(167) Extension and Expansion of Pilot
Concerning Public Submission Of
Peer Reviewed Prior Art
In June of 2007, as part of the efforts of the United States Patent and
Trademark Office (Office) to implement its Strategic Plan, the Office
announced a pilot to determine the extent to which the organized submission
of documents together with comments by the public will provide useful prior
art for examiners. The stated purpose of the pilot was to test whether such
collaboration could effectively locate prior art that might not otherwise
be located by the Office during the typical patent examination process. A
notice entitled "Pilot Concerning Public Submission Of Peer Reviewed Prior
Art" (1319 Off. Gaz. Pat. Office 146 (Jun. 26, 2007)) provided the details
of the program.
As announced, the pilot program was limited in scope, duration, and size.
While the Office has not yet completed its evaluation of the pilot program,
the initial results appear to be promising. In the interest of gathering
data from a more diverse pool of patent applications, the pilot is being
revised (as detailed below) to extend its duration, increase the maximum
number of applications, and to expand the scope of applications eligible
for the program.
The Office reserves the right to discontinue this pilot program if
continuation is not in the best interests of the Office.
II. Duration and Size
The pilot program was scheduled to end on June 16, 2008 (with
submissions accepted from Peer-to-Patent until October 17, 2008), or after
250 participating patent applications have been submitted to the Office,
whichever occurs first.
The program is hereby extended for an additional twelve months and is
now expected to end on June 15, 2009 (with submissions accepted from
Peer-to-Patent until October 15, 2009), or after 400 participating patent
applications have been submitted to the Office, whichever occurs first.
Part of the rationale behind the pilot was to address the public
perception that USPTO examiners were not identifying the best references,
particularly in technology areas where the Office does not have a long
history of examining that technology, where non-patent literature is
important to the examination of that technology, or both.
The pilot was initially restricted to patent applications assigned to
Technology Center 2100 which examines applications in computer-related arts.
Effective immediately, the scope of the program is being expanded to include
applications in Class 705 (Data Processing: Financial Business Practice,
Management, or Cost/Price Determination).
The inclusion of the Class 705 applications in the program is expected to
enhance the analysis of the resultant data obtained through this pilot.
IV. Limitations on Number of Applications
In accord with the extended duration, size, and scope of the program,
the Office is raising the ceiling on the number of applications that may be
accepted from a single Applicant.
The Office will now accept no more than 25 total written consents
(corresponding to 25 total separate applications) from an Applicant,
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Applicant's assignee (to include subsidiaries), or Applicant's affiliates.
Patent applications that participate in the peer review process, but are not
granted advancement of examination for any reason (e.g., because they do
not receive at least one document submitted as a potential reference), will
not be counted against the 25 total for any one applicant, and will be
redocketed to the order of examination they would have held if the
application had not partially participated in the peer review project.
Applicants will be required to use an Office-prepared consent form
located at: http://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/peerpriorartpilot/consent.pdf.
To insure prompt handling, the consent form may be faxed to the Office at
571 273-4150 attn: PeerReviewPilot or e-mailed to
PeerReviewPilot2007@USPTO.gov with a subject line containing the serial
number of the application and the word "Consent."
VI. Additional Information
For further information on this pilot, please email
PeerReviewPilot2007@USPTO.gov or contact Jack Harvey, Director, Technology
Center 2100 at Jack.Harvey@USPTO.gov. General inquiries on the Community
Patent Review Project may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 19, 2008 JOHN DOLL
Commissioner For Patents
[1333 OG 103]