Patent lawyers hope the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s new streamlined review process for appeals briefs signals the agency’s readiness to heed attorney concerns when pushing through a long-stalled appeal overhaul.

On March 30, the PTO announced that the chief judge and staff of the PTO’s Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) would review appeal briefs for compliance. Under the previous system, the patent examiner who denied the patent would take a first look at appeals briefs. In a March 30 blog posting, PTO Director David Kappos said the office expects the new procedure to reduce the time from the filing to the docketing of the appeal. Kappos also wrote that the PTO expects the change to shorten the overall appeal time “because the streamlined procedure will increase the consistency of the review.”