Top of Notices Top of Notices   (263)  December 26, 2023 US PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE Print This Notice 1517 CNOG  1046 

PE2E, Software, Computer-Implemented Referenced Items (263, 264, 265, 266, 267)
(263)    New Artificial Intelligence Functionality in PE2E Search


   The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office) recently
added the new artificial intelligence (AI)-based "Similarity Search"
feature to the Patents End-to-End (PE2E) search suite as a tool to further
assist patent examiners in conducting a search of the prior art. When a
search is performed using Similarity Search, it will be reflected in the
search history recorded in the file wrapper.


   In the examination of a patent application, patent examiners conduct a
thorough search of the prior art. See 37 CFR 1.104(a)(l). The Office
provides examiners with access to a wide variety of search tools to perform
an effective search of the prior art, including domestic and foreign patent
documents and non-patent literature. One such search tool is the Patent
Linguistic Utility Service (PLUS), a query by example search system for
U.S. patents and U.S. pre-grant publications (PGPubs) from 1971 to the
present. The PLUS search system receives as input a keyword list generated
from scanned portions of the specification of an application being searched
(e.g., title, abstract, background, and brief summary) and uses word
frequency search technology to produce a list of U.S. patents and U.S.
PGPubs that most closely match the application.

   In an effort to modernize the Patents Automated Information Systems, the
USPTO launched PE2E, a single web-based system that provides examiners with
a unified and robust set of tools to use in the examination process. PE2E
Search is a system within PE2E that presents a modern interface design and
introduces new tools and features, such as AI search capabilities. PE2E
Search contains both U.S. and foreign published patent documents. It is
replacing legacy search tools, including Examiner's Automated Search Tool
(EAST), Web-based Examiner Search Tool (WEST), and PLUS, which are set to
be decommissioned on September 30, 2022.

   In October 2021, the USPTO released the AI-based "More Like This
Document" feature in PE2E Search to examiners. The Office continues to add
new search features with AI capabilities to PE2E Search. The Office has
also been proactively notifying the public of any new AI-based features in
PE2E Search that are being made available to examiners. See, for example,
the notice on the New PE2E Search Tool Using AI Search Features

AI Similarity Search feature

   The USPTO has introduced a new AI-based tool in PE2E Search: the
Similarity Search feature. The Similarity Search feature receives examiner-
selected application information, including the specification, as input and
uses trained AI models to output a list of domestic and foreign patent
documents that are similar to the patent application being searched. The
Similarity Search feature in PE2E Search is designed to be an enhanced
replacement of PLUS and provides examiners with optional new search
capabilities to access prior art alongside traditional document retrieval
approaches. An examiner can refine the AI-based Similarity Search queries
using Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) symbols and text snippet
selection capabilities. This provides the examiner with the flexibility to
emphasize certain CPC symbols, paragraphs, sentences, or words to focus on
specific concepts. Moreover, this new feature provides significantly faster
results for examiners. AI-based Similarity Search queries are completed in
seconds, whereas PLUS searches historically can take hours to generate.

   AI models supporting PE2E Search are trained using publicly available
patent data, including the disclosure text, patent classifications,
document citations, and human-rated similarity. Potential model biases due
Top of Notices Top of Notices   (263)  December 26, 2023 US PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE 1517 CNOG  1047 

to applicant, inventor, and assignee information are mitigated by excluding
this information from the training data. Models are updated regularly to
maintain the highest level of performance possible. To ensure data security
and maintain patent application confidentiality as required by 35 U.S.C.
122(a), the USPTO has implemented National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST) security controls¹ and runs search queries using this
feature within USPTO system boundaries using a Federal Risk and
Authorization Management Program authorized cloud. This is consistent with
the National AI Initiative strategic pillar "Advancing Trustworthy AI" as
well as Executive Order 13960, "Promoting the Use of Trustworthy Artificial
Intelligence in the Federal Government," and achieves the goal of granting
more robust and reliable patents by helping examiners find potentially
relevant documents for consideration.

Search recordation

   To provide a complete, accurate, and uniform record of what the examiner
has searched and considered for each application, the USPTO has established
procedures for recording Similarity Search data in the application file.
When an examiner uses the Similarity Search feature of the PE2E search tool
as part of a search for an application, the examiner's PE2E search history
will indicate that AI Similarity Search capabilities were used so the
public receives clear notice that aspects of the examiner's search were
performed using AI. When an examiner selects a Similarity Search query to
be included in the search notes of the application file wrapper, all
documents retrieved by that query, along with the query itself, are listed
in the search notes. This enhances public awareness of the search strategy
and ensures that the model outputs are transparent and explainable.
Measures are taken to ensure application confidentiality. The search
results produced using emphasized text and/or CPC symbols for a given
application will be listed in the PE2E search history in addition to the
application number and any applicable emphasized text snippets and CPC
symbols, except where the inclusion of the text or the application number
would violate the confidentiality provision of 35 U.S.C. 122(a).

   ¹At the time of this notice, the environment that the model runs on
complies with NIST 800-53 controls for a Federal Information Processing
Standards Publication 199 categorized system.

Contact information

   You can submit inquiries and feedback concerning this notice, including
comments and concerns regarding search recordation with respect to the
emphasized text, to, or by mail addressed to
Commissioner for Patents, Box Comments-Patents, Post Office Box 1450,
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450, and marked to the attention of Jonathan Horner.

October 19,2022                                             KATHERINE VIDAL

                              [1504 OG 359]