The Patent Application Locating and Monitoring (PALM) system is used to support the reexamination process. The sections below delineate PALM related activities.
- (A) Reexamination File Data on PALM — The routine PALM retrieval transactions are used to obtain data on reexamination files. From the USPTO intranet site, Office staff can click on “PALM” and then “General Information” which opens the PALM INTRANET General Information Display. From here, enter the patent number in the box labeled Patent #. Then click on “Search” and when the “Patent Number Information” appears, click on “Continuity Data” to obtain the reexamination number.
- (B) Reexamination e-File — The papers of a reexamination proceeding may be viewed on IFW. PALM provides information for the reexamination proceeding as to the patent owner and requester, contents, status, and related Office proceedings (applications, patents and reexamination proceedings). Some of the data entry for reexamination in PALM is different from that of a regular patent application. There are also differences in the status codes – all reexamination proceedings generally have status codes in the “400” range (there are some in the “800” range for some inter partes documents and actions).
- (C) Patent File Location Control for Patents Not Available on IFW, i.e., Available Only in Paper File — The movement of paper patent files related to requests for reexamination throughout the Office is monitored by the PALM system. If the patent file is in paper form, the paper file should be ordered and scanned into the Image File Wrapper (IFW) for access throughout the prosecution of the reexamination proceeding.
- (D) Reporting Events to PALM — The PALM system is used to monitor major events that take place in processing reexamination proceedings. During initial processing all major pre-ex parte examination events are reported. During the ex parte phase, the mailing of examiner’s actions is reported as well as owner’s responses thereto. The Central Reexamination Unit is responsible for reporting these events by, e.g., using the reexamination icon and window initiated in the PALM EXPO program. Examples of the events that may be reported (in the PALM system or in the tracking system of the Office of Petitions) are as follows:
- (1) Determination Mailed — Denial of request for reexamination.
- (2) Determination Mailed — Grant of request for reexamination.
- (3) Petition for reconsideration of determination received.
- (4) Decision on petition mailed — Denied.
- (5) Decision on petition mailed — Granted.
- (6) Owner response to determination (owner’s statement) received.
- (7) Requester response to determination (requester’s reply) received.
- (8) The mailing of all examiner actions.
- (9) The receipt of owner’s responses to examiner’s actions and Office receipt date.
Each of these events, as well as additional events reported by the Central Reexamination Unit (CRU) Technical Support Staff (TSS) will be permanently recorded and displayed in the “Contents” portion of PALM. In addition, status representative of these events will also be displayed.
- (E) Status Reports — Various weekly reports can be generated for the event reporting discussed above. The primary purpose of these reports is to assure that reexaminations are, in fact, processed with “special dispatch.”
PALM Reports — A number of automated reports generated from the PALM system are provided to the CRU and other appropriate TCs at the beginning of each week. These reports serve to indicate to the CRU and other appropriate TCs when certain deadlines are approaching. Each report is subdivided by working group and lists the requests in control number sequence. For example:
- (1) Preexam Reexam — This report serves to highlight those requests which have not been assigned to an examiner by the sixth week since their filing. Requests appearing on this report should be located and docketed immediately.
- (2) Reexams Awaiting FA – This report lists those proceedings awaiting first action after the mailing of the order granting reexamination. This report includes ex parte reexaminations, including reexaminations ordered under 35 U.S.C. 257, and inter partes reexaminations.
- (3) Reexam Actions in CRU – This report lists reexamination proceedings located in the Central Reexamination Unit (CRU) with action type and date.
- (4) Reexam PTAB – status 143, 440, 441 and 887-891 – This report lists the proceedings that have been forwarded to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).