An information disclosure statement (IDS) is a crucial component of the patent review process as it gives applicants the opportunity to provide examiners with relevant background art or separate materials that may influence an invention's patentability. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has expanded the functionality of this mechanism with a new pilot program that will allow for the consideration of an IDS after payment of the patent issue fee, without the need for a request for continued examination (RCE).
By reducing the rate at which RCEs are filed with the patent office, officials contend that they may able to generate a marked reduction in the examination timetable.
"The one point on which all voices of the intellectual property community agree is that the most important thing USPTO can do to help is to get their new inventions to the marketplace faster and more efficiently, in turn enabling them to create new jobs and opportunity," USPTO director David Kappos explained. "The Quick Path IDS pilot is another example of USPTO's commitment to eliminating delays and increasing efficiency for our stakeholders."
In the new process, the patent review board will consider IDS submissions before deciding whether or not to reopen a case. If nothing of note is found in the newly provisioned materials, the prosecution will remain closed and the patent issue will go into effect once again without the hassles and delays that could have come as a result of RCE processing.