Cir. 
2000) (``[W]e will not search the record on the chance of discovering * 
* * whether the district court abused its discretion.''); (4) Gorence 
v. Eagle Food Centers, Inc., 242 F.3d 759, 762-63 (7th Cir. 2001) 
(``Little has been done * * * to make slogging through the record here 
either more efficient or more pleasant. And it is simply not true, we 
want to emphasize, that if a litigant presents an overload of 
irrelevant or non-probative facts, somehow the irrelevancies will add 
up to relevant evidence * * *''); and (5) DeSilva v. DiLeonardi, 181 
F.3d 865, 867 (7th Cir. 1999) (``[An appeal] brief must make all 
arguments accessible to the judges, rather than ask them to play 
archaeologist with the record.'') See also (1) Shiokawa v. Maienfisch, 
56 USPQ2d 1970, 1975 (Bd. Pat. App. & Int. 2000) and (2) LeVeen v. 
Edwards, 57 USPQ2d 1406, 1413 (Bd. Pat. App. & Int. 2000).
    Bd.R. 41.37(o) requires that an appeal brief contain an argument 
comprising an analysis explaining, as to each rejection to be reviewed, 
why the appellant believes the examiner erred. The analysis would have 
to address all points made by the examiner with which the appellant 
disagrees. The presentation of a concise, but comprehensive, argument 
in response to the final rejection (1) will efficiently frame any 
dispute between the appellant and the examiner not only for the benefit 
of the Board but also for consideration by the examiner and Office 
reviewers (appeal conferees) and (2) provide the best opportunity for 
resolution of the dispute without the necessity of proceeding with the 
appeal.
    Where an argument has previously been presented to the examiner, 
the analysis would have to identify where any argument being made to 
the Board was made in the first instance to the examiner. Where an 
argument has not previously been made to the examiner, an appellant 
would be required to say so in the appeal brief so that the examiner 
would know that the argument is new. An example where an argument might 
not have been previously made to an examiner might occur under the 
following fact scenario. A first Office action rejects claims over 
Reference A. Applicant amends the

[[Page 32943]]

claims to avoid Reference A. The examiner enters a final rejection now 
relying on References A and B. Applicant elects to appeal without 
filing a response under Rule 116. While applicants are encouraged to 
file a response under Rule 116 to possibly avoid an appeal all 
together, at the present time there is no requirement for an applicant 
to file a Rule 116 response as a condition to taking an appeal to the 
Board. Whether such a requirement should be made in the future will be 
held in abeyance pending experience under the rules. The Board has 
found that many arguments made in an appeal brief were never earlier 
presented to the examiner even though they could have been presented 
(without filing a Rule 116 response). To promote clarity, Bd.R. 
41.37(o) also requires that each rejection for which review is sought 
shall be separately argued under a separate heading. Also, Bd.R. 
41.37(o) provides that any finding made or conclusion reached by the 
examiner that is not challenged would be presumed to be correct.
    Bd.R. 41.37(o)(1) provides that when a ground of rejection applies 
to two or more claims, the claims may be argued separately (claims are 
considered by appellant as separately patentable) or as a group (claims 
stand or fall together). When two or more claims subject to the same 
ground of rejection are argued as a group, the Board may select a 
single claim from the group of claims that are argued together and 
decide the appeal on the basis of the selected claim alone with respect 
to the group of claims as to the ground of rejection. Any doubt as to 
whether an election has been made would be resolved against the 
appellant and the claims would be deemed to have been argued as a 
group.
    For each claim argued separately, a subheading identifying the 
claim by number would be required. The requirement for a separate 
subheading in the appeal brief is to minimize any chance the examiner 
or the Board will overlook an argument directed to the separate 
patentability of a particular claim. In the past, appellants have been 
confused about whether a statement of what a claim covers is sufficient 
to constitute an argument that the claim is separately patentable. It 
is not. A statement that a claim contains a limitation not present in 
another claim would not in and of itself be sufficient to satisfy the 
requirement of Bd.R. 41.37(o)(1) that a separate argument be made.
    Unless an appellant plans to argue the separate patentability of a 
claim, the appellant should not discuss or refer to the claim in the 
argument section of the appeal brief. A copy of the claims will be 
before the Board in the ``claims section'' (Bd.R. 41.37(p)). In an 
application containing claims 1-3 where the examiner has made (1) a 
Sec.  102 rejection or (2) a Sec.  103 rejection or (3) both a Sec.  
102 and Sec.  103 rejection, examples of a proper statement of ``claims 
standing or falling together'' would be as follows: (1) ``With respect 
to the rejection under Sec.  102, claims 1-3 stand or fall together.'' 
(2) ``With respect to the rejection under Sec.  103, claims 1-2 stand 
or fall together; claim 3 is believed to be separately patentable.'' 
(3) ``With respect to the rejection under Sec.  102, claims 1-2 stand 
or fall together; claim 3 is believed to be separately patentable. With 
respect to the rejection under Sec.  103, the claims stand or fall 
together.''
    Bd.R. 41.37(o)(2) provides that the Board would only consider 
arguments that (1) are presented in the argument section of the appeal 
brief and (2) address claims set out in the claim support and drawing 
analysis section in the appendix. Appellant would waive all arguments 
which could have been, but were not, addressed in the argument section 
of the appeal brief. A first example would be where Argument 1 and 
Argument 2 are presented in response to a final rejection, but only 
Argument 1 is presented in the appeal brief. Only Argument 1 would be 
considered. Argument 2 would be waived. A second example would be where 
an applicant presents an affidavit under Rule 131 or Rule 132 to the 
examiner, but does not rely on the affidavit in the argument section of 
the appeal brief. The Board would not consider the affidavit in 
deciding the appeal.
    Bd.R. 41.37(o)(3) requires that when responding to points made in 
the final rejection, the appeal brief shall specifically (1) identify 
each point made by the examiner and (2) indicate where appellant 
previously responded to each point or state that appellant has not 
previously responded to the point. In supporting any argument, the 
appellant shall refer to a page and, where appropriate, a line or 
paragraph, of the Record. Examples of argument formats that are 
acceptable under Bd.R. 41.37(o)(3) follow.

    Example 1. In the case where an argument had been previously 
presented to the examiner, the following format is acceptable under 
Bd.R. 41.37(o)(3). ``The examiner states that Reference A teaches 
element B. Final Rejection mailed [insert date], page x, lines y-z. 
In response, appellant previously pointed out to the examiner why 
the examiner is believed to have erred. Amendment filed [enter 
date], pages 8-9. The response is [concisely state the response].'' 
A similar format has been successfully used for some years in 
oppositions and replies filed in interference cases.

    Example 2. Alternatively, in the case where an argument has not 
been previously made to the examiner, the following format would be 
acceptable under Bd.R. 41.37(o)(3). ``In response to the examiner's 
reliance on Reference C for the first time in the final rejection 
(page 4), appellant's response includes a new argument which has not 
been previously presented to the examiner. The response is 
[concisely state the response].'' Use of this format will minimize 
any chance that the examiner will overlook an argument when 
preparing the examiner's answer.

    Bd.R. 41.37(p) would require an appeal brief to contain a ``claims 
section'' in the appendix which would consist of an accurate clean copy 
in numerical order of all claims pending in the application or 
reexamination proceeding on appeal. The claims section in the appendix 
would include all pending claims, not just those under rejection. The 
status of each claim would have to be indicated, (e.g., 1 (rejected), 2 
(withdrawn), 3 (objected to), 4 (cancelled), and 5 (allowed)).
    Bd.R. 41.37(q) is reserved.
    Bd.R. 41.37(r) requires an appeal brief to contain a ``claim 
support and drawing analysis section.''
    The claim support portion of Bd.R. 41.37(r) replaces Rule 
41.37(c)(1)(v) which required a concise explanation of the subject 
matter defined in each of the independent claims on appeal. The claim 
support section, for each independent claim involved in the appeal and 
each dependent claim argued separately (see Bd.R. 41.37(o)(1)), would 
consist of an annotated copy of the claim indicating in bold face 
between braces ({ {time} ) after each limitation where, by page and 
line or paragraph numbers, the limitation is described in the 
specification as filed. Braces ({ {time} ) are used instead of brackets 
([ ]) because brackets are used in reissue claim practice. Unlike the 
``claims section'' (see Bd.R. 41.37(p)), only those independent claims 
and dependent claims being argued separately, would need to appear in 
the ``claim support and drawing analysis section.'' A significant 
objective of the claim support requirement is to provide the examiner 
and the Board with appellant's perspective on where language of the 
claims (including specific words used in the claims, but not in the 
specification) finds support in the specification. Finding support for 
language in the claims can help the examiner and the Board construe 
claimed terminology and limitations when applying the prior art. The 
claim support requirement will help the Board

[[Page 32944]]

interpret the scope of claims, or the meaning of words in a claim, 
before applying the prior art. Practice under Rule 41.37(c)(1)(v) has 
not been efficient because of the diverse manners in which different 
appellants have attempted to comply with the current rule.
    One significant problem faced by the Board under Rule 
41.37(c)(1)(v) occurs when the language of a claim does not have direct 
antecedent language in the specification. In order for the Board to 
understand the scope of a claim or the meaning of a term in the claim, 
the Board primarily relies on the specification. Moreover, in practice 
before the Office, a claim is given its broadest reasonable 
construction consistent with the specification. However, when the 
language of the claim does not find correspondence in the 
specification, as filed, often it is difficult to determine the meaning 
of a particular word in a claim or to give the claim its broadest 
reasonable interpretation. The claim support requirement will give the 
examiner and the Board the appellant's view on where the claim is 
supported by the application, as filed. The requirement is expected to 
significantly improve the efficiency of the Board's handling of 
appeals.
    The ``claims support and drawing analysis section'' also requires 
for each independent claim on appeal and each dependent claim argued 
separately (see Bd.R. 41.37(o)(1)), that a drawing analysis consist of 
an annotated copy of the claim in numerical sequence, indicating in 
bold face between braces ({ {time} ) (the same braces used to identify 
references to the specification) after each limitation where, by 
reference or sequence residue number, each limitation is shown in the 
drawing or sequence. A drawing analysis has been required in 
interference cases since 1998 and has proven useful to the Board in 
understanding claimed inventions described in applications and patents 
involved in an interference. The drawing analysis requirement is 
expected to be equally useful in ex parte appeals.
    Bd.R. 41.37(s) requires an appeal brief to contain a ``means or 
step plus function analysis section.'' The means or step plus function 
analysis section replaces the requirement of Rule 41.37(c)(1)(v) 
relating to identification of structure, material or acts for means or 
step plus function claim limitations contained in appealed claims. 
Under Bd.R. 41.37(s), the means or step plus function analysis section 
would include each independent claim and each dependent claim argued 
separately (see Bd.R. 41.37(o)(1)) that contains a limitation that 
appellant regards as a means or step plus function limitation in the 
form permitted by the sixth paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112. Further, for 
each such claim, a copy of the claim would be reproduced indicating in 
bold face between braces ({ {time} ) the specific portions of the 
specification and drawing that describe the structure material or acts 
corresponding to each claimed function.
    The Office is requiring a particular format for the means or step 
plus function analysis section to avoid the confusion that arises from 
the variety of ways appellants employ under current practice in 
attempting to comply with the requirements of Rule 41.37(c)(1)(v). A 
means or step plus function analysis essentially tracking Bd.R. 
41.37(s) has been used in interference cases since 1998 and has been 
helpful in determining the scope of claims involved.
    Bd.R. 41.37(t) would require an appeal brief to contain an 
``evidence section'' in the appendix. The evidence section essentially 
continues the practice under Rule 41.37(c)(1)(ix). The evidence section 
would include (1) table of contents, (2) affidavits and declarations 
upon which the appellant relied before the examiner, (3) other evidence 
upon which the appellant relied before the examiner, and (4) evidence 
relied upon by the appellant and admitted into the file pursuant to 
Bd.R. 41.33(d).
    Documents in the evidence appendix would not have to be reformatted 
to comply with format requirements of the appeal brief. However, the 
affidavits, declarations and evidence required by Bd.R 41.37(t) which 
is otherwise mentioned in the appeal brief, but which does not appear 
in the evidence section will not be considered. Rule 41.37(c)(1)(ix) 
has a similar provision, but appellants have not attached the evidence 
appendix required by that rule. Appellants will now be on notice of the 
consequence of failing to comply with Bd.R. 41.37(t).
    If the examiner believes that other material should be included in 
the evidence section, the examiner would be able to attach that 
evidence to the examiner's answer. Pursuant to Bd.R. 41.37(v)(1), all 
pages of an appeal brief or a reply brief (including appendices to 
those briefs) will be consecutively numbered beginning with page 1.
    Bd.R. 41.37(u) requires an appeal brief to contain a ``related 
cases section'' in the appendix. The related cases section consists of 
copies of orders and opinions required to be cited pursuant to Bd.R. 
41.37(g).
    Bd.R. 41.37(v) requires an appeal brief to be presented in a 
particular format. The appeal brief would have to comply with the 
format of Rule 52 as well as with other requirements set out in Bd.R. 
41.37(v)(1), (2) and (4) through (6).
    Bd.R. 41.37(v)(1) requires that the pages of an appeal brief, 
including all sections in the appendix, be consecutively numbered using 
Arabic numerals beginning with the first page of the appeal brief, 
which would be numbered page 1. This practice would prevent (1) re-
starting numbering with each section in the appendix or (2) using Roman 
numeral page numbers, e.g., I, II, V, etc., or page numbers with 
letters, e.g., ``a'', ``b'', ``c'', ``i'', ``ii'', etc. If an appellant 
chooses to number the lines, line numbering may be within the left 
margin. Line numbering has been used for some time in interference 
cases and has been found to be useful when making reference in 
oppositions, replies, and opinions of the Board.
    Bd.R. 41.37(v)(2) would require that text in an appeal brief would 
be double spaced except in headings, tables of contents, tables of 
authorities, signature blocks and certificates of service. Block 
quotations would be indented, but could be presented in double spaced 
or space and a half format. Footnotes, which are discouraged, would be 
double spaced.
    Bd.R. 41.37(v)(3) is reserved.
    Bd.R. 41.37(v)(4) requires that the font size be 14 point, 
including the font for block quotations and footnotes.
    Bd.R. 41.37(v)(5) provides that an appeal brief may not exceed 30 
pages, excluding any (1) statement of the real party in interest, (2) 
statement of related cases, (3) jurisdictional statement, (4) table of 
contents, (5) table of authorities, (6) status of amendments, (7) 
signature block and (8) appendix. To give meaning to the 30-page 
limitation, an appeal brief would not be permitted to incorporate by 
reference arguments from other papers in the evidence appendices or 
from any other source. The prohibition against incorporation by 
reference is necessary to prevent an appellant from adding to the 
length of an appeal brief. Cf. DeSilva v. DiLeonardi, 181 F.3d 865, 
866-67 (7th Cir. 1999) (``[A]doption by reference amounts to a self-
help increase in the length of the appellate brief. * * * 
[I]ncorporation [by reference] is a pointless imposition on the court's 
time. A brief must make all arguments accessible to the judges, rather 
than ask them to play archaeologist with the record.'') (citation 
omitted). A prohibition against incorporation by reference has been the 
practice in interference cases since 1998 and has

[[Page 32945]]

minimized the chance that an argument is overlooked.
    A request to exceed the 30-page limit would be made by petition 
under Bd.R. 41.3 at least ten calendar days prior to the date an appeal 
brief is due.
    Bd.R. 41.37(v)(6) requires a signature block which would identify 
the appellant or appellant's representative, as appropriate, and a 
mailing address, telephone number, fax number and e-mail address.

Examiner's Answer

    Bd.R. 41.39(a) provides that within such time and manner as may be 
directed by the Director and if the examiner determines that the appeal 
should go forward, the examiner shall enter an examiner's answer 
responding to the appeal brief. The specific requirements of what would 
be required in an examiner's answer would appear in the Manual of 
Patent Examining Procedure.
    Bd.R. 41.39(b) provides that a new ground of rejection can no 
longer be made in the examiner's answer.
    Generally, a new ground of rejection in an Examiner's Answer occurs 
when an applicant has not had a fair opportunity in the appeal brief to 
react to the ``thrust of the rejection'' made in the final rejection. 
In re Kronig, 539 F.2d 1300, 1302 (CCPA 1976). Stated in slightly 
different terms, a test for determining whether a rejection in the 
Examiner's Answer is ``new'' vis-[agrave]-vis the rejection made in the 
final rejection is whether the ``basic thrust'' of ``rejection'' in the 
Examiner's Answer and the rejection made in the final rejection ``are 
different.'' In re Ansel, 852 F.2d 1294 (Fed. Cir. 1988) (non-
precedential). In re DeBlauwe, 736 F.2d 699, 706 n.9 (Fed. Cir. 1984) 
notes that ``[w]here the board makes a decision advancing a position or 
rationale new to the proceedings, an applicant must be afforded an 
opportunity to respond to that position or rationale by submission of 
contradicting evidence [or argument].'' Whether a new ground of 
rejection has been made in an Examiner's Answer is evaluated on a case-
by-case basis. See Kronig, 539 F.2d at 1303 (CCPA did not find cited 
precedent ``controlling in view of the distinctive facts at bar''). An 
applicant met with a new ground of rejection in an Examiner's Answer is 
entitled to a response to meet the new ground, including an opportunity 
to present new evidence, an amendment to claims or both. In Kronig, 
there was no new ground of rejection where (1) the Examiner relied on 
Hoechst, Holzrichter, Yasui and Swift patents and (2) the Board used 
the same basis as the Examiner, and, without disagreeing with the 
Examiner's approach, limited its discussion to the evidence contained 
in Holzrichter, Yasui and Swift. 539 F.2d at 1303. On the other hand in 
Ansel, a new ground of rejection occurred when (1) the Examiner relied 
on Hodakowski and Bhatia, (2) the Board dismissed Bhatia as 
superfluous, and (3) for the first time relied on a general and brief 
description in Hodakowski as to what Hodakowski considered prior art. 
In re Bush, 296 F.2d 491 (CCPA 1961), states that where a ``rejection 
is stated to be on A in view of B instead of on B in view of A, or to 
term one reference primary and the other secondary'' is a matter of 
``no significance, but merely a matter of exposition'' where the 
relevant part of each can be found. 296 F.2d at 760. In re Kumar, 418 
F.3d 1361 (Fed. Cir. 2005), held that the Board erred in not treating 
as a new ground of rejection an affirmance based on calculations made 
by the Board in the first instance and where the Board declined to 
consider evidence in a petition for rehearing. In In re Gately, 69 Fed. 
Appx. 993 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (non-precedential), the Board designated as 
a new ground of rejection an affirmance based on calculations not 
previously made. In a request for rehearing to the Board, Gately 
elected to present only argument. On appeal to the Federal Circuit, 
Gately urged that he be given a further opportunity on remand to 
present contrary evidence. The Federal Circuit denied Gately's request, 
noting that the Board had given Gately the very opportunity he was then 
requesting, but that Gately had declined the opportunity before the 
Board. Under the rules, an applicant does not have to file a Rule 116 
response after a final rejection citing a new reference to meet a 
limitation in a claim amended by the applicant in response to the first 
Office action. If the response to the new reference is made for the 
first time in the appeal brief, it would not be a new ground of 
rejection in an Examiner's Answer if the Examiner relies on any part of 
the record, or yet another reference, to meet the new argument made for 
the first time in the appeal brief. Cf. In re Plockinger, 481 F.2d 
1327, 1330-1332 (CCPA 1973) (``the Solicitor should be allowed to point 
out to us the facts underlying Peras' concept of the index of basicity, 
all of which were before the board, in order to rebut appellants' 
contentions with regard thereto.''). Appellants can avoid the 
Plockinger scenario by filing a Rule 116 response after final 
rejection. By not filing a Rule 116 response after final rejection, an 
appellant runs a risk that it will be confronted for the first time in 
the Examiner's Answer with new rationale in support of the rejection or 
new evidence or both. The appellant would then have to elect whether to 
proceed with the appeal or refile the application.

Reply Brief

    Bd.R. 41.41(a) provides that an appellant may file a single reply 
brief responding to the examiner's answer. On too many occasions, 
appellants have filed a first reply brief and thereafter a second reply 
brief. Only one reply brief is authorized under Bd.R. 41.41(a). A 
second reply brief will not be considered.
    Bd.R. 41.41(b) provides that the time for filing a reply brief 
would be within two months of the date the examiner's answer is mailed.
    Bd.R. 41.41(c) provides that a request for an extension of time 
shall be presented as a petition under Bd.R. 41.3(a) and (c). A 
decision on the petition shall be governed by Bd.R. 41.4(a) of this 
part. The provisions of Rule 136(a) would no longer apply to extensions 
of time to file a reply brief.
    Bd.R. 41.41(d) provides that a reply brief shall be limited to 
responding to points made in the examiner's answer. Except as otherwise 
set out in the rules, the form and content of a reply brief would be 
governed by the requirements for an appeal brief as set out in Bd.R. 
41.37. A reply brief would not be able to exceed 20 pages, excluding 
any (1) table of contents, (2) table of authorities, and (3) signature 
block. A reply brief would be required to contain, under appropriate 
headings and in the order indicated, the following items: (1) Table of 
contents, (2) table of authorities, (3) statement of additional facts, 
and (4) argument.
    Bd.R. 41.41(e) is reserved.
    Bd.R. 41.41(f) would require a statement of additional facts that 
appellant believes are necessary to respond to points raised in the 
examiner's answer. When there is a statement of additional facts, and 
the appellant has elected to number the facts in the appeal brief, any 
numbering of facts in the reply brief should start with the number 
following the last number in the appeal brief. For example, if Facts 1-
10 are set out in the appeal brief and a statement of additional facts 
is required with a reply brief, the statement of additional facts in 
the reply brief should start with Fact 11.
    Bd.R. 41.41(g) requires that an argument made in the reply brief be 
limited to responding to points made in the examiner's answer. Any 
argument raised in a reply brief which is not

[[Page 32946]]

responsive to a point made in the examiner's answer will not be 
considered and will be treated as waived. An example of an acceptable 
format for presenting an argument in a reply brief (where there was no 
new ground of rejection in the examiner's answer) might read as 
follows: First paragraph: ``This is a reply to the examiner's answer 
mailed [insert the date the answer was mailed].'' Last paragraph: ``For 
the reasons given in this reply brief and in the appeal brief, reversal 
of the examiner's rejection is requested.'' All paragraphs between the 
first and last paragraphs should read: ``On page x, lines y-z of the 
examiner's answer, the examiner states that [state what the examiner 
states]. The response is [concisely state the response].'' As part of 
each response, the appellant should refer to the page number and line 
or paragraph and drawing element number of any document relied upon to 
support the response. Frequently, new details and arguments surface in 
reply briefs. Bd.R. 41.41(g) seeks to confine reply briefs to what they 
ought to be--a response to points raised in the examiner's answer. If 
it turns out that too many resources of the Office are needed to 
enforce the reply brief rule and considerable time is wasted in 
resolving improper reply brief issues, consideration may be given to 
further limiting the nature of replies filed in ex parte appeals.
    Bd.R. 41.41(h) is reserved.
    Bd.R. 41.41(i) provides that an amendment or new evidence may not 
accompany a reply brief. The Office has found that appellants continue 
to attempt to file amendments and evidence with reply briefs. If an 
appellant, after reviewing the examiner's answer, believes that an 
amendment is appropriate, the appellant may file a continuing 
application or a request for continued examination or, in the case of a 
reexamination proceeding, ask that the proceeding be reopened.

Examiner's Response to Reply Brief

    Bd.R. 41.43 is reserved. An examiner will no longer be responding 
to a reply brief.

Supplemental Reply Brief

    Bd.R. 41.44 is reserved. A supplemental reply brief is no longer 
authorized because the examiner will no longer be filing a response to 
a reply brief.

Oral Hearing

    Bd.R. 41.47(a) provides that if the appellant desires an oral 
hearing, appellant must file, as a separate paper, a written request 
captioned: ``REQUEST FOR ORAL HEARING.''
    Bd.R. 41.47(b) provides that a request for oral hearing shall be 
accompanied by the fee required by Sec.  41.20(b)(3).
    Bd.R. 41.47(c) provides that the time for filing a request for an 
oral hearing would be within two months from the date the examiner's 
answer is mailed.
    Bd.R. 41.47(d) provides that a request for an extension of time to 
request an oral hearing would have to be presented as a petition as 
specified in Bd.R. 41.3(a) and (c). A decision on the petition shall be 
governed by Bd.R. 41.4(a).
    Bd.R. 41.47(e) provides that if an oral hearing is properly 
requested, a date for the oral hearing would be set.
    Bd.R. 41.47(f) provides that if an oral hearing is set, then within 
such time as the Board may order, appellant shall confirm attendance at 
the oral hearing. Failure to timely confirm attendance would be taken 
as a waiver of any request for an oral hearing.
    Bd.R. 41.47(g) provides that at the time appellant confirms 
attendance at the oral hearing, appellant would be required to supply a 
list of technical terms and other unusual words which can be provided 
to any individual transcribing an oral hearing. The current practice of 
the Board is to transcribe all oral arguments. A list of technical 
terms provided by appellant should improve the accuracy of any 
transcript.
    Bd.R. 41.47(h) provides that unless otherwise ordered by the Board, 
argument on behalf of appellant at an oral hearing would be limited to 
20 minutes.
    Bd.R. 41.47(i) provides that at oral hearing only the Record will 
be considered. No additional evidence may be offered to the Board in 
support of the appeal. Any argument not presented in a brief cannot be 
made at the oral hearing.
    Bd.R. 41.47(j) provides that notwithstanding Bd.R. 41.47(i), an 
appellant could rely on and call the Board's attention to a recent 
court or Board opinion which could have an effect on the manner in 
which the appeal is decided.
    Bd.R. 41.47(k) provides that visual aids may be used at an oral 
hearing. However, visual aids must be limited to copies of documents or 
artifacts in the Record or a model or exhibit presented for 
demonstration purposes during an interview with the examiner. When an 
appellant seeks to use a visual aid, one copy of each visual aid 
(photograph in the case of an artifact, a model or an exhibit) should 
be provided for each judge and one copy to be added to the Record.
    Bd.R. 41.47(l) provides that failure of an appellant to attend an 
oral hearing would be treated as a waiver of the oral hearing. Over the 
years, the Board has become concerned with the large number of requests 
for postponements. In some cases, multiple requests in a single appeal 
are submitted for postponement of an oral hearing. Apart from the fact 
that a postponement can lead to large patent term adjustments, 
efficiency dictates that the Board be able to set an oral hearing 
schedule with an expectation that in a large majority of the cases the 
oral hearing will timely occur or the appellant will waive oral 
hearing. The Board will continue to handle requests for postponement of 
oral hearings on an ad hoc basis. However, postponements would no 
longer be granted on a routine basis. A request for a postponement made 
immediately after a notice of oral hearing is mailed is more likely to 
receive favorable treatment, particularly since it may be possible to 
set an oral hearing date prior to the originally scheduled oral hearing 
date.

Decisions and Other Actions by the Board

    Bd.R. 41.50(a) provides that the Board may affirm or reverse a 
decision of the examiner in whole or in part on the grounds and on the 
claims specified by the examiner. Bd.R. 41.50(a) continues a long-
standing practice that an affirmance of a rejection of a claim on any 
of the grounds specified constitutes a general affirmance of the 
decision of the examiner on that claim, except as to any ground 
specifically reversed.
    Bd.R. 41.50(b) provides that the Board may remand an application to 
the examiner. Upon entry of a remand, the Board would no longer have 
jurisdiction unless an appellant timely files a request for rehearing. 
If the request for rehearing does not result in modification of the 
remand, the Board would then lose jurisdiction. Upon remand, should the 
examiner enter an examiner's answer in response to the remand, 
appellant would be required to exercise one of two options to avoid 
abandonment of the application or termination of the reexamination 
proceeding. Either option would have to be exercised within two months 
from the date of any examiner's answer mailed in response to the 
remand.
    Bd.R. 41.50(b)(1) specifies a first option and provides that 
appellant could request that prosecution be reopened before the 
examiner by filing a reply under Rule 111, with or without amendment or 
submission of evidence. Any amendment or evidence would have to be 
relevant to the issues set forth

[[Page 32947]]

in the remand or raised in any examiner's answer mailed in response to 
the remand. A request that complies with this paragraph would be 
entered and the application or patent under reexamination would be 
reconsidered by the examiner under the provisions of Rule 112. A 
request under Bd.R. 41.50(b)(1) would be treated as a request to 
dismiss the appeal.
    Bd.R. 41.50(b)(2) specifies a second option and provides that 
appellant could request that the appeal be re-docketed. The request 
would have to be accompanied by a reply brief as set forth in Bd.R. 
41.41. An amendment or evidence could not accompany the reply brief. A 
reply brief that is accompanied by an amendment or evidence would be 
treated as a request to reopen prosecution pursuant to Bd.R. 
41.50(b)(1).
    Bd.R. 41.50(c) provides that a remand is not a final decision. 
Following proceedings on remand, and with respect to affirmed 
rejections and claims not involved in the remand, an appellant could 
request the Board to enter a final decision so that the appellant could 
then seek judicial review as to those rejections and claims. Only a 
final decision of the Board is subject to judicial review. Copelands' 
Enter., Inc. v. CNV, Inc., 887 F.2d 1065 (Fed. Cir. 1989) (en banc).
    Bd.R. 41.50(d) provides that, should the Board have knowledge of a 
basis not involved in the appeal for rejecting a pending claim, the 
Board may enter a new ground of rejection. The pending claim could be a 
claim not rejected by the examiner. A new ground of rejection would not 
be considered final for purposes of judicial review. A new ground of 
rejection is not considered a final agency action because the appellant 
has not explained to the Board, without amendment or new evidence, or 
to the Office, with an amendment or new evidence or both, why the 
rejection is not proper. Bd.R. 41.50(d) places an appellant under a 
burden to explain to the Board or the Office why a new ground of 
rejection is not proper before it burdens a court with judicial review. 
A response by an appellant may convince the Office that a new ground of 
rejection should be withdrawn. If the Board enters a new ground of 
rejection, appellant would have to exercise one of two options with 
respect to the new ground of rejection to avoid dismissal of the appeal 
as to any claim subject to the new ground of rejection. Either option 
would have to be exercised within two months from the date of the new 
ground of rejection.
    Bd.R. 41.50(d)(1) specifies that a first option would be to submit 
an amendment of the claims subject to a new ground of rejection or new 
evidence relating to the new ground of rejection or both and request 
that the matter be reconsidered by the examiner. The proceedings would 
be remanded to the examiner. A new ground of rejection would be binding 
on the examiner unless, in the opinion of the examiner, the amendment 
or new evidence overcomes the new ground of rejection. In the event the 
examiner maintains the rejection, appellant would be able to again 
appeal to the Board.
    Bd.R. 41.50(d)(2) specifies that a second option would be to 
request rehearing pursuant to Bd.R. 41.52. The request for rehearing 
would have to be based on the record before the Board and no new 
evidence or amendments would be permitted.
    Bd.R. 41.50(e) continues a long-standing practice that the Board, 
in its opinion in support of its decision, could include a 
recommendation, explicitly designated as such, of how a claim on appeal 
may be amended to overcome a specific rejection. For the recommendation 
to be binding, it would have to be explicitly designated as a 
recommendation. For example, a conclusion or comment by the Board that 
a claim, notwithstanding appellant's argument, is so broad as to read 
on the prior art should not be taken as a recommendation that if some 
undefined limitation is added the claim would be patentable. When the 
Board makes a recommendation, appellant may file an amendment in 
conformity with the recommendation. An amendment in conformity with the 
recommendation would be deemed to overcome the specific rejection. An 
examiner would have authority to enter a rejection of a claim amended 
in conformity with a recommendation provided that the additional 
rejection constitutes a new ground of rejection. For example, the 
examiner may know of additional prior art not known to the Board that 
would meet the claim as amended. It is because of the possibility that 
an examiner may know of additional prior art that a recommendation 
would be expected to be a relatively rare event.
    Bd.R. 41.50(f) provides that the Board could enter an order 
requiring appellant to brief additional issues or supply additional 
evidence or both if the Board believes doing so would be of assistance 
in reaching a decision on the appeal. Bd.R. 41.50(f) continues a 
practice which has been in existence since 1999. See, e.g., (1) 37 CFR 
1.196(d) (1999) and (2) Rule 41.50(d). Practice under Rule 41.50(d) has 
been highly useful and complements the authority of Office personnel to 
request additional material under Rule 105. Appellant would be given a 
non-extendable time period within which to respond to the order. In 
setting the length of the non-extendable time period, the Board would 
take into account the extent of the information requested and the time 
of year a response would be due. For example, it is not likely that the 
Board would set a date for response between Christmas Day and New 
Year's Day. Failure of appellant to timely respond to the order could 
result in dismissal of the appeal in whole or in part. An appeal might 
be dismissed-in-part if the order sought further briefing or evidence 
or both related to one rejection but not another rejection, 
particularly where the two rejections apply to different claims.
    Bd.R. 41.50(g) provides for extensions of time to respond to 
actions of the Board under Bd.R. 41.50(b) and (d). Bd.R. 41.50(g) 
provides that a request for an extension of time to respond to a 
request for briefing and information under Bd.R. 41.50(f) is not 
authorized. A request for an extension of time to respond to Board 
action under Bd.R. 41.50(b) and (d) would be presented as a petition 
under Bd.R. 41.3(a) and (c). A decision on the petition shall be 
governed by Bd.R. 41.4(a).

Rehearing

    Bd.R. 41.52(a) authorizes an appellant to file a single request for 
rehearing. In the past, appellants have filed a second request for 
rehearing, in effect supplementing a first request for rehearing. 
Filing a second or subsequent request for rehearing is not authorized. 
Any second or subsequent request for rehearing will not be considered.
    Bd.R. 41.52(b) provides that a request for rehearing is due within 
two months from the date the decision by the Board is mailed.
    Bd.R. 41.52(c) provides that a request for an extension of time 
would have to be presented as a petition under Bd.R. 41.3(a) and (c). A 
decision on the petition would be governed by Bd.R. 41.4(a).
    Bd.R. 41.52(d) provides that the form of a request for rehearing is 
governed by Bd.R. 41.37(v) except that a request for rehearing could 
not exceed 10 pages, excluding any table of contents, table of 
authorities, and signature block. A request for rehearing would have to 
contain, under appropriate headings and in the order indicated, the 
following items: (1) Table of contents, (2) table of authorities, and 
(3) argument.
    Bd.R. 41.52(e) is reserved.
    Bd.R. 41.52(f) provides that a request for rehearing shall state 
with particularity the points believed to have

[[Page 32948]]

been misapprehended or overlooked by the Board. In filing a request for 
rehearing, the argument shall adhere to the following format: ``On page 
x, lines y-z of the Board's opinion, the Board states that [set out 
what was stated]. The point misapprehended or overlooked was made to 
the Board in [identify paper, page and line where argument was made to 
the Board]. The response is [state response].'' As part of each 
response, appellant shall refer to the page number and line or drawing 
element number of the Record. A general restatement of the case will 
not be considered an argument that the Board misapprehended or 
overlooked a point. A new argument cannot be made in a request for 
rehearing, except in two instances.
    Bd.R. 41.52(f)(1) would authorize in a first instance an appellant 
to respond to a new ground of rejection entered pursuant to Bd.R. 
41.50(d)(2).
    Bd.R. 41.52(f)(2) would authorize an appellant to rely on and call 
the Board's attention to a recent decision of a court or the Board that 
is relevant to an issue decided in the appeal. Generally, the recent 
court decision would be a decision of the Supreme Court or the Court of 
Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
    Bd.R. 41.52(g) provides that an amendment or new evidence could not 
accompany a request for rehearing.
    Bd.R. 41.52(h) provides that a decision will be rendered on a 
request for rehearing. The decision on rehearing would be deemed to 
incorporate the decision sought to be reheard except for those portions 
of the decision sought to be reheard specifically modified on 
rehearing. A decision on rehearing would be considered final for 
purposes of judicial review, except when otherwise noted in the 
decision on rehearing.

Action Following Decision

    Bd.R. 41.54 provides that, after a decision by the Board and 
subject to appellant's right to seek judicial review, the proceeding 
will be returned to the examiner for such further action as may be 
consistent with the decision by the Board.

Sanctions

    Bd.R. 41.56 is new and provides for sanctions. The rule is designed 
to put the public on notice of actions which the Office believes are 
detrimental to the efficient handling of ex parte appeals.
    Bd.R. 41.56(a) provides that the Chief Administrative Patent Judge 
or an expanded panel of the Board may impose a sanction against an 
appellant for misconduct. Misconduct would include (1) failure to 
comply with an order entered in the appeal or an applicable rule, (2) 
advancing or maintaining a misleading or frivolous request for relief 
or argument or (3) engaging in dilatory tactics. A sanction would be 
entered by the Chief Administrative Patent Judge (for matters not 
before a panel) or an expanded panel of the Board (for matters before a 
panel). A sanction would be applied against the appellant, not against 
a registered practitioner. Conduct of a registered practitioner could 
result in a sanction against an appellant. Conduct of a registered 
practitioner believed to be inappropriate would be referred to the 
Office of Enrollment and Discipline for such action as may be 
appropriate.
    Bd.R. 41.56(b) provides that the nature of possible sanctions 
includes entry of (a) an order declining to enter a docket notice, (b) 
an order holding certain facts to have been established in the appeal, 
(c) an order expunging a paper or precluding an appellant from filing a 
paper, (d) an order precluding an appellant from presenting or 
contesting a particular issue, (e) an order excluding evidence, (f) an 
order holding an application on appeal to be abandoned or a 
reexamination proceeding terminated, (g) an order dismissing an appeal, 
(h) an order denying an oral hearing or (i) an order terminating an 
oral hearing.
    Whether and what sanction, if any, should be imposed against an 
appellant in any specific circumstance would be a discretionary action.

Changes Made to Rules as Proposed

    Several changes have been made to the rules as proposed in the 
notice of proposed rulemaking. Those changes follow with additions 
shown in [brackets] and deletions shown in {braces{time} . Only the 
paragraph of a rule where a change was made is reproduced.

Petitions (Sec.  41.3)

    Sec.  41.3(a), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Deciding official. A petition authorized by this part must be 
addressed to the Chief Administrative Patent Judge. {In addition to 
complying with all other requirements of this title, a copy of the 
petition must also be forwarded to the Office addressed to: Chief 
Administrative Patent Judge, Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, 
United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, 
VA 22313-1450.{time}  The Chief Administrative Patent Judge may 
delegate authority to decide petitions.

Timeliness (Sec.  41.4)

    Sec.  41.4(b), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Late filings. (1) A request to revive an application which becomes 
abandoned or a reexamination proceeding which becomes terminated under 
Sec. Sec.  1.550(d) or 1.957(b) or (c) of this title as a result of a 
late filing may be filed pursuant to Sec.  1.137 of this title.
    (2) A late filing that does not result in an application becoming 
abandoned or a reexamination proceeding becoming terminated under 
Sec. Sec.  1.550(d) or 1.957(b) or [limited under Sec.  1.957] (c) of 
this title may be excused upon a showing of excusable neglect or a 
Board determination that consideration on the merits would be in the 
interests of justice.

Citation of Authority (Sec.  41.12)

    Sec.  41.12 (a), as proposed, would be revised as follows:

    Authority. Citations to authority must include:

    (1) United States Supreme Court decision. A citation to a single 
source in the following order of priority: United States Reports, 
West's Supreme Court Reports, United States Patents Quarterly, Westlaw, 
or a slip opinion.
    (2) United States Court of Appeals decision. A citation to a single 
source in the following order of priority: West's Federal Reporter (F., 
F.2d or F.3d), West's Federal Appendix (Fed. Appx.), United States 
Patents Quarterly, Westlaw, or a slip opinion.
    (3) United States District Court decision. A citation to a single 
source in the following order of priority: West's Federal Supplement 
(F.Supp., F.Supp. 2d), United States Patents Quarterly, Westlaw, or a 
slip opinion.
    (4) Slip opinions. If a slip opinion is relied upon, a copy of the 
slip opinion must accompany the first paper in which an authority is 
cited.
    (5) Pinpoint citations. Use pinpoint citations whenever a specific 
holding or portion of an authority is invoked.
    Sec.  41.12(b), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Non-binding authority. Non-binding authority may be cited. If non-
binding authority is not an authority of the Office and is not 
reproduced in one of the reporters listed in paragraph (a) of this 
section, a copy of the authority shall be filed with the first paper in 
which it is cited.]

Definitions (Sec.  41.30)

    Sec.  41.30, as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    [Record means the official content of the file of an application or

[[Page 32949]]

reexamination proceeding an appeal.] {Record on appeal. The record on 
appeal consists of the specification, drawings, if any, U.S. patents 
cited by the examiner or appellant, published U.S. applications cited 
by the examiner or appellant, the appeal brief, including all 
appendices, the examiner's answer, any reply brief, including any 
supplemental appendix, any supplemental examiner's answer, any 
supplemental reply brief, any request for rehearing, any order or 
decision entered by the Board or the Chief Administrative Patent Judge, 
and any other document or evidence which was considered by the Board as 
indicated in any opinion accompanying any order or decision.{time} 

Appeal to Board (Sec.  41.31)

    Sec.  41.31(e), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Non-appealable issues. A non-appealable issue is an issue not 
subject to an appeal under 35 U.S.C. 134. An applicant or patent owner 
dissatisfied with a decision of an examiner on a non-appealable issue 
shall timely seek review by petition before jurisdiction over an appeal 
is transferred to the Board (see Sec.  41.35). Failure to timely file a 
petition seeking review of a decision of the examiner related to a non-
appealable issue may constitute a waiver to [having] {have{time}  that 
issue considered [in the application or reexamination on appeal].

Amendments and Evidence After Appeal (Sec.  41.33)

    Sec.  41.33(c), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Other amendments. No other amendments filed after the date an 
appeal brief is filed will be admitted, except as permitted by 
Sec. Sec.  {41.39(b)(1),{time}  41.50(b)(1), 41.50(d)(1) or 41.50(e) of 
this subpart.
    Sec.  41.33(d), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Evidence after notice of appeal and prior to appeal brief. Evidence 
filed after the date a notice of appeal is filed and prior to the date 
an appeal brief is filed may be admitted if:
    [(1)] the examiner determines that the evidence overcomes [at least 
one rejection] {some or all rejections{time}  under appeal [and does 
not necessitate any new ground of rejection], and
    [(2)] appellant shows good cause why the evidence was not earlier 
presented. Sec.  41.33(e), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Other evidence. All other evidence filed after the date an appeal 
brief is filed will not be admitted, except as permitted by Sec. Sec.  
{41.39(b)(1),{time}  41.50(b)(1) or 41.50(d)(1) of this subpart.

Jurisdiction Over Appeal (Sec.  41.35)

    Sec.  41.35(a), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Beginning of jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of the Board begins 
when a docket notice is [mailed] {entered{time}  by the Board.
    Sec.  41.35(b), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    End of jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of the Board ends when[:
    (1) The Board mails a remand order (see Sec.  41.50(b) or Sec.  
41.50(d)(1) of this subpart),
    (2) The Board mails a final decision (see Sec.  41.2 of this part) 
and judicial review is sought or the time for seeking judicial review 
has expired,
    (3) An express abandonment is filed which complies with Sec.  1.138 
of this title, or
    (4) A request for continued reexamination is filed which complies 
with Sec.  1.114 of this title.] {the Board orders a remand (see Sec.  
41.50(b) or Sec.  41.50(d)(1) of this subpart) or enters a final 
decision (see Sec.  41.2 of this subpart) and judicial review is sought 
or the time for seeking judicial review has expired.{time} 

Appeal Brief (Sec.  41.37)

    Sec.  41.37(e), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Content of appeal brief. The appeal brief must contain, under 
appropriate headings and in the order indicated, the following items:
    (1) Statement of the real party in interest [(see paragraph (f) of 
this section)].
    (2) Statement of related cases [(see paragraph (g) of this 
section)].
    (3) Jurisdictional statement [(see paragraph (h) of this section)].
    (4) Table of contents [(see paragraph (i) of this section)].
    (5) Table of authorities [(see paragraph (j) of this section)].
    (6) [[Reserved.]] {Status of claims.{time} 
    (7) Status of amendments [(see paragraph (l) of this section)].
    (8) [Grounds of rejection] {Rejections{time}  to be reviewed (see 
paragraph (m) of this section)].
    (9) Statement of facts [(see paragraph (n) of this section)].
    (10) Argument [(see paragraph (o) of this section)].
    (11) An appendix containing a claims section [(see paragraph (p) of 
this section)], [a claim support and drawing analysis section (see 
paragraph (r) of this section)], {a claim support section, a drawing 
analysis section,{time}  a means or step plus function analysis section 
[(see paragraph (s) of this section)], an evidence section [(see 
paragraph (t) of this section)], and a related cases section [(see 
paragraph (u) of this section)].
    Sec.  41.37(f), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Statement of real party in interest. The ``statement of the real 
party in interest'' shall identify the name of the real party in 
interest. The real party in interest must be identified in such a 
manner as to readily permit a member of the Board to determine whether 
recusal would be appropriate. Appellant is under a continuing 
obligation to update this item during the pendency of the appeal. [If 
an appeal brief does not contain a statement of real party in interest, 
the Office will assume that the named inventors are the real party in 
interest.]
    Sec.  41.37(g), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Statement of related cases. The ``statement of related cases'' 
shall identify, by application, patent, appeal, interference, or court 
docket number, all prior or pending appeals, interferences or judicial 
proceedings, known to [any inventors, any attorneys or agents who 
prepared or prosecuted the application on appeal and any other person 
who was substantively involved in the preparation or prosecution of the 
application on appeal,] {appellant, appellant's legal representative or 
any assignee,{time}  and that are related to, directly affect, or would 
be directly affected by, or have a bearing on the Board's decision in 
the appeal. [A related case includes any continuing application of the 
application on appeal.] A copy of any final or significant 
interlocutory decision rendered by the Board or a court in any 
proceeding identified under this paragraph shall be included in the 
related cases section [(see paragraph (u) of this section) in] 
{of{time}  the appendix. Appellant is under a continuing obligation to 
update this item during the pendency of the appeal. [If an appeal brief 
does not contain a statement of related cases, the Office will assume 
that there are no related cases.]
    Sec.  41.37(h), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Jurisdictional statement. The ``jurisdictional statement'' shall 
establish the jurisdiction of the Board to consider the appeal. The 
jurisdictional statement shall include a statement of the statute under 
which the appeal is taken, [the date of the Office action setting out 
the rejection on appeal from which the appeal is taken,] {the date of 
the decision from which the appeal is taken,{time}  the date the notice 
of appeal was filed, and the date the appeal brief is being filed. If a 
notice of appeal or an

[[Page 32950]]

appeal brief is filed after the time specified in this subpart, 
appellant must also indicate the date an extension of time was 
requested and, if known, the date the request was granted.
    Sec.  41.37(i), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Table of contents. A ``table of contents'' shall list, along with a 
reference to the page where each item begins, the items required to be 
listed in the appeal brief (see paragraph (e) of this section) 
[or]{,{time}  reply brief (see Sec.  41.41(d) of this subpart) {or 
supplemental reply brief (see Sec.  41.44(d) of this subpart){time} , 
as appropriate.
    Sec.  41.37(j), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Table of authorities. A ``table of authorities'' shall list cases 
(alphabetically arranged), statutes and other authorities along with a 
reference to the pages where each authority is cited in the appeal 
brief [or]{,{time}  reply brief, {or supplemental reply brief,{time}  
as appropriate. Sec.  41.37(k), as proposed, would be revised as 
follows:
    [[Reserved.]] {Status of pending claims. The ``status of pending 
claims'' shall include a statement of the status of all pending claims 
(e.g., rejected, allowed, cancelled, withdrawn from consideration, or 
objected to).{time} 
    Sec.  41.37(m), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    [Grounds of rejection] {Rejections{time}  to be reviewed. The 
``[grounds of rejection] {rejections{time}  to be reviewed'' shall set 
out the [grounds of rejection] {rejections{time}  to be reviewed, 
including the [statute applied, the claims subject to each rejection 
and references relied upon by the examiner] {claims subject to each 
rejection{time} .
    Sec.  41.37(n), proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Statement of facts. The ``statement of facts'' shall set out in an 
objective and non-argumentative manner the material facts relevant to 
the rejections on appeal. A fact shall be supported by a reference to a 
specific page number [of a document in the Record] and, where 
applicable, a specific line or [paragraph, and] drawing numerals {of 
the record on appeal{time} . A general reference to a document as a 
whole or to large portions of a document does not comply with the 
requirements of this paragraph.
    Sec.  41.37(o), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Argument. The ``argument'' shall explain why the examiner {is 
believed to have{time}  erred as to each [ground of] rejection to be 
reviewed. Any explanation must address all points made by the examiner 
with which the appellant disagrees. Any finding made or conclusion 
reached by the examiner that is not challenged will be presumed to be 
correct. For each argument, an explanation {and{time}  must identify 
where the argument was made in the first instance to the examiner or 
state that the argument has not previously been made to the examiner. 
{Any finding made or conclusion reached by the examiner that is not 
challenged will be presumed to be correct.{time}  Each [ground of] 
rejection shall be separately argued under a separate heading. {For 
arguments traversing a rejection made under 35 U.S.C. 102, 103 or 112, 
see also paragraphs (o)(4) through (o)(7) of this section. For 
arguments traversing other rejections, see also paragraph (o)(8) of 
this section.{time} 
    (1) Claims standing or falling together. [For each ground of 
rejection applicable to two or more claims, the claims may be argued 
separately (claims are considered by appellants as separately 
patentable) or as a group (claims stand or fall together). When two or 
more claims subject to the same ground of rejection are argued as a 
group, the Board may select a single claim from the group of claims 
that are argued together to decide the appeal on the basis of the 
selected claim alone with respect to the group of claims as to the 
ground of rejection. Any doubt as to whether claims have been argued 
separately or as a group as to a ground of rejection will be resolved 
against appellant and the claims will be deemed to have been argued as 
a group. Any claim argued separately as to a ground of rejection shall 
be placed under a subheading identifying the claim by number.]{When a 
rejection applies to two or more claims, as to that rejection, the 
appellant may elect to have all claims stand or fall together, or argue 
the separate patentability of individual claims. If the appeal brief 
fails to make an explicit election, the Board will treat all claims 
subject to a rejection as standing or falling together, and select a 
single claim to decide the appeal as to that rejection. Any doubt as to 
whether an election has been made or whether an election is clear will 
be resolved against the appellant. Any claim argued separately shall be 
placed under a subheading identifying the claim by number.{time}  A 
statement that merely points out what a claim recites will not be 
considered an argument for separate patentability of the claim.
    (2) Arguments considered. Only those arguments which are presented 
in the argument section of the appeal brief and that address claims set 
out in the claim support [and drawing analysis] section of the appendix 
will be considered. Appellant waives all other arguments [in the 
appeal].
    (3) Format of argument. Unless a response is purely legal in 
nature, when responding to a point made in the examiner's rejection, 
the appeal brief shall specifically identify the point made by the 
examiner and indicate where appellant previously responded to the point 
or state that appellant has not previously responded to the point. In 
identifying any point made by the examiner, the appellant shall refer 
to a page and, where appropriate, a line [or paragraph], of [a document 
in] the [Record]{record on appeal{time} .
    {(4) Rejection under 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph. For each 
rejection under 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph, the argument shall also 
specify the errors in the rejection and how the rejected claims comply 
with the first paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112 including, as appropriate, 
how the specification and drawings, if any, describe the subject matter 
defined by the rejected claims, enable any person skilled in the art to 
which the invention pertains to make and use the subject matter of the 
rejected claims, or set forth the best mode contemplated by the 
inventor of carrying out the claimed invention.{time} 
    {(5) Rejection under 35 U.S.C. 112, second paragraph. For each 
rejection under 35 U.S.C. 112, second paragraph, the argument shall 
also specify how the rejected claims particularly point out and 
distinctly claim the subject matter which appellant regards as the 
invention.{time} 
    {(6) Rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102. For each rejection under 35 
U.S.C. 102 (anticipation), the argument shall also specify why the 
rejected claims are patentable by identifying any specific limitation 
in the rejected claims which is not described in the prior art relied 
upon in support of the rejection.{time} 
    {(7) Rejection under 35 U.S.C. 103. For each rejection under 35 
U.S.C. 103, if appropriate, the argument shall specify the errors in 
the rejection and, if appropriate, specify the specific limitations in 
the rejected claims that are not described in the prior art relied upon 
in support of the rejection, and explain how those limitations render 
the claimed subject matter unobvious over the prior art. A general 
argument that all limitations are not described in a single prior art 
reference does not satisfy the requirements of this paragraph.{time} 
    {(8) Other rejections. For each rejection other than those referred 
to in paragraphs (o)(4) through (o)(7), the argument shall specify the 
errors in the rejection, including where appropriate, the specific 
limitations in the rejected claims upon which the appellant relies to 
establish error.{time} 

[[Page 32951]]

    Sec.  41.37(p), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Claims section. The ``claims section'' of the appendix shall 
consist of an accurate clean copy in numerical order of all claims 
pending in the application or reexamination proceeding on appeal. The 
status of [every]{each{time}  claim shall be set out after the claim 
number and in parentheses (e.g., 1 (rejected), 2 (withdrawn), 3 
(objected to), [4 (cancelled), and 5 (allowed)]). {and 4 
(allowed)).{time}  [A cancelled claim need not be reproduced.]
    Sec.  41.37(q), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    [[Reserved.]] {Claim support section. For each claim argued 
separately (see paragraph (o)(1) of this section), the ``claim support 
section'' of the appendix shall consist of an annotated copy of the 
claim indicating in bold face between braces ({ {time} ) the page and 
line after each limitation where the limitation is described in the 
specification as filed.{time} 
    Sec.  41.37(r), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    [Claim support and] drawing analysis section. [For each independent 
claim involved in the appeal and each dependent claim argued separately 
(see paragraph (o)(1) of this section), the claim support and drawing 
analysis section in the appendix shall consist of an annotated copy of 
the claim (and, if necessary, any claim from which the claim argued 
separately depends) indicating in bold face between braces ({ {time} ) 
the page and line or paragraph after each limitation where the 
limitation is described in the specification as filed. If there is a 
drawing or amino acid or nucleotide material sequence, and at least one 
limitation is illustrated in a drawing or amino acid or nucleotide 
material sequence, the ``claims support and drawing analysis section'' 
in the appendix shall also contain in bold face between the same braces 
({ {time} ) where each limitation is shown in the drawings or 
sequence.] {For each claim argued separately (see paragraph (o)(1) of 
this section) and having at least one limitation illustrated in a 
drawing or amino acid or nucleotide material sequence, the ``drawing 
analysis section'' of the appendix shall consist of an annotated copy 
of the claim indicating in bold face between braces ({ {time} ) where 
each limitation is shown in the drawings or sequence. If there is no 
drawing or sequence, the drawing analysis section shall state that 
there is no drawing or sequence.{time} 
    Sec.  41.37(s), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Means or step plus function analysis section. [For each independent 
claim involved in the appeal and each dependent claim argued separately 
(see paragraph (o)(1) of this section) having a limitation that 
appellant regards as a means or step plus function limitation in the 
form permitted by the sixth paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112, for each such 
limitation, the ``means or step plus function analysis section'' in the 
appendix shall consist of an annotated copy of the claim (and, if 
necessary, any claim from which the claim argued separately depends) 
indicating in bold face between braces ({ {time} ) the page and line of 
the specification and the drawing figure and element numeral that 
describes the structure, material or acts corresponding to each claimed 
function.] {For each claim argued separately (see paragraph (o)(1) of 
this section) and for each limitation that appellant regards as a means 
or step plus function limitation in the form permitted by the sixth 
paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112, the ``means or step plus function analysis 
section'' of the appendix shall consist of an annotated copy of the 
claim indicating in bold face between braces ({ {time} ) the page and 
line of the specification and the drawing figure and element numeral 
that describes the structure, material or acts corresponding to each 
claimed function. If there is no means or step plus function 
limitation, the means or step plus function analysis section shall 
state that there are no means or step plus function limitations in the 
claims to be considered.{time} 
    Sec.  41.37(t), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Evidence section. The ``evidence section'' shall contain only 
papers which have been entered by the examiner. The evidence section 
shall include:
    (1) A table of contents.
    (2) [[Reserved.]] {The Office action setting out the rejection on 
appeal. If the Office action incorporates by reference any other Office 
action, then the Office action incorporated by reference shall also 
appear in the evidence section.{time} 
    (3) [[Reserved.]] {All evidence relied upon by the examiner in 
support of the rejection on appeal (including non-patent literature and 
foreign application and patent documents), except the specification, 
any drawings, U.S. patents or published U.S. applications.{time} 
    (4) [[Reserved.]] {The relevant portion of a paper filed by the 
appellant before the examiner which shows that an argument being made 
on appeal was made in the first instance to the examiner.{time} 
    (5) [Affidavits and declarations.] Affidavits and declarations, if 
any, and attachments to declarations, [before the examiner and which 
are relied upon by appellant in the appeal. An affidavit or declaration 
otherwise mentioned in the appeal brief which does not appear in the 
evidence section will not be considered.] {relied upon by appellant 
before the examiner.{time} 
    (6) [Other evidence filed prior to the notice of appeal.] Other 
evidence, if any, [before the examiner and filed prior to the date of 
the notice of appeal and relied upon by appellant in the appeal. Other 
evidence filed before the notice of appeal that is otherwise mentioned 
in the appeal brief and which does not appear in the evidence section 
will not be considered.] {relied upon by the appellant before the 
examiner.{time} 
    [(7) Other evidence filed after the notice of appeal. Other 
evidence relied upon by the appellant in the appeal and admitted into 
the file pursuant to Sec.  41.33(d) of this subpart. Other evidence 
filed after the notice of appeal that is otherwise mentioned in the 
appeal brief and which does not appear in the evidence section will not 
be considered.]
    Sec.  41.37(v), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Appeal brief format requirements. An appeal brief shall comply with 
Sec.  1.52 of this title and the following additional requirements:
    (1) Page and line numbering. The pages of the appeal brief, 
including all sections [in] {of{time}  the appendix, shall be 
consecutively numbered using Arabic numerals beginning with the first 
page of the appeal brief, which shall be numbered page 1. [If the 
appellant chooses to number the lines, line numbering may be within the 
left margin.] {The lines on each page of the appeal brief and, where 
practical, the appendix shall be consecutively numbered beginning with 
line 1 at the top of each page.{time} 
    (2) Double spacing. Double spacing shall be used except in 
headings, tables of contents, tables of authorities, [signature blocks 
and certificates of service.] {and signature blocks.{time}  Block 
quotations must be {double spaced and{time}  indented [and can be one 
and one half or double spaced].
    (3) [[Reserved.]] {Margins. Margins shall be at least one inch (2.5 
centimeters) on all sides. Line numbering may be within the left 
margin.{time} 
    (4) Font. The font [size] shall be [14 point,] {readable and clean, 
equivalent to 14 point Times New Roman,{time}  including the font for 
block quotations and footnotes.
    (5) Length of appeal brief. An appeal brief may not exceed [30] 
{25{time}  pages, excluding any statement of the real party in 
interest, statement of related

[[Page 32952]]

cases, [jurisdictional statement,] table of contents, table of 
authorities, [statement of amendments,] signature block, and appendix. 
An appeal brief may not incorporate another paper by reference. A 
request to exceed the page limit shall be made by petition under Sec.  
41.3 filed at least ten calendar days prior to the date the appeal 
brief is due.

Examiner's Answer (Sec.  41.39)

    Sec.  41.39(b), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    [No new ground of rejection.] {New rejection in examiner's 
answer.{time}  [An examiner's answer shall not include a new ground of 
rejection.] {An examiner's answer may include a new rejection. If an 
examiner's answer contains a rejection designated as a new rejection, 
appellant must, within two months from the date of the examiner's 
answer, exercise one of the following two options or the application 
will be deemed to be abandoned or the reexamination proceeding will be 
deemed to be terminated.{time} 
    {(1) Request to reopen prosecution. Request that prosecution be 
reopened before the examiner by filing a reply under Sec.  1.111 of 
this title with or without amendment or submission of evidence. Any 
amendment or evidence must be responsive to the new rejection. A 
request that complies with this paragraph will be entered and the 
application or patent under reexamination will be reconsidered by the 
examiner under the provisions of Sec.  1.112 of this title. A request 
under this paragraph will be treated as a request to withdraw the 
appeal.{time} 
    {(2) Request to maintain the appeal. Request that the appeal be 
maintained by filing a reply brief as set forth in Sec.  41.41 of this 
subpart. A reply brief may not be accompanied by any amendment or 
evidence, except an amendment canceling one or more claims which are 
subject to the new rejection. A reply which is accompanied by evidence 
or any other amendment will be treated as a request to reopen 
prosecution pursuant to paragraph (b)(1) of this section.{time} 
    Sec.  41.39(c), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Extension of time to file request. The time for filing a request 
under Sec.  41.39(b)(1) is extendable under the provisions of Sec.  
1.136(a) of this title as to applications and under the provisions of 
Sec.  1.550(c) of this title as to reexamination proceedings. A request 
for an extension of time for filing a request under paragraph (b)(2) of 
this section shall be presented as a petition under Sec.  41.3 of this 
part.{time} 

Reply Brief (Sec.  41.41)

    Sec.  41.41(c), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Extension of time to file reply brief. A request for an extension 
of time to file a reply brief shall be presented as a petition under 
Sec.  41.3 of this {sub{time} part.
    Sec.  41.41(d), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Content of reply brief. {A reply brief shall be limited to 
responding to points made in the examiner's answer.{time}  Except as 
otherwise set out in this section, the form and content of a reply 
brief are governed by the requirements for an appeal brief as set out 
in Sec.  41.37 of this subpart. A reply brief may not exceed [20] 
{fifteen{time}  pages, excluding any table of contents, table of 
authorities, {statement of timeliness,{time}  [and] signature block, 
{and supplemental appendix{time}  required by this section. {If the 
examiner enters and designates a rejection as a new rejection, the 
reply brief may not exceed twenty-five pages, excluding any table of 
contents, table of authorities, statement of timeliness, signature 
block, and supplemental appendix required by this section.{time}  A 
request to exceed the page limit shall be made by petition under Sec.  
41.3 of this part and filed at least ten calendar days before the reply 
brief is due. A reply brief must contain, under appropriate headings 
and in the order indicated, the following items:
    (1) Table of contents--see Sec.  41.37(i) of this subpart.
    (2) Table of authorities--see Sec.  41.37(j) of this subpart.
    (3) [[Reserved.]] {Statement of timeliness--see paragraph (e) of 
this section{time} .
    (4) Statement of [additional] facts--see paragraph (f) of this 
section.
    (5) Argument[--see paragraph (g) of this section.]
    {(6) Supplemental appendix.{time} 
    Sec.  41.41(e), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    [[Reserved.]] {Statement of timeliness. The ``statement of 
timeliness'' shall include the date that the examiner's answer was 
entered and the date that the reply is being filed. If the reply brief 
is filed after the time specified in this subpart, appellant must 
indicate the date an extension of time was requested and the date the 
request was granted.{time} 
    Sec.  41.41(g), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Argument. [Any arguments raised in the reply brief which are not 
responsive to points made in the examiner's answer will not be 
considered and will be treated as waived. {A reply brief is limited to 
responding to points made in the examiner's answer. Arguments generally 
restating the case will not be permitted in a reply brief.{time} 
    Sec.  41.41(h), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    [[Reserved.]] {Supplemental appendix. If the examiner entered a new 
rejection in the examiner's answer and appellant elects to respond to 
the new rejection in a reply brief, this item shall include:
    (1) A table of contents--see Sec.  41.37(i) of this subpart.
    (2) The examiner's answer.
    (3) All evidence upon which the examiner relied in support of the 
new rejection that does not already appear in the evidence section 
accompanying the appeal brief, except the specification, any drawings, 
U.S. patents and U.S. published applications.{time} 

{Examiner's response to reply brief (Sec.  41.43){time} 

    Sec.  41.43, as proposed, would be removed:
    {Upon consideration of a reply brief, the examiner may withdraw a 
rejection and reopen prosecution or may enter a supplemental examiner's 
answer responding to the reply brief.{time} 

{Supplemental reply brief (Sec.  41.44). [new rule number]{time} 

    Sec.  41.44(a), as proposed, would be removed:
    {Supplemental reply brief authorized. If an examiner enters a 
supplemental examiner's answer, an appellant may file a single 
supplemental reply brief responding to the supplemental examiner's 
answer.{time} 
    Sec.  41.44(b), as proposed, would be removed:
    {Time for filing supplemental reply brief. Appellant must file a 
supplemental reply brief within two months from the date of the mailing 
of the examiner's supplemental answer.{time} 
    Sec.  41.44(c), as proposed, would be removed:
    {Extension of time to file supplemental reply brief. A request for 
an extension of time shall be presented as a petition under Sec.  
41.3.{time} 
    Sec.  41.44(d), as proposed, would be removed:
    {Content of supplemental reply brief. Except as otherwise set out 
in this subparagraph, the form and content of a supplemental reply 
brief are governed by the requirements for appeal briefs as set out in 
Sec.  41.37 of this subpart. A supplemental reply brief may not exceed 
ten pages, excluding the table of contents, table of authorities, and 
statement of timeliness and signature block. A request to exceed the 
page limit shall be made by petition under Sec.  41.3 of this part and 
filed at least ten

[[Page 32953]]

calendar days before the supplemental reply brief is due. A 
supplemental reply brief must contain, under appropriate headings and 
in the order indicated, the following items:
    (1) Table of contents--see Sec.  41.37(i) of this subpart.
    (2) Table of authorities--see Sec.  41.37(j) of this subpart.
    (3) Statement of timeliness--see paragraph (e) of this section.
    (4) Argument--see paragraph (f) of this section.{time} 
    Sec.  41.44(e), as proposed, would be removed:
    {Statement of timeliness. The ``statement of timeliness'' shall 
establish that the supplemental reply brief was timely filed by 
including a statement of the date the supplemental examiner's answer 
was entered and the date the supplemental reply brief is being filed. 
If the supplemental reply brief is filed after the time specified in 
this subpart, appellant must indicate the date an extension of time was 
requested and the date the request was granted.{time} 
    Sec.  41.44(f), as proposed, would be removed:
    {Argument. The ``argument'' shall be limited to responding to 
points made in the supplemental examiner's answer. Arguments generally 
restating the case will not be permitted in a supplemental reply 
brief.{time} 
    Sec.  41.44(g), as proposed, would be removed:
    {No amendment or new evidence. No amendment or new evidence may 
accompany a supplemental reply brief.{time} 

Oral Hearing (Sec.  41.47)

    Sec.  41.47(c), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Time for filing request for oral hearing. Appellant must file a 
request for oral hearing within two months from the date of the 
examiner's answer {or supplemental examiner's answer{time} .
    Sec.  41.47(i), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Oral hearing limited to [Record] {record{time} . At oral hearing 
only the [Record] {record on appeal{time}  will be considered. No 
additional evidence may be offered to the Board in support of the 
appeal. Any argument not presented in a brief cannot be raised at an 
oral hearing.
    Sec.  41.47(j), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Recent legal development. Notwithstanding {sub{time} paragraph (i) 
of this section, an appellant or the examiner may rely on and call the 
Board's attention to a recent court or Board opinion which could have 
an effect on the manner in which the appeal is decided.
    Sec.  41.47(k), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Visual aids. Visual aids may be used at an oral hearing, but must 
be limited to {copies of{time}  documents [or artifacts] in the 
[Record] {record on appeal{time}  [or a model or an exhibit presented 
for demonstration purposes during an interview with the examiner]. At 
the oral hearing, appellant should provide one copy of each visual aid 
[(photograph in the case of an artifact, a model or an exhibit)] for 
each judge and one copy [to be added to the Record] {for the 
record{time} .

Decisions and Other Actions by the Board (Sec.  41.50)

    Sec.  41.50(b), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Remand. The Board may remand an application to the examiner. If in 
response to [a] {the{time}  remand [for further consideration of a 
rejection], the examiner enters [an] {supplemental{time}  examiner's 
answer, within two months the appellant shall exercise one of the 
following two options to avoid abandonment of the application or 
termination of a reexamination proceeding:
    (1) Request to reopen prosecution. Request that prosecution be 
reopened before the examiner by filing a reply under Sec.  1.111 of 
this title with or without amendment or submission of evidence. Any 
amendment or evidence must be responsive to the remand or issues 
discussed in the {supplemental{time}  examiner's answer. A request that 
complies with this paragraph will be entered and the application or 
patent under reexamination will be reconsidered by the examiner under 
the provisions of Sec.  1.112 of this title. A request under this 
paragraph will be treated as a request to dismiss the appeal.
    (2) Request to [re-docket] {maintain{time}  the appeal. The 
appellant may request that the Board re-docket the appeal (see Sec.  
41.35(a) of this subpart) and file a reply brief as set forth in Sec.  
41.41 of this subpart. A reply brief may not be accompanied by any 
amendment or evidence. A reply brief which is accompanied by an 
amendment or evidence will be treated as a request to reopen 
prosecution pursuant to paragraph (b)(1) of this section.
    Sec.  41.50(d), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    New [ground of] rejection. Should the Board have a basis not 
involved in the appeal for rejecting any pending claim, it may enter a 
new [ground of] rejection. A new [ground of] rejection shall be 
considered an interlocutory order and shall not be considered a final 
decision. If the Board enters a new [ground of] rejection, within two 
months appellant must exercise one of the following two options with 
respect to the new [ground of] rejection to avoid dismissal of the 
appeal as to any claim subject to the new [ground of] rejection:
    (1) Reopen prosecution. Submit an amendment of the claims subject 
to a new [ground of] rejection or new evidence relating to the new 
[ground of] rejection or both, and request that the matter be 
reconsidered by the examiner. The application or reexamination 
proceeding on appeal will be remanded to the examiner. A new [ground 
of] rejection by the Board is binding on the examiner unless, in the 
opinion of the examiner, the amendment or new evidence overcomes the 
new [ground of] rejection. In the event the examiner maintains the new 
[ground of] rejection, appellant may again appeal to the Board.
    (2) Request for rehearing. Submit a request for rehearing pursuant 
to Sec.  41.52 of this subpart relying on the [Record]{record on 
appeal{time} .
    Sec.  41.50(e), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Recommendation. In its opinion in support of its decision, the 
Board may include a recommendation, explicitly designated as such, of 
how a claim on appeal may be amended to overcome a specific rejection. 
When the Board makes a recommendation, appellant may file an amendment 
or take other action consistent with the recommendation. An amendment 
or other action, otherwise complying with statutory patentability 
requirements, will overcome the specific rejection. An examiner, 
however, [upon return of the application or reexamination proceeding to 
the jurisdiction of the examiner,] may enter a new [ground of] 
rejection of a claim amended in conformity with a recommendation, when 
appropriate.
    Sec.  41.50(g), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Extension of time to take action. A request for an extension of 
time to respond to a request for briefing and information under 
paragraph (f) of this section is not authorized. A request for an 
extension of time to respond to Board action under paragraphs (b) and 
(d) of this section shall be presented as a petition under Sec.  41.3 
of this {sub{time} part.

Rehearing (Sec.  41.52)

    Sec.  41.52(b), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Time for filing request for rehearing. Any request for rehearing 
must be filed within two months from the date of the

[[Page 32954]]

decision [mailed]{entered{time}  by the Board.
    Sec.  41.52(c), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Extension of time to file request for rehearing. A request for an 
extension of time shall be presented as a petition under Sec.  41.3 of 
this {sub{time} part.
    Sec.  41.52(d), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Content of request for rehearing. {A request for rehearing shall 
state with particularity the points believed to have been 
misapprehended or overlooked by the Board.{time}  The form of a request 
for rehearing is governed by the requirements of Sec.  41.37(v) of this 
subpart, except that a request for rehearing may not exceed [10] 
{ten{time}  pages, excluding any table of contents, table of 
authorities, {statement of timeliness,{time}  and signature block. A 
request to exceed the page limit shall be made by petition under Sec.  
41.3 at least ten calendar days before the request for rehearing is 
due. A request for rehearing must contain, under appropriate headings 
and in the order indicated, the following items:
    (1) Table of contents--see Sec.  41.37(i) of this subpart.
    (2) Table of authorities--see 41.37(j) of this subpart.
    (3) [[Reserved.]] {Statement of timeliness--see paragraph (e) of 
this section.{time} 
    (4) Argument--see paragraph (f) of this section.
    Sec.  41.52(e), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    [[Reserved.]] {Statement of timeliness. The ``statement of 
timeliness'' shall establish that the request for rehearing was timely 
filed by including a statement of the date the decision sought to be 
reheard was entered and the date the request for rehearing is being 
filed. If the request for rehearing is filed after the time specified 
in this subpart, appellant must indicate the date an extension of time 
was requested and the date the request was granted.{time} 
    Sec.  41.52(f), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Argument. [A request for rehearing shall state with particularity 
the points believed to have been misapprehended or overlooked by the 
Board.] In filing a request for rehearing, the argument shall adhere to 
the following format: ``On page x, lines y-z of the Board's opinion, 
the Board states that [set out what was stated]. The point 
misapprehended or overlooked was made to the Board in [identify paper, 
page and line where argument was made to the Board] [or the point was 
first made in the opinion of the Board]. The response is [state 
response].'' As part of each response, appellant shall refer to the 
page number and line or drawing number of [a document in] the [Record] 
{record on appeal{time} . [A] {No{time}  general restatement of the 
case [will not be considered an argument that the Board has 
misapprehended or overlooked a point.] {is permitted in a request for 
rehearing.{time}  A new argument cannot be made in a request for 
rehearing, except:
    (1) New [ground of] rejection. Appellant may respond to a new 
[ground of] rejection entered pursuant to Sec.  41.50(d)(2) of this 
subpart.
    (2) Recent legal development. Appellant may rely on and call the 
Board's attention to a recent court or Board opinion which is relevant 
to an issue decided in the appeal.

Sanctions (Sec.  41.56)

    Sec.  41.56(a), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Imposition of sanctions. [The Chief Administrative Patent Judge or 
an expanded panel of the Board may impose a sanction] {A sanction may 
be imposed{time}  against an appellant for misconduct, including:
    (1) Failure to comply with an order entered in the appeal or an 
applicable rule.
    (2) Advancing or maintaining a misleading or frivolous request for 
relief or argument.
    (3) Engaging in dilatory tactics.
    Sec.  41.56(b), as proposed, would be revised as follows:
    Nature of sanction. Sanctions may include entry of:
    (1) An order declining to enter a docket{ing{time}  notice.
    (2) An order holding certain facts to have been established in the 
appeal.
    (3) An order expunging a paper or precluding an appellant from 
filing a paper.
    (4) An order precluding an appellant from presenting or contesting 
a particular issue.
    (5) An order excluding evidence.
    (6) [[Reserved.]] {An order requiring terminal disclaimer of patent 
term.{time} 
    (7) An order holding an application on appeal to be abandoned or a 
reexamination proceeding terminated.
    (8) An order dismissing an appeal.
    (9) An order denying an oral hearing.
    (10) An order terminating an oral hearing.

Discussion of Comments

Generally

    Comment 1. Several comments expressed a concern that many of the 
appeals rules, as proposed, are not necessary and will not help the 
Board resolve appeals.
    Answer. A review of the comments as a whole suggests that many have 
overlooked the fact that (1) the overall appeal process begins with the 
notice of appeal and ends with a decision of the Board and (2) that the 
process from notice of appeal to decision of the Board is bifurcated 
within the Office. The Office bifurcates the overall appeal process 
because some of the steps are carried out in the Technology Centers 
while other steps are carried out before the Board. The notice of 
appeal and appeal brief are filed while the appeal process is before 
the Technology Center. Many of the requirements of the rules will help 
the Board and Technology Center personnel. For example, a table of 
contents and table of authorities helps Technology Center personnel 
(e.g., the examiner and conferees in appeals) promptly locate 
information in a brief. A jurisdictional statement will provide a road 
map on whether an application on appeal is abandoned and will enable 
Technology Center personnel to promptly advise an applicant in the 
event an application is abandoned. Identification of whether an 
argument in an appeal brief is ``new'' will enable Technology Center 
personnel to evaluate the new argument and determine whether a 
rejection should be withdrawn. Additionally, if a ``new'' argument is 
made, Technology Center personnel will know that if the appeal is to go 
forward that the argument will need to be answered. The rules should be 
viewed as making the overall appeal process, albeit bifurcated, 
efficient so as to eliminate at an early stage appeals which should not 
go forward and make appeals which go forward capable of prompt 
resolution.
    Comment 2. A comment maintained that the proposed rule changes are 
``substantive and NOT interpretive.''
    Answer. The rules are promulgated pursuant to the Director's 
authority to establish regulations which govern the conduct of 
proceedings in the Office, including regulations governing ex parte 
appeals. 35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2)(A). The rules are merely procedural rules, 
not substantive rules.
    Comment 3. A comment suggested that the proposed appeals rules 
would increase application pendency, inter alia, because examiners 
would delay examination until the filing of an appeal brief. According 
to the comment, delays occur under the former rules.
    Answer. The premise of the comment is that under the former rules 
the examiners are not doing their job and are waiting for an appeal to 
examine a patent application. The Director has confidence that 
examiners are doing their job correctly. Furthermore, most

[[Page 32955]]

applications are examined without the need for filing a notice of 
appeal. Therefore the comment is addressing a very small percentage of 
all applications filed in the Office. If there are some examiners who 
in the opinion of an applicant are not doing their job, the applicant 
has a responsibility to call the matter to the attention of a Director 
in the involved Technology Center. The Office cannot address and 
respond to general comments about perceived improper behavior of 
examiners. Like the examination of a patent application, perceived 
inappropriate examination can be dealt with only on a case-by-case and 
examiner-by-examiner basis. A Technology Center Director without 
knowledge of difficulties experienced by an applicant is not likely to 
be able take to steps to improve the examination process, whether 
before or after a notice of appeal is filed. See Keebler Co. v. Murray 
Bakery Products, 866 F.2d 1386, 1388 (Fed. Cir. 1989) (noting that 
prescience is not a required characteristic of Office personnel). 
Unless a matter is called to the attention of an Office manager in a 
position to look into the facts, it is unlikely the behavior which the 
comment alleges occurs can be corrected.
    Comment 4. A comment indicated that from 40 to 60 percent of 
appealed cases are reopened or allowed under existing rules. Another 
comment indicated that only 50% of the appeals are transmitted to the 
Board after the newly instituted appeal conferences in the Technology 
Centers. The comments go on to state that applicants should not have to 
file appeal briefs (either under the former rules or the new rules) 
when many appeals never reach the Board. Other comments made similar 
observations.
    Answer. For appellants taking advantage of the Office's newly 
instituted pre-appeal brief conferences, an appeal brief is not due 
until the results of the pre-appeal conference are mailed to appellant. 
Nevertheless, an increasing number of appeals proceed to the Board for 
resolution. These rules establish procedures which will permit those 
appeals reaching the Board to be resolved in an efficient manner.
    Comment 5. A comment suggested that many of the appeals rules place 
a burden on an applicant to establish patentability as opposed to 
requiring the Office to establish unpatentability.
    Answer. The comment misapprehends the nature of the rules. It is 
the examiner's function to establish that claims are unpatentable. An 
applicant dissatisfied with the examiner's unpatentability holding may 
appeal to the Board. The appeals rules are not designed to make the 
applicant prove patentability. However, they are designed to require 
the applicant on appeal to show that the examiner erred. The rules also 
require the applicant to provide enough information so that the Board 
can determine what fact or legal matter is in dispute and resolve any 
dispute. In many appeals, the Board has had to spend considerable time 
trying to determine what matters are in issue.
    Comment 6. The tenor of many comments is that applicants are 
concerned with post-issuance matters, such as infringement cases. The 
premise of the comments is that an applicant (soon to be a patentee) 
should not have to state its position on various matters, including, 
e.g., (1) the meaning of claims, (2) the level of skill in the art, and 
(3) what element in a specification supports a means or step plus 
function claim. The comments imply that if an applicant has to tell the 
Board what its claim means, post-issuance doctrine of equivalents 
positions may be compromised. Some comments suggest that the more which 
needs to be said, the more likely an applicant will face allegations of 
inequitable conduct when a patent is sought to be enforced.
    Answer. The Office is not unsympathetic to some of the concerns 
expressed. However, it is also true that a patent file serves a public 
notice function. To the extent that an applicant has to explain the 
meaning of its claims, etc., to the Board to secure a reversal, no 
applicant should be concerned. The examination process should be a 
transparent process where prosecution reveals much about the scope and 
meaning of a patent. Patent prosecution is not a procedure whereby an 
applicant should be allowed to maneuver during prosecution only to 
surprise the public when the patent issues. For these reasons, it is 
difficult to see why an applicant would want to resist providing the 
information the Board needs to determine whether an examiner erred. In 
this respect, the Federal Circuit recently made the following 
observation:

    Where the applicant expressly and unambiguously states * * * 
[an] intention to claim broadly, the claim construction issue is 
easier and the question becomes one of validity--whether the 
specification supports the full breadth of the new claims. On the 
other hand, where--as in this case--the patentee has not been 
explicit about the scope of the new claims, the case can pose 
interdependent problems of both claim construction and validity.

    Saunders Group, Inc. v. Comfortrac, Inc., 492 F.3d 1326, 1336 (Fed. 
Cir. 2007). The appeal rules address the Federal Circuit's observation, 
at least for those cases which require an appeal to be decided by the 
Board.
    Comment 7. Several comments called attention to events which are 
said to have transpired in particular patent applications prosecuted by 
those submitting the comments. According to the comments, examiners are 
said to have mishandled each of the applications.
    Answer. The rule making process is not a vehicle for correcting 
errors which are said to have occurred during the prosecution of 
particular patent applications. The comments were considered only to 
the extent that they provided general observations and suggestions 
relevant to a rule under consideration.
    Comment 7A. Several comments called attention to mathematical 
analysis of data compiled by the comment provider. According to the 
comments, the analysis argued against implementation of the rules.
    Answer. The data and analysis have been considered only to the 
extent that each is relevant to a rule under consideration. The data 
and analysis do not provide any justification for not implementing the 
rules.
    Comment 8. A comment suggested that a Regulatory Flexibility Act 
analysis is required. 5 U.S.C. 603.
    Answer. A Regulatory Flexibility Act certification or analysis is 
required only for proposed rules that are required to be published for 
notice and comment. Because these rules are procedural, they are not 
required to be published for notice and comment. Nevertheless, the 
Office chose to publish these rules for comment prior to adoption of 
the final rules in order to solicit valuable input from the public. See 
the Regulatory Flexibility Act section under Rule Making Considerations 
of this final rule for further information regarding certification of 
the rules under 5 U.S.C. 605(b).
    Comment 8A. Several comments stated that the notice of proposed 
rule making should have been published earlier than July 30, 2007.
    Answer. Although prior notice and an opportunity for public comment 
are not required for the procedural changes in the rules as proposed, 
the USPTO published a notice of proposed rule making in the Federal 
Register as soon as the proposed rules were in an appropriate form for 
publication.
    Comment 9. Two comments suggested that the Office has not complied 
with the Paperwork Reduction Act; specifically with regard to Bd.R. 
41.37(t) and (u) and 41.41(h)(2) and (3).
    Answer. Paragraphs (t) and (u) of section 41.37 have been revised 
and do

[[Page 32956]]

not require the collection of information beyond what is already 
required by the current rules. Paragraph (h), including subparagraphs 
(2) and (3), of section 41.41 have been reserved.
    Comment 9A. A comment suggested that the Office has not complied 
with Executive Order 12866.
    Answer. For reasons given at the end of this notice, the Office has 
complied with Executive Order 12866.

Bd.R. 41.3(a)

    Comment 10. Several comments suggested that delegating authority to 
the Chief Administrative Patent Judge to decide certain petitions for 
extensions of time might result in delays. Other comments noted that 
there have been occasions when petitions have not been promptly 
forwarded to deciding officials within the Office.
    Answer. Bd.R. 41.3 requires that a petition for an extension be 
filed with the Office and addressed to the Chief Judge. Consideration 
of requests for extensions decided by a single Office employee will 
maximize uniform treatment of petitions for an extension of time.
    Comment 11. A comment suggested that the Chief Administrative 
Patent Judge would not be in a position to know examiner's hours and 
schedules and therefore would not be in a good position to decide 
petitions for an extension of time.
    Answer. An examiner's hours or schedule are not relevant to whether 
an applicant should receive an extension of time.

Bd.R. 41.4(a)

    Comment 12. A comment observed that the Federal Register Notice (72 
FR at 41,472), under ``Timeliness of Petitions,'' states that the Chief 
Administrative Patent Judge will determine (for the most part) whether 
extensions of time are to be granted. Other Board rules state that a 
request for an extension of time must be presented as a petition under 
Bd.R. 41.3. The comment felt that the Notice gives an impression that 
all requests for extensions of time under Bd.R. 41.4(a) would have to 
be by way of a petition under Bd.R. 41.3. If so, then the comment 
suggests that Bd.R. 41.4(a) should be amended to provide that a 
petition under Bd.R. 41.3 is required.
    Answer. The suggestion to change Bd.R. 41.4(a) is not being 
adopted. Bd.R. 41.4(a) provides that extensions of time will be granted 
only on a showing of good cause except as otherwise provided by rule. 
Bd.R. 41.3 (1) applies to all cases pending before the Board, including 
interference cases and requests for an extension of time by petition 
under Bd.R. 41.4, and (2) sets the standard under which extensions of 
time are granted. A petition for an extension of time under Bd.R. 41.3 
is required only where another rule requires the petition to be filed, 
e.g. (1) Bd.R. 41.41(c) (reply brief), (2) Bd.R. 41.47(d) (request for 
oral hearing), and (3) Bd.R. 41.52(c) (request for rehearing).
    Comment 13. A comment noted that possible requests for extensions 
of time under the current appeal process might lead to unwarranted 
patent term adjustment. The comment suggests that an amendment could be 
made to Rule 704(c)(9) to deal with abuses of the extension of time 
practice and the need for a petition for an extension of time is not 
necessary.
    Answer. A possible amendment to Rule 704(c)(9) is beyond the scope 
of the notice of proposed rule making. Nevertheless, one factor in 
determining whether a petition for an extension of time should be 
granted is any possible patent term adjustment resulting from any 
extension. In the case where granting a petition for an extension of 
time would appear to result in unwarranted patent term adjustment, a 
decision on petition could make an extension conditioned on an 
appellant waiving its right to patent term adjustment equivalent to the 
length of the extension.

Bd.R. 41.20

    Comment 14. A comment suggested that if an examiner makes a new 
ground of rejection in an examiner's answer and the applicant elects 
further prosecution before the examiner, then the appeal fees (notice 
of appeal and appeal brief) should be refunded or applied to any future 
appeal.
    Answer. The rules are being amended to provide that a new ground of 
rejection cannot be made in the examiner's answer.

Bd.R. 41.30

    Comment 15. One comment suggested that the transcript of oral 
argument be considered part of the ``record on appeal.''
    Answer. Since any ``transcript of oral argument'' is entered in the 
file of the application or reexamination on appeal, it is part of the 
Record. However, one concern in making the transcript part of the 
Record will be attempts by appellants at oral hearing to raise ``new'' 
issues not previously raised. A new argument raised for the first time 
at an oral hearing will not be considered. See Bd.R. 41.47(i), which is 
based on principles announced in Packard Press, Inc. v. Hewlett-Packard 
Co., 227 F.3d 1352, 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2000); Henry v. Department of 
Justice, 157 F.3d 863, 865 (Fed. Cir. 1998); and LeVeen v. Edwards, 57 
USPQ2d 1406, 1414 (Bd. Pat. App. & Int. 2000).
    Comment 16. A comment suggested that the definition of ``record on 
appeal'' is too broad because it could include, for example, U.S. 
patents cited in an IDS which are not mentioned by either the examiner 
or the appellant. The comment suggested that the definition be limited 
to documents relied upon in the appeal.
    Answer. The Record consists of the material in the official file of 
the application or reexamination on appeal. However, unless a 
particular document in the Record has been mentioned or relied upon, a 
document cannot form part of the ``evidence'' considered by the 
examiner or the Board. Patents cited in an IDS, but not relied upon by 
either the examiner or the appellant in the appeal will not be 
considered by the Board. Likewise, Office actions, responses to Office 
actions, prior art and evidence cited earlier in the prosecution, but 
not relied upon in the appeal, would not be considered.
    Comment 17. A comment suggested that the record on appeal (Bd.R. 
41.30 and Bd.R. 41.37(t)) should be ``the entire administrative 
record.''
    Answer. The suggestion is adopted. A definition of ``Record'' has 
been added to the definitions in Bd.R. 41.30. However, as the answer to 
the previous comments makes clear, a document in the Record not called 
to the attention of the examiner and the Board will not be considered. 
A document called to the Board's attention the first time in a petition 
for rehearing will almost always be denied consideration. Experience 
shows that after an adverse decision by the Board, on appeal to the 
Federal Circuit an appellant will refer to documents in the court brief 
which were not called to the attention of the Board. The Federal 
Circuit is entitled to know that the document relied upon in an appeal 
before it was addressed in the arguments made to the Board. The appeal 
brief, reply brief and request for rehearing will establish what part 
of the Record was relied upon in the appeal by the appellant, the 
examiner and the Board.
    Comment 18. A comment suggested that the definition of the record 
on appeal gives preferential status to U.S. patents and published U.S. 
applications. The comment goes on to say that published foreign 
applications and technical journal articles are also important.
    Answer. Given the added definition of Record in Bd.R. 41.30, it is 
believed that

[[Page 32957]]

any concern in the comment has been answered.

Bd.R. 41.31(c)

    Comment 19. A suggestion was made that Bd.R. 41.31(c) be amended to 
permit an appellant to file a notice of appeal without the payment of 
any ``late'' fee (see Rule 136(a) and Rule 550(c)) when there is a 
delay in deciding a petition (see Bd.R. 41.31(e)).
    Answer. The suggestion is beyond the scope of the notice of 
proposed rule making and will not be adopted.
    Comment 20. A comment suggested that an applicant should be able to 
appeal to the Board an examiner's refusal to enter an amendment.
    Answer. The suggestion is not adopted. However, consistent with 
long-standing practice, review of an examiner's decision not entering 
an amendment will remain available by petition.

Bd.R. 41.31(e)

    Comment 21. A comment suggested that the ``waiver'' language of 
Bd.R. 41.31(e) would apply to a continuing application and a request 
for continued examination (RCE). The comment suggested that waiver 
would not be appropriate in a continuation or an RCE.
    Answer. The language ``in the application or reexamination on 
appeal'' has been added to the end of Bd.R. 41.31(e). From a practical 
point of view, however, a waiver in a reexamination may mean the issue 
has been ultimately waived for all time.

Bd.R. 41.33(b)

    Comment 22. A comment suggested that Bd.R. 41.33(b) would preclude 
entry of an amendment requested by the examiner. The same comment noted 
that Bd.R. 41.37(d) would preclude entry of evidence requested by the 
examiner.
    Answer. The comment misperceives the authority of the examiner and 
the purpose of the appeal rules in general. Bd.R. 41.33(b) and Bd.R. 
41.33(d) advise applicants when they can expect that an amendment or 
evidence will be entered. The rules advise an applicant when it would 
be futile to file an amendment or evidence. However, nothing in the 
rule should be construed as precluding an examiner from suggesting an 
amendment or evidence and entering the amendment or evidence if timely 
filed. An appellant should realize that the examiner may reopen the 
prosecution. With limited exceptions, the appeal rules do not purport 
to require or not require action by the examiner or other Office 
personnel. The rules advise applicants what the Office requires and 
expects from them. Practices applicable to what an examiner should do 
are best left to administrative orders and the Manual of Patent 
Examining Procedure. Stated in other terms, the Director does not need 
a rule to tell Office personnel what they can or cannot do; the 
Director has inherent authority to issue administrative instructions on 
how agency business is to be handled by Office personnel.

Bd.R. 41.33(d)

    Comment 23. Several comments noted that Bd.R. 41.33(d) would permit 
evidence filed after a notice of appeal if the evidence overcomes some 
or all rejections. On the other hand, the supplementary information 
states (72 FR at 41,473, col. 3, near the end of the first full 
paragraph) that even where good cause is shown, if the evidence does 
not ``overcome all rejections,'' the evidence would not be admitted.
    Answer. The supplementary information should have said ``overcome 
some or all rejections.'' There is a possibility that the language 
``some or all rejections'' could be read to mean that all rejections 
must be overcome. The language of Bd.R. 41.33(d) has been changed to 
read ``at least one rejection''.
    Comment 24. A comment suggested that after the notice of appeal, if 
the examiner has considered evidence to the extent that the evidence 
does not overcome some or all rejections, the evidence should be 
entered in the record.
    Answer. The suggestion is not being adopted. There are two 
conditions which must be met for an applicant to have evidence 
``admitted'' into the record after the filing of a notice of appeal. 
First, an applicant must show good cause for having not earlier 
presented the evidence. Second, the evidence must be of such weight and 
character as to overcome some or all rejections. Nothing in the rule 
should be construed as precluding an examiner from suggesting the 
presentation of particular evidence and entering the evidence if timely 
filed. An applicant should realize that the examiner may enter the 
evidence and reopen the prosecution.
    Comment 25. A comment suggested that an applicant should have a 
right to file additional evidence after a notice of appeal has been 
filed.
    Answer. The suggestion is not adopted. The time for evidence to be 
filed, except as otherwise provided in a rule, e.g., Bd.R. 41.33(d) and 
(e), is prior to the notice of appeal.

Bd.R. 41.33(e)

    Comment 26. A suggestion was made that an appellant be authorized 
to submit ``new'' evidence to respond to a ``new'' fact or conclusion 
made by the examiner for the first time in a final rejection or an 
Examiner's Answer responding to an appeal brief.
    Answer. The suggestion will not be adopted. The notice of proposed 
rulemaking does not address presentation of evidence in response to a 
final rejection. See Rule 116 for practice after final rejection. If 
the examiner's answer states a new fact or conclusion, an appellant may 
take the position that the rejection is a new ground of rejection and 
request that the examiner reopen prosecution to consider new evidence. 
If the examiner agrees, prosecution would be reopened and the evidence 
would be considered. If the examiner disagrees, then the evidence would 
not be admitted. An appellant dissatisfied with an examiner's decision 
should seek administrative relief by petition.

Bd.R. 41.35(a)

    Comment 27. Several comments suggested that delays occur in the 
Office between the filing of the notice of appeal and transmittal of 
the appeal to the Board. Related comments suggested that the Office 
should impose a time limit on how long an application may remain with a 
Technology Center after a reply brief is filed. It was suggested that a 
maximum period of three months should be ``imposed.''
    Answer. Under the rules, the Office expects that an application 
will be forwarded immediately to the Board after a reply brief is 
filed. Any delay in forwarding appeals to the Board following filing of 
a reply brief (or after the time expires for filing a reply brief) are 
an internal operating matter which is not appropriately addressed in a 
rule. Nevertheless, the Director agrees with the comment to the extent 
that a delay in transmitting an appeal to the Board is not appropriate. 
There are two steps an appellant can take which would help the Office 
minimize delays. First, if appellant does not intend to file a reply 
brief, a one-page notice to the Office to that effect would trigger the 
appeal being forwarded to the Board. Second, if after filing a reply 
brief, an appellant does not receive within a reasonable time a docket 
notice from the Board, a one-page notice to the Office to that effect 
would help the Office promptly transmit the appeal to the Board.

Bd.R. 41.35(a)

    Comment 28. A comment suggested that Bd.R. 41.35(a) should be 
amended

[[Page 32958]]

to provide that jurisdiction over an appeal begins when a notice of 
appeal is filed. According to the suggestion, transferring jurisdiction 
when a docket notice is mailed could mean that a successful appellant 
may not receive all patent term adjustments to which it may be 
entitled.
    Answer. The suggestion is not being adopted. Patent term adjustment 
associated with an ex parte appeal is governed by Rule 703(b)(4) and 
other provisions of Subpart F of Part 1 of 37 CFR.

Bd.R. 41.37

    Comment 29. A comment suggested that the appeal brief rules will 
result in unnecessary exposure to allegations of inequitable conduct. 
It appears the comment is particularly concerned with evidence in the 
application file not called to the attention of the Board in the 
evidence section (Bd.R. 41.37(t)).
    Answer. These rules limit the content of the evidence section 
compared to the content required by the rules as proposed. In any 
event, inequitable conduct requires intent to deceive. If in an appeal 
brief an appellant refers to and explains the significance of a 
document already in the official file of the application or 
reexamination on appeal, it is difficult to see how there can be intent 
to deceive.

Bd.R. 41.37(a)

    Comment 30. A comment suggested that the language ``proceedings on 
the appeal are terminated without further action on the part of the 
Office'' needs clarification.
    Answer. The language is intended to put applicants on notice that 
if an appeal brief is not timely filed, the appeal is ``over'' and that 
no notice to that effect should be expected from the Office.
    An applicant knows when an appeal brief is due and whether the 
appeal brief is to be filed. Bd.R. 41.37(a) advises the applicant that 
it should not expect a notice that proceedings on the appeal are 
terminated (although the Office may nevertheless issue a notice in the 
form of a notice of abandonment). If there are no allowed claims, then 
any continuing applications (35 U.S.C. 120) would have to be filed 
before the date the appeal brief was due. If there are allowed claims, 
the application on appeal continues to be a pending application. The 
examiner would take such steps as may be needed to advance prosecution 
to issue, including making a requirement for the applicant to take 
certain action within a period of time. Rejected claims on appeal would 
be cancelled since a failure to file an appeal brief constitutes a 
waiver of any right to those claims in the application on appeal. The 
rule does not affect the pending status of any application in which 
there is an allowed claim.

Bd.R. 41.37(c)

    Comment 31. Several comments suggested that a review should be 
taken in the Technology Center after a notice of appeal is filed and 
that an appeal brief should not be due until the review is complete. 
For example, it was suggested that an SPE (supervisory patent examiner) 
review the claims based on the last amendment filed. Alternatively, an 
applicant would be permitted to specify one claim for consideration and 
if that claim turned out to be allowable, the applicant would forego 
the appeal.
    Answer. The suggestions are not adopted principally on the ground 
that the reviews involved add to pendency. There are two problems 
associated with additional pendency. The first is overall pendency of 
an application. The second is patent term adjustment for time spent in 
appeals.

Bd.R. 41.37(e)

    Comment 32. Several comments suggested that the appeal brief 
requirements seem disproportionately burdensome for applicants.
    Answer. The Director recognizes that some additional burden may be 
imposed by these appeal rules. As a result of comments received from 
the public, the requirement for content of appeal briefs has been 
reduced, particularly in the need for an evidence section. 
Nevertheless, it also must be recognized that the number of appeals is 
expected to rise significantly in the near future. A rise in the number 
of appeals should not mean that an applicant taking an appeal should 
have to wait an unreasonable period to receive a decision on appeal. 
One possible way to ensure continued prompt decisions is to add judges 
to the Board so that an increased volume can be handled within current 
time frames. However, continued hiring of new employees will not by 
itself reduce backlogs. There is a practical limit to the number of 
judges and employees the Office can hire. Alternative procedures and 
techniques must be found to permit the Board to efficiently handle the 
expected rise in appeals.
    Many of the comments are based on an underlying premise that the 
commentator's appeal will be considered and that the requirements of 
the rules impose an unwarranted burden in that appeal. Absent some 
adjustment which permits the agency to efficiently consider and decide 
appeals, the premise that the commentator's appeal will be considered 
promptly may turn out to be incorrect; while the appeal eventually will 
be reached and considered, the appeal may end up in a large backlog 
only to be reached when time permits. The rules seek to implement 
procedures which will assist the Office in avoiding delays in deciding 
appeals. However, to avoid delays, the Office needs help from 
applicants taking an appeal. The rules set out the help the Office 
needs.
    Comment 33. A comment made a suggestion that, under certain 
conditions, the Director consider a ``mini-appeal brief'' as an 
alternative to an appeal brief. Those conditions were identified as 
including (1) a single rejection as to all claims on appeal, (2) all 
claims stand or fall together, and (3) no evidence is relied upon by 
the applicant (e.g., declarations or publications). The comment 
suggested that a ``mini-appeal brief'' could be limited to 10 pages and 
would not need to include all the sections required by Bd.R. 41.37(e). 
See also Comment 91.
    Answer. The suggestion is not being adopted, principally because 
the content of a possible mini-brief was not the subject of the notice 
of proposed rulemaking. Accordingly and apart from the suggestion, the 
Office does not have the necessary input or experience under these 
rules to determine the parameters for a mini-brief. The Office will 
continue to study the idea of a mini-brief and after some experience 
under the rules as amended may again consider the viability of a mini-
brief.
    Comment 34. A comment suggested that rule changes are not needed 
because the Board was able to reduce a backlog of 9,000 appeals ten 
years ago to a manageable number of appeals.
    Answer. The comment is correct that the number of pending appeals 
was reduced. However, the reduction took place by adding judges. As 
earlier noted, however, the Office cannot solve all of its obligations 
by adding personnel. In FY 1998, the Board received 4,466 appeals and 
had 46 judges (some of whom were assigned to handle interference cases) 
to handle the appeals. In FY 2000, the Board received only 2,981 
appeals, but had increased the number of judges to 65 (some of whom 
were assigned to handle interference cases). The Board faced a 
significant challenge in FY 2007. The two-year growth in FY 2006 and FY 
2007, of approximately 50%, is by far the largest two-year growth in 
patent appeal receipts in the years tracked at the Board. In FY 2007, 
the Board received 4,639 appeals. The FY 2007

[[Page 32959]]

receipts represent over a 38% increase from the prior year. In 
contrast, FY 1994, FY 1995, and FY 1996 receipts were: 3,667; 4,318; 
and 4,466 appeals, respectively (not including returns). For this 
three-year growth, the percent rise in patent appeal receipts was only 
a 21.8% increase, but resulted in a 900 appeal backlog. Adding to the 
challenge, the Board has lost many experienced judges due to 
retirement. Since the high point of 66 judges in FY 2002, Board 
membership fell to 55 judges at the beginning of FY 2007. Of the 66 
judges on board in FY 2002, only 40 are here today. Moreover, at the 
end of FY 2007, approximately 38% of the judges were newly hired within 
the last two years. This represents the highest proportion of newly 
hired judges in recent Board history.

Bd.R. 41.37(f)

    Comment 35. A comment suggested that the language in Bd.R. 41.37(f) 
``in such a manner as to readily permit a member of the Board to 
determine whether recusal would be appropriate'' is not clear. Rather 
than leaving it to the applicant, the comment suggests that the rule 
itself spell out what information is required.
    Answer. The requirement for an identification of a real party in 
interest is to avoid participation in an appeal by an administrative 
patent judge who has an ethical obligation of recusal. As the comment 
noted, when the real party in interest is an assignee, e.g., a company, 
compliance with the rule is straightforward. However, often the real 
party in interest is a licensee prosecuting an application with the 
approval of the assignee. Sometimes, the real party in interest is a 
group of organizations each with varying interests. No rule can specify 
all possible circumstances under which an entity or individual needs to 
be identified. Accordingly, the rule identifies the purpose of why 
information is being requested so that registered practitioners, 
familiar with the entities and individuals involved, can exercise 
professional judgment to notify the Board of circumstances which might 
warrant recusal.

Bd.R. 41.37(g)

    Comment 36. A comment suggested that the related proceedings be 
made clear. In addition, the comment suggested that the ``known to 
appellant, the appellant's legal representative, or assignee'' can be a 
very large number of people in a large corporate environment.
    Answer. The nature of the related cases to be identified is present 
in Rule 41.37(c)(1)(ii) and has not presented any known problem to 
date. Rather than attempt to change the language defining a related 
case, the Office will leave the language the same in Bd.R. 41.37(g) and 
observe whether problems arise in the future.
    The suggestion concerning large corporate entities has merit. If a 
corporation has a patent department with units in New York and Colorado 
or a law firm has offices in Chicago and Los Angeles, the patent 
department and law firm could find it difficult to comply with the 
rule. Accordingly, the language in Proposed Bd.R. 41.37(g) ``known to 
appellant, appellant's legal representative or assignee'' has been 
changed to ``known to any inventors, any attorneys or agents who 
prepared or prosecuted the application on appeal and any other person 
who was substantively involved in the preparation or prosecution of the 
application on appeal.'' The changed language conforms closely to the 
individuals mentioned in Rule 56(c) and narrows the individuals who 
need to be consulted.

Bd.R. 41.37(h)

    Comment 37. Several comments suggested that a jurisdictional 
statement is not necessary.
    Answer. Reference is made to Comment 1 for an explanation of why a 
jurisdictional statement helps the overall appeal process.
    A prudent practitioner will always check prior to filing a notice 
of appeal that the notice is being timely filed. Likewise, a prudent 
practitioner will check prior to filing an appeal brief that the appeal 
brief is timely filed. The jurisdictional statement will simply 
memorialize the practitioner's check and will help Board personnel 
confirm that the application or reexamination proceeding on appeal is 
pending and not ``abandoned'' or ``terminated.'' In the event a check 
reveals that an abandonment or termination has occurred, the applicant 
or patent owner can take advantage of available revival remedies at an 
early date and avoid an unnecessary dismissal of an appeal.
    Comment 38. A comment asked the question: When is a petition for an 
extension of time under Rule 136(a) granted?
    Answer. Assuming that a petition for an extension of time complies 
procedurally with the rule and that the required fee is paid, a 
petition for an extension of time under Rule 136(a) is granted 
``automatically'' upon its filing. In a jurisdictional statement it 
would be appropriate to state that: ``A petition for an extension of 
time under Rule 136(a) was filed and granted on [state date petition 
filed].''

Bd.R. 41.37(i)

    Comment 39. A comment suggested that subsection (i) should precede 
subsections (f), (g) and (h) and that the Table of Contents should be 
item (1) in Bd.R. 41.37(e).
    Answer. The suggestion is not being adopted because the comment 
does not indicate why a change is necessary.
    Comment 40. A comment suggested that a table of contents is not 
helpful and serves no useful purpose.
    Answer. Reference is made to Comment 1 for explanation of how the 
table of contents is useful in the overall appeals process. In 
addition, although not required by rule, the Board has received appeal 
briefs with tables of contents. The tables of contents have proved 
useful in the Board's consideration of those appeal briefs.

Bd.R. 41.37(j)

    Comment 41. A comment asked the question: How will a list of 
authorities assist the Board in any meaningful way?
    Answer: Reference is made to Comment 1 for an explanation of how a 
table of authorities is useful during the overall appeals process. 
Modern word processors make creation of a table of authorities fairly 
easy. A table of authorities is often useful when an examiner or a 
member of the Board knows that a particular argument is associated with 
a citation of a particular statute or case. Consultation of the table 
of authorities will reveal where the citation, and therefore the 
argument, appears without a need to go through a brief page-by-page. 
Arguments based on a particular precedent therefore are less likely to 
be overlooked.
    Comment 42. A related comment suggested that a table of authorities 
is not needed because appeals to the Board often do not turn on legal 
issues.
    Answer. If the premise of the comment is accepted, then it would 
follow that few, if any, cases would be cited in a table of authorities 
and would involve minimal effort.

Bd.R. 41.37(k)

    Comment 43. A comment suggested that the requirement of Bd.R 
41.37(k) was redundant with the requirements of Bd.R. 41.37(q).
    Answer. While the requirements of Bd.R. 41.37(k) are not redundant 
with the requirements of Bd.R. 41.37(q), they are redundant with the 
requirements of Bd.R. 41.37(p). Both Bd.R. 41.37(k) and Bd.R. 41.37(p) 
deal with pending claims. Bd.R. 41.37(k) will be reserved.

[[Page 32960]]

Bd.R. 41.37(n)

    Comment 44. Several comments noted that the rules in various places 
require citation to a page and line number. The comments suggest that, 
where appropriate, a citation to a paragraph number be authorized in 
place of a line number. An example where paragraph numbers are 
appropriate is a reference made to a published U.S. patent application.
    Answer. The suggestion is adopted. An amendment to Bd.R. 41.37(n) 
authorizes citation to paragraphs where a paragraph citation is 
appropriate.
    Comment 45. Several comments noted that it is difficult to present 
facts in a non-argumentative manner and therefore Bd.R. 41.37(n) is 
``unworkable'' and unnecessary. By way of an example, the comment notes 
that the examiner may find that a reference describes certain subject 
matter, and applicant disagrees. The comment goes on to question why a 
specific reference to the record is necessary. Other comments suggested 
that the manner of presenting facts should be at the discretion of the 
applicant. On the other hand, still other comments expressed the view 
that a statement of facts ``could be a useful innovation.''
    Answer. A specific reference to the record is necessary so that 
Office personnel, including the examiner and the Board, can verify the 
correctness of a fact. Applicants should not expect either the examiner 
or the Board to necessarily believe assertions of fact unsupported by a 
reference to the record. A statement of fact which is immediately 
verifiable to a specific point in the record is highly convincing.
    The observation that a statement of facts ``could be a useful 
innovation'' has merit. A well-written statement of facts can tell a 
``story'' in an objective manner, particularly when each statement of 
fact is supported by a citation to a specific portion of the evidence. 
Often telling the story objectively convinces the trier of fact of the 
merit of a position. After reading an objective concise statement of 
facts, it is not unusual for a trier of fact to look with anticipation 
for an answer. There is no reason to expect that there should be any 
difficulty objectively setting out facts. An example follows involving 
Facts 1-5: Fact 1. The examiner found that Jones (the reference) 
describes a battery (col. 2, lines 4-9). Fact 2. Applicant disagrees. 
(Note that applicant disagrees is a ``fact''. Fact 2 does not include 
an ``argument'' why applicant disagrees because the argument is 
reserved for the argument section). Fact 3. Jones describes [state what 
applicant believes Jones describes] (col. 1, lines 31-46). Fact 4. A 
battery must have electrodes (col. 8, lines 1-12). Fact 5. The device 
described by Jones does not have electrodes (Fig. 2). Note that no 
argument has been presented; only objective facts. From these objective 
facts the argument section can make out the case that the Jones device 
is not a battery. Objectively stated Facts 3-5, sans argument, speak 
for themselves and go a long way to convincing a trier of fact that 
applicant is correct thereby suggesting that the examiner's finding may 
be erroneous.
    Comment 46. Several comments suggested that the statement of facts 
addresses only the facts in dispute.
    Answer. The suggestion is not adopted. While the examiner and the 
appellant may have an idea of what is involved and disputed in an 
application, appeal conferees and the Board do not participate in the 
prosecution leading up to an appeal. An understanding of the issues on 
appeal requires an understanding of the facts, including (1) those in 
dispute and (2) those not in dispute which are relevant to 
understanding the nature of the invention on appeal and the issues.
    Comment 47. A comment suggested that in an ex parte context facts 
related to the level of skill in the art are not necessary.
    Answer. The level of skill can be manifested in several ways. In re 
GPAC, 57 F.3d 1573, 1579 (Fed. Cir. 1995). In the context of an ex 
parte appeal, the level of skill is often revealed in the prior art. In 
re Kahn, 441 F.3d 977, 988 (Fed. Cir. 2006) [for evidence of the level 
of skill, one may consider an applicant's disclosure and the prior art 
(references are generally entitled to great weight because they are 
almost always prepared without regard to their use as evidence in the 
particular examination in which they are used, Velander v. Garner, 348 
F.3d 1359, 1371 (Fed. Cir. 2003))]. For example, in many pharmaceutical 
cases, a reference will say that determining a dose within disclosed 
ranges can be determined on the basis of weight of the patient. One 
skilled in the art, therefore, would know that dosage is a function of 
weight. Another example might be where a reference says that you cannot 
apply a voltage higher than 220, yet an appellant is claiming a voltage 
of 550. The reference would establish that one skilled in the art would 
not be inclined to exceed a voltage of 220.

Bd.R. 41.37(o)

    Comment 48. Several comments suggested that the provision of Bd.R. 
41.37(o) requiring an appellant to explain why the examiner is believed 
to have erred ``unfairly shifts the burden of proving a prima facie 
case on appeal from the PTO to the patent applicant.''
    Answer. The necessary premise of the comment is that on appeal to 
the Board the examiner should be presumed to have erred and it is up to 
the examiner in an examiner's answer to show otherwise. The comment 
misperceives the difference between (1) initial examination leading to 
a final rejection and (2) an appeal from that final rejection. In 
responding to a rejection during examination, Rule 111(b) requires an 
applicant to specifically point out the supposed errors in the 
examiner's action. In most appellate administrative and court 
tribunals, a decision under review is presumed to be correct until an 
appellant can convince the appellate tribunal that the decision is 
incorrect, whether the decision involves a question of fact or an issue 
of law or both. As one comment correctly stated: ``[t]he appellant has 
to make the case for error on the record.'' On appeal to the Board, an 
appellant can overcome a rejection by showing insufficient evidence to 
support a prima facie case or rebutting any prima facie case with 
appropriate evidence. See In re Kahn, 441 F.3d 977, 985-86 (Fed. Cir. 
2006). The rules impose no new burden on an appellant seeking review of 
an examiner's rejection before the Board.
    It is true that opinions of the former Court of Customs and Patent 
Appeals and Federal Circuit state that the initial burden is on the PTO 
to establish a prima facie case. However, the Director is not aware of 
any CCPA or Federal Circuit opinion which states that the decision of 
the Office on appeal is presumed to be erroneous. In fact, the opposite 
is the case because a decision of an administrative agency is presumed 
to be correct absent a statutory provision to the contrary. Cf. (1) 
Morgan v. Daniels, 153 U.S. 120, 125 (1894) (a decision of the Office 
must be accepted as controlling unless the contrary is established), 
and (2) American Hoist & Derrick Co. v. Sowa & Sons, Inc., 725 F.2d 
1350, 1359 (Fed. Cir. 1984) (deference is due to PTO examiners who are 
assumed to have some expertise in interpreting the references and to be 
familiar from their work with the level of skill in the art and whose 
duty it is to issue only valid patents).
    If an examiner is presumed to be correct when the examiner allows a 
claim (and a patent issues as a result), what possible rationale would 
justify a presumption that the examiner is wrong when the examiner 
rejects a claim? It is true that an examiner has an initial burden to 
make out a prima facie case.

[[Page 32961]]

For example, 35 U.S.C. 102 states that an applicant ``shall be entitled 
to a patent unless * * * '' Once an examiner determines that the 
applicant is not entitled to a patent, the ``unless'' provision of 
Sec.  102 is facially satisfied until an interested party can show 
otherwise. Cf. Hyatt v. Dudas, 492 F.3d 1365, 1369-71 (Fed. Cir. 2007) 
(noting that the examiner made out a prima facie case and therefore 
Hyatt was under a duty to comply with PTO requirements).
    If an appellant believes the examiner has not satisfied the 
examiner's initial burden, then an appellant needs to convince the 
Board that there is no prima facie case. There is no ``rule'' which 
supports a notion that the examiner must be presumed on appeal to have 
erred; such a rule would be inconsistent with an efficient 
administration of the ex parte appeal process.
    A suggestion was made that placing the burden on the appellant to 
establish that the examiner erred is not consistent with the duties of 
the Board as provided by 35 U.S.C. 6. The suggestion is believed to be 
incorrect and overlooks similarities between an appeal to the Board and 
a subsequent appeal to the Federal Circuit. An ex parte appeal may be 
taken to the Board from an adverse decision of an examiner. 35 U.S.C. 
134(a) and (b). On written appeal, the Board is to review the adverse 
decision by the examiner. 35 U.S.C. 6(b). An appellant dissatisfied 
with a decision of the Board may appeal to the Federal Circuit. 35 
U.S.C. 141. On appeal, the Federal Circuit is to review the decision 
from which an appeal is taken. 35 U.S.C. 144. There is no known 
precedent of the Federal Circuit which holds that the Director has the 
burden on appeal. Why should the examiner have the burden on appeal to 
the Board? As noted earlier, no cogent rationale could justify such a 
burden on the Office. Just as the Board is presumed to have been 
correct in the Federal Circuit, until the contrary is shown to the 
satisfaction of the Federal Circuit, the examiner should be presumed to 
have been correct on appeal to the Board until the contrary is shown to 
the satisfaction of the Board.
    It has also been suggested that the Board is under an obligation to 
review a decision of the examiner de novo. The precise meaning of de 
novo is not apparent. No provision of law imposes an obligation for a 
de novo review and such a review is inconsistent with efficient 
administration of appeals. While the Board may have more latitude in an 
ex parte appeal than an Article III court, there is no cogent reason to 
review facts on a ``no deference'' basis. An examiner performs a quasi-
judicial function. Western Electric Co. v. Piezo Technology, Inc. v. 
Quigg, 860 F.2d 428, 431 (Fed. Cir. 1988) (patent examiners are quasi-
judicial officials); Compagnie de St. Gobain v. Brenner, 386 F.2d 985, 
987 (D.C. Cir. 1967) (examiner performs quasi-judicial function based 
on the record before PTO). The question on appeal is whether an 
examiner's finding is supported by the evidence. If it is, the finding 
should not be second-guessed and set aside by the Board on the basis 
that the Board in the first instance would have made a different 
finding. The Board (like courts) is not in the business of substituting 
its judgment for that of an examiner when an examiner justifies a fact 
or conclusion with appropriate evidence. A contrary view undermines the 
authority of the examiner to carrying out the examination duties 
delegated by the Director to the examiner pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 131-
132. On the other hand, if an examiner's finding is not supported by 
appropriate evidence, the Board has authority to set aside the finding 
and if the finding is essential to a rejection to also set aside the 
rejection. The question before the Board, then, is not an examination 
(that already took place under 35 U.S.C. 131-132); rather, the Board's 
chore is to review the examiner's decision and correct errors which an 
appellant can establish were made by the examiner.
    The review process is straightforward. An example and a question in 
a comment confirm how the process works. Suppose the examiner finally 
rejects claim 1 finding that reference A describes limitation Y of 
claim 1. Assume that the appeal brief (through a combination of a 
statement of facts and argument) convincingly establishes that 
reference A does not describe limitation Y. The comment asked what will 
happen. First, if the argument is convincing, the examiner may withdraw 
the rejection. Second, if the examiner does not withdraw the rejection 
and the Board agrees with the appellant, then the rejection would be 
set aside.
    Comment 49. A comment suggested clarification is needed for the 
meaning of ``[e]ach rejection shall be separately argued under a 
separate heading'' and ``[a]ny claim argued separately shall be placed 
under a subheading identifying the claim by number.'' According to the 
comment, similar language in Rule 41.37(c)(1)(vii) has ``proven to be 
elusive to the USPTO.'' Presumably, the comment suggests that the 
Office has not uniformly applied the quoted language.
    Answer. The comment is best answered in the form of an example. 
Suppose an application has claims 1-7. Claim 1 is an independent claim. 
Claims 2-7 depend from claim 1. Claims 1-7 are rejected under 35 U.S.C. 
103(a) over Jones. Claims 1-4 are also rejected under 35 U.S.C. 102 as 
anticipated by Smith. With respect to the ``Jones'' rejection, 
applicant elects to argue claims 1 and 4 separately. Claims 2-3 and 5-7 
would stand or fall with claim 1 as to the ``Jones'' rejection. With 
respect to the ``Smith'' rejection, applicant elects to argue claims 1 
and 3 separately. Claims 2 and 4 would stand or fall with claim 1. The 
headings and subheadings of the argument section of the appeal brief 
would be the following:
ARGUMENT
Errors in Rejection Based on Jones
Claim 1
    Discussion of why the examiner erred in rejecting claim 1 under 
Sec.  103 over Jones.
Claim 4
    Discussion of why the examiner erred in rejecting claim 4 under 
Sec.  103 over Jones even if the examiner did not err in rejecting 
claim 1 over Jones. Note that when a dependent claim is separately 
argued, any argument should assume arguendo that the independent claim 
is unpatentable over Jones.
Errors in Rejection Based on Smith
Claim 1
    Discussion of why the examiner erred in rejecting claim 1 under 
Sec.  102 over Smith.
Claim 3
    Discussion of why the examiner erred in rejecting claim 3 under 
Sec.  102 over Smith even if the examiner did not err in rejecting 
claim 1 over Smith.
    Comment 50. A comment suggested that requiring an appellant to 
challenge every finding and every conclusion reached by an examiner is 
not appropriate.
    Answer. There is no requirement that every finding and conclusion 
be challenged. The appeal brief should challenge only those findings 
made and conclusions reached by the examiner with which the appellant 
disagrees.
    Comment 51. A comment asked the following question: If a rejection 
of all claims is based on A or B in view of C or D, do there need to be 
four headings, one for A in view of C, B in view of C, A in view of D 
and B in view of D.
    Answer. There would need to be only a single heading: Rejection 
based on A or B in view of C or D.

[[Page 32962]]

    Comment 52. Several comments suggested that there is no need to 
identify a new argument made in an appeal brief.
    Answer. Reference is made to Comment 1 for an explanation of why 
identification of a new argument in an appeal brief is useful during 
the appeal process. Identification of an argument as a new argument 
should prevent timely made meritorious new arguments from being 
overlooked.
    Comment 53. A comment suggested that it is not always easy to 
determine whether an argument is ``new'' or not.
    Answer. Registered practitioners are sufficiently qualified to 
generally recognize a ``new'' argument. It can also be observed that, 
based on agency experience, a ``new'' argument often surfaces when the 
practitioner handling the appeal is different from the practitioner 
handling pre-appeal prosecution. In case of doubt, an appeal brief 
could use the following model: ``On page 5, lines 4-12, the examiner 
found [state what was found]. In the response to the first action (page 
3, lines 3-6), appellant disagreed arguing [state what was argued]. 
There was no response in the final rejection to the appellant's 
argument. Appellant continues to believe that the examiner erred in 
making the finding because [state the reason].'' Alternatively, the 
last sentence could read ``Appellant continues to believe that the 
examiner erred in making the finding because [state the reason]. In 
addition by way of possible new argument, the examiner is further 
believed to have erred [state the new argument].''
    Comment 54. A comment requested clarification on whether an 
unchallenged finding made by an examiner (which will be presumed to be 
correct) is binding in a subsequent continuing application or RCE 
(request for continued examination).
    Answer. While binding for the purpose of the appeal and any remand 
in the application which was on appeal, in a subsequent continuing 
application or RCE, the applicant would be free to challenge the 
finding.
    Comment 55. A comment suggested that it is often useful to provide 
technical background to assist the Board in understanding the invention 
and requested clarification on how that might be done in the context of 
Bd.R. 41.37.
    Answer. The comment is correct that a technical background is often 
useful to the examiner and the Board. The technical background can be 
presented as part of the statement of facts. Bd.R. 41.37(n). In 
presenting the technical background, reference should be made to the 
record. Relevant parts of the record might include (1) the 
specification, (2) technical literature in the record and (3) any 
declaration in the record.

Bd.R. 41.37(o)(1)

    Comment 56. A comment sought clarification of Bd.R. 41.37(o)(1) 
asking whether the appellant or the Board would ``select a single claim 
to decide the appeal as to that rejection.''
    Answer. The language of Bd.R. 41.37(o)(1) has been changed from 
that in the notice of proposed rulemaking. If claims are argued as a 
group, then the Board may select a single claim and review any ground 
of rejection on the basis of the single claim.

Bd.R. 41.37(o)(2)

    Comment 57. A comment suggested that Bd.R. 41.37(o)(2) may preclude 
an argument being presented in an appeal, because rationale in an 
examiner's answer may be more extensive than rationale in a final 
rejection and the appeal brief is limited to showing that the rationale 
in the final rejection is erroneous. According to the comment, since an 
argument in a reply brief (Bd.R. 41.41) was not made in the appeal 
brief, the argument may be waived.
    Answer. A reply brief may respond to a finding or conclusion made 
in an examiner's answer which was not made in a final rejection. If the 
finding was made in the final rejection and not addressed in the appeal 
brief, an appellant cannot address the finding for the first time in a 
reply brief or at oral hearing. However, where the finding is made for 
the first time in an examiner's answer, an appellant may respond in a 
reply brief indicating why the record supports a holding that the 
finding is erroneous.
    Comment 58. A comment suggested that it did not understand what is 
meant by only arguments presented in the argument section of the appeal 
brief would be considered and that all other arguments are waived. 
According to the comment, Rule 41.37(c)(1)(vii), providing that only 
arguments presented in the appeal brief and reply brief will be 
considered, is sufficient.
    Answer. There have been two practical problems with former Rule 
41.37(c)(1)(vii). First, notwithstanding the language of the former 
rule, appellants erroneously continue to believe that an argument made 
anywhere in the record will be considered by the examiner and the Board 
during an appeal. Bd.R. 41.37(o)(2) advises appellants that the 
argument must appear in the argument section of the appeal brief. 
Arguments made in other places in the record will not be considered. 
Bd.R. 41.37(v)(5) precludes incorporating an argument from another 
paper by reference. Second, the former rule may give the impression 
that an argument may be made for the first time in a reply brief and 
will be considered. However, a new argument shall not appear for the 
first time in a reply brief. The ``no new argument'' in reply briefs 
policy is implemented in Bd.R. 41.41(g) providing that a reply brief 
may respond only to points raised in the examiner's answer.
    Comment 59. A comment expressed a concern that a ``waiver'' of an 
argument could mean that the argument could never again be raised in 
the Office.
    Answer. Any waiver is for the purpose of the appeal. Bd.R. 
41.37(o)(2) has been changed to read: ``Appellant waives all other 
arguments in the appeal.'' If an argument is waived in the appeal and 
the appellant wants to have the argument considered, the appellant may 
file a continuing application or an RCE (request for continued 
examination).

Bd.R. 41.37(o)(3)

    Comment 60. A comment asked the question: Is an argument 
characterized under this section as ``not previously been made to the 
examiner'' intended to be limited to an entirely new argument, or would 
it include any argument which is not repeated to the Board in the 
appeal brief exactly as it was presented to the examiner?
    Answer. There are at least two kinds of arguments presented in an 
appeal brief. The first is an argument which was made to, but rejected 
by, the examiner. Generally the argument will appear in a response to a 
first Office action or in a response to a final rejection. The second 
is an argument where there was no opportunity to present the argument 
to the examiner. For example, in an advisory action, the examiner may 
make a point for the first time. In responding in the appeal brief to 
the examiner's advisory action point, appellant would be presenting a 
response for the first time and therefore the argument was not 
previously made to the examiner. A response to a new point in an 
examiner's answer would be another instance where the argument could 
not have been presented to the examiner.
    An appeal brief would not have to use the same wording used in a 
response to an Office action. Pointing out where an argument was 
previously made will permit the Board to efficiently determine the 
nature of any dispute between the examiner and the appellant. Appellant 
needs some leeway

[[Page 32963]]

to state the same argument in different words, particularly where 
subsequent events in the record (presentation of Rule 132 evidence or 
additional prior art) make the argument in the appeal brief more 
forceful.
    Comment 61. A comment suggested that there is no need for an 
appellant to indicate whether an argument previously has been made and, 
if made, where it was made.
    Answer. Indicating whether an argument previously has been made 
will help both the examiner and the Board recognize when a new argument 
has been made. When the examiner knows that a new argument is made in 
the appeal brief, the examiner can address the argument in the 
Examiner's Answer and it is less likely that a new argument will be 
overlooked.
    Comment 62. A comment suggested that a requirement that the 
appellant explain why an examiner has erred (Bd.R. 41.37(o)) and a need 
to identify a point made in the rejection (Bd.R. 41.37(o)(3)) unduly 
handicaps appellant in presenting a case on appeal.
    Answer. It is not apparent why the format handicaps an appellant in 
presenting its appeal case. After all, the appellant was under an 
obligation under Rule 111(b) to point out the ``supposed errors'' in an 
examiner's rejection. If an examiner made a point in a rejection which 
an appellant believes is erroneous, the appellant identifies the point 
and follows with a discussion of why an error has occurred. For 
example: ``On page 5, line 8 of the final rejection, the examiner found 
that reference A teaches [state what the examiner says was taught] and 
therefore one skilled in the art would combine the teaching of 
reference A with the teachings of reference B. The examiner is believed 
to have erred because reference A does not teach what the examiner says 
it teaches. Note that col. 3, lines 3-36 of reference A explains that 
[say what reference A says]. The explanation at col. 3, lines 3-36 
cannot be reconciled with the examiner's finding because a first 
element cannot be both parallel and perpendicular to a second 
element.''

Bd.R. 41.37(o)(4) Through (o)(8)

    Comment 63. Several comments questioned the need for Bd.R. 
41.37(o)(4) through (o)(8) and suggested that these rules not be 
enacted.
    Answer. The suggestion is adopted. An appellant is required to 
point out how an examiner is supposed to have erred. Bd.R. 41.37(o). 
Since the emphasis should focus on how the examiner erred, there is no 
benefit from having an appellant also comply with the requirements of 
Bd.R. 41.37(o)(4) through (o)(8).

Bd.R. 41.37(p)

    Comment 64. A comment suggested clarification of the meaning of a 
``clean'' copy of the claims. The comment assumed that a ``clean'' copy 
means a copy of the pending claims that is ``free from underlining and 
bracketing and other extraneous information.'' The comment also asked 
whether the status indicators of Rule 121(c) need to be present.
    Answer. The comment's assumption of the meaning of ``clean'' is 
correct. An example of a proper way to comply with Bd.R. 41.37(p) in an 
application with cancelled claim 1 and pending claims 2-5 is:
    Claim 1 (cancelled).
    Claim 2 (rejected). An apparatus comprising A, B, and C.
    Claim 3 (objected to). The apparatus of claim 2 further comprising 
D.
    Claim 4 (withdrawn from consideration). A method of using an 
apparatus comprising A, B, and C comprising the steps of x, y, and z.
    Claim 5 (allowed). An apparatus comprising A, B, C, D, and E.
    Cancelled claims need not be reproduced.
    The only status indicators of interest to the Board are (1) 
``rejected,'' (2) ``allowed,'' (3) ``withdrawn from consideration'' (4) 
``objected to'' and (5) ``cancelled''. However, if an appellant desires 
to say ``Claim 1 (original--rejected)'' or ``Claim 2 (amended--objected 
to)'' or otherwise use the Rule 121(c) status indicators, there is no 
objection as long as one of the five status indicators listed above is 
set out.
    Comment 65. A comment suggested that only the claims on appeal 
should be reproduced in the claims section.
    Answer. In considering an appeal, it is often useful to know what 
has been allowed, objected to, and withdrawn. If a claim has been 
allowed or is objected to and the claim has a significant limitation 
not present in the claims on appeal, this fact is highly useful and 
should be accessible with minimal effort to the examiner and the Board. 
Withdrawn claims also provide highly useful information. Often 
arguments relate to the subject matter of the withdrawn claims and not 
the claims on appeal. Additionally, the fact that an examiner has 
restricted out subject matter can be helpful in understanding the 
breadth of rejected claims.

Bd.R. 41.37(q)

    Comment 66: Several comments suggested that duplication of effort 
could be eliminated if Bd.R. 41.37(q) and Bd.R. 41.37(r) are combined.
    Answer. The suggestions are being adopted. Bd.R. 41.37(q) and Bd.R. 
41.37(r) are being combined in Bd.R. 41.37(r). Bd.R. 41.37(q) will be 
reserved.
    Comment 67. A comment questioned the need for Bd.R. 41.37(q) and 
asked for guidance on the meaning of ``limitation.''
    Answer. As noted in the previous comment, Bd.R. 41.37(q) is being 
combined with Bd.R. 41.37(r). Nevertheless, the comment will be 
addressed at this point since the comment mentions Bd.R. 41.37(q) and 
could not have known that it would be combined with Bd.R. 41.37(r). 
Discussion appears in the notice of proposed rulemaking explaining why 
Bd.R. 41.37(q) was proposed. See 72 FR at 41477, col. 3 through 41478, 
col. 2. It is also worth noting that in the appeal process, Office 
personnel considering an appeal include several individuals beyond the 
examiner who handled pre-appeal prosecution. Additional Office 
personnel include conferees in the Technology Centers and members of 
the Board. Additional Office personnel will not be as familiar with the 
claims and specification as the examiner handling the application or 
reexamination. All Office personnel involved in the appeal process need 
to understand the invention on appeal. See also Comment 1. Reading just 
a claim may not be enough to get a cogent grasp of the claimed 
invention. A claim support section is designed to make the 
understanding of claimed inventions efficient. An applicant knows, at 
least subjectively, what is intended to be covered by a claim. A 
reference to the relevant portion of the specification and drawings 
(when there is a drawing) often helps. Examiners often go through the 
process of reproducing claims and inserting in the claims references to 
the specification and drawing. Applicants often disagree with the 
examiner's analysis. Since it is applicant who presents the claim and 
applicant knows what is intended, the efficient practice is to have 
applicant make the reference to the specification and drawing. What 
cannot be included in the claim support section is an argument why a 
particular portion of the specification supports the claim limitation. 
The comment suggests that there is some confusion about the meaning of 
the word ``limitation.'' Since Office actions, responses to Office 
actions, and Board and court decisions use the word routinely, it is 
somewhat difficult to understand why the word ``limitation'' is not 
generally understood in the context of a patent claim. The Office has 
not experienced any

[[Page 32964]]

difficulty with a corresponding drawing analysis requirement in 
contested cases. See Bd.R. 41.110(c).

Bd.R. 41.37(r)

    Comment 68. Several comments suggested that the claim support 
section (Bd.R. 41.37(q)) and the drawing analysis could be combined 
thereby eliminating a need to reproduce claims twice in applications 
with a drawing.
    Answer. The suggestion is being adopted. Bd.R. 41.37(q) is reserved 
and Bd.R. 41.37(r) is changed to incorporate the provisions of both 
Bd.R. 41.37(q) and Bd.R. 41.37(r). An example of how an applicant can 
comply with both rules in the case where there is a published U.S. 
application follows.
    An apparatus comprising (1) a first valve {Fig. 2, element 25; ] 
0005{time} , (2) a second valve {Fig. 2, element 31; ] 0006{time} , (3) 
a tank {Fig. 3, element 8; ] 0008{time} , (4) a pipe with the first 
valve disposed on one end and the tank disposed on the other end {Fig. 
3, element 19; ] 0010{time} , and (5) * * *.
    If a paragraph of a published U.S. application is long, reference 
to the line or lines of the paragraph may be added, e.g. {Fig. 3, 
element 19; ] 0010, lines 18-20{time} .
    Comment 69. Several comments inquired into whether the claim 
support and drawing analysis applies to all independent claims or just 
an independent claim being separately argued.
    Answer. The answer is all independent claims on appeal and any 
dependent claim separately argued. A change is made in the final rule 
to continue the practice of Rule 41.37(c)(1)(v) instead of the practice 
set out in proposed Bd.R. 41.37(q), (r) and (s). Both Bd.R. 41.37(r) 
(claims support and drawing analysis section) and Bd.R. 41.37(s) (means 
or step plus function analysis section) have been changed to reflect 
the continuation of the practice of Rule 41.37(c)(1)(v).
    Comment 70. A comment suggested that a drawing analysis is not 
necessary, noting that in a large number of applications ``drawings are 
fluff inserted because of Office rules, not because they are actually 
needed to understanding the invention.''
    Answer. A drawing analysis, along with the claim support analysis, 
is helpful because it assists Office personnel in understanding an 
invention. The statute requires a drawing in those cases which admit of 
a drawing. 35 U.S.C. 113. If an applicant submits a drawing responsive 
to Sec.  113 and takes an appeal, it should not be difficult to prepare 
a drawing analysis.
    Comment 71. A comment ``fully supports'' the change proposed by 
Bd.R. 41.37(q), which has been combined with Bd.R. 41.37(r). It was 
suggested that clarification be given stating that an appellant not be 
required to identify every part of a specification which supports a 
given limitation.
    Answer. The clarification requested is appropriate. A specification 
can discuss a limitation in numerous places throughout the 
specification. A citation in the claims support section to all 
``places'' is not necessary when those citations would be cumulative. 
What is necessary is a citation to the part or parts of the 
specification which will allow the Board to understand where the 
claimed limitation has antecedent basis in the specification. A 
significant difficulty the Board experiences is when the wording of the 
claim (original or amended) is not the same as the wording of the 
specification.
    The comment made an additional suggestion that the practice of 
Bd.R. 41.37(r) be required for all amendments filed during prosecution. 
The additional suggestion is beyond the scope of the rule making to the 
extent it seeks changes to the rules governing pre-appeal examination 
practice.
    Comment 72. A comment suggested that a drawing analysis is not 
necessary, indicating that the summary of the invention provisions of 
the former rule adequately serves the purpose which would be served by 
the drawing analysis section.
    Answer. It is true that in some appeal briefs, the appellant will 
describe the invention using the language of the claims along with 
parenthetical insertions of element numbers of the drawings. Those 
appeal briefs have been very useful, so much so that it has been 
determined that it would be useful to have a drawing analysis section 
in all cases. Moreover, when there is no drawing analysis section, 
appellants should understand that the Board itself will often undertake 
to create a drawing analysis. In doing so, the Board may not conclude 
that a particular drawing element is what was intended by the 
appellant. Having the appellant in the first instance tell the Office 
which drawing element corresponds to a claim limitation will avoid 
unnecessary misunderstandings.
    Comment 73. A comment suggested that if the only claim separately 
argued is a dependent claim, the drawing analysis should also annotate 
the claims from which the separately argued claims depend.
    Answer. The suggestion is adopted, both as to the required drawing 
analysis as well as the claim support analysis. The language ``(and, if 
necessary, any claim from which the claim argued separately depends)'' 
has been added to Bd.R. 41.37(r) and (s).

Bd.R. 41.37(s)

    Comment 74. A comment requested guidance on how one would comply 
with Bd.R. 41.37(s).
    Answer. An example, based on a published U.S. application with a 
drawing follows.
    An apparatus comprising (1) a first valve, (2) a second valve, (3) 
a tank, (4) means for connecting the first valve to the tank {Fig. 3, 
element 19; ] 0010{time}  and (5) * * *.
    Comment 75. A comment suggested that Bd.R. 41.37(s) should be 
clarified to state whether means or step plus function limitations in 
just contested claims need to be analyzed or whether the analysis is 
necessary for all claims, including non-contested claims.
    Answer. A means or step plus function analysis is necessary only in 
contested claims. The rule specifies that the means or step plus 
function analysis is necessary ``[f]or each independent claim involved 
in the appeal and each dependent claim argued separately.'' A contested 
claim is a claim for which separate patentability arguments are 
presented, e.g., claims 1 and 4 over the Jones reference mentioned in 
Comment 49.
    Comment 76. A comment ``supports'' Bd.R. 41.37(s), but suggested 
that it be made clear that there is more than one way to have a ``means 
plus function'' claim.
    Answer. There is a presumption that a limitation reciting ``means'' 
for performing a function or a step is a limitation within the meaning 
of the sixth paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112. However, as the comment points 
out, ``program instructions for ----,'' ``component for ----'' or 
``module for ----'' may also be means plus function claims. In such a 
case, compliance with Bd.R. 41.37(s) would be necessary. The comment 
also indirectly suggested that appellants may try to sidestep the 
question of whether particular language is ``means'' language. The 
consequence of failing to identify ``means'' language as ``means or 
step plus function language'' may mean that the limitation will be 
construed to cover any element or step which performs the function.

Bd.R. 41.37(t)

    Comment 77. Several comments were received questioning the need for 
an evidence section. According to the comments, the Office already has 
the material which an appellant would include in an evidence section.

[[Page 32965]]

    Answer. The comments have merit. As a result of comments, the 
Office has decided to insert a definition of the Record in Bd.R. 41.30. 
The Record is the official file of the application or reexamination on 
appeal. The appeal will be decided on the Record consistent with the 
arguments presented in the appeal brief and reply brief and 
observations made in the examiner's answer. Nevertheless, the Office 
has decided to continue current practice of requiring a significantly 
more limited evidence section. See Rule 41.37(c)(1)(ix), requiring an 
evidence appendix. Under Bd.R. 41.37(t), the evidence section is 
limited to (1) affidavits and declarations, if any, and attachments to 
declarations, relied upon by appellant before the examiner, (2) other 
evidence, if any, relied upon by the appellant before the examiner and 
filed prior to the date of the notice of appeal, and (3) evidence 
relied upon by the appellant and admitted into the file pursuant to 
Bd.R. 41.33(d) of this subpart. The documents would be included in the 
evidence section only if they are relied upon in the appeal. Often 
numerous documents are relied upon during prosecution leading up to an 
appeal. The evidence section will eliminate any doubt about which 
documents an appellant intends to rely on in support of the appeal. 
While the scope of the evidence section is being narrowed considerably, 
the Office is still concerned with a potential problem that there can 
be confusion over a citation to a particular piece of evidence in the 
Record. The problem is not new with the image file wrapper (IFW) 
system. Neither pre-IFW paper files nor IFW files have consecutively 
numbered pages to which applicants, examiners, and the Board may refer. 
Accordingly, in presenting appeal briefs and reply briefs, appellant 
will want to ensure that a reference to a document in the Record is 
absolutely identifiable. The best identification is (a) the style of 
the document and (b) the date it was filed in the Office, e.g., 
AMENDMENT UNDER RULE 116, filed 04 February 2008, or FINAL REJECTION 
mailed 04 February 2008.
    Comment 78. A comment suggested that an appellant should be 
authorized to include in the evidence section a clean copy of a 
document which may be poorly reproduced in ``the current file.''
    Answer. Nothing in Bd.R. 41.37(t) would preclude an appellant from 
doing so. Presentation of clear documents is encouraged.
    Comment 79. A comment suggested that an appellant be permitted to 
refer to PAIR (Public Application Information Retrieval) instead of 
providing an evidence section.
    Answer. The suggestion is not adopted. The examiners and the Board 
use the IFW file to examine applications and decide appeals. 
Accordingly, an appellant will want to refer to documents in a precise 
manner consistent with the examples set out in Comment 77.

Bd.R. 41.37(v)(1)

    Comment 80. A comment asked how pages of the evidence section are 
to be numbered.
    Answer. Any one of the following numbering systems would be 
acceptable: (1) A number, e.g., ``31'', at the center of the bottom of 
the page or (2) ``Page x of y'' at the center of the bottom of the page 
or (3) ``Page x'' at the center of the bottom of the page. An appeal 
brief, including its sections, should be consecutively page-numbered 
beginning with ``1'' on the first page and continuing with consecutive 
numbers through the last page of the brief. Use of consecutive numbers 
will permit appellants, the examiner, and the Board to make precise 
references to the appeal brief and the reply brief, including sections 
of the appeal brief.
    Comment 81. A comment suggested that line numbers in appeal briefs 
and other papers are not necessary.
    Answer. Line numbers are highly useful within the Office. While 
line numbers will not be required, appellants are encouraged to use 
line numbers. When line numbers are used, they may appear inside the 
left margin. Why are line numbers encouraged? With a telework program 
in place within the Office, many members of the Board work remotely a 
considerable portion of the time. Board members communicate with other 
Board members through a telephone and computer system. The computer 
system permits all involved in a telephone conference to access the 
record. Discussion by phone is simplified if one Board member can refer 
another Board member to a page and line of a brief. Modern word 
processors permit adding line numbers to pages with minimal difficulty.

Bd.R. 41.37(v)(2)

    Comment 82. A comment suggested that 1\1/2\ line-spacing be 
authorized in place of double spacing.
    Answer. The suggestion is adopted-in-part to the extent that block 
quotes may be presented in 1\1/2\ line-spacing. The last line of Bd.R. 
41.37(v)(2) has been changed to read: ``Block quotations may be 1\1/2\ 
line-spacing.'' As a general proposition, an appellant may wish to 
avoid long block quotes from documents in the record. Instead, for 
factual material (as opposed to incorporating an argument by 
reference), the appellant may state the fact and refer the reader to 
the page and line or paragraph of the document relied upon.
    Comment 83. A comment asked: Can line spacing greater than double-
spacing (e.g., triple-spacing) be used in a brief?
    Answer. No.

Bd.R. 41.37(v)(3)

    Comment 84. A comment asked: Can a header appear within the top 
margin?
    Answer. No. While Bd.R. 41.37(v)(3) has been reserved, a header 
cannot appear in the top margin.
    Comment 85. A comment asked: What is the difference between 
``clean'' and ``readable''?
    Answer. While Bd.R. 41.37(v)(3) has been reserved, Rule 52(a)(iv) 
requires papers in the file to be ``plainly and legibly written.''

Bd.R. 41.37(v)(4)

    Comment 86. Several comments suggested that a font size equivalent 
to 14 point Times New Roman is too large. Some comments suggested a 
font size equivalent to Times New Roman of 12 point referring to Rule 
52(a)(1)(ii) and (b)(2)(ii) which states a preference for a 12 point 
font size. It was observed that a 12 point font size would provide some 
relief from the 25-page limit required by other provisions of the rules 
as proposed.
    Answer. The suggestion to amend Bd.R. 41.37(v)(4) is not being 
adopted, although the reference in Bd.R. 41.37(v)(4) to Times New Roman 
is being deleted. The Rule 52(b)(2)(ii) preference for a font size of 
12 (equal to pica type) and 0.125 inch high capital letters was added 
in 2005 to supplement a requirement (added in 2001) that letters be at 
least 0.08 inch high (equal to elite type). Prior to 2001, Rule 52 
merely required that papers be prepared on a typewriter or mechanical 
printer which inherently limited the font size to either pica or elite. 
The font sizes specified in Rule 52(b)(2)(ii) are a vestige of earlier 
times and do not meet the current needs of the Board. The Board no 
longer physically handles papers prepared by applicants. Rather, since 
2006, all papers are handled as scanned images. The quality of any font 
degrades as it passes through scanning and other electronic processing 
(e.g., photocopying by applicant, filing by fax, scanning for image 
storage, and scanning the stored image again for optical character 
recognition). Smaller fonts present a particular problem after original 
papers pass through numerous

[[Page 32966]]

levels of electronic image processing. A 14-point font size in the 
original paper will provide better results given the current technology 
used for handling applicants' papers.

Bd.R. 41.37(v)(5)

    Comment 87. Several comments suggested that the 25-page limit is 
not sufficient to permit an appellant to properly present its case in 
the appeal brief. Some of those comments indicated that final 
rejections exceeding 25 pages had been received and suggested that when 
a final rejection exceeds 25 pages an appellant should be able to file 
an appeal brief where the statement of facts and argument is the same 
length as the final rejection.
    Answer. Initially it will be noted that many administrative and 
judicial tribunals have page limits on briefs. An informal survey of 
the argument and fact portions of appeal briefs in appeals before the 
Board conducted prior to the notice of proposed rule making revealed 
that less than ten (10) percent of the appeal briefs exceeded 25 pages. 
An informal survey of 135 briefs taken after the notice of proposed 
rule making revealed that less than three (3) percent of the argument 
and fact portion of appeal briefs exceeded 30 pages. Eighty-three (83) 
percent of those appeal briefs had less than 17 pages of argument. 
Accordingly, Bd.R. 41.37(v)(5) addresses appeal brief length in a 
relatively small subgroup of appeal briefs which reach the Board. Even 
in appeal briefs which do not exceed 25 pages, the Board has found that 
many briefs contain discussion which is probably not necessary in an 
appeal brief before the PTO. For example, appeal briefs often contain 
lengthy sections explaining legal principles applicable to rejections 
under Sec.  103. Appellants should assume that the examiner and the 
Board are aware of the basic principles governing evaluation of Sec.  
103 rejections, e.g., those set out in KSR International Co. v. 
Teleflex, Inc., 127 S. Ct. 1727 (2007); Graham v. John Deere Co., 383 
U.S. 1 (1966). The same is true for other routine rejections based on 
Sec.  102 and Sec.  112. For the most part, lengthy expositions in an 
appeal on applicable legal principles are not necessary in cases before 
the Board. Eliminating expositions on the law will also reduce the size 
of the table of authorities (Bd.R. 41.37(j)).
    An appellant should review any proposed appeal brief to determine 
if it has unnecessary ``boilerplate'' language which does not address 
why an examiner is believed to have erred. After setting out the facts 
(Bd.R. 41.37(n)), an argument section of an appeal brief should present 
arguments in the following format: ``On page 4, lines 5-8 of the final 
rejection, the examiner found that * * *. The examiner's finding is not 
supported by the evidence because * * *.'' ``On page 5, lines 10-11 of 
the final rejection, the examiner held that one skilled in the art 
would have found it obvious to combine A with B. The examiner's 
conclusion is erroneous because * * *.'' ``On page 3, lines 2-6 of the 
final rejection, the examiner found that * * *. The examiner's finding, 
while correct, is not relevant to the Sec.  103 rejection because * * 
*.''
    Generally while discussion to ``educate'' the Board on the 
technology involved is helpful, it should not appear in the argument. 
Rather, it can and should appear in the statement of facts (Bd.R. 
41.37(n)), claims support and drawing analysis section (Bd.R. 
41.37(r)), and the means or step plus function section (Bd.R. 
41.37(s)). In the event the Board believes that it needs more 
information with respect to the nature of an invention, it has 
authority to ask for further briefing (Bd.R. 41.50(f)).
    Some have suggested that the statement of facts (Bd.R. 41.37(n)) 
should not be included in the 25-page limit. In motions practice in 
interferences, there was a time when there was a page limit for 
motions, including a statement of facts. At the suggestion of the bar, 
the statement of facts was excluded from the page limit. The result has 
been lengthy statements of fact which often (1) include unnecessary 
facts, (2) are not helpful to the Board and (3) burden the opponent. 
The Office does not intend to repeat the failed experiment in 
interferences with appeal briefs.
    In response to the notice of proposed rulemaking, numerous comments 
suggested that a 25-page limit would restrict an appellant's ability to 
present its case. Taking into account the analysis set out above and 
the number of concerns expressed, the page limit will be increased to 
(1) 30 pages for appeal briefs (Bd.R. 41.37(v)(5)) and (2) 20 pages for 
reply briefs (Bd.R. 41.41(d)). An appellant needing more pages can 
obtain relief by a petition under Bd.R. 41.3 which shows good cause why 
additional pages are needed.
    The 30 pages do not include (1) any statement of the real party in 
interest (Bd.R. 41.37(f)), (2) statement of related cases (Bd.R. 
41.37(g)), (3) jurisdictional statement (Bd.R. 41.37(h)), (4) table of 
contents (Bd.R. 41.37(i)), (5) table of authorities (Bd.R. 41.37(j)), 
(6) status of amendments (Bd.R. 41.37(l)), (7) claims section (Bd.R. 
41.37(p)), (8) claims support and drawing analysis section (Bd.R. 
41.37(r)), (9) means or step plus function analysis section (Bd.R. 
41.37(s)), (10) evidence section (Bd.R. 41.37(t)), and (11) signature 
block. It should be noted that Bd.R. 41.37(k) and Bd.R. 41.37(q) have 
been eliminated and changed to ``reserved''. Bd.R. 41.37(v)(5) has been 
changed to explicitly set out what is not included in the 30-page 
limit.
    Comment 88. A comment suggested that 10 additional pages be 
authorized by rule for each additional rejection beyond a first 
rejection.
    Answer. The suggestion is not being adopted. Rather, increasing the 
page limit from 25 to 30 serves the function of authorizing an 
applicant to present an additional argument.

Bd.R. 41.37(v)(6)

    Comment 89. A comment asked: If the correspondence address on the 
appeal brief differs from that ``of record,'' which will the Board use?
    Answer. The correspondence address in the appeal brief.
    Comment 90. A comment asked: Must appellant correspond with the 
Office in appeal matters via fax? If not, why is a fax number required?
    Answer. The fax and e-mail addresses are required by the rule so 
that the Board may easily communicate with counsel. Sometimes it is 
necessary for a paralegal to contact the office of counsel to obtain 
clarification on a particular matter. Examples include (1) 
clarification of a patent identified in a specification by an incorrect 
patent number, (2) a request for a copy of a brief in digitized form, 
(3) attempting to schedule a date for oral argument, and (4) a request 
for a legible copy of a document previously submitted by an applicant.
    Comment 91. A comment suggested the possibility of a ``mini-appeal 
brief'' for certain appeals.
    Answer. The suggestion has not been adopted. See Comment 33 for 
additional discussion.

Bd.R. 41.39

    Comment 92. Several comments suggested that the rules should 
include a provision for the content and nature of the examiner's 
answer. Other comments suggested that a time-limit should be placed on 
the examiner for entering an examiner's answer. Still other comments 
suggested that the format of the examiner's answer should be the same 
as the format for an appeal brief.
    Answer. While there can be rare exceptions, generally the rules are 
not the place for the Director to set out

[[Page 32967]]

administrative practice for examiners and other Office employees. The 
content and nature of an examiner's answer, and the time within which 
it is to be filed, are best left for administrative instructions or the 
Manual of Patent Examining Procedure.

Bd.R. 41.39(a)

    Comment 92A. A comment suggested that the terminology ``new ground 
of rejection'' be retained in the proposed rules.
    Answer. The suggestion is being adopted.
    Comment 92B. A comment expressed concern that there is a very 
limited ability to reply to a new ground of rejection in an examiner's 
answer because the appeal must continue on the current record.
    Answer. The rules are being amended to eliminate new grounds of 
rejection in an examiner's answer.

Bd.R. 41.41

    Comment 93. A comment suggested that an appellant should be able to 
present a new argument in a reply brief where the importance of the 
argument is not made apparent until a review of the examiner's answer.
    Answer. The suggestion is not being adopted. The same comment 
reveals that there are delays in resolving appeals and that the rules 
should be designed to eliminate those delays. One delay under the 
current practice is the perceived ability of an appellant to present a 
new argument in a reply brief. If a new point is made in the examiner's 
answer, then the appellant may fully respond to that new point apart 
from any argument in the appeal brief. However, prosecution of an 
appeal should not be delayed through presentation of new arguments 
which reasonably could have been made in an appeal brief.
    Comment 93A. A comment suggested that when presenting an amendment 
in a reply brief that an appellant should be given an unconditional 
waiver from any rule limiting continuations.
    Answer. The suggestion raises a matter beyond the scope of the 
notice of proposed rule making and will not be adopted.

Bd.R. 41.43

    Comment 94. Several comments suggested that an examiner not be 
allowed to reopen prosecution after a reply brief (see Bd.R. 41.41) is 
filed. According to the comment, many practitioners believe the 
practice of ``reopening'' prosecution ``is already abused'' by some 
examiners. Some examiners are said to have re-opened prosecution ``over 
and over again to allow them yet further and further opportunities at 
the bat.'' One comment identified an application in which the examiner 
is said to have re-opened prosecution ``four times.''
    Answer. The suggestion is not being adopted. Assuming, without 
deciding, that the comment is correct, then there is a plausible basis 
for holding that the conduct described might be characterized as an 
abuse of discretion. An abuse of discretion is not solved by an 
amendment to a rule. It is solved on a case-by-case basis via a 
petition. Alternatively, if an applicant believes the examination 
process is being abused, the applicant should call the matter to the 
attention of the SPE (supervisory patent examiner) or the Director of 
the Technology Center in which the application is being examined.
    Comment 95. Several comments suggested that a provision be added to 
Bd.R. 41.43 to preclude a new ground of rejection in a supplemental 
examiner's answer.
    Answer. The suggestion is adopted to the extent that a new ground 
of rejection will no longer appear in an examiner's answer. There is no 
supplemental examiner's answer replying to an appellant's reply brief. 
It should be noted that Bd.R. 41.43 (supplemental examiner's answer) 
and Bd.R. 41.44 (supplemental reply) are now reserved.

Bd.R. 41.47(c)

    Comment 96. A comment asked whether the time for filing a request 
for oral argument runs from entry of the examiner's answer or the 
examiner's supplemental answer.
    Answer. Since there will no longer be an examiner's supplemental 
answer, the time for requesting oral argument is from the date the 
examiner's answer (Bd.R. 41.39) is mailed.

Bd.R. 41.47(g)

    Comment 97. A comment suggested that individuals transcribing an 
oral hearing should be presumed to be competent and seems to question 
the need for a list of terms. With respect to the language ``unusual 
terms,'' the same comment asked: Unusual to whom?
    Answer. The rules authorize a list of terms to assist the court 
reporter. Often members of the Board supply a list so that the court 
reporter can prepare a more accurate transcript. Generally court 
reporters are not scientists familiar with technical terms. Sometimes, 
the names of patentees and others mentioned in the record (e.g., an 
affidavit) are difficult. The Board has sufficient confidence in 
practitioners being able to recognize when a list of terms may help a 
court reporter.

Bd.R. 41.47(k)

    Comment 98. A comment suggested that the rule should explicitly 
authorize use of enlarged visual aids suitable for placing on an easel.
    Answer. Enlarged documents suitable for use on easel can be used at 
oral hearings, provided the required four copies (preferably 8\1/2\ x 
11; one for each judge and one to be added to the Record) are provided 
to the Board.
    Comment 99. Several comments suggested that three-dimensional 
objects illustrative of the claimed invention or the prior art be 
permitted as visual aids at oral argument.
    Answer. The suggestions are adopted to the extent that an appellant 
may use as a visual aid documents and evidence in the Record or a model 
or exhibit presented for demonstration purposes during an interview 
with the examiner. An applicant should be sure that the Record makes 
clear that the model or exhibit was shown to the examiner. See Rule 133 
and MPEP 608.03(a) (8th ed., Rev. 5, Aug. 2006). For example, an 
applicant may wish to place a photograph of the object shown to the 
examiner in the application file. In addition to using a three-
dimensional object as a visual aid, an appellant may provide copies of 
the photograph to the Board at oral hearing.

Bd.R. 41.50

    Comment 100. A comment asked: How does an appellant ``signal'' the 
Board that proceedings on a remand (Bd.R. 41.50(b)) are concluded?
    Answer. The rule provides the answer: (1) Request that prosecution 
be reopened (Bd.R. 41.50(b)(1)) or (2) request to re-docket the appeal 
(Bd.R. 41.50(b)(2)).

Bd.R. 41.51(f)

    Comment 101. A comment suggested that the time period for response 
to an order of the Board under Bd.R. 41.51(f) should be extendable by 
petition under Bd.R. 41.3 so that an appellant need not be ``forced to 
employ the unwieldy procedure of petitioning under'' Rule 183.
    Answer. The suggestion is not being adopted. Experience under Bd.R. 
41.51(f), and its predecessor rule, shows that appellants almost always 
timely respond to orders of the Board. The policy for setting times to 
respond to orders of the Board under Bd.R. 41.51(f) was set out in the 
supplementary information in the notice of proposed rulemaking (72 FR 
at 41,482, col. 2). Historically, there has not been a need

[[Page 32968]]

for extensions of time. Accordingly, there is no need to authorize, or 
encourage, requests for extension of times by petition under Bd.R. 
41.3. Should a circumstance develop where an appellant has an 
extraordinary reason for needing an extension, a petition may be filed 
under Rule 183 addressed to the Chief Administrative Patent Judge.

Bd.R. 41.52

    Comment 102. A comment was received that the word ``rehearing'' in 
the title and text of Bd.R. 41.52 should be changed to 
``reconsideration.'' According to the commentator, the word 
``rehearing'' implies, incorrectly, that an oral hearing may be held.
    Answer. The comment is correct in indicating that a ``rehearing'' 
under 35 U.S.C. 6 and Bd.R. 41.52 does not mean an oral hearing will be 
held. The word ``rehearing'' is used in the rule because it is the word 
used in the statute authorizing the Board to grant a ``rehearing.'' 35 
U.S.C. 6(b).

Bd.R. 41.52(d)

    Comment 103. Several comments suggested that a change be made to 
Bd.R. 41.52(d) and (f) because it may not be appropriate for an 
appellant to indicate in a petition for rehearing filed pursuant to 
Bd.R. 41.50(d)(2) to discuss what points the Board may have 
misapprehended or overlooked.
    Answer. The suggestion is not being adopted. If an appellant is 
dissatisfied with a ``new ground of rejection'' under Bd.R. 41.50(d) 
and the appellant elects to ask the Board for a rehearing (as opposed 
to further consideration by the examiner), then it is entirely 
appropriate for the appellant to advise the Board what fact or issue of 
law was misapprehended or overlooked. In filing a request for 
rehearing, the appellant shall rely only on the record on appeal.
    Comment 104. A comment suggested that a request for rehearing 
should be able to address a new point made by the Board in its opinion 
in support of a decision on appeal.
    Answer. Bd.R. 41.52 should not be understood to preclude the 
presentation in a request for rehearing of an argument responding to a 
new point made by the Board. The argument in the request for rehearing 
would be that the Board misapprehended the point.

Bd.R. 41.56

    Comment 105. A comment claimed that Bd.R. 41.56 gives the Board 
authority to ``assert'' that an argument in an appeal brief is 
frivolous (see Bd.R. 41.56(a)(2)) or hold a fact to have been 
established (see Bd.R. 41.56(b)(2)). The comment goes on to state that 
it is not clear how an applicant ``appeals'' from such an order other 
than to the courts.
    Answer. The jurisdiction of the Board is to review adverse 
decisions of an examiner. 35 U.S.C. 134. If in the course of the 
review, the Board enters a sanction and holds a fact to have been 
established and based on that fact a rejection is affirmed, the 
applicant would have judicial review of the Board's decision in the 
Federal Circuit (35 U.S.C. 141-144) or the U.S. District Court for the 
District of Columbia (35 U.S.C. 145). If in the course of the appeal, a 
sanction is entered by anyone other than a panel of the Board, an 
applicant would have administrative review by petition.
    Comment 106. Several comments questioned the need for Bd.R. 41.56.
    Answer. Bd.R. 41.56 sets out conduct which is detrimental to the 
efficient administration of ex parte appeals before the Office. The 
comments suggest that Bd.R. 41.56 fails to give adequate notice of what 
might be considered ``misconduct.'' A similar rule has existed in 
interference cases. Bd.R. 41.128. Sanctions are very rare in 
interference cases. The presence of Bd.R. 41.128 advises practitioners 
and others with respect to behavior which is not consistent with 
efficient administration of interference cases. In like manner, Bd.R. 
41.56 does the same for ex parte appeals. The rule also provides notice 
of the nature of a sanction in the event there has been a violation of 
the rules or an order entered in an appeal. It is expected that 
sanctions will be rare in ex parte appeals. The comments note that the 
``standards'' for whether a sanction should be imposed are 
``subjective'' and that sanctions will be entered as a matter of 
discretion by the Office. The sanction provisions of other tribunals 
are equally subjective and are entered (or not entered) as a matter of 
discretion. Courts and other agencies have administered sanction rules 
without any apparent difficulty.
    Comment 107. A comment asked whether Rule 11 of the Fed. R. Civ. P. 
and case law construing or applying the rule are relevant to the 
definition of ``misleading'' and ``frivolous'' in Bd.R. 41.56.
    Answer. Both words will be construed under Bd.R. 41.56 according to 
their ordinary meaning. Precedent of a court may or may not be helpful. 
The terms will be interpreted in the context of the appeals rules. Cf. 
FirstHealth of the Carolinas, Inc. v. CareFirst of Maryland, Inc., 479 
F.3d 825, 829 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (the TTAB has discretion to reasonably 
interpret the meaning of ``excusable neglect'' in the context of its 
own regulations, citing Thomas Jefferson University v. Shalala, 512 
U.S. 504, 512 (1994) (an agency's interpretation of its own regulation 
is given controlling weight unless it is plainly erroneous or 
inconsistent with the regulation)).
    Comment 108. A comment noted that the sanctions rule (Bd.R. 41.56) 
does not provide for ``an appeal'' and therefore constitutes a denial 
of due process.
    Answer. If a sanction is entered prior to a final decision of the 
Board, review is available by petition and subsequently in a court to 
the extent authorized by Congress. As noted earlier, a sanction having 
an effect on the merits is reviewable along with the merits in the 
Federal Circuit (35 U.S.C. 141) or the U.S. District Court for the 
District of Columbia (35 U.S.C. 145).
    Comment 109. A comment suggested that the sanctions are unnecessary 
because the Office has not shown that any of the sanctions are 
necessary or have been used.
    Answer. The need for a sanction rule is based on experience in 
appeals over the years. A sanction rule provides important public 
notice of behavior which is prejudicial to the effective administration 
of appeals within the Office. The sanction to be applied in a 
particular case will depend on the facts. Generally, sanctions are not 
applied without giving an appellant an opportunity to explain and 
justify its behavior.
    A sanction of not entering a docket notice may be appropriate where 
an appellant repeatedly declines to comply with procedural requirements 
to perfect an appeal.
    An order holding certain facts to have been established or from 
contesting a certain issue might be appropriate where an appellant is 
asked (Bd.R. 41.50(f)) to brief certain matters and avoids directly 
answering specific questions posed by the Board.
    An order expunging a paper might be entered where an appellant 
repeatedly fails to file a paper complying with the rules.
    An order excluding evidence might be appropriate where an appellant 
refuses to properly file evidence or where knowingly ``false'' evidence 
is presented.
    Other sanctions may be appropriate depending on the situation, 
including sanctions not specifically listed in Bd.R. 41.56(b). The 
expectation is that sanctions will rarely be necessary. On the other 
hand, having notice in the rules of possible sanctions can avoid 
arguments by someone that the Office has not given notice of its intent 
to take

[[Page 32969]]

action against an appellant when necessary.

Rulemaking Considerations

Administrative Procedure Act

    The changes in the rules relate solely to the procedure to be 
followed in filing and prosecuting an ex parte appeal to the Board. 
Therefore, these rule changes involve interpretive rules, or rules of 
agency practice and procedure under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A). Prior notice 
and an opportunity for public comment are not required pursuant to 5 
U.S.C. 553(b)(A) (or any other law). See Bachow Communications, Inc. v. 
F.C.C., 237 F.3d 683, 690 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (rules governing an 
application process are ``rules of agency organization, procedure, or 
practice'' and exempt from the Administrative Procedure Act's notice 
and comment requirement); Merck & Co., Inc. v. Kessler, 80 F.3d 1543, 
1549-50 (Fed. Cir. 1996) (the rules of practice promulgated under the 
authority of former 35 U.S.C. 6(a) (now in 35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2)) are not 
substantive rules (to which the notice and comment requirements of the 
Administrative Procedure Act apply)); Fressola v. Manbeck, 36 USPQ2d 
1211, 1215 (D.D.C. 1995) (``[i]t is extremely doubtful whether any of 
the rules formulated to govern patent or trade-mark practice are other 
than `interpretive rules, general statements of policy, * * * 
procedure, or practice' ''(quoting C.W. Ooms, The United States Patent 
Office and the Administrative Procedure Act, 38 Trademark Rep. 149, 153 
(1948))); Eli Lilly & Co. v. Univ. of Washington, 334 F.3d 1264, 1269 
n.1 (Fed. Cir. 2003).

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Deputy General Counsel for General Law of the United States 
Patent and Trademark Office certifies to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy 
of the Small Business Administration that this final rulemaking, Rules 
of Practice Before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences in Ex 
Parte Appeals (RIN 0651-AC12), will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. See 5 U.S.C. 605(b).
    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) is amending 
its rules in 37 CFR part 41 governing prosecution in ex parte appeals 
at the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (Board). There are fee 
changes associated with the final rules.
    The changes in this final rule involve interpretive rules, or rules 
of agency practice and procedure, and prior notice and an opportunity 
for public comment are not required pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A) (or 
any other law). Because prior notice and an opportunity for public 
comment are not required for the changes proposed in this rule, a 
Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis is also not required for the 
changes proposed in this rule. See 5 U.S.C. 603. Nevertheless, the 
Office published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal 
Register and in the Official Gazette of the United States Patent and 
Trademark Office, in order to solicit public participation with regard 
to this rule package.
    In response to the notice of proposed rule making, a comment was 
submitted that contended that a Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis is 
required under 5 U.S.C. 603. Because these rules are procedural, they 
are not required to be published for notice and comment. The Office 
chose, however, to publish these rules for comment prior to adoption of 
the final rules in order to request valuable input from the public.
    The primary changes in this rule are: (1) The requirements for an 
appeal brief include new sections for jurisdictional statement, table 
of contents, table of authorities, statement of facts, new format for 
arguments in the appeal brief and for claim support and drawing 
analysis section and means or step plus function analysis section in 
the appendix of the appeal brief, new section for table of contents in 
the evidence section of the appendix, new format in 14-point font, and 
30-page limit for the grounds of rejection, statement of facts, and 
argument sections, (2) the requirements for a reply brief include new 
sections for table of contents, table of authorities, statement of 
additional facts, new format for arguments in the reply brief, new 
format in 14-point font, and 20-page limit for the statement of 
additional facts and argument sections, (3) the requirements for a 
request for rehearing include new sections for table of contents, table 
of authorities, new format for arguments in the request for rehearing, 
new format in 14-point font, and 10-page limit for the argument 
section, (4) new grounds of rejection are no longer permitted in an 
examiner's answer, (5) the examiner's response to a reply brief is 
eliminated, (6) petitions to exceed the page limit for an appeal brief, 
reply brief or request for rehearing are made under Rule 41.3 which 
requires a $400 fee, (7) petitions for an extension of time to file a 
reply brief, request for oral hearing, or request for rehearing are 
made under Rule 41.3 which requires a $400 fee, and (8) a list of 
technical terms or unusual words to be provided to the transcriber at 
the oral hearing. The rules described in (1) through (5) and (8) will 
apply to all appeal briefs filed with the Board. The rules described in 
(6) and (7) will apply only to those applicants filing certain 
petitions.
Appeal Brief (1)
    Little additional cost is associated with the new appeal brief 
requirements.
    The jurisdictional statement of the appeal brief is a highly 
structured, fact-based paragraph of a maximum of 5 to 6 simple 
sentences. It is estimated that this section would add 10 to 15 minutes 
to the preparation of the brief. Assuming that the jurisdictional 
statement is prepared by a law firm staff member at the paralegal 
level, at an average billing rate of $150 an hour, the added cost for 
preparation of the jurisdictional statement is $25 to $37.50. In some 
cases, however, the preparation of the jurisdictional statement will 
result in a substantial time and cost savings to the applicant. For 
instance, if in the preparation of the jurisdictional statement it 
becomes apparent that the application is abandoned, the applicant can 
take advantage of available revival remedies at an early date and avoid 
an unnecessary dismissal of the appeal.
    The table of contents and table of authorities sections add very 
little additional cost to the preparation of the appeal brief. Modern 
word processors make the creation of a table of contents or a table of 
authorities fairly easy when headings are used in a document. The 
current rules and the proposed rules require the use of headings in the 
appeal brief. Assuming that virtually all applicants create their 
documents with a word processor, it would add 5 to 10 minutes to the 
preparation of the brief to insert the table of contents and table of 
authorities. Assuming that the table of contents and table of 
authorities are prepared by a law firm staff member at the paralegal 
level, at an average billing rate of $150 an hour, the added cost for 
preparation of these two tables is $12.50 to $25. It should be noted 
that in many appeals pending before the Board, the briefs contain a 
table of contents or table of authorities even though these sections 
are not currently required.
    The statement of facts section will not add to the appeal brief 
preparation cost and in many cases it will be a small cost savings. 
While the statement of facts is a new section in the final rule, the 
information contained in this section is part of the argument section 
of appeal briefs submitted under the current rule. By separating the 
facts from the argument, the applicant needs only to list a fact once 
and refer to it in the argument. Under current practice, applicant 
often times repeats a fact if

[[Page 32970]]

using it to support multiple arguments. Thus, in many cases the 
applicant will save time by not having to repeat a fact. Furthermore, 
the requirement for a fact to reference a specific portion of the 
Record does not impact the appeal brief preparation cost as it is a 
requirement under the current rule.
    Under the final rule, the argument section of the appeal brief has 
a new requirement for applicant to identify where an argument was made 
in the first instance to the examiner or state that it is a new 
argument. It is estimated that this requirement would add 10 minutes to 
the preparation of the brief. Assuming that the argument section is 
prepared by a law firm staff member at the attorney level, at an 
average billing rate of $310 an hour, the added cost for preparation of 
the argument section is $51.67. Compliance with this requirement should 
be relatively easy. An applicant can take an appeal following the 
second rejection of the claims by the examiner. In most cases, this 
will mean that the argument was made to the examiner either in response 
to a first Office action or in response to a second Office action, 
likely a final rejection. Additionally, identification of whether an 
argument in an appeal brief is ``new'' will enable senior Patent Corps 
personnel to evaluate the new argument and determine whether a 
rejection should be withdrawn. This will provide a savings to applicant 
in one of two ways: (1) Eliminating at an early stage appeals which 
should not go forward or (2) making appeals which go forward capable of 
prompt resolution. The identification of where an argument is made or 
if it is a new argument prevents arguments from being overlooked by the 
examiner and allows senior Patent Corps personnel to more readily 
assess all the arguments. If it is decided, based on the arguments in 
the appeal brief, that the claims are allowable, the applicant saves 
the time of a full appeal to the Board and waiting for a decision. The 
applicant also saves the possible expense of a request for oral hearing 
before the Board. In those appeals which are presented to the Board, 
the arguments in the case will be readily identifiable for the panel to 
review in deciding the issues. This allows the panel to be more 
efficient in their decision making and consequently reducing the 
pendency of applications at the Board. By aiding in increasing the 
efficiency of panel review, the applicant will reduce the time it takes 
to receive a Board decision.
    The claim support and drawing analysis section and the means or 
step plus function analysis section are analogous to the current 
summary of the claimed subject matter section in the appeal brief. The 
information required for these two newly titled sections is the same as 
that required by the current rules. The final rule, however, is 
explicit as to the format to be followed in these sections. The current 
rule requires an explanation of the subject matter, whereas the final 
rule sets forth the precise format to be used in mapping claim 
limitations to the support and description of the limitations in the 
specification and drawings. Bd. R. 41.37(r) and (s). The current rule 
leaves the format for the explanation of the claimed subject matter 
open to interpretation by the applicant. Rule 41.37(c)(1)(v). The final 
rule provides a standardized, easy to follow format for these sections. 
By following the prescribed format of the final rule, the applicant 
will save time in not having to create their own format to explain the 
claimed subject matter. Moreover, the final rule format is expected to 
reduce the number of applications returned to the examiner because the 
brief is not compliant with the explanation of the claimed subject 
matter section of the rule. Under the current rules, it is not uncommon 
for a case to be returned to the examiner because of deficiencies in 
the summary of the claimed subject matter section of the appeal brief. 
When a case is returned to the examiner for correction of a non-
compliant brief, the applicant must prepare and file a corrected brief. 
This delays the applicant's appeal and costs the applicant money to 
prepare a compliant brief. By following the clear, standardized format 
in the final rule for the claim support and drawing analysis section 
and means or step plus function section, applicants can prevent a 
return of their application on either or both of these bases. This will 
save the applicant the time and expense incurred for filing a corrected 
appeal brief. The claim support and drawing analysis section and the 
means or step plus function analysis section will not add cost to the 
appeal brief and will provide a savings to applicants in some cases.
    As reasoned above, for the table of contents and table of 
authorities sections, the preparation of a table of contents for the 
evidence section of the appeal brief appendix will add about five 
minutes to the time for preparing the brief. Assuming that the table of 
contents is prepared by a law firm staff member at the paralegal level, 
at an average billing rate of $150 an hour, the added cost for 
preparation of the table of contents is $12.50.
    The final rule requires the font for the appeal brief to be 14 
point in size. Assuming that virtually all applicants create their 
documents with a word processor, no additional time or cost is incurred 
in the selection of a 14-point font for the document.
    The final rule sets forth a 30-page limit on the combined length of 
grounds of rejection, statement of facts, and argument sections of the 
appeal brief. This limit will not have any economic impact on 
approximately 97% of applicants. A recent survey of appeal briefs 
revealed that less than 3% of appeal briefs filed exceeded 30 pages in 
the current grounds of rejection and argument sections.
Reply Brief (2)
    Very little additional economic impact is associated with the new 
reply brief requirements.
    As set forth above in the discussion of the table of contents and 
table of authorities in the appeal brief, the creation of these 
sections will add only 5 to 10 minutes to the preparation of the reply 
brief. Assuming that the table of contents and table of authorities are 
prepared by a law firm staff member at the paralegal level, at an 
average billing rate of $150 an hour, the added cost for preparation of 
the jurisdictional statement is $12.50 to $25. It should also be noted 
that in a recent survey of cases on appeal at the Board, only 68% of 
the cases contained reply briefs. This added cost applies only to cases 
in which a reply brief is filed.
    For the reasons listed above in the discussion of the statement of 
facts in the appeal brief, the statement of additional facts in the 
reply brief will not have any economic impact on the preparation of the 
reply brief and in many cases the applicant will save time.
    Under the final rule, the argument section of the reply brief has a 
new requirement that arguments be responsive to points made in the 
examiner's answer; otherwise the argument will not be considered and 
will be treated as waived. This requirement does not impose any 
additional economic burden on the applicant. It only makes clear what 
arguments in the reply brief will be considered by the Board. It saves 
the applicant the time and expense of preparing arguments that will not 
be considered.
    The final rule requires the font for the reply brief to be 14 point 
in size. Assuming that virtually all applicants create their documents 
with a word processor, no additional time or cost is incurred in the 
selection of a 14-point font for the document.
    The final rule sets forth a 20-page limit on the combined length of 
the statement of additional facts and

[[Page 32971]]

argument sections of the reply brief. A recent survey of reply briefs 
revealed that less than 1% of reply briefs filed exceeded 20 pages.
Request for Rehearing (3)
    With regard to the third change, very little additional economic 
impact is associated with the new request for rehearing requirements.
    As set forth above in the discussion of the table of contents and 
table of authorities in the appeal brief, the creation of these 
sections will add 5 to 10 minutes to the preparation of the request for 
rehearing. Assuming that the table of contents and table of authorities 
are prepared by a law firm staff member at the paralegal level, at an 
average billing rate of $150 an hour, the added cost for preparation of 
the jurisdictional statement is $12.50 to $25. It should also be noted 
that in Fiscal Year 2007, there were only 123 requests for rehearing of 
a Board decision filed at the USPTO, out of 3,485 Board decisions 
rendered. This added cost applies only to cases in which a request for 
rehearing is filed.
    Under the final rule, the argument section of the request for 
rehearing has a new format requirement that requires the applicant to 
explicitly identify in the Record the point that applicant believes was 
misapprehended or overlooked by the Board. Under current Rule 
41.52(a)(1), applicants are required to ``state with particularity the 
points believed to have been misapprehended or overlooked by the 
Board.'' Citation to the Record in compliance with the final rule will 
add 5 to 10 minutes to the preparation of a request for rehearing. 
Assuming that the argument section is prepared by a law firm staff 
member at the attorney level, at an average billing rate of $310 an 
hour, the added cost for preparation of the argument section is $25.83 
to $51.67.
    The final rule requires the font for the reply brief to be 14 point 
in size. Assuming that virtually all applicants create their documents 
with a word processor, no additional time or cost is incurred in the 
selection of a 14-point font for the document.
    The final rule sets forth a 10-page limit for the argument section 
of the request for rehearing. This limit will have no economic impact 
on most applicants. A survey of the request for rehearing in 92 
rehearing cases decided within the last year (FY 2007) revealed that 
only 21 requests for rehearing contained arguments exceeding 10 pages.
Prohibition on New Grounds of Rejection in Examiner's Answer (4)
    A savings to the applicant will result from the prohibition of new 
grounds of rejection in an examiner's answer. The current rules permit 
a new ground of rejection to be made in the examiner's answer. Rule 
41.39(a)(2). In response to a new ground of rejection an applicant must 
request that prosecution be reopened before the examiner or file a 
reply brief with a request that the appeal be maintained. Rule 
41.39(b). If the applicant elects to respond to the new ground of 
rejection by filing a reply brief, the reply brief may not be 
accompanied by any amendment, affidavit or other evidence. Rule 
41.39(b)(2). In order to present an amendment, affidavit or other 
evidence, the applicant must expend additional time and resources to 
reopen prosecution before the examiner. Recent data from the Patent 
Corps reveals that in Fiscal Year 2007 (FY 2007) approximately 5% of 
examiner's answers written that year contained a new ground of 
rejection. The final rules prohibit a new ground of rejection in an 
examiner's answer and, thus, provide a savings to applicants in not 
having to prepare a response to a new ground of rejection late in the 
appeal process.
Elimination of Examiner's Response to Reply Brief (5)
    The final rules eliminate the requirement for an examiner's 
response following a reply brief. Under the current rules, examiners 
are required to respond to a reply brief either by filing a 
communication noting the reply brief or by filing a supplemental 
examiner's answer. Rule 41.43(a)(1). The final rules eliminate both 
types of examiner response to a reply brief.
    The elimination of the examiner's requirement to note the reply 
brief allows applications on appeal to proceed directly to the Board 
upon filing of the reply brief, without waiting for an examiner's 
response. This saves the applicant valuable time in the appeal process. 
It also saves the applicant the expense of tracking the examiner's 
response to the reply brief.
    The elimination of a supplemental examiner's answer in response to 
a reply brief also allows applications on appeal to proceed directly to 
the Board upon filing of the reply brief. The applicant realizes an 
additional savings by elimination of the supplemental examiner's 
answer. Current practice provides that the applicant may file another 
reply brief in response to a supplemental examiner's answer. In almost 
every appeal where a supplemental examiner's answer is provided, the 
applicant submits a reply brief. By eliminating the supplemental 
examiner's answer, it eliminates the need for applicant to respond with 
another reply brief. Therefore, elimination of the supplemental 
examiner's answer saves the applicant the cost of preparing another 
reply brief.
Petition To Exceed the Page Limit (6)
    A $400 cost is incurred for applicants who petition to exceed the 
page limit for filing an appeal brief, reply brief or request for 
rehearing. The final rules permit an applicant to petition under Rule 
41.3 to exceed a page limit requirement. Petitions under Rule 41.3 must 
be accompanied by a $400 fee. Thus, the $400 petition fee is not a new 
fee, but the application of the existing petition fee to a new rule. 
Applicants can avoid this fee by filing a brief or request for 
rehearing within the page limits set forth in the rules.
Petition for Extension of Time (7)
    An additional $200 cost is incurred for applicants who petition for 
an extension of time to file a reply brief, request for oral hearing or 
request for rehearing. Under the current rules, an applicant may 
request an extension of time to file the above papers under Rule 
1.136(b). Rule 1.136(b) requests must be accompanied by a $200 fee. The 
final rules still permit applicants to request such extensions of time; 
however, the request must be made by petition under Rule 41.3, which 
requires a $400 fee. Thus, the net additional cost for an extension of 
time is $200. Moreover, applicants can avoid this fee by filing 
documents within the time periods set forth in the rules.
List of Technical Terms or Unusual Words (8)
    A small additional cost is associated with the new requirement for 
a list of technical terms or unusual words for the transcriber at the 
oral hearing. It is estimated that the list would take 5 to 10 minutes 
or less to prepare. Assuming that the list of terms is prepared by a 
law firm staff member at the attorney level, at an average billing rate 
of $310 an hour, the added cost for preparation of the list of terms is 
$25.83 to $51.67. It is further assumed that this list will replace the 
current practice of a question and answer session with the transcriber 
at the end of the hearing to collect these same terms. Note that in 
Fiscal Year 2007, there were 965 requests for oral hearing filed at the 
USPTO out of 4,639 appeals received at the Board. This added cost 
applies only

[[Page 32972]]

to cases in which a request for oral hearing is filed.
    If an applicant were to incur all the additional costs outlined 
above, the total would range from $778.33 to $880.01. In many cases, 
however, the costs will be less than $880.01 when the savings outlined 
for the appeal brief, reply brief, no new grounds of rejection in 
examiner's answer, and no examiner response to the reply brief are 
realized. Moreover, the additional legal costs are not significant when 
compared to the cost of legal fees when filing an appeal with the 
Board. The net additional legal services cost, minus the Office 
petition fees of $400 (to exceed page limit) and $200 (request for 
extension of time), is $178.33 to $280.01. According to the 2007 Report 
of the Economic Survey by the American Intellectual Property Law 
Association (AIPLA), page 21, the median charge in 2006 for an appeal 
to the Board without government fees and without oral argument was 
$4,000. An increase of $178.33 to $280.01, out of $4,000, represents an 
increase of only 4.5% to 7%. From the same 2007 AIPLA survey, the 
median charge in 2006 for an appeal to the Board without government 
fees and with oral argument was $6,500. Thus, an additional cost of 
$178.33 to $280.01, in a case with oral argument, represents an 
increase of only 2.7% to 4.3%.
    These additional costs apply equally to large and small entities, 
but do not disproportionately impact small entities for the following 
reasons. In examining the additional costs associated with the final 
rules, the largest single additional cost is the $400 petition fee to 
exceed the page limit for an appeal brief, reply brief, or request for 
rehearing. As will be shown the potential number of small entities 
impacted by this fee is a very small number.
    In FY 2007, the Office processed 4,808 appeal briefs filed by small 
entities and 18,337 appeal briefs filed by large entities. Assuming 3% 
of the appeal briefs filed by small entities contained sections for the 
grounds of rejection and argument exceeding 30 pages (see final 
paragraph of Appeal Brief (1) section), this provides an estimate of 
144 small entities that would find it necessary to petition to exceed 
the appeal brief page limitation. Similarly, in FY 2007, the Office 
processed 1,341 reply briefs filed by small entities and 3,606 reply 
briefs filed by large entities. Assuming 1% of the reply briefs filed 
by small entities contained sections for a statement of additional 
facts and argument exceeding 20 pages (see final paragraph of Reply 
Brief (2) section), this provides an estimate of 14 small entities that 
would find it necessary to petition to exceed the reply brief page 
limitation. Finally, in FY 2007, the Office processed 33 requests for 
rehearing filed by small entities and 90 requests for rehearing filed 
by large entities. Assuming 23% of the requests filed by small entities 
contained argument sections exceeding 10 pages (see final paragraph of 
Request for Rehearing (3) section), this provides an estimate of eight 
small entities that would find it necessary to petition to exceed the 
request for rehearing page limitation. Thus, at most, the maximum 
number of small entities affected by the $400.00 petition fee is 166 
small entities. When this number is compared to the 5,977 small 
entities that filed a notice of appeal with the Office in FY 2007 
(21,653 notices of appeal were filed by large entities in the same 
period), it demonstrates that the petition fee has the potential to 
affect only 2.8% of the small entities filing an appeal. An effect on 
2.8% of the small entities filing an appeal is not a disproportionate 
impact on small entities, nor is the actual number of 166 impacted 
small entities a substantial number.
    For these reasons, the Office has concluded that the changes in the 
Final Rules will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities.

Executive Order 13132

    This rulemaking does not contain policies with federalism 
implications sufficient to warrant preparation of a Federalism 
Assessment under Executive Order 13132 (Aug. 4, 1999).

Executive Order 12866

    This rulemaking has been determined to be not significant for the 
purpose of Executive Order 12866 (Sept. 30, 1993).

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rulemaking includes requirements for structuring information 
submitted to the USPTO by practitioners in order to process ex parte 
appeals before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI). 
The agency has received comments from the public concerning the burden 
of these rules on the public. In order to ensure that there is 
opportunity for the burden impact of these actions to be open for 
public comment, the USPTO will be submitting to the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) a request to consider this information 
subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et 
seq.).
    The USPTO will be submitting to OMB the following items associated 
with this rule making for inclusion in a new collection specific to the 
Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences: appeal brief, petition for 
extension of time for filing a paper after the brief, petition to 
increase the page limit, reply brief and request for rehearing before 
the BPAI. Per the requirements of submission of an information 
collection request to OMB, the USPTO will publish a 60-Day Federal 
Register Notice which will invite comments on: (1) Whether the 
collection of information is necessary for proper performance of the 
functions of the agency; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of 
the burden; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of 
the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of 
the collection of information to respondents.
    Interested persons are requested to send comments regarding this 
information collection, including suggestions for reducing this burden, 
to Kimberly Jordan, Chief Trial Administrator, Board of Patent Appeals 
and Interferences, United States Patent and Trademark Office, PO Box 
1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450, (marked: Information Collection 
Comment) or to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, 
725 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20503, (Attn: PTO Desk Officer).
    Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required 
to respond to nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for failure to 
comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of 
the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information 
displays a currently valid OMB control number.

List of Subjects in 37 CFR Part 41

    Administrative practice and procedure, Inventions and patents, 
Lawyers.

0
For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Under Secretary of Commerce 
for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and 
Trademark Office amends 37 CFR Chapter 1, part 41 as follows:

PART 41--PRACTICE BEFORE THE BOARD OF PATENT APPEALS AND 
INTERFERENCES

0
1. The authority citation for part 41 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority: 35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2), 3(a)(2)(A), 21, 23, 32, 132, 133, 
134, 135, 306, and 315.

Subpart A--General Provisions

0
1. In Sec.  41.2, revise the definitions of ``Board'' and ``Contested 
case'' to read as follows:

[[Page 32973]]

Sec.  41.2  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Board means the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences and 
includes:
    (1) For a final Board action in an appeal or contested case, a 
panel of the Board.
    (2) For non-final actions, a Board member or employee acting with 
the authority of the Board.
* * * * *
    Contested case means a Board proceeding other than an appeal under 
35 U.S.C. 134. An appeal in an inter partes reexamination proceeding is 
not a contested case.
* * * * *

0
2. In Sec.  41.3, revise paragraphs (a) and (b) to read as follows:


Sec.  41.3  Petitions.

    (a) Deciding official. A petition authorized by this part must be 
addressed to the Chief Administrative Patent Judge. The Chief 
Administrative Patent Judge may delegate authority to decide petitions.
    (b) Scope. This section covers petitions on matters pending before 
the Board, petitions authorized by this part and petitions seeking 
relief under 35 U.S.C. 135(c); otherwise see Sec. Sec.  1.181 to 1.183 
of this title. The following matters are not subject to petition:
    (1) Issues committed by statute to a panel.
    (2) In pending contested cases, procedural issues. See Sec.  
41.121(a)(3) and Sec.  41.125(c).
* * * * *

0
3. In Sec.  41.4, revise paragraphs (b) and (c) to read as follows:


Sec.  41.4  Timeliness.

* * * * *
    (b) Late filings. (1) A request to revive an application which 
becomes abandoned or a reexamination proceeding which becomes 
terminated under Sec. Sec.  1.550(d) or 1.957(b) or (c) of this title 
as a result of a late filing may be filed pursuant to Sec.  1.137 of 
this title.
    (2) A late filing that does not result in an application becoming 
abandoned or a reexamination proceeding becoming terminated under 
Sec. Sec.  1.550(d) or 1.957(b) or limited under Sec.  1.957(c) of this 
title may be excused upon a showing of excusable neglect or a Board 
determination that consideration on the merits would be in the 
interests of justice.
    (c) Scope. Except to the extent provided in this part, this section 
governs proceedings before the Board, but does not apply to filings 
related to Board proceedings before or after the Board has jurisdiction 
(Sec.  41.35), such as:
    (1) Extensions during prosecution (see Sec.  1.136 of this title).
    (2) Filing of a notice of appeal and an appeal brief (see 
Sec. Sec.  41.31(c) and 41.37(c)).
    (3) Seeking judicial review (see Sec. Sec.  1.301 to 1.304 of this 
title).

0
4. Revise Sec.  41.12 to read as follows:


Sec.  41.12  Citation of authority.

    (a) Authority. Citations to authority must include:
    (1) United States Supreme Court decision. A citation to a single 
source in the following order of priority: United States Reports, 
West's Supreme Court Reports, United States Patents Quarterly, Westlaw, 
or a slip opinion.
    (2) United States Court of Appeals decision. A citation to a single 
source in the following order of priority: West's Federal Reporter (F., 
F.2d or F.3d), West's Federal Appendix (Fed. Appx.), United States 
Patents Quarterly, Westlaw, or a slip opinion.
    (3) United States District Court decision. A citation to a single 
source in the following order of priority: West's Federal Supplement 
(F.Supp., F.Supp. 2d), United States Patents Quarterly, Westlaw, or a 
slip opinion.
    (4) Slip opinions. If a slip opinion is relied upon, a copy of the 
slip opinion must accompany the first paper in which an authority is 
cited.
    (5) Pinpoint citations. Use pinpoint citations whenever a specific 
holding or portion of an authority is invoked.
    (b) Non-binding authority. Non-binding authority may be cited. If 
non-binding authority is not an authority of the Office and is not 
reproduced in one of the reporters listed in paragraph (a) of this 
section, a copy of the authority shall be filed with the first paper in 
which it is cited.

Subpart B--Ex parte Appeals

0
5. Revise Sec.  41.30 to add a definition of ``Record'' to read as 
follows:


Sec.  41.30  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Record means the official content of the file of an application or 
reexamination proceeding on appeal.

0
6. Revise Sec.  41.31 to read as follows:


Sec.  41.31  Appeal to Board.

    (a) Notice of appeal. An appeal is taken to the Board by filing a 
notice of appeal.
    (b) Fee. The notice of appeal shall be accompanied by the fee 
required by Sec.  41.20(b)(1).
    (c) Time for filing notice of appeal. A notice of appeal must be 
filed within the time period provided under Sec.  1.134 of this title.
    (d) Extensions of time to file notice of appeal. The time for 
filing a notice of appeal is extendable under the provisions of Sec.  
1.136(a) of this title for applications and Sec.  1.550(c) of this 
title for ex parte reexamination proceedings.
    (e) Non-appealable issues. A non-appealable issue is an issue not 
subject to an appeal under 35 U.S.C. 134. An applicant or patent owner 
dissatisfied with a decision of an examiner on a non-appealable issue 
shall timely seek review by petition before jurisdiction over an appeal 
is transferred to the Board (see Sec.  41.35). Failure to timely file a 
petition seeking review of a decision of the examiner related to a non-
appealable issue may constitute a waiver to having that issue 
considered in the application or reexamination on appeal.

0
7. Revise Sec.  41.33 to read as follows:


Sec.  41.33  Amendments and evidence after appeal.

    (a) Amendment after notice of appeal and prior to appeal brief. An 
amendment filed after the date a notice of appeal is filed and prior to 
the date an appeal brief is filed may be admitted as provided in Sec.  
1.116 of this title.
    (b) Amendment with or after appeal brief. An amendment filed on or 
after the date an appeal brief is filed may be admitted:
    (1) To cancel claims. To cancel claims provided cancellation of 
claims does not affect the scope of any other pending claim in the 
application or reexamination proceeding on appeal, or
    (2) To convert dependent claim to independent claim. To rewrite 
dependent claims into independent form.
    (c) Other amendments. No other amendments filed after the date an 
appeal brief is filed will be admitted, except as permitted by 
Sec. Sec.  41.50(b)(1), 41.50(d)(1), or 41.50(e) of this subpart.
    (d) Evidence after notice of appeal and prior to appeal brief. 
Evidence filed after the date a notice of appeal is filed and prior to 
the date an appeal brief is filed may be admitted if:
    (1) The examiner determines that the evidence overcomes at least 
one rejection under appeal and does not necessitate any new ground of 
rejection, and
    (2) appellant shows good cause why the evidence was not earlier 
presented.
    (e) Other evidence. All other evidence filed after the date an 
appeal brief is filed will not be admitted, except as permitted by 
Sec. Sec.  41.50(b)(1) or 41.50(d)(1) of this subpart.

0
8. Revise Sec.  41.35 to read as follows:

[[Page 32974]]

Sec.  41.35  Jurisdiction over appeal.

    (a) Beginning of jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of the Board begins 
when a docket notice is mailed by the Board.
    (b) End of jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of the Board ends when:
    (1) The Board mails a remand order (see Sec.  41.50(b) or Sec.  
41.50(d)(1) of this subpart),
    (2) The Board mails a final decision (see Sec.  41.2 of this part) 
and judicial review is sought or the time for seeking judicial review 
has expired,
    (3) An express abandonment is filed which complies with Sec.  1.138 
of this title, or
    (4) A request for continued examination is filed which complies 
with Sec.  1.114 of this title.
    (c) Remand ordered by the Director. Prior to entry of a decision on 
the appeal by the Board (see Sec.  41.50), the Director may sua sponte 
order an application or reexamination proceeding on appeal to be 
remanded to the examiner.

0
9. Revise Sec.  41.37 to read as follows:


Sec.  41.37  Appeal brief.

    (a) Requirement for appeal brief. An appeal brief shall be timely 
filed to perfect an appeal. Upon failure to file an appeal brief, the 
proceedings on the appeal are terminated without further action on the 
part of the Office.
    (b) Fee. The appeal brief shall be accompanied by the fee required 
by Sec.  41.20(b)(2) of this subpart.
    (c) Time for filing appeal brief. Appellant must file an appeal 
brief within two months from the date of the filing of the notice of 
appeal (see Sec.  41.31(a)).
    (d) Extension of time to file appeal brief. The time for filing an 
appeal brief is extendable under the provisions of Sec.  1.136(a) of 
this title for applications and Sec.  1.550(c) of this title for ex 
parte reexamination proceedings.
    (e) Content of appeal brief. The appeal brief must contain, under 
appropriate headings and in the order indicated, the following items:
    (1) Statement of the real party in interest (see paragraph (f) of 
this section).
    (2) Statement of related cases (see paragraph (g) of this section).
    (3) Jurisdictional statement (see paragraph (h) of this section).
    (4) Table of contents (see paragraph (i) of this section).
    (5) Table of authorities (see paragraph (j) of this section).
    (6) [Reserved.]
    (7) Status of amendments (see paragraph (l) of this section).
    (8) Grounds of rejection to be reviewed (see paragraph (m) of this 
section).
    (9) Statement of facts (see paragraph (n) of this section).
    (10) Argument (see paragraph (o) of this section).
    (11) An appendix containing a claims section (see paragraph (p) of 
this section), a claim support and drawing analysis section (see 
paragraph (r) of this section), a means or step plus function analysis 
section (see paragraph (s) of this section), an evidence section (see 
paragraph (t) of this section), and a related cases section (see 
paragraph (u) of this section).
    (f) Statement of real party in interest. The ``statement of the 
real party in interest'' shall identify the name of the real party in 
interest. The real party in interest must be identified in such a 
manner as to readily permit a member of the Board to determine whether 
recusal would be appropriate. Appellant is under a continuing 
obligation to update this item during the pendency of the appeal. If an 
appeal brief does not contain a statement of real party in interest, 
the Office will assume that the named inventors are the real party in 
interest.
    (g) Statement of related cases. The ``statement of related cases'' 
shall identify, by application, patent, appeal, interference, or court 
docket number, all prior or pending appeals, interferences or judicial 
proceedings, known to any inventors, any attorneys or agents who 
prepared or prosecuted the application on appeal and any other person 
who was substantively involved in the preparation or prosecution of the 
application on appeal, and that are related to, directly affect, or 
would be directly affected by, or have a bearing on the Board's 
decision in the appeal. A related case includes any continuing 
application of the application on appeal. A copy of any final or 
significant interlocutory decision rendered by the Board or a court in 
any proceeding identified under this paragraph shall be included in the 
related cases section (see paragraph (u) of this section) in the 
appendix. Appellant is under a continuing obligation to update this 
item during the pendency of the appeal. If an appeal brief does not 
contain a statement of related cases, the Office will assume that there 
are no related cases.
    (h) Jurisdictional statement. The ``jurisdictional statement'' 
shall establish the jurisdiction of the Board to consider the appeal. 
The jurisdictional statement shall include a statement of the statute 
under which the appeal is taken, the date of the Office action setting 
out the rejection on appeal from which the appeal is taken, the date 
the notice of appeal was filed, and the date the appeal brief is being 
filed. If a notice of appeal or an appeal brief is filed after the time 
specified in this subpart, appellant must also indicate the date an 
extension of time was requested and, if known, the date the request was 
granted.
    (i) Table of contents. A ``table of contents'' shall list, along 
with a reference to the page where each item begins, the items required 
to be listed in the appeal brief (see paragraph (e) of this section) or 
reply brief (see Sec.  41.41(d) of this subpart), as appropriate.
    (j) Table of authorities. A ``table of authorities'' shall list 
cases (alphabetically arranged), statutes and other authorities along 
with a reference to the pages where each authority is cited in the 
appeal brief or reply brief, as appropriate.
    (k) [Reserved.]
    (l) Status of amendments. The ``status of amendments'' shall 
indicate the status of all amendments filed after final rejection 
(e.g., whether entered or not entered).
    (m) Grounds of rejection to be reviewed. The ``grounds of rejection 
to be reviewed'' shall set out the grounds of rejection to be reviewed, 
including the statute applied, the claims subject to each rejection and 
references relied upon by the examiner.
    (n) Statement of facts. The ``statement of facts'' shall set out in 
an objective and non-argumentative manner the material facts relevant 
to the rejections on appeal. A fact shall be supported by a reference 
to a specific page number of a document in the Record and, where 
applicable, a specific line or paragraph, and drawing numerals. A 
general reference to a document as a whole or to large portions of a 
document does not comply with the requirements of this paragraph.
    (o) Argument. The ``argument'' shall explain why the examiner erred 
as to each ground of rejection to be reviewed. Any explanation must 
address all points made by the examiner with which the appellant 
disagrees. Any finding made or conclusion reached by the examiner that 
is not challenged will be presumed to be correct. For each argument an 
explanation must identify where the argument was made in the first 
instance to the examiner or state that the argument has not previously 
been made to the examiner. Each ground of rejection shall be separately 
argued under a separate heading.
    (1) Claims standing or falling together. For each ground of 
rejection applicable to two or more claims, the claims may be argued 
separately (claims are considered by appellants as separately

[[Page 32975]]

patentable) or as a group (claims stand or fall together). When two or 
more claims subject to the same ground of rejection are argued as a 
group, the Board may select a single claim from the group of claims 
that are argued together to decide the appeal on the basis of the 
selected claim alone with respect to the group of claims as to the 
ground of rejection. Any doubt as to whether claims have been argued 
separately or as a group as to a ground of rejection will be resolved 
against appellant and the claims will be deemed to have been argued as 
a group. Any claim argued separately as to a ground of rejection shall 
be placed under a subheading identifying the claim by number. A 
statement that merely points out what a claim recites will not be 
considered an argument for separate patentability of the claim.
    (2) Arguments considered. Only those arguments which are presented 
in the argument section of the appeal brief and that address claims set 
out in the claim support and drawing analysis section in the appendix 
will be considered. Appellant waives all other arguments in the appeal.
    (3) Format of argument. Unless a response is purely legal in 
nature, when responding to a point made in the examiner's rejection, 
the appeal brief shall specifically identify the point made by the 
examiner and indicate where appellant previously responded to the point 
or state that appellant has not previously responded to the point. In 
identifying any point made by the examiner, the appellant shall refer 
to a page and, where appropriate, a line or paragraph, of a document in 
the Record.
    (p) Claims section. The ``claims section'' in the appendix shall 
consist of an accurate clean copy in numerical order of all claims 
pending in the application or reexamination proceeding on appeal. The 
status of every claim shall be set out after the claim number and in 
parentheses (e.g., 1 (rejected), 2 (withdrawn), 3 (objected to), 4 
(cancelled), and 5 (allowed)). A cancelled claim need not be 
reproduced.
    (q) [Reserved.]
    (r) Claim support and drawing analysis section. For each 
independent claim involved in the appeal and each dependent claim 
argued separately (see paragraph (o)(1) of this section), the claim 
support and drawing analysis section in the appendix shall consist of 
an annotated copy of the claim (and, if necessary, any claim from which 
the claim argued separately depends) indicating in boldface between 
braces ({ {time} ) the page and line or paragraph after each limitation 
where the limitation is described in the specification as filed. If 
there is a drawing or amino acid or nucleotide material sequence, and 
at least one limitation is illustrated in a drawing or amino acid or 
nucleotide material sequence, the ``claims support and drawing analysis 
section'' in the appendix shall also contain in boldface between the 
same braces ({ {time} ) where each limitation is shown in the drawings 
or sequence.
    (s) Means or step plus function analysis section. For each 
independent claim involved in the appeal and each dependent claim 
argued separately (see paragraph (o)(1) of this section) having a 
limitation that appellant regards as a means or step plus function 
limitation in the form permitted by the sixth paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 
112, for each such limitation, the ``means or step plus function 
analysis section'' in the appendix shall consist of an annotated copy 
of the claim (and, if necessary, any claim from which the claim argued 
separately depends) indicating in boldface between braces ({ {time} ) 
the page and line of the specification and the drawing figure and 
element numeral that describes the structure, material or acts 
corresponding to each claimed function.
    (t) Evidence section. The ``evidence section'' shall contain only 
papers which have been entered by the examiner. The evidence section 
shall include:
    (1) Contents. A table of contents.
    (2) [Reserved.]
    (3) [Reserved.]
    (4) [Reserved.]
    (5) Affidavits and declarations. Affidavits and declarations, if 
any, and attachments to declarations, before the examiner and which are 
relied upon by appellant in the appeal. An affidavit or declaration 
otherwise mentioned in the appeal brief which does not appear in the 
evidence section will not be considered.
    (6) Other evidence filed prior to the notice of appeal. Other 
evidence, if any, before the examiner and filed prior to the date of 
the notice of appeal and relied upon by appellant in the appeal. Other 
evidence filed before the notice of appeal that is otherwise mentioned 
in the appeal brief and which does not appear in the evidence section 
will not be considered.
    (7) Other evidence filed after the notice of appeal. Other evidence 
relied upon by the appellant in the appeal and admitted into the file 
pursuant to Sec.  41.33(d) of this subpart. Other evidence filed after 
the notice of appeal that is otherwise mentioned in the appeal brief 
and which does not appear in the evidence section will not be 
considered.
    (u) Related cases section. The ``related cases section'' shall 
consist of copies of orders and opinions required to be cited pursuant 
to paragraph (g) of this section.
    (v) Appeal brief format requirements. An appeal brief shall comply 
with Sec.  1.52 of this title and the following additional 
requirements:
    (1) Page and line numbering. The pages of the appeal brief, 
including all sections in the appendix, shall be consecutively numbered 
using Arabic numerals beginning with the first page of the appeal 
brief, which shall be numbered page 1. If the appellant chooses to 
number the lines, line numbering may be within the left margin.
    (2) Double spacing. Double spacing shall be used except in 
headings, tables of contents, tables of authorities, signature blocks, 
and certificates of service. Block quotations must be indented and can 
be one and one half or double spaced.
    (3) [Reserved.]
    (4) Font. The font size shall be 14 point, including the font for 
block quotations and footnotes.
    (5) Length of appeal brief. An appeal brief may not exceed 30 
pages, excluding any statement of the real party in interest, statement 
of related cases, jurisdictional statement, table of contents, table of 
authorities, status of amendments, signature block, and appendix. An 
appeal brief may not incorporate another paper by reference. A request 
to exceed the page limit shall be made by petition under Sec.  41.3 
filed at least ten calendar days prior to the date the appeal brief is 
due.
    (6) Signature block. The signature block must identify the 
appellant or appellant's representative, as appropriate, and a 
registration number, a correspondence address, a telephone number, a 
fax number and an e-mail address.

0
10. Revise Sec.  41.39 to read as follows:


Sec.  41.39  Examiner's answer.

    (a) Answer. If the examiner determines that the appeal should go 
forward, then within such time and manner as may be established by the 
Director the examiner shall enter an examiner's answer responding to 
the appeal brief.
    (b) No new ground of rejection. An examiner's answer shall not 
include a new ground of rejection.

0
11. Revise Sec.  41.41 to read as follows:


Sec.  41.41  Reply brief.

    (a) Reply brief authorized. An appellant may file a single reply 
brief responding to the points made in the examiner's answer.

[[Page 32976]]

    (b) Time for filing reply brief. If the appellant elects to file a 
reply brief, the reply brief must be filed within two months of the 
date of the mailing of the examiner's answer.
    (c) Extension of time to file reply brief. A request for an 
extension of time to file a reply brief shall be presented as a 
petition under Sec.  41.3 of this part.
    (d) Content of reply brief. Except as otherwise set out in this 
section, the form and content of a reply brief are governed by the 
requirements for an appeal brief as set out in Sec.  41.37 of this 
subpart. A reply brief may not exceed 20 pages, excluding any table of 
contents, table of authorities, and signature block, required by this 
section. A request to exceed the page limit shall be made by petition 
under Sec.  41.3 of this part and filed at least ten calendar days 
before the reply brief is due. A reply brief must contain, under 
appropriate headings and in the order indicated, the following items:
    (1) Table of contents--see Sec.  41.37(i) of this subpart.
    (2) Table of authorities--see Sec.  41.37(j) of this subpart.
    (3) [Reserved.]
    (4) Statement of additional facts--see paragraph (f) of this 
section.
    (5) Argument--see paragraph (g) of this section.
    (e) [Reserved.]
    (f) Statement of additional facts. The ``statement of additional 
facts'' shall consist of a statement of the additional facts that 
appellant believes are necessary to address the points raised in the 
examiner's answer and, as to each fact, must identify the point raised 
in the examiner's answer to which the fact relates.
    (g) Argument. Any arguments raised in the reply brief which are not 
responsive to points made in the examiner's answer will not be 
considered and will be treated as waived.
    (h) [Reserved.]
    (i) No amendment or new evidence. No amendment or new evidence may 
accompany a reply brief.


Sec.  41.43  [Removed]

0
12. Remove Sec.  41.43.
0
13. Revise Sec.  41.47 to read as follows:


Sec.  41.47  Oral hearing.

    (a) Request for oral hearing. If appellant desires an oral hearing, 
appellant must file, as a separate paper, a written request captioned:
    ``REQUEST FOR ORAL HEARING''.
    (b) Fee. A request for oral hearing shall be accompanied by the fee 
required by Sec.  41.20(b)(3) of this part.
    (c) Time for filing request for oral hearing. Appellant must file a 
request for oral hearing within two months from the date of the 
examiner's answer.
    (d) Extension of time to file request for oral hearing. A request 
for an extension of time shall be presented as a petition under Sec.  
41.3 of this part.
    (e) Date for oral hearing. If an oral hearing is properly 
requested, the Board shall set a date for the oral hearing.
    (f) Confirmation of oral hearing. Within such time as may be 
ordered by the Board, appellant shall confirm attendance at the oral 
hearing. Failure to timely confirm attendance will be taken as a waiver 
of any request for an oral hearing.
    (g) List of terms. At the time appellant confirms attendance at the 
oral hearing, appellant shall supply a list of technical terms and 
other unusual words which can be provided to any individual 
transcribing an oral hearing.
    (h) Length of argument. Unless otherwise ordered by the Board, 
argument on behalf of appellant shall be limited to 20 minutes.
    (i) Oral hearing limited to Record. At oral hearing only the Record 
will be considered. No additional evidence may be offered to the Board 
in support of the appeal. Any argument not presented in a brief cannot 
be raised at an oral hearing.
    (j) Recent legal development. Notwithstanding paragraph (i) of this 
section, an appellant or the examiner may rely on and call the Board's 
attention to a recent court or Board opinion which could have an effect 
on the manner in which the appeal is decided.
    (k) Visual aids. Visual aids may be used at an oral hearing, but 
must be limited to documents or artifacts in the Record or a model or 
an exhibit presented for demonstration purposes during an interview 
with the examiner. At the oral hearing, appellant shall provide one 
copy of each visual aid (photograph in the case of an artifact, a model 
or an exhibit) for each judge and one copy to be added to the Record.
    (l) Failure to attend oral hearing. Failure of an appellant to 
attend an oral hearing will be treated as a waiver of oral hearing.

0
14. Revise Sec.  41.50 to read as follows:


Sec.  41.50  Decisions and other actions by the Board.

    (a) Affirmance and reversal. The Board may affirm or reverse an 
examiner's rejection in whole or in part. Affirmance of a rejection of 
a claim constitutes a general affirmance of the decision of the 
examiner on that claim, except as to any rejection specifically 
reversed.
    (b) Remand. The Board may remand an application to the examiner. If 
in response to a remand for further consideration of a rejection, the 
examiner enters an examiner's answer, within two months the appellant 
shall exercise one of the following two options to avoid abandonment of 
the application or termination of a reexamination proceeding:
    (1) Request to reopen prosecution. Request that prosecution be 
reopened before the examiner by filing a reply under Sec.  1.111 of 
this title with or without amendment or submission of evidence. Any 
amendment or evidence must be responsive to the remand or issues 
discussed in the examiner's answer. A request that complies with this 
paragraph will be entered and the application or patent under 
reexamination will be reconsidered by the examiner under the provisions 
of Sec.  1.112 of this title. A request under this paragraph will be 
treated as a request to dismiss the appeal.
    (2) Request to re-docket the appeal. The appellant may request that 
the Board re-docket the appeal (see Sec.  41.35(a) of this subpart) and 
file a reply brief as set forth in Sec.  41.41 of this subpart. A reply 
brief may not be accompanied by any amendment or evidence. A reply 
brief which is accompanied by an amendment or evidence will be treated 
as a request to reopen prosecution pursuant to paragraph (b)(1) of this 
section.
    (c) Remand not final action. Whenever a decision of the Board 
includes a remand, the decision shall not be considered a final 
decision of the Board. When appropriate, upon conclusion of proceedings 
on remand before the examiner, the Board may enter an order making its 
decision final.
    (d) New ground of rejection. Should the Board have a basis not 
involved in the appeal for rejecting any pending claim, it may enter a 
new ground of rejection. A new ground of rejection shall be considered 
an interlocutory order and shall not be considered a final decision. If 
the Board enters a new ground of rejection, within two months appellant 
must exercise one of the following two options with respect to the new 
ground of rejection to avoid dismissal of the appeal as to any claim 
subject to the new ground of rejection:
    (1) Reopen prosecution. Submit an amendment of the claims subject 
to a new ground of rejection or new evidence relating to the new ground 
of rejection or both, and request that the matter be reconsidered by 
the examiner. The application or reexamination proceeding on appeal 
will be remanded to the examiner. A new ground of

[[Page 32977]]

rejection by the Board is binding on the examiner unless, in the 
opinion of the examiner, the amendment or new evidence overcomes the 
new ground of rejection. In the event the examiner maintains the new 
ground of rejection, appellant may again appeal to the Board.
    (2) Request for rehearing. Submit a request for rehearing pursuant 
to Sec.  41.52 of this subpart relying on the Record.
    (e) Recommendation. In its opinion in support of its decision, the 
Board may include a recommendation, explicitly designated as such, of 
how a claim on appeal may be amended to overcome a specific rejection. 
When the Board makes a recommendation, appellant may file an amendment 
or take other action consistent with the recommendation. An amendment 
or other action, otherwise complying with statutory patentability 
requirements, will overcome the specific rejection. An examiner, 
however, upon return of the application or reexamination proceeding to 
the jurisdiction of the examiner, may enter a new ground of rejection 
of a claim amended in conformity with a recommendation, when 
appropriate.
    (f) Request for briefing and information. The Board may enter an 
order requiring appellant to brief matters or supply information or 
both that the Board believes would assist in deciding the appeal. 
Appellant will be given a non-extendable time period within which to 
respond to the order. Failure of appellant to timely respond to the 
order may result in dismissal of the appeal in whole or in part.
    (g) Extension of time to take action. A request for an extension of 
time to respond to a request for briefing and information under 
paragraph (f) of this section is not authorized. A request for an 
extension of time to respond to Board action under paragraphs (b) and 
(d) of this section shall be presented as a petition under Sec.  41.3 
of this part.

0
15. Revise Sec.  41.52 to read as follows:


Sec.  41.52  Rehearing.

    (a) Request for rehearing authorized. An appellant may file a 
single request for rehearing.
    (b) Time for filing request for rehearing. Any request for 
rehearing must be filed within two months from the date of the decision 
mailed by the Board.
    (c) Extension of time to file request for rehearing. A request for 
an extension of time shall be presented as a petition under Sec.  41.3 
of this part.
    (d) Content of request for rehearing. The form of a request for 
rehearing is governed by the requirements of Sec.  41.37(v) of this 
subpart, except that a request for rehearing may not exceed 10 pages, 
excluding any table of contents, table of authorities, and signature 
block. A request to exceed the page limit shall be made by petition 
under Sec.  41.3 at least ten calendar days before the request for 
rehearing is due. A request for rehearing must contain, under 
appropriate headings and in the order indicated, the following items:
    (1) Table of contents--see Sec.  41.37(i) of this subpart.
    (2) Table of authorities--see Sec.  41.37(j) of this subpart.
    (3) [Reserved.]
    (4) Argument--see paragraph (f) of this section.
    (e) [Reserved.]
    (f) Argument. A request for rehearing shall state with 
particularity the points believed to have been misapprehended or 
overlooked by the Board. In filing a request for rehearing, the 
argument shall adhere to the following format: ``On page x, lines y-z 
of the Board's opinion, the Board states that (set out what was 
stated). The point misapprehended or overlooked was made to the Board 
in (identify paper, page and line where argument was made to the Board) 
or the point was first made in the opinion of the Board. The response 
is (state response).'' As part of each response, appellant shall refer 
to the page number and line or drawing number of a document in the 
Record. A general restatement of the case will not be considered an 
argument that the Board has misapprehended or overlooked a point. A new 
argument cannot be made in a request for rehearing, except:
    (1) New ground of rejection. Appellant may respond to a new ground 
of rejection entered pursuant to Sec.  41.50(d)(2) of this subpart.
    (2) Recent legal development. Appellant may rely on and call the 
Board's attention to a recent court or Board opinion which is relevant 
to an issue decided in the appeal.
    (g) No amendment or new evidence. No amendment or new evidence may 
accompany a request for rehearing.
    (h) Decision on rehearing. A decision will be rendered on a request 
for rehearing. The decision on rehearing is deemed to incorporate the 
underlying decision sought to be reheard except for those portions of 
the underlying decision specifically modified on rehearing. A decision 
on rehearing is final for purposes of judicial review, except when 
otherwise noted in the decision on rehearing.

0
16. Revise Sec.  41.54 to read as follows:


Sec.  41.54  Action following decision.

    After a decision by the Board and subject to appellant's right to 
seek judicial review, the application or reexamination proceeding will 
be returned to the jurisdiction of the examiner for such further action 
as may be appropriate consistent with the decision by the Board.

0
17. Add Sec.  41.56 to read as follows:


Sec.  41.56  Sanctions.

    (a) Imposition of sanctions. The Chief Administrative Patent Judge 
or an expanded panel of the Board may impose a sanction against an 
appellant for misconduct, including:
    (1) Failure to comply with an order entered in the appeal or an 
applicable rule.
    (2) Advancing or maintaining a misleading or frivolous request for 
relief or argument.
    (3) Engaging in dilatory tactics.
    (b) Nature of sanction. Sanctions may include entry of:
    (1) An order declining to enter a docket notice.
    (2) An order holding certain facts to have been established in the 
appeal.
    (3) An order expunging a paper or precluding an appellant from 
filing a paper.
    (4) An order precluding an appellant from presenting or contesting 
a particular issue.
    (5) An order excluding evidence.
    (6) [Reserved.]
    (7) An order holding an application on appeal to be abandoned or a 
reexamination proceeding terminated.
    (8) An order dismissing an appeal.
    (9) An order denying an oral hearing.
    (10) An order terminating an oral hearing.

    Dated: May 29, 2008.
Jon W. Dudas,
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of 
the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. E8-12451 Filed 6-9-08; 8:45 am]
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