The Clarity and Correctness Data Capture (CCDC) Program, a Patent Quality advancement, is 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.
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. OPQA and the TCs set their own reviewing criteria, 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.
New Review Process
To improve this process, the USPTO is replacing all previous review forms with a single, comprehensive review form, referred to as the “Master Review Form” (MRF). This form 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. Thereby, the Master Review Form provides standardized reviewing criteria for all reviewers in both OPQA and the TCs. The USPTO plans to have all reviewers use the Master Review Form for finished work product quality reviews at every stage of prosecution. In view of feedback that we receive from both internal users of the form and external stakeholders, we are continually updating the form to be more responsive to our business needs. Master Review Form version 3.01 is currently being used by reviewers.
What is USPTO achieving through the new Review Process?
- To improve the effectiveness, transparency, clarity, and simplicity of USPTO review.
- To create a standardized review process that leverages results from routinely-performed reviews throughout the Patents organization.
- To enable more useful results from an increased number of reviews and increased resources that a standardized review process can provide (e.g., more review data provides greater granularity of data to reach information specific at the workgroup or art unit level).
Thank you for your comments on our proposed use of quality metrics and our master review form in response to the Federal Register Notice whose comment period closed May 24, 2016. To view these comments, please see Submissions.