21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act/Division C/Title III/Subtitle A

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==SUBTITLE A —PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE AUTHORIZATION==

Sec. 13101. Short Title.[edit]

This subtitle may be cited as the ``Patent and Trademark Office Authorization Act of 2002´´.

Sec. 13102. Authorization of Amounts Available to the Patent and Trademark Office.[edit]

(a) IN GENERAL.—
There are authorized to be appropriated to the United States Patent and Trademark Office for salaries and necessary expenses for each of the fiscal years 2003 through 2008 an amount equal to the fees estimated by the Secretary of Commerce to be collected in each such fiscal year, respectively, under—
(1) title 35, United States Code; and
(2) the Act entitled ``An Act to provide for the registration and protection of trademarks used in commerce, to carry out the provisions of certain international conventions, and for other purposes´´, approved July 5, 1946 (15 U.S.C. 1051 et seq.) (commonly referred to as the Trademark Act of 1946).
(b) ESTIMATES.—
Not later than February 15, of each fiscal year, the Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and the Director of the Patent and Trademark Office (in this subtitle referred to as the Director) shall submit an estimate of all fees referred to under subsection (a) to be collected in the next fiscal year to the chairman and ranking member of—
(1) the Committees on Appropriations and Judiciary of the Senate; and
(2) the Committees on Appropriations and Judiciary of the House of Representatives.

Sec. 13103. Electronic Filing and Processing of Patent and Trademark Applications.[edit]

(a) ELECTRONIC FILING AND PROCESSING.—
The Director shall, beginning not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, and during the 3-year period thereafter, develop an electronic system for the filing and processing of patent and trademark applications, that—
(1) is user friendly; and
(2) includes the necessary infrastructure—
(A) to allow examiners and applicants to send all communications electronically; and
(B) to allow the Office to process, maintain, and search electronically the contents and history of each application.
(b) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—
Of amounts authorized under section 13102, there is authorized to be appropriated to carry out subsection (a) of this section not more than $50,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2003, 2004, and 2005. Amounts made available pursuant to this subsection shall remain available until expended.

Sec. 13104. Strategic Plan.[edit]

(a) DEVELOPMENT OF PLAN.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—
The Director shall, in close consultation with the Patent Public Advisory Committee and the Trademark Public Advisory Committee, develop a strategic plan that sets forth the goals and methods by which the United States Patent and Trademark Office will, during the 5-year period beginning on January 1, 2003—
(A) enhance patent and trademark quality;
(B) reduce patent and trademark pendency; and
(C) develop and implement an effective electronic system for use by the Patent and Trademark Office and the public for all aspects of the patent and trademark processes, including, in addition to the elements set forth in section 13103, searching, examining, communicating, publishing, and making publicly available, patents and trademark registrations.
(2) CONTENTS AND CONSULTATION.—
The strategic plan shall include milestones and objective and meaningful criteria for evaluating the progress and successful achievement of the plan. The Director shall consult with the Public Advisory Committees with respect to the development of each aspect of the strategic plan.
(b) REPORT TO CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES.—
Not later than 4 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director shall submit the plan developed under subsection (a) to the Committees on the Judiciary of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Sec. 13105. Determination of Substantial New Question of Patentability in Reexamination Proceedings.[edit]

(a) IN GENERAL.—
Sections 303(a) and 312(a) of title 35, United States Code, are each amended by adding at the end the following: ``The existence of a substantial new question of patentability is not precluded by the fact that a patent or printed publication was previously cited by or to the Office or considered by the Office.´´.
(b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—
The amendments made by this section shall apply with respect to any determination of the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office that is made under section 303(a) or 312(a) of title 35, United States Code, on or after the date of enactment of this Act.

Sec. 13106. Appeals in Inter Partes Reexamination Proceedings.[edit]

(a) APPEALS BY THIRD-PARTY REQUESTER IN PROCEEDINGS.—
Section 315(b) of title 35, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:


``(b) THIRD-PARTY REQUESTER.— A third-party requester—
``(1) may appeal under the provisions of section 134, and may appeal under the provisions of sections 141 through 144, with respect to any final decision favorable to the patentability of any original or proposed amended or new claim of the patent; and
``(2) may, subject to subsection (c), be a party to any appeal taken by the patent owner under the provisions of section 134 or sections 141 through 144.´´.


(b) APPEAL TO BOARD OF PATENT APPEALS AND INTERFERENCES.—
Section 134(c) of title 35, United States Code, is amended by striking the last sentence.
(c) APPEAL TO COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FEDERAL CIRCUIT.—
Section 141 of title 35, United States Code, is amended in the third sentence by inserting ``, or a third-party requester in an inter partes reexamination proceeding, who is´´ after ``patent owner´´.
(d) EFFECTIVE DATE.—
The amendments made by this section apply with respect to any reexamination proceeding commenced on or after the date of enactment of this Act.