Complex Work Unit Pilot Program

Welcome to the USPTO Complex Work Unit Pilot Program Homepage

As part of its continuing effort to improve and integrate existing electronic systems and to promote full electronic patent application processing, the United States Patent and Trademark Office announces the Complex Work Unit (CWU) Pilot program. It is anticipated that this program will help the Office to simplify on-line access to, and availability of, USPTO information and data for purposes of improved examination of applications and publication of pre-grant publications and patent grants.

The CWU Pilot program will gather information on what file formats applicants consider potentially useful to the USPTO.

CWUs, such as chemical structure drawings, mathematical formulae, three-dimensional protein crystalline structure data and table data, often add significant complexity and cost to the examination and publication of patent applications. The Office anticipates that submission and internal handling of CWUs in original, source formats will streamline and improve the processing, examination, and publication of patent applications.

For this Pilot we are only accepting the types of files outlined in the Official Gazette Notice (to be published). Other source files will be accepted in later pilots. At this time only tables, chemical structures, three-dimensional protein crystalline structures and mathmatical formulae source files may be submitted, but we welcome direction and comments for future file formats we should investigate supporting.

Frequently Asked Questions [PDF]

Additional Documents Related to CWU Pilot

Note: The links below to non-Federal Government Web sites do not imply endorsement of these particular organizations or their site content.

File Formats Currently Used in the Publication Process

The following description of file formats used in the Office publication process is taken from "Patent Application Data/XML v1.5 (Retro. 2001)" (further described and available for purchase at: ):

Tables and sequence data are included using CALS XML markup. Mathematical expressions are included using MATHML markup and external Mathematica Notebook (NB) files. Chemical structures are represented by external CS ChemDraw (CDX) files and MDL Information Systems (MOL) files. Drawings, mathematical expressions, and chemical structures also include external Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) Revision 6.0 with CCITT Group 4 Compression files.

How to Submit Complex Work Unit Files

Files can be submitted to the USPTO during the CWU Pilot through EFS-Web or on compact disc. Any CD or text file submitted in accordance with this pilot must be accompanied by a statement that the CWU file submitted in electronic form is the same as the file used to create the image of the CWU submitted as part of the paper patent application or PDF format patent application filed via EFS-Web. In the event of any discrepancy between the paper or PDF and the electronic version of the CWU, the paper or PDF version is the authoritative version.

Preferred Naming Conventions for all Submissions

Files should be named in accordance with their content. The CWU Pilot will accept chemical, table, mathematical and protein database files named respectively:


CD Submission

Disks containing CWU files should be labelled with the following information:

(i) The name of each inventor (if known);
(ii) Title of the invention;
(iii) The docket number, or application number if known, used by the person filing the application to identify the application
(iv) a creation date of the compact disc; and
(v) An indication that the disk contains Complex Work Unit files

EFS-Web Submission

We have identified three file formats commonly used by inventor/researchers. These include InChI™, MathML and PDB, which respectively describe chemical, mathematical and three-dimensional protein crystalline structures. These formats are all text based, and are acceptable for submission through EFS-Web. Hyperlinks to websites that describe these formats in detail are included above at "Additional Documents Related to CWU Pilot". For information regarding the filing of CWUs through EFS-Web, please contact the Patent Electronic Business Center at 866-217-9197, Monday-Friday 6am-midnight.

Federal Register Notice

Acceptance, Processing, Use and Dissemination of Chemical and Three-Dimensional Biological Structural Data in Electronic Format, Advance notice of proposed rulemaking
( 70 Fed. Reg. 35573 - 21Jun2005) [PDF]

Contact Information

Please e-mail questions and comments to: .

Additional support is available through the Patent EBC Customer Support Center .

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