STEPP, or Stakeholder Training on Examination Practice and Procedure, is designed to provide external stakeholders with a better understanding of how, and why, an examiner makes decisions while examining a patent application. STEPP courses are in-person training led by USPTO trainers and based on material developed for training USPTO employees. We now provide two different course types:
- Agent/Attorney 3-Day Course
- Inventor 3-Day Course
See the full course schedule below for topics, dates, places, times, intended audience, and CLE credit.
Courses provided are free to attend. In addition, CLE credit may be available for a STEPP course you participate in however CLE accreditation will generally only be applied for in the state the course is delivered from. Please review the available course schedule and descriptions below for additional information.
The STEPP program is an important part of the USPTO’s mission to deliver intellectual property information and education to external stakeholders. It is administered by the Office of Patent Training (OPT).
What is the purpose of the STEPP program?
- Increase transparency by making USPTO training on examination practice and procedure available to external stakeholders
- Provide perspective to external stakeholders by detailing what an examiner considers in preparing an office action
- Aid in compact prosecution by disclosing to external stakeholders how examiners are taught to use the MPEP and other tools to interpret an applicant’s disclosure and apply prior art
What is NOT the purpose of the STEPP program?
The STEPP program is not intended for applicants to discuss pending applications with USPTO employees or to circumvent normal communications between applicants or applicants' representatives and USPTO employees. Applicants should continue to resolve any application-specific issues through the examiner of record or the Ombudsman program, as appropriate.
How do I participate in the STEPP program?
Those interested in participating in STEPP are required to complete the Sign Up Now form located below.
For more information:
STEPPTraining@uspto.gov by email or
view our STEPP Flyer.