On May 16, 2023, in a move aimed at enhancing efficiency and expertise in design patent proceedings, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to establish a separate design patent practitioner bar. The proposed rule—published in the Federal Register—marks a significant development in the field of design patents, as the creation of a separate bar will seek to enhance efficiency, provide tailored guidance to applicants, and foster collaboration among design patent practitioners—all of which can facilitate the exchange of best practices, insights, and strategies, ultimately enhancing the overall quality of design patent applications and prosecutions. The public comment period for the USPTO’s NPRM lasts through August 14, 2023.

The NPRM issued on May 16, 2023 can be found in PDF format at the following link: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-05-16/pdf/2023-10410.pdf