Takeaway: The USPTO has proposed new rules to the PTAB, intended to help smaller businesses and startups and curb petitioner abuse.

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has proposed new rules to reform the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The PTAB was created in 2012 with the America Invents Act, and its role is to conduct trials and to hear appeals from adverse examiner decisions in patent applications and reexamination proceeding.

Some of the USPTO’s key proposals include “discretionary denials,” such as petitions challenging under-resourced patent owners, and limits to when parties can file PTAB petitions. The goal of these proposals is to curb abuse of the system by for-profit entities that are not competing in the market.

Many lawyers have questioned whether these requirements would be legal, as these requirements were not established in the original America Invents Act. While none of these proposed rules are set in place yet, it seems the intent to reform the PTAB is controversial. We will see if any of these rules are adopted