Updates to Business Methods Mandatory Search Requirements

Notice to Public

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is providing notification to the public of efforts to update the Business Methods mandatory search requirements. A Notice was published in June 2001 announcing that examiners working in Class 705 perform a mandatory search in all applications issuing in Class 705. It was announced that the mandatory search must include a classified U.S. patent document search, and a text search of U.S. patent documents, foreign patent documents, and non-patent literature (NPL). NPL databases with business-related literature were reviewed and representative databases were chosen as mandatory resources to be searched for business method patent applications issuing in Class 705.

NPL resources have changed since the June 2001 announcement-some have become obsolete, others have become newly available, while still others have matured and become more widely available. The mandatory search outlined in the June 2001 announcement with regard to NPL searching has been updated. Examiners are no longer required to search the specific mandatory NPL databases set forth in the June 2001 announcement.

Examiners are still required to search the three main types of prior art when examining every Class 705 application: U.S. patents, foreign patents, and NPL. With respect to NPL, the examiner will determine the most appropriate NPL databases for a patent application by relying upon their professional judgment and assessment of disclosed and claimed subject matter in the application under consideration.

Any questions regarding this notification may be directed to Greg Vidovich by telephone at (571) 272-3600 or Matthew Gart by telephone at (571) 272-3955