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|Top of Notices (376) December 31, 2013||US PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE||Print This Notice 1397 CNOG 2746|
|Appeals and Interferences||Referenced Items (366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 377, 378, 379)|
(376) New Interference Search Procedure When a search is made to determine what grounds of rejection may apply to the claims undergoing examination, the examiner also considers the possibility of interfering claims in the U.S. patent documents. When an application is in condition for allowance, the examiner performs an interference search. The interference search procedure currently set forth in MPEP Sec. 1302.08 and Sec. 2301.01(b) was developed for paper file wrappers at a time when application filings were lower. This procedure is no longer practical or workable in view of the fact that the Office no longer maintains paper application files and the increase in the number of application filings. The interference search procedure is being replaced by the new interference search procedure set forth below. New Interference Search Procedure When an application is in condition for allowance, the examiner makes an interference search by performing a text search of the U.S. patent application publication (PGPub) database directed to the comprehensive inventive features in the broadest claim. If the application contains a claim directed to nucleotide or peptide sequence, an interference search of the sequence database will be made. If the search results identify any potential interfering subject matter, the examiner will review the application(s) with the potential interfering subject to determine whether interfering subject matter exists. If interfering subject matter does exist, the examiner will follow the guidance set forth in MPEP Chapter 2300. If there is no interfering subject matter then the examiner should prepare the application for issuance. A printout of only the database(s) searched, the query(ies) used in the interference search, and the date the interference search was performed will be made of record in the application file. The results of the interference search will not be placed in the application file. The new interference search procedure will be incorporated in the upcoming revision of the MPEP. The Office recognizes that for interference purposes, a text search should encompass the claims of all pending U.S. applications and recently issued U.S. patents within a certain range of effective filing dates. However, since the Image File Wrapper (IFW) system does not provide for a text-searchable database encompassing unpublished pending applications, examiners currently can only perform a text search of the PGPub database as set forth above. It is expected that in the future, there will be a new system that will permit text searches of pending unpublished applications. Once the new system is fully implemented, the interference search procedure will be revised accordingly and notice will be given as to any changes made. June 21, 2005 JOSEPH J. ROLLA Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy [1296 OG 118]