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【米国】PTA関連規則の改正

浅村特許事務所 知財情報 
 2015年1月28日


【米国】PTA関連規則の改正


 

[米国、PTA関連規則の改正]

USPTOは、Novartis 事件のCAFC判決を受けて、特許存続期間調整(PTA)の期間から、継続審査に費やされた期間として差し引かれるのは、[継続審査請求書の提出日から許可通知の発送日までの期間]であることを明確にし(1.703)、更に、許可通知後の継続審査請求を、審査終結への合理的な努力の懈怠であるとすると共に、その例外として、IDS(情報開示陳述書)を提出するためにのみ請求する場合を規定した(1.704)

 

 CAFCは、Novartis AG v. Lee事件(2013-1160, -1179)において、継続審査に費やされた期間は、継続審査の開始時期にかかわらず、PTA(特許法第154条(b)(1)(B): USPTOに起因して審査期間が3年を超えた場合に特許権の存続期間を補償するための制度)の期間を決定する際に差し引かれるが、USPTOが許可後に出願審査を開始しない場合には、許可通知後の期間は継続審査に費やされた期間に含まれないと判示した(海外情報要約231号、2014年2月発行)。

 USPTOは、本CAFC判決に鑑みて、PTAに関連する規則(1.703及び1.704)を改正した。

[1] 改正の内容

① 規則1.703における改正(2015年1月9日発効)

USPTOは、出願人が許可後に継続審査請求を提出しない場合、許可通知後の期間は、継続審査に費やされた期間に含まれない旨の規則改正を行った。

具体的には、PTAの期間に含まれない期間(当該期間計算の際に差し引かれる期間)として、継続審査請求書が提出された日から許可通知の発送日までの期間が規定された(改正規則1.703(b)(1))。改正前の規定においては、当該期間の終期は特許発行日とされていた。

② 規則1.704における改正(2015年3月10日発効)

USPTOは、許可通知発送後に継続審査を請求することは、出願の処理又は審査を終結させるための合理的な努力の懈怠であるとして、PTA期間が短縮される旨の規則改正を行った。この対象となる期間は、許可通知発送日の翌日から継続審査請求日までである(改正規則1.704(c)(12))。

例外として、対応外国特許出願を提出した特許庁からの通知受領後30日以内にUSPTOにIDSを提出するためにのみ継続審査を請求する場合には、前記のような努力の懈怠であるとはみなされないことを規定した(改正規則1.704(d)(1))。

更に、USPTOは、許可通知後に、前記のような努力の懈怠であるとみなされることなく、提出することができる書面を明確にした(改正規則1.704(c)(10))。

[2] 改正規則が適用される日

改正規則1.703

改正規則の発効日の前後にかかわらず、許可された全ての特許に対して適用される。

改正規則1.704

2000年5月29日以降に出願された全ての原出願(但し、意匠特許に係る出願を除く。)及び当該特許出願に係る特許に対して適用される。

[例外]

・改正規則1.704(c)(12)は、特許法第132条(b)及び規則1.114に基づく継続審査請求が2015年3月10日以降に提出された出願に対してのみ適用される。

・改正規則1.704(c)(13)は、2013年12月18日以降に特許法第111条に基づいて提出された特許出願、及び2013年12月18日以降に特許法第371条に基づいて国内段階が開始した国際特許出願に対してのみ適用される。

 

[3] 下記の対照表において、改正前の規定の青文字部分が改正後の規定においては赤文字部分のように改正されたことを示す。

改正後

改正前

1.703 Period of adjustment of patent term due to examination delay.

* * * * *

(b) * * *

(1) The number of days, if any, in the period beginning on the date on which any request for continued examination of the application under 35 U.S.C. 132(b) was filed and ending on the date of mailing of the notice of allowance under 35 U.S.C. 151;

* * * * *

§ 1.704 Reduction of period of adjustment of patent term.

* * * * *

(c) * * *

(10) Submission of an amendment under § 1.312 or other paper, other than a request for continued examination in compliance with § 1.114, after a notice of allowance has been given or mailed, in which case the period of adjustment set forth in § 1.703 shall be reduced by the lesser of:

(i) The number of days, if any, beginning on the date the amendment under § 1.312 or other paper was filed and ending on the mailing date of the Office action or notice in response to the amendment under § 1.312 or such other paper; or

(ii) Four months;

* * * * *

(12) Submission of a request for continued examination under 35 U.S.C. 132(b) after any notice of allowance under 35 U.S.C. 151 has been mailed, in which case the period of adjustment set forth in § 1.703 shall be reduced by the number of days, if any, beginning on the day after the date of mailing of the notice of allowance under 35 U.S.C. 151 and ending on the date the request for continued examination under 35 U.S.C. 132(b) was filed;

(13) Failure to provide an application in condition for examination as defined in paragraph (f) of this section within eight months from either the date on which the application was filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) or the date of commencement of the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371(b) or (f) in an international application, in which case the period of adjustment set forth in § 1.703 shall be reduced by the number of days, if any, beginning on the day after the date that is eight months from either the date on which the application was filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) or the date of commencement of the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371(b) or (f) in an international application and ending on the date the application is in condition for examination as defined in paragraph (f) of this section; and

(14) Further prosecution via a continuing application, in which case the period of adjustment set forth in § 1.703 shall not include any period that is prior to the actual filing date of the application that resulted in the patent.

(d)

(1) A paper containing only an information disclosure statement in compliance with §§ 1.97 and 1.98 will not be considered a failure to engage in reasonable efforts to conclude prosecution (processing or examination) of the application under paragraphs (c)(6), (c)(8), (c)(9), or (c)(10) of this section, and a request for continued examination in compliance with § 1.114 with no submission other than an information disclosure statement in compliance with §§ 1.97 and 1.98 will not be considered a failure to engage in reasonable efforts to conclude prosecution (processing or examination) of the application under paragraph (c)(12) of this section, if the paper or request for continued examination is accompanied by a statement that each item of information contained in the information disclosure statement:

(i) Was first cited in any communication from a patent office in a counterpart foreign or international application or from the Office, and this communication was not received by any individual designated in § 1.56(c) more than thirty days prior to the filing of the information disclosure statement; or (ii) Is a communication that was issued by a patent office in a counterpart foreign or international application or by the Office, and this communication was not received by any individual designated in § 1.56(c) more than thirty days prior to the filing of the information disclosure statement.

 

 

 

 

(1) The number of days, if any, in the period beginning on the date on which a request for continued examination of the application under 35 U.S.C. 132(b) was filed and ending on the date the patent was issued;

* * * * *

 

 

 

 

 

(10) Submission of an amendment under § 1.312 or other paper [挿入]after a notice of allowance has been given or mailed, in which case the period of adjustment set forth in § 1.703 shall be reduced by the lesser of:

 

 

(i) The number of days, if any, beginning on the date the amendment under § 1.312 or other paper was filed and ending on the mailing date of the Office action or notice in response to the amendment under § 1.312 or such other paper; or

(ii) Four months;

* * * * *

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(12) Failure to provide an application in condition for examination as defined in paragraph (f) of this section within eight months from either the date on which the application was filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) or the date of commencement of the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371(b) or (f) in an international application, in which case the period of adjustment set forth in § 1.703 shall be reduced by the number of days, if any, beginning on the day after the date that is eight months from either the date on which the application was filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) or the date of commencement of the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371(b) or (f) in an international application and ending on the date the application is in condition for examination as defined in paragraph (f) of this section; and

(13) Further prosecution via a continuing application, in which case the period of adjustment set forth in § 1.703 shall not include any period that is prior to the actual filing date of the application that resulted in the patent.

(d)

(1) A paper containing only an information disclosure statement in compliance with §§ 1.97 and 1.98 will not be considered a failure to engage in reasonable efforts to conclude prosecution (processing or examination) of the application under paragraphs (c)(6), (c)(8), (c)(9), or (c)(10) of this section[挿入] if it is accompanied by a statement that each item of information contained in the information disclosure statement:

 

 

 

 

 

 

(i) Was first cited in any communication from a patent office in a counterpart foreign or international application or from the Office, and this communication was not received by any individual designated in § 1.56(c) more than thirty days prior to the filing of the information disclosure statement; or (ii) Is a communication that was issued by a patent office in a counterpart foreign or international application or by the Office, and this communication was not received by any individual designated in § 1.56(c) more than thirty days prior to the filing of the information disclosure statement.

 

 なお、USPTOは、継続審査請求数を減少させる取組みとして、QPIDSプログラムを試行している(IPグローバル情報第240-2号、2014年10月発行)。本プログラムは、特許発行手数料の支払い後にIDSを提出して、審査官の審査を受ける必要が生じた場合に、審査(RCE)を再開することなく、その情報について、審査官が考慮した情報として特許への記録を可能にする制度である。現時点では、2015年9月30日まで実施されることになっている。

 

Federal Register

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-01-09/pdf/2015-00061.pdf

 

CAFC

http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/images/stories/opinions-orders/13-1160.Opinion.1-13-2014.1.PDF

 

 


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