The Clarity and Correctness Data Capture (CCDC) Program, a Patent Quality advancement, was instituted to create an improved data capture system that enables all reviewers, from both the Office of Patent Quality Assurance (OPQA) and supervisors in the Technology Centers (TCs), to consistently document and access quality review data in one place.
Current Status of Program
- Master Review Form (MRF) is in full use in OPQA
- A new internal data capture system, the Integrated Quality System or IQS was created and is being used in OPQA
- On-going feedback to enhance the MRF continues
Master Review Form
The current version of the Master Review Form (MRF) being used at USPTO is available here, MRF; initial MRF version 1.33, and iterations MRF 2.03 and MRF 3.01 demonstrate some of the changes the MRF has undergone since it was first used in February, 2016. The MRF captures all traditional inquiries on the correctness of the examiner’s determinations with respect to the substantive patentability requirements, as well as new inquiries on the clarity of each determination made in the Office action under review. The MRF also simplifies our patent quality metrics determinations with clear indicators of statutory compliance – with issues of non-compliance being identified as either (a) an omitted rejection under a particular statute or (b) an improperly made rejection under a particularly statute.
The MRF is the sole form in which review of Office actions is collected in OPQA to provide standardized reviewing criteria towards our patent quality metrics.
Historical Review Process
Historically, USPTO reviews of finished work products, e.g., mailed Office actions, have been performed not only by reviewers in OPQA, but also by reviewers in the TCs. Though considering the same type of work for the same compliance factors, OPQA and the TCs used different, uncorrelated forms so any resulting data could not be aggregated or compared across reviewing areas. Consequently, only OPQA reviews were systematically recorded for identification of trends across the patent corps.
In addition, all of these reviews mainly assessed the correctness or statutory compliance of the Office action, with only a basic assessment of the clarity of the examiner’s position. As such, USPTO’s quality metrics lacked an individual metric that assessed in detail the clarity of the Office’s finished work product. The clarity of Office actions is now tracked using the MRF and plans for clarity quality metric, to parallel our compliance metric, are ongoing.
Contact us by email at QualityMetrics@USPTO.gov