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Reengineering the MPEP
Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos
Ever since I started at the Agency (in fact, even before I started), examiners and practitioners from all over the country have been saying, "You need a major rewrite of the MPEP. And while you're rewriting it, please consider using 21st century authoring and contributing techniques such as those that have enabled collaborative communities to author other important documents using the Internet."
Well I've been mulling over the question of how to improve the MPEP. For starters, I agree that it takes too long to update the MPEP. And like other antiquated IT-based processes at the USPTO that have received public attention recently, it might not surprise you to learn that the authoring and source file environment we use to maintain and change the MPEP is an embarrassment.
So we have yet another IT project to undertake. But the good news is that this one is not extremely complex -- good commercial authoring environments for large monolithic documents having multiple contributors are readily available.
This leaves the question of the substantive process we use to substantially update and improve the MPEP. Do we keep the process within the USPTO, perhaps adding a wiki for use in receiving IP community input as new versions come out?
Or do we open the MPEP development process up to real-time IP community input, so that each successive version is "community created" as much as possible?
And what if any new features do we include in the new MPEP? More examples? Greater integration of guidelines? Links to related USPTO online examiner education materials?
I'd really appreciate your thinking and recommendations. The objective is to create a new MPEP that will enable practitioners and examiners to find information quickly, get accurate and complete guidance, and ensure that all patent applications comply with the laws and regulations governing the patent system.
I look forward to reading your suggestions.