After considering comments from various stakeholders for nearly a year, on July 24, 2023, the USPTO issued the revised interim Director Review Process. Among other changes, the revised process now permits parties to request the Director Review on institution decisions in America Invents Act (AIA) proceedings. This is a significant expansion of the scope of director review, which allows petitioners who had no appeal options to an IPR denial to now have at least one avenue of review of an institution denial.
Also, as part of the changes, the USPTO established a Delegated Rehearing Panel (DRP), which allows the Director to delegate review of the PTAB decisions in AIA proceedings, including institution decisions and final written decisions. How the DRP is shaped and how frequently it is used will be the subject of significant interest to stakeholders.
In addition, the USPTO (unsurprisingly) established the Appeals Review Panel (ARP), which replaces the precedential opinion panel (POP). The ARP may be convened by the Director sua sponte to review the PTAB decisions in ex parte appeals, re-examination appeals, and reissue appeals. While the POP is replaced as of July 24, 2023, any recommendation for POP review filed on or before July 24, 2023 and pending as of the date will be considered by the POP.
While the USPTO revised and provided further guidance on the interim Review Process, the process is not yet formalized, and further updates are expected. For more information on the current process, see here.