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Wednesday Apr 28, 2010

Reengineering the MPEP: Part 2

Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos

 

In early February I asked for reader ideas about how we might reengineer the MPEP, and I was pleased to see how many thoughtful suggestions you all made.  With this post I want to let you know that your ideas have been heard, and we are acting on them. 

 

Many people suggested that additional information be provided alongside the current content, including:

·         Examples of cases showing both sides of a rule

·         Examples of reasons to combine that are sufficient to support obviousness

·         Examples with case citations including active links to decisions

·         Guidelines for when requirements are satisfied

·         Definitions

People also suggested that we re-organize content to reduce redundancy, provide links from sections to other related sections, and provide better indexing and search tools.

 

In terms of wikis and online collaboration with the public, there was broad consensus that the USPTO should be the keeper of the official version of the text, but that it would be useful to have outside contributions to the content, in several different forms.  These included:

·     Encouraging readers to post comments about the current text, on a section-by-section basis, to point out errors, make clarifications, and add examples of interpretations and links to case law and other materials.

·     Posting preliminary content and then encouraging the community to comment on this new content before it becomes official.  This might include a wiki section for adding additional content.

·     Periodically summarizing and following up on the comments on each section, both to ensure those with merit are acted upon, and to keep the comments on each section from becoming too cluttered.

·     Providing a way for the community to discuss and debate topics such as how to interpret recent court decisions.

We are now fully engaged in converting the contents of the MPEP into a more modern set of tools and are looking at collaboration tools to support the suggestions we have received.  Watch this space for further developments. Thank you again for your input, and keep it coming!

 

Comments:

Improving the MPEP is a fine idea, really, but I think there is a threshold concern that should overshadow revision of the tome: improving application of the policies and procedures that the MPEP details. What happened to the corps' work being wonkish, neutral, and fair? If the average examiner doesn't have the experience and/or training to correctly and consistently apply the current MPEP, is it really fair to predict that adding examples and explanations to it will produce better outcomes? Or will the new-and-improved MPEP be applied in the same way the current edition is? Based on current experience and the PTO's hiring plans, perhaps you should strongly consider that revision of the MPEP is the carriage, and remediation of the corps' application of it, the horse.

Posted by Adam Cermak on May 24, 2010 at 11:39 AM EDT #

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