The . For ongoing efforts in patent quality improvement, please visit Patent Quality.
The Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative (EPQI) was enacted in 2015 to reinvigorate improvement in patent quality with a focus on three patent quality pillars. Working closely with internal and external stakeholders, we developed and refined 12 programs, which are still at work today. These programs fall into three areas of concentration to enhance overall patent quality:
1. Data analysis
- Topic Submission for Case Studies - Using stakeholder suggestions to identify new topics for case studies
- 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 mineable 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.
2. Examiner's resources, tools, and training
- 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 the 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
- 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
- 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.
3. Changes to process and product
- Clarity of the Record Pilot - Identifying and developing best practices for examiners to enhance the clarity of the prosecution record
- 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
- Design Patent Publication Quality - Improving the quality of images in published design patents.