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Thursday, May 06, 2010

We Need to Talk...

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has recently posted public comments that responded to its Request for Comments on Enhancement in the Quality of Patents.  After reviewing several, I found many of the suggestions intriguing.  

One resounding theme was the view that more applicants want earlier substantive discussions with patent examiners in the examination process.  A few suggest telephone interviews as a first response to patent applications.  These interviews would be scheduled some time after an Examiner has reviewed the application and searched the existing state of the art, but before the Examiner issues a "First Office Action," which is the first substantive written response issued by the agency. Many comments stressed that such interactions would avoid misunderstandings and, in some cases, the need to appeal.

To some degree, the worth of this suggestion depends on many factors.  Will the agency adopt this approach?  If so, what types of records of these conversations will be kept for public scrutiny?  Could this lead to more claim amendments--and perhaps more grants, fewer appeals, and narrower claims?  And the critical question--will this lead to better quality patents? 

Posted by Amy Landers on May 6, 2010 at 01:59 PM | Permalink

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