Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership
USPTO Revises MPEP Publication Process
Guest blog by USPTO Commissioner for Patents Peggy Focarino
The USPTO continues to use ever-more efficient electronic publication tools. The latest example of this is its revised process to update the Manual of Patent Examination Procedure (MPEP). We will now be able to more quickly incorporate changes in the law and patenting procedures.
The USPTO will soon begin to re-publish the entire MPEP with each updated section identified with the date of publication. Sections that are not updated will retain their most recent revision date. All updates will be published as clean text with no revision markings.
Before releasing a new revision, the USPTO follows several critical steps. First, the MPEP staff and USPTO subject matter experts update the relevant MPEP sections. The updated sections are then sent for internal agency review and clearance before being further reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Based upon the feedback received through the clearance processes, the MPEP staff makes final modifications before publishing the new edition. The MPEP publication process is depicted in this graphic:
The USPTO will release three MPEP editions during FY 2014. Each revision will correspond to the enactment and/or adoption of new patent law. The first new edition will incorporate provisions of the America Invents Act (AIA), enacted in September 2011. The second updated edition will provide guidance on the Patent Law Treaty implementation. The third update will provide guidance on the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs.
With each new MPEP revision, the agency will release a plain-language summary highlighting changes and additions. The agency also plans to develop a computer-based training (CBT) module to further explain the changes and additions. The USPTO also plans to post newly published MPEP chapters on IdeaScale, an online tool that enables users to provide feedback and suggestions. We are very excited to take this next step in serving our stakeholders and the public.