For a patent applicant, the appeals process is slow – adding years to the patent prosecution process. While the USPTO is slowly addressing its unduly large backlog of appeals, it is also proposing a new Track-1 for ex parte appeals in the form of an Expedited Patent Appeals pilot program.
Although no petition fee will be required, the cost of the program may be too great. Namely, applicants must (1) Withdraw a pending ex parte appeal of another application (without refund); and (2) Agree to no oral hearing. The withdrawal process can be accomplished with the filing of a request for continued examination (RCE).
The goal will be to reach a decision on the merits within six months of the petition filing.
= = = = =
I should note that the PTAB continues to hire new judges, and is currently conducting a search for a new Chief Judge. [LINK]