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USPTO Patents Search Templates
This website provides access to templates describing search resources for the classified areas of science and technology found in the USPTO Manual of Classification. When completed, this version of the search template project will present almost 1,300 search templates covering the more than 600 USPC classes and subclasses.
Search Templates DefinedSearch templates define the field of search, search tools, and search methodologies which should be considered each time a patent application is examined in that classification area. The templates describe search tools for U.S. and foreign patents and non-patent literature. Additionally, general Internet search tools used by patent examiners are listed.
The search templates are based upon input from patent examiners and other searchers at the USPTO and capture their institutional knowledge of the most relevant prior art search sources for determining the patentability of subject matter in the area of technology. The listed areas represent where (what resources) and how (methodology) most of the prior art considered in the examination process is found during the search process.
BenefitsThe templates provide more structure to the search activity and set a standard to measure the completeness of any search. Within USPTO, the templates will be especially valuable to new examiners. In addition to the "where to search" information, the search templates provide important guidance on what tools and methodologies; e.g. structure searches (tool) and classified searching, respectively, should be employed in the search process.
Applicants can use the templates in formulating their own pre-examination searches prior to the filing of a U.S. patent application or the submission of a "Petition to Make Special" (based on MPEP § 708.02, subsection VIII. - special examining procedure for certain new applications - accelerated examination).
A long-term objective of this effort is to generate discussion, and ultimately consensus, with respect to what should constitute a proper field of search and use of search tools in conducting a search of various subject matters for purposes of the examination process at the USPTO.
When determining the appropriate field of search for an invention, the examiner must consider three sources of information: domestic patent documents, foreign patent documents, and NPL. The current requirements for conducting that search are set forth in the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) section 904.02. An examiner may not eliminate any of these resources from consideration unless the examiner can justify to a reasonable certainty that no more pertinent references will be found in a further search. Although the general guidance set forth in the MPEP is accurate, the search templates will provide additional information that expands upon the MPEP's general guidance. For each particular field of subject matter, the search templates will include what resources should be searched, and by which of the available search tools or methodologies. Detailed guidance on the choice and use of specific search tools are left to be established by each Technology Center (see MPEP § 904.02(b)).
Patent examiners are not required to search every listed resource in the examination of every application. Rather, relying upon their professional judgment and assessment of the disclosed and claimed subject matter in the application under consideration, the examiner will determine the most appropriate resources for that application. What the search templates provide is a compilation of the resources found to most frequently discover the most relevant prior art disclosures for the particular subject matter. Searching is highly dependent upon the experience and job knowledge of the individual performing and/or reviewing the search.
Public comments on the search templates are invited. Comments should address the points enumerated in the Criteria for Evaluating Recommended Search Resources listed below. Comments can be submitted via the Search Template Project e-mail link on each template page or by mail addressed to:
Mail Stop Patents Search Template Comments
Electronic submission is preferred. The Office will respond to comments in writing.
The search templates will continue to evolve as technologies and search tools evolve. The public will have an ongoing opportunity to comment on how to improve the templates. This process may require several iterations before there is general agreement on the contents of the search templates.
|Submit general comments and suggestions to Search Template Project|
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