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Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership

Tuesday Nov 26, 2013

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:

General Publication Progress

 
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.

Comments:

I think this is a good update to the MPEP drafting process. Thanks to the Office for putting in the consideration and effort in keeping the MPEP better up-to-date. I encourage the Office to really publicize the IdeaScale implementation when it goes live and to give consideration and feedback on the public input received from IdeaScale. Nice work.

Posted by Ryan Alley on December 01, 2013 at 04:02 PM EST #

Do you know when the first new edition will be available?

Posted by David Meeks on December 19, 2013 at 02:27 PM EST #

The Office plans to release a new edition of the MPEP incorporating changes necessitated by the America Invents Act in the late winter or early spring of 2014.

Posted by Janet Gongola, Associate Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy on December 23, 2013 at 03:05 PM EST #

Thank you for your feedback regarding the new MPEP publication process and use of IdeaScale. The Office plans to resume use of IdeaScale to receive public input on the MPEP as soon as we release the next new edition in the late winter or early spring of 2014. I encourage you to submit your comments to help us keep the MPEP up-to-date and a useful resource for patent application filing and prosecution guidance.

Posted by Janet Gongola on December 23, 2013 at 03:08 PM EST #

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