As of July 24, 2023, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) revised the interim Director Review process and replaced the Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) with the Appeals Review Panel process, which will review decisions in ex parte, re-examination, and reissue appeals, and the Delegated Rehearing Panel (DRP), which will review decisions from America Invents Act (AIA) proceedings, such as inter partes reviews (IPRs) and post grant reviews (PGRs). Most notably, requests for Director Review will now be accepted for institution decisions and decisions granting rehearing in addition to final written decisions. Additionally, requests for Director Review may now be decided by the DRP instead of directly by the PTO Director.
According to the revised guidance, requests for Director Review of institution and grants of rehearing of institution decisions are limited to cases implicating “potential (a) abuse of discretion or (b) important issues of law or policy.” Requests for Director Review of final written decisions and related grants of requests for rehearing are limited to cases presenting “(a) an abuse of discretion, (b) important issues of law or policy, (c) erroneous findings of material fact, or (d) erroneous conclusions of law.” Parties are limited to requesting either Director Review or rehearing of a decision and cannot request both. Read more