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(408) DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Patent and Trademark Office
[Docket No.: PTO-P-2013-0011]
Elimination of Patents Search Templates
AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.
SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office) is
eliminating the Patents Search Templates from the USPTO Web site. In 2006,
the USPTO implemented Patents Search Templates, which were created to
better identify the field of search, search tools, and search methodologies
that should be considered each time an invention related to a particular
USPC is searched. There are over 1200 search templates covering more than
600 USPC classes and subclasses. Historically, usage of the search
templates by the public has been extremely low. Additionally, various
aspects of the search templates, such as references to commercial database
vendor information, are in need of updating. Further, in January 2013, the
USPTO launched a new classification system, the Cooperative Patent
Classification (CPC) system, that is based on the International Patent
Classification (IPC) system. The CPC, a joint patent classification system
developed by the USPTO and the European Patent Office (EPO), incorporates
the best classification practices of both the U.S. and European systems.
Since CPC is a detailed, collaborative, and dynamic system that will enable
patent examiners and the public to efficiently conduct thorough patent
searches, the search templates will become obsolete.
DATES: Effective Date: May 21, 2014.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Pinchus M. Laufer, Senior Legal Advisor,
Office of Patent Legal Administration, Office of the Deputy Commissioner
for Patent Examination Policy, by telephone at 571-272-7726; or by mail
addressed to: Mail Stop Comments--Patents, Commissioner for Patents, P.O.
Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The search templates were created to better
identify the field of search, search tools, and search methodologies which
should be considered each time an invention related to a particular USPC is
searched. The USPTO published a notice requesting comments on the proposed
elimination of the search templates on October 30, 2013. See Request for
Comments on Proposed Elimination of Patents Search Templates, 210 FR 64925
(October 30, 2013). In response, the Office received only one comment; it
asserted the usefulness of the search templates in illustrating the scope
of patent examination searches.
The search templates, however, are currently out-of-date since they
include, for example, outdated commercial database vendor information that
could be misleading for external stakeholders. Updating the search
templates would require the editing of over 1200 pages and would not be an
efficient use of USPTO resources, given that the templates are rarely used
by the public.
Also, the search templates are indexed under USPC, which is being phased
out in favor of CPC. CPC is an internationally compatible classification
system that was launched in January 2013. CPC is a detailed, dynamic
classification system that is based on IPC and enables patent examiners and
the public to efficiently conduct thorough patent searches. As a result of
the implementation of CPC, the search templates will become obsolete. CPC
was jointly developed with the EPO and incorporates the best classification
practices of both the U.S. and European systems. The USPTO and the EPO also
believe that CPC will enhance efficiency and support work sharing
initiatives with a view to reducing unnecessary duplication of work,
thereby leading to enhanced patent quality and timelier examination of
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pending applications. Initial feedback from stakeholders confirms that the
transition to CPC is a positive development. More information about CPC can
be found at http://www.cooperativepatentclassification.org.
Due to the factors discussed above, the Office is removing the search
templates from the USPTO Web site and any references to the search
templates in USPTO documentation (for example, in the Accelerated
Examination FAQs) will be updated to reflect the elimination of the search
May 15, 2014 MICHELLE K. LEE
Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and
Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office
[1403 OG 206]