Top of Notices Top of Notices   (294)  December 30, 2014 US PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE Print This Notice 1409 CNOG  1100 

Software, Computer-Implemented Referenced Items (294, 295, 296, 297)
(294)                       DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
                   United States Patent and Trademark Office
                         [Docket No.: PTO-P-2013-0064]

      Request for Comments Regarding Prior Art Resources for Use in the
              Examination of Software-Related Patent Applications

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

ACTION: Request for comments.

SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has
formed a partnership with the software community to enhance the quality
of software-related patents (Software Partnership). The Software
Partnership is an opportunity to bring stakeholders together through a
series of roundtable discussions to share ideas, feedback, experiences,
and insights on software-related patents. On December 5, 2013, as part
of the Software Partnership, the USPTO hosted a roundtable discussion
on the USPTO's prior art searching techniques and tools. At the
roundtable, the USPTO spoke on the prior art resources currently
utilized by examiners and listened to external speakers and the public
on additional prior art resources and improved search techniques. In
order to receive further feedback from stakeholders, the USPTO is
requesting comments on the questions regarding prior art resources and
search techniques set forth below.

DATES: Comment Deadline: To be ensured of consideration, written comments
must be received on or before March 14, 2014. No public hearing will be
    Addresses for Comments: Written comments should be sent by electronic
mail addressed to Comments may also be
submitted by mail addressed to: Mail Stop Comments - Patents,
Commissioner for Patents, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450, marked
to the attention of Seema Rao, Director, Technology Center 2100. Although
comments may be submitted by mail, the USPTO prefers to receive comments
via the Internet.
    The comments will be available for public inspection at the Office of
the Commissioner for Patents, located in Madison East, Tenth Floor,
600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia, and will be available via the
USPTO Internet Web site at Because comments will be
available for public inspection, information that is not desired to be made
public, such as an address or phone number, should not be included in the
comments. Parties who would like to rely on confidential information to
illustrate a point are requested to summarize or otherwise submit the
information in a way that will permit its public disclosure.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Seema Rao, Director, Technology Center
2100, by telephone at 571-272-0800, or by electronic mail message at

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The USPTO conducted a Software Partnership
meeting on December 5, 2013, in Alexandria, Virginia, focused on the
topic of prior art resources for use during the examination of
software-related applications. The meeting featured both internal and
external stakeholders' presentations, along with an open discussion
session aimed to collect input on how the agency can enhance prior art
searching through the use of search strategies, tools, and databases.
Details of the meeting along with all presentation materials can be
found on the Prior Art Search micro-site available at
    Currently, the Office has access to a variety of internal and
external resources for searching and accessing prior art. Internally,
the Office utilizes the Examiner's Automated Search Tool (EAST), Web
Examiner Search Tool (WEST), and a variety of vendor databases to
provide examiners with access to U.S. and foreign patents and patent
Top of Notices Top of Notices   (294)  December 30, 2014 US PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE 1409 CNOG  1101 

application publications using both classification and textual
searching. Externally, the Scientific and Technical Information Center
(STIC) provides examiners with access to non-patent literature in
several art-specific print collections and electronic resources
totaling over 500 databases, 59,000 electronic journals and 175,000
e-books. A listing of the Office's prior art resources may be found at
    As a follow-up to the Prior Art Software Partnership Meeting, the
Office is asking stakeholders for further ideas to improve the quality
and efficiency of searching software-related inventions. In particular,
the Office seeks comments on the following questions:
    1. What specific databases, Web sites, tools and other resources do
you find useful in searching for software-related inventions? Please
indicate strengths and limitations of each resource.
    2. What are your concerns regarding the manner in which USPTO
examiners formulate and implement search strategies to identify prior
art for software related inventions? How should these concerns be

December 30, 2013                                      MARGARET A. FOCARINO
                                                   Commissioner for Patents
                                 Performing the functions and duties of the
                                            Under Secretary of Commerce for
                                  Intellectual Property and Director of the
                                  United States Patent and Trademark Office

                                  [1398 OG 195]