Author: Elizabeth D. Ferrill
Editor: Michele C. Bosch
Back in April, we outlined the nuts and bolts of the AIA preissuance submission procedure. In short, third parties unrelated to the applicant may submit patents, published applications, and other printed publications to the USPTO for consideration during the examination of a pending application.
Curiously, the USPTO states that a third party may file such a submission for design patent applications. But, design patent applications are not published and remain secret until the design patent issues. So, the opportunity to file a submission would likely be limited to a third party that had prior knowledge of the content of a pending design patent application, either through notice letters, discovery, or closely following a competitor’s recently issued patents.