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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:

  1. Agent/Attorney 3-Day Course
  2. 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: by email or
view our STEPP Flyer.

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STEPP Course Schedule

For additional information on a course listed please read the course description below.  If interested, please complete and submit the Sign Up Now form.  Is there another training on examination practice and procedure that may better meet your needs?   Please complete the needs assessment survey so that we can better try to accommodate you in the future.

*Note:  All courses, times, and dates are subject to change and may be cancelled at any time prior to registration opening.

In-Person Training





Registration CLE Credit Available?
Agent/Attorney 3-Day Course November 14-16, 2017 *Agents and Attorneys Denver, CO – Rocky Mountain Regional Office September 5 - October 1, 2017 Yes - Colorado
Agent/Attorney 3-Day Course January 9-11, 2018 *Agents and Attorneys Dallas, TX – Texas Regional Office October 30 - November 26, 2017 Yes - Texas
Inventor 3-Day Course February 6-8, 2018 **Inventors Alexandria, VA - USPTO Headquarters October 30 - December 3, 2017 No
Agent/Attorney 3-Day Course March 20-22, 2018 *Agents and Attorneys Detroit, MI – Midwest Regional Office January 8 - February 11, 2018 Yes - Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana 
Agent/Attorney 3-Day Course May 22-24, 2018 *Agents and Attorneys Alexandria, VA - USPTO Headquarters March 12 - April 8, 2018 Yes - Virginia
Agent/Attorney 3-Day Course July 17-19, 2018 *Agents and Attorneys San Jose, CA – Silicon Valley Regional Office May 7 - June 3, 2018 Applying in California
Inventor 3-Day Course August 14-16, 2018 **Inventors Alexandria, VA - USPTO Headquarters April 30 - June 18, 2018 No
Agent/Attorney 3-Day Course September 11-13, 2018 *Agents and Attorneys Alexandria, VA - USPTO Headquarters July 2 - July 29, 2018 Yes - Virginia

*Agents and Attorneys - Those registered to practice law in patent matters before the USPTO
** Inventors - Those not registered to practice law in patent matters before the USPTO

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Sign Up Now

Sign up is now open for the STEPP course(s) currently open for registration (see above).   If you are interested in being notified when registration opens for a particular course please email us at

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What would you like to see?

If the training currently provided through STEPP does not currently meet your needs please fill out the short survey so that we can better help you in the future.   

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Additional Training and Material

Looking for additional information on examination practice and procedure?  Publicly available material used to train USPTO patent examiners is available on our Examiner Training Materials page and the Examination Guidance and Training Materials page.  If you are looking for our in-person course materials, unfortunately they are workshop specific and are designed for in class use only.  As a result these materials are not currently available online.  However, all of our in-person materials are derived from material found through the two hyperlinks directly above.

Interested in taking part in USPTO led training outside of STEPP?  Please visit the USPTO Events page to learn more.

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Patent Examiner Technical Training Program (PETTP)

Are you or your client interested in providing technical training to patent examiners?  The Patent Examiner Technical Training Program offers technologists, scientists, engineers, and other experts from industry and academia an opportunity to voluntarily provide technical training and expertise to patent examiners in-person or virtually from their own location. 

In-person presentations can be made at our Alexandria, Virginia headquarters or at one of our satellite offices in Detroit, Michigan and Denver, Colorado. 

To learn more, visit the Patent Examiner Technical Training Program (PETTP) page.

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Stakeholder Training on Examination Practice and Procedure (STEPP)

The Stakeholder Training on Examination Practice and Procedure program offers those interested training opportunities to better their understanding  of the examination process at the USPTO.  Training material used is derived from material developed for training patent examiners. 

To learn more visit the Stakeholder Training on Examination Practice and Procedure (STEPP) page.

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Virtual Instructor Led Training (vILT) Program

Are you or your client interested in attending an online course of an examination topic?  Virtual Instructor Led Training (vILT) is designed to allow our stakeholders to be briefed on a variety of focused topics related to examination practice and procedure derived from recent training delivered to experienced USPTO examiners. The primary purpose of vILT is to provide a vehicle by which recently delivered examination training is shared with the external stakeholders. The interactive online format of vILT allows participants to remotely attend the training without the need to travel to USPTO locations.

To learn more, visit the Virtual Instructor Led Training (vILT) Program page.

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