[Updated] The USPTO has made a large set of its petitions decisions available via Google's Bulk Patent Download center. [Link]
I was browsing through them this morning and came across a lonely petition decision that was sent from the Office of Petitions on July 20, 2010. The decision is a response to a petition filed July 16, 2006 requesting that the USPTO overturn a thirteen-way restriction requirement. The meat of the decision reads as follows:
A Notice of Abandonment was mailed March 4, 2009. As the application is now abandoned, the petition to overturn the decision of the Technology Center Director is DISMISSED as moot.
As the quote suggests, this particular case involved a petition to the PTO Director following an unsuccessful petition to the Tech Center Director. Although the first petition was decided fairly quickly, the timing of petitions decisions and the associated fees continue to make it somewhat impractical to challenge restriction requirements.
Another recent petition decision was in Application No. 12/266,477 where the PTO granted Quantumsphere's petition to make the application “special” based upon the application's association with “green technologies.” Designating the application as “special” speeds the prosecution process. The application claims a lower-energy method of synthesizing ammonia.