PTO listens to appeals from cyberhearing room

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has launched an electronic capability for hearing patent and trademark appeals from remote locations.

The e-hearing room accommodates appeals and contested cases before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, which held its first hearings two weeks ago while the appellants participated electronically from Chicago. While three administrative patent or trademark judges preside from the PTO in Alexandria, Va., an attorney can present a client’s case from across the country or across the ocean.

“The new cyberhearing room saves our customers time and money because they don’t need to travel to our office in order to be heard,” said PTO director Jon Dudas in a statement. PTO is an agency of the Commerce Department.

Through the use of video conferencing via Integrated Services Digital Network line, computers and a large plasma screen in the hearing room, patent and trademark judges are able to see the presenting attorney and receive evidentiary documents electronically. Hearings are conducted as usual, even though the parties are hundreds or thousands of miles apart. Attorneys can also participate in oral hearings from Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries located in Sunnyvale, Calif., Detroit and at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

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