One of the changes resulting from the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) is a change to the fee for filing an appeal with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Patent appeals sometimes arise as part of the patent application process.
As might be expected, the appeal fee increases rather than decreases under the AIA. Increased appeal fees are extra painful when, as is often times the case, the issue between the patent applicant and the patent examiner is resolved prior to the appeal being heard by a panel of appeal judges.
To address the situation, the Patent Office has proposed delaying when certain fees for patent appeals are due. By making a portion of the fees due later, presumably when an appeal will actually be considered by a panel of appeal judges, the patent applicant will not lose out on all of the appeal fees paid in the event the appeal is withdrawn prior to a hearing.