The Patent Trial and Appeal Board is a comprehensive source of information on how the PTAB works, with additional links
The PTAB website provides useful information about the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and the types of proceedings it conducts. Becoming acquainted with the website also helps you learn where to find additional information.
You will find six resources connected to the PTAB website:
General Information. The PTAB homepage is the starting point for finding all information about the PTAB and its proceedings. Information is separated into three categories, each with additional links: Trials and appeals; Decisions; and Learn more. This homepage is an excellent starting point for inventors to begin diving into the PTAB world. Go to uspto.gov/patents/ptab.
New to PTAB. This webpage, written in plain language, offers very basic explanations about ex parte appeals and America Invents Act trial proceedings. It also highlights ways in which inventors may secure help from the PTAB to answer questions. This webpage is the perfect starting point if you are new to PTAB proceedings and want to learn—in layperson terms—what they entail. Go to uspto.gov/patents/patent-trial-and-appeal-board/about-ptab/new-ptab.
Ex parte appeals. There are two key webpages relevant to ex parte appeal proceedings. The first webpage, called “Appeals,” outlines the general process of ex parte appeals, in which applicants seek review at the PTAB of rejections by examiners. The Appeals webpage also includes resources and answers to frequently asked questions.
The second webpage, called “Hearings,” provides information on ex parte appeal hearings, including schedules, locations, guidance, and forms. If you have a pending appeal before the board or are contemplating one in the future, start with these two pages: uspto.gov/patents/ptab/appeals, and uspto.gov/patents/ptab/hearings.
AIA trial proceedings. The “Trials” webpage presents details about inter partes review and post-grant review proceedings. It also provides helpful resources, such as statutes and rules relevant to the proceedings and comparisons and descriptions of the different types of AIA trials. If you are involved in an AIA trial proceeding, consult this webpage as your reference guide: uspto.gov/patents/ptab/trials.
PTAB decisions. Decisions from the PTAB, including for ex parte appeals and AIA trial proceedings, are available in a searchable database: https://developer.uspto.gov/ptab-web/#/search/decisions. Access to this database is free, and it is likely the fastest way for you to locate a PTAB decision in a particular proceeding.
Additionally, there is a webpage showcasing PTAB precedential and informative decisions by substantive legal topic: uspto.gov/patents/ptab/precedential-informative-decisions. Precedential decisions establish binding authority concerning major policy or procedural issues, or other issues of exceptional importance—including constitutional questions; important issues regarding statutes, rules, and regulations; important issues regarding case law; or issues of broad applicability to the PTAB. Precedential cases bind future board panels and parties. So if there is a precedential decision by the board on a topic at issue in your case, you should become familiar with that decision.
By contrast, informative decisions provide PTAB norms on recurring issues, guidance on issues of first impression to the board, guidance on board rules and practices, and guidance on issues that may develop through analysis of recurring issues in many cases. Informative decisions are not binding on the future board panels or parties, but they are good to review because they reveal how the board may very likely handle a particular issue.
Events and Subscription Center. First, the PTAB has an “Events” webpage to alert you to educational sessions that the board is hosting for the public. These events include Boardside Chat webinars, Inventor Hour webinars, and LEAP (Legal Experience and Advancement Program) training events. Go to uspto.gov/patents/ptab/ptab-events.
Second, the USPTO provides a Subscription Center where you can sign up to receive new information about topics of your choice. Thereafter, you will receive an email anytime the agency releases new information about the topic. These email alerts are the one of the best ways to stay abreast of developments in real time. Go to uspto.gov/subscribe.
Finally, if you have question about the board or its proceedings, check out the “PTAB Contact Information” webpage where contact email and telephone numbers are provided: uspto.gov/about-us/organizational-offices/patent-trial-and-appeal-board/ptab-contact-information.