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Archived updates for Wednesday, April 27, 2005

USPTO Opens New Electronic Facility to Hear Patent or Trademark Appeals

The Commerce Department's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today launched a new state-of-the-art electronic facility for hearing patent appeals before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) and appeals and contested cases before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).

The BPAI held its first set of hearings this afternoon in the new Electronic Hearing Room while the appellants participated electronically from Chicago. The electronic hearing room allows for an oral hearing in an ex parte appeal or inter partes case from remote locations anywhere in the world. While three administrative patent or trademark judges preside from the USPTO in Alexandria, Va., an attorney can present a client's case from anywhere around the globe with equipment capable of dialing Standard - H.320 (ISDN) protocol.

“The USPTO is committed to the President's management agenda goal of citizen-centered operations,� said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Jon Dudas. “Our electronic hearing room is another way in which we are fulfilling the President's goals. The new cyber hearing room saves our customers time and money, because they don't need to travel to our Office in order to be heard.�

Through the use of a large plasma screen in the new hearing room, as well as other hardware and software, patent and trademark judges are able to see the presenting attorney and receive evidentiary documents electronically. Hearings are conducted as usual even though the parties are hundreds or thousands of miles apart. Many law firms have purchased the necessary equipment so their attorneys can conduct electronic hearings with BPAI and TTAB. Attorneys can also participate in oral hearings from Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries located in Sunnyvale, California; Detroit, Michigan; and at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
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