Due to shortage of OPESS (Office of Patent Examination Support Services) staff in the past few months, we know that amendments have not always been processed in a timely manner. The issue was compounded by the recent PALM outage. Some examiners have been seeing a high number of amendments being put on their docket in a short period of time due to these issues, especially in pay periods 24 and 25. POPA brought this to the attention of management and were told that management did not want this to significantly affect examiners.
Management has asked SPEs to monitor each examiner’s amendment docket to identify if an unusually high number of amendments have been docketed to an examiner. SPEs have been told if an examiner raises a concern, they should discuss the situation and get details as to the examiner’s specific situation.
POPA has been told that examiners with an unusually high number of amendments in pay periods 24 and 25 should have been contacted by their SPEs and the situation corrected (i.e., amendments removed temporarily from their docket to allow for a more even flow of amendments to the docket).
POPA also pointed out to management that examiners on a part-time schedule needed to be looked at due to the lower number of examining hours.
If you feel that you have received an unusually high number of amendments whether in pay periods 24 and 25 or not, you should first have a conversation with your SPE. If after such conversation you feel that you have not been assisted with the high number of amendments on your docket then contact POPA.
POPA Vice President