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Julie Burke


IP Quality Pro, LLC

Dr. Julie Burke, Ph.D., a former TC1600 Quality Assurance Specialist, is founder of IP Quality Pro LLC, where she acts as an expert witness on patent office procedures and practices. She helps practitioners resolve complicated procedural situations in the field of US patent practice. She is also an Advisor for Petition.ai. From 2006-2015, in her role as QAS, Dr. Burke drafted over 800 petition decisions for review and signature by a variety of TC1600 Group Directors. Dr. Burke is a former Vice Chair of IPO’s Patent Office Practice Committee. She frequently gives talks on patent office practices and procedures. 

Recent Articles by Julie Burke

The Trains, Planes and Automobiles of Correcting DOCX-Related Errors

Similar to Steve Martin and John Candy’s calamitous odyssey in the classic 1980s film Planes, Trains and Automobiles, patent practitioners are experiencing their own misadventures when filing applications in the DOCX format. As of January 17, 2024, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) mandated submitting all specification, claims and abstracts of non-provisional applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) in DOCX format or incurring a $400 surcharge (non-discounted). The DOCX mandate came after thousands, and likely tens of thousands, of practitioners, directly or indirectly, communicated their significant procedural, technical, legal, ethical, professional liability, and financial concerns to the USPTO.

USPTO Flexes Its AIA Powers To Make Retroactive Substantive MPEP Policy Changes

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) publishes the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) (currently electronically, but spanning thousands of pages in printed form) to provide examiners and patent practitioners with guidance on the patent statute, USPTO regulations, and patent prosecution practices and procedures. USPTO regulations are promulgated pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which requires a process that includes publication of proposed rules and a public comment period and are binding on the public. The 2011 Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) strengthened the USPTO’s already-considerable policymaking powers. In a recent law review article addressing the USPTO’s post-AIA policymaking powers, William Neer recognized the USPTO’s AIA-empowered potential to engage in retroactive substantive rulemaking and determined that the USPTO promulgated more rules post-AIA than it did pre-AIA. This article discusses substantive MPEP procedural changes implemented retroactively by the USPTO.