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USPTO Continues to Accept Electronic Filings for Plant Patents - Exceptions Apply

By Stephany G. Small, Panitch Schwarze

As reported in CIOPORA's COVID-19 PVP Update Feed on May 5 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has temporarily permitted the filing of plant patent applications and follow-up documents via USPTO patent electronic filing systems.

Currently, the electronic filing policy in plant patents applies until further notice, with the respective USPTO notice indicating that it is "...continuing its efforts to modify Patent Center, the new electronic filing and retrieval system, so that plant patent applications can be filed electronically on a permanent basis.” However, USPTO may still require applicants to submit paper copies of the formal color drawings once an application is allowed for it to proceed to issuance. While the USPTO legal department indicated that this procedure may be reviewed in the future, for now, it remains in place due to sometimes insufficient quality of the electronic drawing copies.

Furthermore, responding to a joint request by CIOPORA and AmericanHort, the USPTO now provides relief for delays in filing paper certified copy of foreign priority documents from foreign intellectual property offices that do not participate in priority document exchange programs with USPTO, e.g., a foreign PBR application, per formal notice of January 29. The relief comes with the conditions attached. Namely, applicants must timely file an interim electronic copy of the foreign PBR application and request USPTO to suspend the requirement for submission of the certified copy prior to payment of the issue fee. Moreover, once the foreign PBR office resumes processing requests for paper certified copies, the patent owner must request paper certified copies within two months after an office in question resumes processing such requests, and within one month after the paper certified copies are issued, submit it to the USPTO.

CIOPORA will continue its advocacy for enhanced plant patent application options before the USPTO.


About the author:

Stephany G. Small, Ph.D., is a Patent Agent at CIOPORA lawyer member Panitch Schwarze Belisario & Nadel LLP (USA).

Stephany works with clients ranging from large life science companies to individual inventors to protect their valued Intellectual Property. She prepares and prosecutes U.S. and foreign patent applications for inventions related to all aspects of life science. She is involved in FDA Orange Book submissions and Patent Term Extension Applications, and also assists clients with preparing opinions relating to patentability and freedom to operate. Stephany collaborates in patent interferences and inter partes review proceedings before the U.S. Patent Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).


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