The PTAB has revised its procedure regarding the process by which PTAB judges are assigned to panels (“Revised SOP1”). Revised SOP1 explains the procedures for panel assignment and for informing parties regarding panel changes. Revised SOP1 also explains the process for designating expanded panels (i.e., panels with more than three judges), and notes that expanded panels are “not favored and ordinarily will not be used” but may be desirable under certain circumstances.
The PTAB has also revised its procedure regarding precedential and informative decisions (“Revised SOP2”). Revised SOP2 creates a Precedential Opinion Panel (“POP”), typically comprising the Director, the Commissioner for Patents, and the Chief Judge of the PTAB. The POP may be convened to rehear matters in pending trials and appeals, for example, on issues of “exceptional importance (e.g., involving agency policy or procedure).” In addition, the POP may assist the Director in determining whether a decision previously issued by the PTAB should be designated as precedential or informative.