USPTO to Begin Electronic Processing of Patent Applications

Press Release

Brigid Quinn

Washington -The U.S. Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) this week launched a prototype to test replacing its standard paper processing of patent applications with electronic processing. The prototype will include front-end administrative processing of selected new applications, as well as processing and examination of pending applications in three art units that handle biotech and semi-conductor inventions. The paper documents in the application files assigned to the prototype will be scanned into electronic image files including the specification; oath or declaration; drawings; information disclosure statements; amendments; examiner decisions; and file jacket notations. Processing and examination of these applications will then be performed with the electronic files by the examiners, technical support staff and all other USPTO professional staff during the prototype.

"Automating the patent examination process is another example of the ongoing efforts of USPTO and the Bush Administration to create a quality-focused, market-driven, e-commerce based organization that rapidly responds to the demands of the national and global marketplaces," noted James E. Rogan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property. "This prototype is a major component of the agency's 21st Century Strategic Plan and efforts to efficiently deliver high quality products through implementing electronic patent processing by the end of 2004."

The electronic image-based processing system being used in the prototype was designed with core software developed by the European Patent Office. USPTO will incorporate the experience and lessons learned from this prototype into a production system for all patent applications.

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