New Fees – 15% increase: The USPTO has announced new fees that will become effective on September 26, 2011. These fees represent an across-the-board 15% increase for almost all PTO fees. The effective date of the fees will be applied based upon the associated underlying filing date. Thus, a new application properly filed by Express Mail on September 25, 2011 will be charged under the old regime even if it does not arrive at the USPTO until September 26. Likewise, for most other responses, the date of the certificate of mailing will be used to calculate the fees due. [Link]
New Fees – Micro Entity: A new micro entity status has been created by the AIA that provides for a 75% discount on fees for certain applicants (including universities with operating budgets of more than $1 billion). However, the USPTO has announced that the micro entity status will only become effective after it implements final regulations on the topic.
Inter Partes Reexamination: Already effective is a new standard for initiating an inter partes reexamination. The new standard requires a showing that there is a reasonable likelihood that the requester will prevail with respect to at least one of the patent claims challenged in the request. This is a stricter standard that the old requirement of a substantial new question of patentability. The standard for ex parte reexamination remains unchanged. In one year (on September 16, 2012), the USPTO will stop accepting inter partes reexamination requests and instead move to the new inter partes review procedure. The new review proceeding will be conducted before the new Patent Trial and Appeal Board rather than before an examiner. At the one-year anniversary, new post-grant review proceedings, transitional business method review proceedings, and supplemental examination proceedings will also be implemented.
Tax Strategies: As part of the AIA, all tax strategies have been deemed to be within the prior art and therefore a tax strategy cannot be used to distinguish the claimed invention from the prior art. There are some limits so that developers of certain software can still obtain patents. This provision applies to any application now pending or yet to be filed. In his memo to examiners, Robert Bahr indicated that examiners should treat tax strategy limitations in the same way that printed matter limitations are treated under MPEP 2112.01 (III).
Human Organisms: The USPTO has taken the position that the ban on the patenting of human organisms does not change its longstanding policy in any way. Thus, under the rule a claim is not patentable if, when interpreted as a whole, it "encompasses a human being."