December 04, 2009

ABA Offers Guidance on Patent Office Ombuds Pilot

In October 2009, the US Patent and Trademark Office announced a pilot Ombuds program as part of an overall effort to improve the application process. Peggy Focarino, Acting Commissioner for Patents at the US Patent and Trademark Office proposed the Technology Center Ombuds as an independent alternative for resolving applicant issues. In response to the USPTO's call for comments, the American Bar Association submitted a letter last suggesting changes to the proposed program. Writing for the ABA's Standing Committee on Government Affairs, attorney Thomas M. Sussman urged the USPTO to specify key features for the Ombuds:
  • Independence from USPTO interference;
  • Impartiality as between the applicant and the USPTO; and
  • Confidentiality of USPTO applicants' communications.
Sussman also enclosed a copy of the ABA white paper, the revised "Standards for the Establishment and Operation of Ombuds Offices," dated February 2004. If adopted, these changes would result in an Ombuds program more consistent with IOA standards than standards for Advocate Ombuds. (ABA Letter re Comments on the Proposed “Patents Ombudsman Pilot Program”; via Perkins Coie Patent Law Insights.)

Related posts: US Patent Office Considering External Ombuds Program; US Patent Office Seeks Input on Ombuds Program.

1 comment:

  1. This is outstanding. Lots of people griped about the ABA when it issued its "Standards," but the IOA is the clear beneficiary of this advocacy.