The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Danish Patent and Trademark Office (DKPTO) have signed an agreement to begin a trial project this month on reclassification of certain USPTO documents used by examiners to help them determine if a patent should be issued on an invention. The purpose of the trial project is to consider the feasibility of having the DKPTO perform patent document reclassification work currently done by USPTO personnel.
"We are pleased to be working with our Danish colleagues on this important project and look forward to the results of this cooperative effort," said Under Secretary Jon Dudas. "As the amount of patent-related information has skyrocketed in recent years, it is critical that patent offices around the world keep pace in order to ensure that the most relevant information is found quickly and easily by patent examiners," added Commissioner for Patents John Doll.
Under the terms of the agreement, the DKPTO will reclassify U.S. patents and published patent applications according to new classifications developed either by the USPTO or by the USPTO in collaboration with the European and Japan Patent Offices in several areas of technology. New technologies are coming on-line and many existing technologies are becoming more complex. Thus, the new classifications are refinements of portions of the current U.S. classification system and are intended to help USPTO examiners more easily locate documents relevant to the state of the prior art during examination. The agreement is one in a series of initiatives designed to enhance patent quality by improving the timeliness, efficiency and effectiveness of the patent examination process.
"We are looking forward to combining our expertise with the expertise of the USPTO, and we hope that this will be the first of many projects in cooperation with our international colleagues," said Director General Jesper Kongstad. "We have the competence and the available resources to get the job done."
The trial is scheduled to last approximately four months. USPTO and DKPTO then will review the results and decide next steps.