High-quality patents enable certainty and clarity of rights, which fuels innovation and reduces needless litigation. To ensure we continue issuing high-quality patents well into the future, we established the Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative (EPQI). We are strengthening work products, processes, services, and how we measure patent quality at all stages of the patent process.
- Post-Prosecution Pilot (P3), which launched on July 11th, explores a new after final program that combines features of the Pre-Appeal Brief Conference and After Final Consideration 2.0 pilot programs and adds in new features requested by our stakeholders. For more information, please visit the P3 webpage.
- The Post Grant Outcomes Program launched a pilot aimed at putting related AIA trial proceedings, including their prior art, in front of the examiners of pending related applications. More information is on the Pilot webpage.
- The Stakeholder Training on Examination Practice and Procedure (STEPP) Program launched July 12th and is one of our current efforts to enhance patent quality through customer service. This program provides perspective on patent examination to our external stakeholders. Visit the STEPP web page for more information and to take a short survey so you can help us determine future training topics.
- We received over 135 qualified topics for our Topic Submission for Case Study pilot program. To view the six (6) selected topics, please visit the Selected Topics for Case Studies Pilot web page. Check back periodically for case study results.
- Tune in to Quality Chats! We host a series of events collectively entitled Patent Quality Chats, a lunchtime patent quality webinar series held on the second Tuesday of each month. The Patent Quality Chat series is designed to provide information on patent quality topics and gather your input. Visit our Patent Quality Chat webpage for more information.
You spoke; we listened. To advance our Initiative, we created 12 EPQI programs based on feedback from internal and external stakeholders. These programs fall into four areas of concertation for enhancing overall patent quality.
(1) Search and training enhancement programs
- Automated Pre-Examination Search Pilot - Providing relevant prior art through an automated pre-examination search to an examiner for review before the examiner begins examination and conducts a manual search in the application
- Scientific and Technical Information Center (STIC) Awareness Campaign - Raising examiners' awareness of available search tools and resources to find better prior art in an application
- Clarity of Record Training: Improving Clarity and Reasoning in Office Actions Training (ICR Training) - Educating examiners on the latest legal developments and effective ways to convey their positions and reasons to applicants for purposes of improving the clarity of the prosecution record
(2) Prosecution enhancement programs
- Clarity of the Record Pilot - Identifying and developing best practices for examiners to enhance the clarity of the prosecution record
- Interview Specialist - Providing a point of contact to facilitate applicant-examiner interviews by serving as a resource on interview policy and assisting examiners and applicants with interview logistics
- Post-Prosecution Pilot (P3) - Combining effective features from the Pre-appeal Pilot and After-Final Consideration Pilot 2.0 programs into a single program with additional requested features.
- Reevaluation of Quick Path Information Disclosure Statement (QPIDS) - Investigating improvements to the existing program, which provides for submission of an IDS after payment of the issue fee without an RCE, to make the process more efficient.
(3) Post-examination enhancement programs
- Design Patent Publication Quality - Improving the quality of images in published design patents
- Post Grant Outcomes - Identifying prior art raised in post grant proceedings that is relevant to related cases undergoing prosecution and simplifying access to this prior art for examiners in the related cases
(4) Evaluation enhancement programs
- Clarity and Correctness Data Capture (Master Review Form or MRF) - Developing and implementing a new agency-wide consistent and transparent process and form to capture minable data about the correctness and clarity of examiners’ work products
- Quality Metrics - Developing and implementing new measures for understanding, evaluating, and reporting the correctness and clarity of examiners’ work products
Topic Submission for Case Studies - Using stakeholder suggestions to identify new topics for case studies
- Patent Quality Pillars of the EPQI
- EPQI EVENTS and PRESENTATIONS (archive) – for Upcoming Events, see the Updates section
RESOURCES for enhanced learning about patent quality – links to Interview Practice, 101 Guidance, FITF training materials, Patents Ombudsman, and much more
We Want Your Feedback
We welcome your input on our overall Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative (EPQI), our EPQI programs, as well as on patent quality in general. Send us an email.